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. 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

  • 2. Ali Baba

    $$ | Middle Eastern

    Tucked discreetly off Ashford Avenue, Ali Baba turns out delicious, meticulously prepared Middle Eastern and Mediterranean food, thanks to its...Read More

  • 3. 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

  • 4. 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

  • 5. 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

  • 6. 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

  • 7. 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

  • 8. 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

  • 9. 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

  • 10. 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

  • 11. La Cueva del Mar

    $$ | Seafood

    For the freshest seafood and best value, head to La Cueva del Mar on Calle Loíza. This casual, marine-themed restaurant is a locals favorite...Read More

  • 12. La Fonda del Jibarito

    $$ | Old San Juan | Puerto Rican

    The menus are handwritten and the tables wobble, but Sanjuaneros have favored this casual, no-frills, family-run restaurant—tucked away on a...Read More

  • 13. La Jaquita Baya

    $$ | Miramar | Puerto Rican

    La Jaquita, as it is known by locals, is one of the city's best farm-to-table restaurants. Chef Xavier Pacheco elevates commonly home-cooked...Read More

  • 14. La Madre

    $$ | Old San Juan | Mexican

    La Madre is a hip Mexican restaurant, with a stylish young customer base to match. Yes, it covers the standards, including some very tasty fish...Read More

  • 15. La Mallorquina

    $$ | Old San Juan | Puerto Rican

    Dating from 1848, La Mallorquina is thought to be the island's oldest restaurant. It specializes in various versions of asopao , a soupy rice...Read More

  • 16. 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

  • 17. Metropol

    $$ | Caribbean

    Across the street from a string of major hotels, this casual restaurant doesn't look like much from the outside, but inside it's decorated in...Read More

  • 18. Nonna

    $$ | Italian

    Great restaurants have recently been popping up in Ocean Park, on or near Calle Loíza. This new gastronomic hub is home to Nonna, a cozy Italian...Read More

  • 19. Via Appia

    $$ | Italian

    Popular for decades with everyone from local politicians and families to sunburned tourists who just dragged themselves off the beach, the bustling...Read More

  • 20. Salt Gastrobar

    $$ | Eclectic

    When looking for a dining option in Isla Verde, look no further than Salt GastroBar. This surprising new addition to the neighborhood, located...Read More

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