I have to admit that after going to Puerto Rico, I didn’t want to eat another plantain for a while. It’s a staple in Puerto Rico food and I enjoyed it the first few time, but then the starchy texture was something that I couldn’t get use to everyday. Regardless, it’s something you should try in addition to the many other delicious foods you can find on the island.
Below is a random list of all the restaurants I went to and what I ate (some might be a repeat). I tried to at least try a little bit of everything that Puerto Rico had to offer and was satisfied with checking most things off my list.
Location note: we stayed around the Condado area and went to Old San Juan a few times so most of the restaurants are around those areas. We took a couple trips (rainforest, beach hopping) so there are a couple random ones thrown in there.
Restuarante Raices | Calle Recinto Sur 315, Viejo San Juan, Puerto Rico 00933
Restaurant Raices came up multiple times when we were searching for places to eat at and it was also recommended by a couple of locals that we knew. This restaurant is Latin America/Caribbean and are known for their monfongos, which is a Puerto Rican staple.
- Monfongos: deep-fried green plantains seasoned with garlic and salt, mashed together and stuffed with meat or seafood or vegetables.
- Alcapurria: typical root vegetable fritters stuffed with ground beef
- Queso frito de pais: Puerto Rican fried cheese
- Seafood paella: *This is actually a Spanish rice dish with seafood and not Puerto Rican food. But it was still really good 🙂
El Jibarito | Calle Sol 280, San Juan, Puerto Rico 00901
El Jibarito is known for their home-y and authentic Puerto Rican food. I thought that I was tried from eating so many monfongos the night before, but the fried trifongo was delicious! I also loved the silky texture of the plantain tamale and the tenderness and flavors of the pork.
- Pastel de masa de platano relleno: plantain tamale stuffed with some kind of meat
- Trifongo: mixed monfongo (green plantain, sweet plantain, cassaba (yuca))
- Masitas de cerdo en salsa de plantano: pork cubes in plantain gravy
Don Tello| Av. Las Nereidas 36, Cataño, Puerto Rico 00962
Don Tello is a short ferry ride from Old San Juan in Cataño. One of our Uber drivers told us to check out Cataño for plenty of food options. When we got there (on a week night), it was super dead and maybe only 3 restaurants were open. This was one of them and it satisfied our hunger, but it wouldn’t have been our first choice of restaurants. Maybe there’s more going on in the day time or the weekend?
- Bacalatios: fried codfish fritters
- Croquetas de jamon: ham croquettes
- Pastelillos de queso: cheese pastries
- Chorizo al vino: sausage in wine
- Asopao: rice soup (usually with meat or seafood)
La Factoria | Calle San Sebastián 148, San Juan, Puerto Rico 00901
La Factoria is a cool speakeasy type of bar. It looks like a small bar when you step inside, but there’s actually a door (that kind of seems like an employee door or something since it was slightly behind the bar) that you can go through to enter into 5 more rooms! We actually came here twice… on the same night. The first time we came, we only hung out in the front thinking that it was it. Then we a got note from some locals saying that we were missing out and that we had to go check out the back. We made our way back to the bar and was impressed by how much more there was to it. There was live music and other rooms and corridors you can check out. The cocktails there were really good as well and my favorite was definitely the mojito.
- Mojito: a cocktail that consist of white rum, sugar, lime juice, soda water and mint. It’s originally from Cuba, but the Puerto Ricans love it.
La Alcapurrio Quema
La Alcapurrio Quema | Calle Duffaut 251, San Juan, Puerto Rico 00907
La Alcapurrio Quema is great if you want to go for a casual drink or want to grab some casual street food. We were there for the food and pretty much everything was fried (or so that’s what it felt like). I gave in to another cheat day and got all things fried with stuff inside. It was delicious, but I felt so unhealthy after.
- Pastelillos: meat turnover
- Alcappuria: fried fritter (with meat or seafood inside)
Jungle Bird | Calle Canals 254, San Juan, Puerto Rico 00907
Jungle Bird is a cool tiki bar and if you know me, you know that I love tiki bars. Anything fruity and sweet is right up my alley for drinks. They don’t have a super extensive menu (maybe only about 10 drinks), but all the drinks that I tried were good. I really enjoyed my drink (to be honest, I have no idea what was in it, but they ran out of my initial drink and the bartender just recommended one to me) and like any good cocktail, it tastes really good and then you get hit with it later 😛
Lote 23 | Av. Ponce de León 1552, Santurce, Puerto Rico 00909
Pernileria is located in Lote 23 which is a food stand park. The food stands are really trendy with plenty of non Puerto Rican food, but when I travel, I like to constantly eat that city/state/country’s food. The closest thing I found (besides something with plantains) was Pernileria which had pernil sandwiches. I was very satisfied with my choice as the pork was SO tender with some crispy bits from the skin.
- Pernil: slow-roasted marinated pork leg or pork shoulder. Sometimes includes the skin a bone.
Kiosko El Boricua
Kosko El Boricua | Carretera 187 Km 8, Piñones, Puerto Rico 00962
Kosko El Boricua is a little food stand we found when we were beach hoping. There was either nothing around that area, or it was just really popular because the line never really died down. I tried to eat healthy, but ended up with more fried items stuffed with meat. I’m also beginning to realize that “carne” refers to ground beef and not just beef. Also, a fresh coconut really helps to hydrate after eating all that fried stuff. I wish they just sold coconuts everywhere in California.
- Fresh coconut: a coconut that is cut so you can drink the coconut milk with a straw
- Pastelillos: meat turnover
- Arepa: a type of fresh bread. Sometimes with meat or seafood on top.
Kasalta | Calle McLeary 1966, San Juan, Puerto Rico 00911
Kasalta is a bakery with a very extensive menu of meats, cheese, sandwiches and pastries. I had yet to try the mallorca and came here for that. I actually really enjoyed the sweet and savory flavors. The bread was also super soft and the filling of ham and cheese was hearty. My only regret was that I wasn’t hungry enough to try any of their pastries or desserts. Side note: Obama has been to this bakery 🙂
- Mallorca: a sandwich commonly with grilled ham and cheese, a sweet bun with powdered sugar on top
Casa Bacardi | Carretera 165 KM 6.2, Cataño, Puerto Rico 00962
Casa Bacardi is not really a restaurant or a bar, but it has a bar. It’s actually a rum distillery where the make Bacardi and you can do tours or tastings there. I put this on this food/drink list because you don’t have to do a tour, and you can just come here for a drink. I tried the sunrise (not pictured) and the mojito and loved both those drinks. If I had a higher tolerance, I would probably be there most of the day. Pro-tip: if you purchase the $15 tour, you get a welcome drink included worth $8.
Cafe Cuatro Sombras
Cafe Cuatro Sombras | Recinto Sur 259, Old San Juan, Puerto Rico 00901
Cafe Cuatro Sombras is a trendy cafe and we only came here to try guava butter and this was one of the few places that had it. If you have the time and are around the area, I would come here to try it. There was something about the guava butter that was so addicting. It was sweet, salty and buttery and it was just the perfect combination on top of some toast and perfect for a snack before dinner.
- Guava butter: butter made with guava flavors
Casita Miramar | Av. Miramar 605, San Juan, Puerto Rico 00907
Casita Miramar is another restaurant we kept hearing about so we came here for our last meal the island. This is a trendy Puerto Rican place with the cutest decor! They start you off with complimentary cod fritters AND soup! For my main I had one last chance to try one of those giant avocados that I’ve seen at grocery stores. The stuffed avocado I had was one of the creamiest avocados I’ve ever had. It was a delicious last meal and they ended it with a complimentary shot of rum.
- Puerto Rican avocado: avocado from Puerto Rico
- Arroz Mamposteao: stewed beans and rice
Other things to eat that we didn’t get to eat
- Arroz con gandules: it’s considered one of the island’s national dishes. It’s made with white rice, pigeon peas, olives, capers, tomato sauce, seasoning and sofrito. Sometimes pork is added as well.
- Rellenos de papa: deep fried potatoes stuffed with ground beef
- Tostones: flattened fried sweet plantains
- Coco Rico: a carbonated coconut drink that’s pretty much the Coca Cola of Puerto Rico
- Café: coffee. Puerto Rico was one of the top coffee producers, but unfortunately hurricane Maria killed some of the crops. They still love their coffee though.
- Tembleque: pudding made with coconut milk, sugar and cornstarch
Overall, I enjoyed everything I ate in Puerto Rico. A lot of food were starchy (mostly plantain items) or fried, but it was still good. I don’t think I could ever incorporate this into my normal diet, but for 6 days in Puerto Rico, it was a delicious trip.