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. 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

  • 2. 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

  • 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. 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

  • 5. 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

  • 6. 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

  • 7. 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

  • 8. 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

  • 9. 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

  • 10. Raíces

    $$$ | Old San Juan | Puerto Rican

    You can't miss this lively restaurant thanks to the waitresses in all-white campesina (peasant) dresses. Themed as a country venue, with artsy...Read More

  • 11. Zest

    $$$ | Puerto Rican

    The lounge atmosphere, accented with white fixtures and blue lighting, makes dining at Zest an unforgettable experience. Chef Raúl Correa combines...Read More

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