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Dec 14, 2011 11:14 AM

Rincon (PR) for 5 days - Best Places to Eat?


Me and my boyfriend will be in Rincon for five days end of December/beginning of January and were looking for some restaurant recommendations. We are going to go to San Juan for one day and I already have a reservation for Marmalade (dinner). Is this too much? Is it fine driving back at night?

Also, does anyone have any recommendations for Rincon/nearby areas? It seems like most of the places to eat are in San Juan/searching the boards brings up a lot about San Juan but very little about anywhere else.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

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  1. Just returned from five-days in Rincon - many dining delights! Here's some help:

    EL FOGON DE LA CURVA, a couple of miles south on 115 and up the hill into Anasco, has some seriously good weekday lunch specials at $5.99 featuring well-respected, authentically prepared lechon (pig), chicken, lion-fish and a variety of special mofongos in broth. I had the one stuffed with lechon and it was filling and addicting. The owners know their stuff.

    CASA ISLENA - Right on the surfing beach northwest of downtown, a romantic and inspired outdoorsy tapas parlor featuring upscale (no pun intended!) fish, meat and salad selections at excellent value. A perfectly done steak plate was especially memorable, but everything was top-notch, including the selection of West Coast craft beers. Closed Mondays. This is also a wonderful beach for a long walk or run and some one of the better shell finds, although most shells washing up in Rincon are stylish "mini" specimens.

    The PINCHO stand (name is something like "La Cavita") - Heading north, right before 115 hooks into downtown, take the left fork in the road (toward the Lighthouse) and go about a half-mile or so up the road. It's across from an old tank-like structure. You will be rewarded with an essential meal in Rincon, pinchos (skewers of meat, fish or fowl) and empanadillas (pastry filled with similar, including conejo/rabbit). We tried chicken, marlin, shark and grouper. The grouper pincho was transcendent and it took awhile to leave after repeated orders. Goes real well with an ice-cold Budweiser or the local Medalla. Sit right at the bar or at a comfortable umbrella table.

    SHIPWRECK - Also toward the surfers zone, a more Americanized bar/restaurant with a special Pig-Roast on Sundays. Get there real early for the best parts, to avoid "last licks". Especially enjoyed their calamari which is served combined with an earthy tomato/marinara sauce. Lots of specials, excellent fair-trade native coffees and a homemade key lime pie for dessert.

    BANANA-DANG is a decent coffee shop with all the specialty brews a la Peet's, Starbucks, etc.

    FRUIT CREAM ICE CREAM - At edge of Downtown and said to be related to a great place in Aguada, has authentic tropical flavors - recommend the passionfruit (parcha) and whatever else turns you on, served in a crispy sugar cone. Made me forget the $5.00 scoops of Brooklyn!

    You can also shop for local foods easily at roadside fruit stands (the BEST pineapples and local bananas/guineos) and supermercados along 115. Econo is the largest, and then there is Edward's Market in the shopping plaza just south of Villa Cofresi. We found a huge selection of locally packed PR coffees to bring home as gifts. And if your room has a fridge, stock up on hard-to-find craft beers - best selection on the island, where beer is generally kinda expensive.

    VILLA COFRESI - The bar scene rocks everyday at sunset and best deals are the Happy Hour beer specials and appetizer plates (wings, etc.)

    Explore the side roads and backstreets around Rincon...a trip up the mountain for the view is worth a few minutes.

    Should you have any time to spend outside Rincon, as in on the way to or from SJU airport, other recommendations are:

    -a couple of hours at the Mayaguez Zoo;

    -a stopover in colorful Yauco for cafe con leche and tembleque;

    -tour the main plaza in historic downtown Ponce and must-go to KING's CREAM store across from the old fire station. Here's the epitome of hand-made tropical ice cream flavors. Have a couple of tastes, settle on 2 or 3 flavors in a medium or large cup and savor perfection!

    -visit Guavate/Cayey (Rte. 184 right off Autopista 52) and seek out the famous local "lechoneras"...supposedly better/busier at lunchtime and not all open on weekdays, but had a fantastic early dinner at BRUNY'S with great hospitality - ask for Myrna. Delighted in tender chunks of dark shoulder meat (pernil) and, by request, cuts of cheek meat that was unlike anything else. You can also get a "sampler" plate with a few pieces of liver, tripe, bacalao, turkey, etc. and some fascinatingly flavored chicken and blood sausages. There's a special bottle of home-made hot sauce - ask for it.

    Quick travelers note here: If you drive in from San Juan via the north and west route, consider a quick scenic stop at either Barceloneta or Isabela. Since the road passes through multiple small towns, it's almost as long a journey timewise as the 52-to-2 route out of San Juan thru the mountains (Guavate/Cayey), into Ponce and then Mayaguez. You could vary your trip by doing either then the other.

    Have a great time and report back!