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. Jose Enrique

    $$$ | Santurce | Puerto Rican

    Since 2007, Chef Jose Enrique's eponymous restaurant has been the preferred choice of locals, and he is the first Puerto Rican chef to receive...Read More

  • 3. Santaella

    $$$ | Santurce | Puerto Rican

    During his career, Chef José Santaella has trained with some of the best chefs in the world, including Ferrán Adriá, Eric Ripert, and Gary Danko...Read More

  • 4. Verde Mesa

    $$$ | Old San Juan | Vegetarian

    With punched-tin ceilings, mason-jar light fixtures, and eclectic decor inspired by Versailles' Petit Trianon , this pescatarian restaurant...Read More

  • 5. 1041 Gastronomia de Barrio

    $$ | Miramar | Argentine

    Across the street from the Conservatory of Music, 1041 Gastronomia de Barrio is one of a number of fine new restaurants popping up in Miramar...Read More

  • 6. Augusto's

    $$$$ | Miramar | European

    Under the direction of noted chef Ariel Rodríguez, this restaurant is one of the more celebrated in the San Juan area, popular with the city...Read More

  • 7. Bebo's Café

    $$ | Santurce | Puerto Rican

    Huge platters of delicious comida criolla are constantly streaming out of the kitchen here. Low prices and a family atmosphere ensure that...Read More

  • 8. 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

  • 9. 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

  • 10. Café Don Ruiz

    $ | Old San Juan | Café

    Tucked away in the corner of the old Spanish military barracks, Café don Ruiz serves some of the finest coffee in town. The family-run hacienda...Read More

  • 11. Cafetería Mallorca

    $ | Old San Juan | Café

    The specialty at this old-fashioned, 1950s-style diner is the mallorca, a sweet pastry that's buttered, grilled, and then sprinkled with powdered...Read More

  • 12. Caficultura

    $$ | Old San Juan | Café

    One of the best cafés to open in San Juan in recent years, Caficultura prides itself both on its full coffee-bar menu and its delicious cocina...Read More

  • 13. 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

  • 14. Casita Miramar

    $$ | Miramar | Puerto Rican

    Nestled in the heart of Miramar, a predominantly residential neighborhood, Casita Miramar is a family-run restaurant known for its traditional...Read More

  • 15. Cocina Abierta

    $$$ | Eclectic

    Modern light fixtures, exposed walls, and repurposed decorative accents give Cocina Abierta one of the coolest decors in Condado. Chef Martin...Read More

  • 16. di Parma

    $$ | Italian

    This Italian trattoria in the Ventana al Mar park only steps away from the ocean is a great choice for dining alfresco. Prices are very reasonable...Read More

  • 17. El Patio de Sam

    $$ | Old San Juan | Puerto Rican

    A great selection of more than 30 beers, including the locally brewed Medalla, makes this a popular "come as you are" spot, whether at the end...Read More

  • 18. El Pescador

    $$ | Santurce | Seafood

    If you want Spanish-style seafood dishes, head to El Pescador at the Plaza del Mercado. Surrounding a fruit and vegetable market that dates...Read More

  • 19. El Picoteo

    $$$ | Old San Juan | Spanish

    You could make a meal of the small dishes that dominate the menu at this tapas restaurant on a mezzanine balcony at the Hotel El Convento, once...Read More

  • 20. Kasalta

    $$ | Café

    Those who think coffee can never be too strong should make a beeline to Kasalta and its amazing pitch-black brew. Display cases are full of...Read More

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