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San Juan, PR

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I will be staying at the Ritz Carlton next week in San Juan and need some recommendations on where to eat. I have heard mixed reviews about the hotel restaurants (BLT Steak, Il Mulino, etc.), but would like that type of fare. Interested in good food, not ridiculous prices (i.e. up to $25-30 per entree). Perhaps restaurants in OSJ? Thanks for your help.

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  1. Across the street next to the Cockfighting arena is Metropole with great service, good local food and fair prices. Down the road at Waterclub is Tangerine. I have not eaten there but it has great reviews and a dining room not to miss. Hampton Inn across from you has the best burgers according to some. Casa Dante in Carolina has local ribs and fare.

    3 Replies
    1. re: phelana

      We will be going to a conference in early June-have not been to Puerto Rico before, but am interested in trying the local cuisine. We will be staying at the El San Juan- we've been recommended to Metropole but also to Mi Casita. Not sure of the locations-we have to stay close by due to time constraints. Any other recommendations for that area?

      1. re: markabauman

        Metropole is a 1 min walk. I did it the other day when I had lunch at Metropole and walked to ESJ to get my hair cut and see the lobby (phooey)...If you get some great recommendations share with me as I am in that area a few times a year.

        1. re: markabauman

          Some of these places you'll see posted elsewhere..but definitely do the cuban/spanish at Metropole (if you like avocado have their avocado salad -- big enough to share) -- and all the usual cuban dishes (anything with pork or ropa viejo or even their roast chicken) but especially like their whole fried snapper (if you are not squeamish -- it's the whole fish -- bones and all); You can easily walk there (bring a small folding umbrella for June). Mi Casita isn't bad. Guess you should try mofongo at least once while in PR. There are also chain places in the area if you wish -- Outback, Ruth Chris' steak, a japanese/sushi place, etc at some of the nearby hotels and even KFC (eek!). You can easily walk next door to the Intercontinental. Also if you like Ceviche, try Lupe's Mexican. Decent margaritas here too. Again same side of the street as ESJ maybe a block and a half. And we had a very good meal at Il Mulino's at the Ritz (a few more blocks down but same side of street) -- sit at the bar if no reservations -- and between half portions of pasta and a shared appetizer you won't break the bank. The food was yummy and service was great. We usually drive too, though -- so if you can get a little further out try Che's (argentinian grill) and Atlantico (seafood). On the same street along the beach as ESJ, but towards Old San Juan. A cab shouldn't be too expensive. Oh wait -- forgot to tell you to walk over for desert to Piu Bello for gelato (italian ice cream) in all sorts of flavors. Same side of street as ESJ past Lupe's on next corner. We usually stay at the Hampton Inn and yes have had their burgers for lunch at the pool bar while sitting by the pool -- good, but not enough to come across the street for.... PS Think the WaterClub is living on its writeups alone (must have a really good PR firm) -- unless you are a 20 something of the Paris Hilton set, the food itself is not that good. Also for the very adventurous -- walk several blocks to the beach/water down the side street to the public beach area. After Lupe's but before the shopping center (same side as ESJ) And just past this are several tiny streets with a series of local restaurants that post their menus on boards. You might want to try this during the daytime first. JUST discovered this section after talking to an American Airlines pilot at the Hampton Inn -- and we've been going to Isla Verde for years (my husband travels there on business several times a year). Still haven't tried these places but they look intriguing...and definitely local.

      2. The true gems of PR is their street food. Alcapurria's (fried mashed plantains with some sort of meat or seafood in it) and Baccalaito's (fried salted cod pan cakes), and not to mention the various Pinchos (kebobs basically) are awesome! Have an ice cold Medalla with them street food and your are in heaven.

        I would suggest skipping the chic chic joints because they are so-so at best. The Water Club has a great roof top bar though. My only dinner recommendation is the Parrot Club in Old San Juan. It is an institution there and the food is solid and I particularly liked the service at the bar (first come first served). Down a few "Ron" and Cokes for me!

        Cheers
        foodiechan

        1 Reply
        1. re: foodiechan

          agree on Water Club. The first time lunch up top was great...the last 3 times so so and SO pricey. Drinks and the view is worth it. Never dined at Tangerine.

        2. See my review a while back posted previously...and you've probably come and gone to San Juan already...but my husband was just in San Juan this past weekend and went back to Il Mulino's. Said he sat at the bar again and had the complimentary house bruschetta with fresh mussels and the comp cheese; enjoyed a caesar salad ($11) and his half order of pasta ($14)-- said it was yummy -- and with 2 glasses of wine ($16) , he had no room for desert. Oh yes, the complimentary breads were great too! And re: Lupe's Mexican -- he tried their fish tacos for the first time (usually has their ceviche) and said they were pretty good -- fish very fresh, and tasty, and relatively inexpensive.