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Favorite restaurants in Puerto Rico?

We will be vacationing in Puerto Rico for a week in July. Staying in Old San Juan, but will have a car and also do a bit of touring. Any favorite spots that should be on our list?? Happy to go upscale for a few meals, but more interested in local favorites....

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  1. Parrot Club was still good but feeling tired last time. that bakery/cafe La Bombonera is in every dang guide book for very good reasons.

    7 Replies
          1. re: leahvet09

            what a pity. I hope somebody continues to use that coffee pot.

            1. re: leahvet09

              terrible news about La Bombanera..it was an institution...Parrot Club in 2008 was so so..cannot speak for now...

      1. I am glad to see a current post for Puerto Rico. My wife and I will also be vacationing in PR in late July-August.

        Here are some places I have read about, but I would like to get more feedback.

        For cheap local fair. Raices or Jibarito or Punta de Vista? are they good or touristy?
        Higher end. Parrot club or aquaviva? Are these more fusion? or true Puerto Rican?

        Are the lechonarias in Guavate open during the week?

        Best food stands in Luquillo?


        3 Replies
        1. re: chiguy13

          We enjoyed the short rib stuffed burger and onion wedges at #12 El Jefe Burger. Cute sitting area in the back where you're surrounded by banana trees.

          We also enjoyed Jose Enrique. It was our favorite meal of our visit!
          Niche is also worth a visit!

          1. re: chiguy13

            I am in Puerto Rico this week, and the Luquillo kiosks we've been to are: #2 La Parrilla (excellent conch salad and good mofongo with seafood) and #20 Terruño (great grilled rabbit).

            During this trip, we've also been to El Jibarito in Old San Juan (good inexpensive Puerto Rican fare) and El Verde, Rio Grande (good and dirt-cheap chicken, mofongo, tostones).

            1. re: drongo

              on Culebra the kioskos are sometimes the best the island has to offer. but then again some suck royally.

          2. Just returned from PR and thought I'd share a bit of our experience. Our absolute favorite was Jose Enrique in Santurce (blissfully far from the tourist areas). A-MAZ-ING meal, and great service. St. Germain was also a favorite in Old San Juan... great value and the service was wonderful -- so friendly. (We went for Sunday "wine and crepe" night).

            Went to Parrot Club for lunch and I agree with Hill Food that it was good but tired. We also really enjoyed our lunch at Cafe Puerto Rico, but it is right next to the port and casino so I would pay attention to the cruise ship schedule!

            1 Reply
            1. re: rali44

              From my trip to San Juan in early July of this year; we went to Guavate on a Saturday and it was quite busy (live music and short lines at Los Pinos and other eateries). You certainly can get the feel of the place on Saturday and the lack of traffic might make that day preferable to Sunday. If you are looking for a driver to take you there, I have the contact info of the taxi driver who took us. Highly recommend!


            2. I'm very surprised that nobody has mentioned Marmalade. For us, we rank it as one the best restaurants we have ever dined in and we wouldn't dream of visiting SJ and not eating there. It's sublime.

              8 Replies
              1. re: DagnyTaggart

                Also shocked, Marmalade tasting menu was amazing. Must try the white bean soup, I know - White Bean Soup? Really? Trust me, I know how to eat and this spot is a can't miss.

                1. re: openkitchenNY

                  Mmmm - the Marmalade white bean soup was super delicious and, altogether, the tasting menu was quite good, but I was somewhat put off by the 3 minute introduction to each course that the random server would provide.
                  Jose Enrique - for me - is the can't miss! Best meal of the trip - the 90 minute wait was worth it!

                  1. re: loola234

                    looking forward to jose enriqe tonight... what shouldn't we miss on this menu?

                    1. re: openkitchenNY

                      Pretty sure they mix up the presentation daily - but I had fish and my friend had beef and both were excellent. Get the appetizers - also if they have the key lime sorbet - it's a perfect end to a delicious and probably filling meal!

                      1. re: loola234

                        Their specials are the chillo (red snapper?) and the colirubia (yellowtail snapper), which they do boned out and fried whole. But they are not always on the menu and were not during my visits earlier this month. No worries..there is plenty good to eat and they do a great job with other fish.

                        I wrote up our recent dinners in detail on another thread, linked above.

                2. re: DagnyTaggart

                  That bean soup was a revelation alright. So were the paella bites and everything was just perfect each time. I'll be back there this fall, cant wait!

                  1. re: DagnyTaggart

                    Well the bean soups was a revelation, but not in a good way. VERY heavy and oversalted. Used truffle oil (chemicals not real truffle) and huge amount of cream - all confirmed when they provided the recipe on a card with the check. The lobster risotto was wonderful - lobster cooked perfectly, lamb tagine also very good.
                    It is certainly a step above the "local" places if you are looking for classy cuisine, but none of the fish is local (? on an island surrounded by water the fish is frozen and imported from Hawaii?), the restaurant is beautiful and staff very friendly and attentive (but I was there when the place was practically empty so not sure how service would be when they re full).
                    Nobody has mentioned prices and the website doesn't work for menu so - tasting menu is four courses for 59, five for 69, six for 79. You can choose your own choices from the menu. A la carte item 15-25 ish for appetizers/soup, mains 20-30ish.

                    1. re: estnet

                      that IS the odd thing about PR, fresh fish is seldom found on the island(s).

                3. La Estacion in Fajardo for great local seafood and fun festive atmosphere. Make reservation for dinner.

                  El Conquistador in Fajardo is gorgeous and worth a day trip from Old San Juan. You can have lunch overlooking the water.

                  In Rio Grande Richie's is delicious. Again, delicious Puerto RIcan food - rice and beans, etc. very casua.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: crabbypatty

                    Just returned back from a week in PR.

                    Jose Enrique best restaurant around. In San Juan. Innovative food, great crab stuffed tostadas, tamarind chicken, whole fried snapper. In a cool area (mostly locals) about .5 miles off of the condado beaches. Lots of bars and restaurants around. Tasca El Pescador also excellent there-- closes by about 8, mostly spanish speaking.

                    Also near Condado is Pelayo which servers breakfast (good eggs platters), lunch-- excellent salad bar during the week, and dinner.. did not eat dinner here, but nice menu.

                    Other places: Guavate: roasted pig places-- many to choose from. Requires a car, but easy to get there, about 30 minutes. Fun place, lots of great food, drinks, trinkets...

                    Estacion in Farardo is excellent.

                    In Old San Juan, Punto De Vista Restaurant- owner Mike is originally from NJ. Excellent food, best mojito's in town. Also, dinner in el convento (former monastary)-- beautiful hotel-- great courtyard to eat in. We had tapas there, excellent, also have a pizza place and a nicer restaurant.

                    One place to avoid, Aquavivo-- overpriced, seafood place which overcooked its food.

                    If you go to El Yunkee, be sure and stop at the Luqillo food shacks. • Vejigante, Kiosk #31, was one of the best restaurants we ate in all trip.

                  2. too late for the original poster. The restaurant at the Sheraton Old San Juan is amazing. I I had the good luck to eat two amazing appetizers both pinchos, 1 was pork with 2 very large pieces of pork on a bone and amazing spicy sauce with a small serving of slaw this only cost 8 dollars. There was another appetizer which was plantain and local Cheese, fried served on 2 skewers again very large serving with guanabana sauce and guava glaze. This also was only 8 dollars.
                    I had the special soup which was a fish chowder. A very large bowl of rich, tasty, soup with large chunks of fish for only 6 dollars.

                    If you are there today please go to the amazing special dinner they have 5 courses ( with each course havin
                    two components 1 from Antigua and 1 from Puerto Rico) including wine only 50 dollars. This is a special event that was only for this Friday and Saturday night.

                    1. Too late for the poster, but I'm spending my last night in PR tonight, after a week in this beautiful place. Unfortunately, I haven't been too impressed with the food -- having spent for the first seven days in the SW part of the island around Boqueron, and one visit to the Pork Highway (Los Pinos). The beaches are great and the people are very nice, but the restaurants left us wonting.

                      Tonight we were near Luquillo to go to the rainforest tomorrow and we ate at the five seat Pueblo Y Pasta. What a gem! Great food, funky place and nice people. Limited menu and likely wait unless you're there early or late, but its great.

                      1. i also loved jose enrique. best meal of the vacation by far. everything was awesome. braised pork cheeks, the special fish, even the flan.
                        also enjoyed bodegas campostela. VERY expensive but excellent food. i thought it was a tapas place but it is a high end restaurant. mains average in the $40s. they do have a large selection of tapas which most people eat before the meal. we made a meal o the tapas. also expensive but excellent.
                        after reading all the rave reviews on this site, we were very disappointed by la estacion in fajardo. nice concept, go green, eat local, etc but it is a bbq place. ribs, lobster, chicken etc and everything is burnt. try something else.
                        we spent most of our time in dorado. all the restaurants were ok, nothing special. katrina's - good enough local food. greenhouse - fancier than it looks. ok. grappa - tasty italian food but just ok. metropol - there are about 5 of these around the island. i like this restaurant the most. maybe because we went on a saturaday nite and they had lechon. same basic pr/cuban food but good.
                        finally, we ate at #20 in the luquillo kiosks. very good. grilled rabbit and good large shrimp. mostly older americans who rent condos but a fair number of locals. and they usually have a band playing at night. after we ate, they had a 4 piece jazz band playing and they were good. and beer was $! during this.