San Juan Restaurants

In cosmopolitan San Juan European, Asian, Middle Eastern, and chic fusion eateries vie for your attention, with family-owned restaurants specializing in seafood or comida criolla (creole cooking, or local Puerto Rican food). U.S. chains such as McDonald's and Subway compete with chains like Pollo Tropical and El Mesón, which specialize in local cuisine. Many of the most innovative chefs here have restaurants in the city's large hotels, but don't be shy about venturing into stand-alone establishments—many concentrated in Condado and along Calles Fortaleza and San Sebastián in Old San Juan. Old San Juan is also home to a number of notable new restaurants and cafés, offering more artisanal-style cuisine—crop-to-cup coffee, rustic homemade pizzas, and creative vegetarian food—at affordable prices. There’s a radiant pride in what the local land can provide, and these enthusiastic young restaurateurs are redefining what Puerto Rican food is, bite by tasty bite.

Dress codes vary greatly, though a restaurant's price category is a good indicator of its formality. For less expensive places anything but beachwear is fine. Ritzier spots will expect collared shirts and long pants for men (jacket and tie requirements are rare) and chic attire for women. When in doubt, do as the Puerto Ricans often do and dress up.

For breakfast outside of your hotel, cafés or local bakeries (called panaderías) are your best bet. It's rare for such establishments to close between breakfast and lunch; it's slightly more common for restaurants to close between lunch and dinner. Although some places don't accept reservations, it's always a good idea to make them for dinner whenever possible. This is especially true during the busy season from November through April and on weekends at any time of the year.

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  • 1. Acapulco Taquería Mexicana

    $ | Mexican

    Located behind a pawn shop, Acapulco doesn't have the most inspiring address, but you should make a point to seek out this tiny restaurant to...Read More

  • 2. Budatai

    $$$$ | Asian

    You'll feel as if you're entering a secret club when you arrive at this stylish hotspot in Condado's poshest shopping district. The restaurant...Read More

  • 3. Café Berlin

    $$ | Old San Juan | International

    A handful of tables spill onto a sidewalk deck lit with tiny lights at this bohemian and romantic restaurant overlooking Plaza Colón. There...Read More

  • 4. Casa Cortés ChocoBar

    $ | Old San Juan | Contemporary

    The Cortés family has been making bean-to-bar chocolate for more than 85 years. In 2013 they opened Puerto Rico's first "choco bar" to share...Read More

  • 5. Gallo Negro

    $$$ | Santurce | American

    Serving dishes that are difficult to find in San Juan, Gallo Negro operates in a small space reminiscent of a Brooklyn, New York, joint, with...Read More

  • 6. Mango's at Ocean Park

    $$ | Puerto Rican

    Mango's offers a fun, lively atmosphere perfect for a drink and bites after a day in the sun. The casual, ’60s surfer-themed restaurant has...Read More

  • 7. Pinky's

    $ | Café

    High school students, tourists, and locals all pack in for some of the freshest wraps and sandwiches in town at this playful café, where the...Read More

  • 8. St. Germain Bistro & Café

    $ | Old San Juan | International

    One of the city's hidden treasures, this charming French-inspired café-restaurant stands on a quiet cobbled street corner. The interior is just...Read More

  • 9. Waffle-era Tea Room

    $ | Old San Juan | Café

    The only tearoom in Puerto Rico is hugely popular, and its relocation to a larger space (with reservations) made locals very happy. You can...Read More

  • 10. Miró

    $$$ | Spanish

    Like its namesake, the painter Joan Miró, this restaurant draws its inspiration from the Catalan region of Spain, where the cuisine is heavy...Read More

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