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Nov 1, 2009 04:55 AM

Guavate (Puerto Rico)-Best Lechoneras?

Will be in Puerto Rico soon and am looking for the best lechoneras.

The food, of course, is the most important factor. But, I hear Sundays are the best day to go for the full experience, including live music.

So, where would you recommend? Also, does it make a difference if going Saturday instead of Sunday? Thanks all.

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  1. I personally like Lechonera Ferreira in Guaynabo. Probably because it's close to my family's house. :) On Sunday, you get the church crowd going out, so you have more people there and better turn-around on the lechon. :)

    1. I would go on a Sunday as opposed to Saturday if you want the entire experience. And I believe not all the places are open on the other days.

      I originally wanted to go to El Cunao but couldn't find it (yes, it is that crazy there on a Sunday!). So I ended up going to Los Pinos (the one Anthony Bourdain went to). I know Bourdain really enjoyed his pork but I thought it was quite dry. Could have been the luck of the draw as there was a HUGE line of locals. But I also wasn't too impressed with the sides.

      Here's a NYT article on Guavate if you're interested.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Miss Needle

        Great. Thanks. We'll be there this weekend. Have heard good things about El Rancho Original, which was the one that Andrew Zimmern went to. May go there, but will report back.

      2. So, we wound up going to El Rancho Original. It is in the area where many of the lechoneras are concentrated. We got there around 11:45 a.m. It is cafeteria style and you line up and tell them what you want. We had the lechon, pavo (which is turkey with the same seasoning as the lechon), longaniza, arroz y habichuleas and the arroz con gandules. Heaping portions for about $16. There are various seating areas and we sat down by the stream. Lechon was very good and moist. Turkey (pavo) also good, though I would stick with the lechon. After our meal, we walked up and down the strip, stopping in a few other places. Live music in many of them, but El Rancho Original seemed to get the most crowded. Got some beers, sangria and pina coladas and just relaxed. Very fun.

        To answer my original question as to the bets lechonera, in speaking with some locals, they felt they were pretty much al the same. They may not have been real foodies, but this is what they said.

        In any event, worth the trip for good food and a fun afternoon off the tourist track.

        7 Replies
        1. re: jdf

          Thanks for reporting back. Glad to hear that your pork was moist. I hope they gave you lots of crispy skin too. That's the best part!

          1. re: Miss Needle

            Thanks. Skin is the best part! It was great. Not the kind that is gummy, but crisp and full of flavor. Next time, I may try El Cunao, too, as I've heard very good things.

          2. re: jdf

            Just ate at El Rancho Original last weekend and your review is on the mark. One-half pound of lechon was a delicious combination of crispy, crunchy skin and very tender meat with almost no fat at all. Arroz con gandules and sweet plaintain for sides. Cans of ice cold Medalla Light to quench the thirst. All of this came in at around $16.00 and was plenty lunch for two.

            Visiting Guavate and El Rancho Original was a great experience and well worth the drive out from San Juan!

            1. re: MDBBQFiend

              How's the drive from San Juan? I'm thinking of doing this in the next few weeks.


              1. re: ozzygee

                It is about 45 minutes at the most, as long as you leave early. By afternoon, the stretch of road leading to the lechoneras gets extremely crowded.

                1. re: jdf

                  is it only open on weekends? I am having a hard time finding the hours for any lechoneras

                  1. re: Pigurd

                    We arrived on a Tuesday around 5PM, on our way from Ponce to San Juan Airport and had an immensely great experience at BRUNY's on the main road.

                    Since it was getting close to day's end, there wasn't much pig left...but here's what was: the head and shoulders! Needless to say, we asked for and got the cheeks and the tenderest meat ever, with a couple ounces of crispy chicharron for good measure. The sides had depth of flavor and yes, they had turkey, too. Advice about the huge bottle of homemade hot sauce on the table...cuidado! Friendly staff, would visit again.

                    Enough food for a to-go package - which made it back to NYC with little trouble.