PR, San Juan, Vieques, Ponce
I just came back from my first trip to PR. I went with my husband and two of our friends. Our journey started in San Juan, then to Viennese, Ponce and came back to San Juan. Here are our recommendations.
Pulpo Loco (Dinner) had wonderful local food, conch and octopus seafood salad( ask for lime), fried red snapper with garlic sauce, tostones, Mofongo with shrimps, and Carne fritta, Fried pork. The place has a beach shack ambience. We sat outside on plastic chairs and wooden beach table with sand in our feet. The waitress was lovely and extremely attentive. My favorite was conch and octopus salad and fried pork which was the best on the island. Their flan de coco is my favorite flan.
La Casita-Dinner, local food. Food is decent, nothing special.
Old San Juan:
Marmalade (Dinner)-we fell in love with their Amarreto sour,ceviche and grilled pear with prosciutto appetizer The food is contemporary fusion with a lot of local flavor. The decor is very modern fancy but staff are not snobby at all. You can really dress up if you like but we went in our keen shoes and shorts after walking around old San Juan all day. I recommend their 5 course tasting menu with wine paring. This comes with 2 appetizers, signature white bean soup, 1 entree and dessert. We do not recommend crab and lobster entree for it was too salty and lacked taste. On the other hand shrimp dish was out of this world. FYI, desserts are not impressive.
Bombonera (Brunch)-Local Diner/Bakery, had great coffee, Fresh grapefruit juice, Mallorca which should be heated up and eaten with butter with/without jelly. They have savory pastries with meat, ham, cheese, chicken. Tasty chicken soup can fill you up.
Kiosks-Try whatever that looks good, or suites your mood Empanadas, Acappurios, Bacalitos....But my husband and I thought they were too greasy for me. However, my PR friend loved them all. We also had red snapper fried which was excellent. Rice with crab was too salty and fishy and crabs are too small to eat.
Ferjardo Ferry terminal:
Try fresh local candy, coconut, sesame candies and guava pastries.
El Quenepo-Fusion of PR and Asian, Great service, the best food in Vieques. Must make reservation otherwise a long wait. Churrasco and Mofongo were the most delicious. I did not like seafood thai curry, it lacked originality. Our favorite dessert was key lime pie.
Rincon Argentino-Argentinian style Stake house, has lovely outdoor seating, good service, good stake. Do not get mushroom sauce which was recommended by the waitress. Mushrooms were canned kind.... Surprisingly great empanada with meat.
Pito-Local food, restaurant is right on the water, extremely slow service, food is OK but over priced.
Quabuki-Local food. Outside seating. Bad empanadas ( greasy and not enough seasoning in staffing), OK Salad.
The worst drinks= at Ponce Hilton
Try shaved ice with Pache, Tamarind
Thanks - great report! I'm traveling to San Juan at the end of April and was hoping to hear some Chowhounders' opinions.
Love El Quenepo! We're heading back down there in a couple of weeks and can't wait to dig into that churrasco again.
The Marmalade review is spot on. I also recommend the 5 course tasting menu. Had the pear app and also had the Maine Lobster risotto, very rich and flavorful. I'm a New Englander and am not partial to the Caribbean Lobster, this was the real deal. Don't miss the White bean soup, it was silky smooth, smokey with just a hint of bacon
DC had the Lobster Crab combo and did not find it overly salty. I had the Beef Tenderloin and it was melt in your mouth with a rich sauce.
I agree with the desserts being just average. A restaurant this good needs a first class pastry chef !! But don't let that stop you from enjoying what this first class place has to offer...highly recomended