Hi, guys! I thought I would make a list of my favorite restaurants in Puerto Rico. I figure that, as a local, I can make some good recommendations. In case you’re wondering, traditional Puerto Rican food (or “comida criolla”) is pretty heavy on carbs – rice, beans, plantains, fried foods, etc. But this list will focus on a variety of restaurants, not only traditional Puerto Rican dishes. If you are thinking of visiting the island, definitely check out these places:
For the Ambience
For the decoration and environment, I definitely recommend checking out Casita Miramar in San Juan. The service is spectacular. The staff is super friendly and they give out free bacalaitos (fried codfish fritters) and cream of plantain (delicious).
The cuisine style is Puerto Rican/Caribbean and they are on a $$-$$$ scale in Tripadvisor.
I think this is the prettiest restaurant I have visited on the island. The place used to be a hotel, so you will notice that, instead of one big room, the place is divided in several smaller sections. I would definitely recommend visiting at night. Even though it is a family restaurant, it has some more private areas with a very romantic setting.
Some photos of the food they we had (please, bear with me… I am definitely not a food photographer):
For When You’re on a Budget
Funny enough, La Pradera is walking distance from Casita Miramar. Now, I don’t have any pictures of the inside of the place, it is very run-of-the mill… However, don’t let this dissuade you from visiting, it is one of my favorite restaurants and for good reason: the food is delicious and they have daily specials ranging from around $5-$10 (and the portions are huge!).
La Pradera is frequented by locals and they serve Caribbean food that takes just like grandma’s.
If you plan on visiting, check out their Facebook account, everyday they post their daily specials.
For When You Don’t Know What to Eat
Lote 23 is a food truck park located in the center of San Juan. It is a trendy place, visited by locals. There is a wide variety of cuisines to choose from (Asian, Puerto Rican, Middle Eastern, Venezuelan, etc.). I recommend you check out their website before visiting because their offerings are continually changing.
Lote 23 is outdoors and most days they’ve got some activity planned – yoga, live music, bazaar, maybe an outdoor screening of a sport’s game… you can check out their events schedule on their Facebook or instagram account:
For When You’re Craving Burgers
Air Buns have the tastiest burgers I have ever tried – and believe me, I’m a fan of burgers. The burgers are freshly made and they’ve got interesting combinations. My favorite is the Jet – a burger filled with jalapeño and cream cheese aioli and topped with bacon . There is only outdoor seating available and they are on the more expensive side for burgers.
For brunch, I definitely recommend Tia Cocina. But call in advance as it gets very crowded.
The food here is delicious and the place itself is decorated in a fun, modern way, perfect for brunch with friends.
Honestly, you should follow their instagram account just for the gorgeous pictures:
They also have offerings for lunch, but I haven’t tried those yet.
For When You Need Something Sweet
Wood Doughnuts have the best donuts in town. They have three locations, and are opening up a fourth one soon – I have only tried their Hato Rey shop (it’s a food truck).
Their donuts are freshly made, inexpensive, and the perfect mixture of classic and innovative – cinnamon/sugar donut? Sure… Cheese and guava? Why not?
I do recommend you order in advance and be patient as they are very busy – understandably so.
I hope this helps you discover some delicious meals on your visit to Puerto Rico!
*Please, keep in mind that service may be affected due to COVID restrictions. I recommend giving them a call/checking their social media before making any plans.