PHOTO: Kamoli Kafe Butik, San Juan, Puerto Rico. (photo by Michelle Rae Uy)
There’s so much to love about Puerto Rico’s gastronomy.
One of the best of the Caribbean islands in terms of culinary creations, the U.S. territory boasts a plethora of delectable seafood, meat and veggie fares you’d be unfortunate to miss during your visit.
Delight in plates of mofongo—which might just be the island’s most popular dish— or arroz con gandules, the island’s official dish. The mountains have their legendary roasted pig, the addictive bacalaitos and more.
Pop into one of these excellent local spots and fully experience the cuisine while in the vibrant capital of San Juan.
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With high praises and a 4.5 rating on TripAdvisor, Casita Miramar has been vetted and approved by locals as well as tourists.
This beautiful restaurant dressed in bohemian décor is best known for its yummy sangrias and creative takes on traditional Puerto Rican dishes. Every table is served with complimentary bacalaitos and plantain soup appetizers to start, which offer a glimpse of how good the food is here.
Try their take on the classic mofongo, the avocado stuffed with shrimp, the ribs or the pork chops.
For breakfast or brunch, head to Caficultura on Calle San Francisco in Old San Juan. This adorable café boasts warm service—as is usual in the city—outdoor and indoor seating, and hearty-yet-healthy breakfast fares.
The goat cheese and chicken sausage-filled sweet potato crepes are shoo-ins, as are the Cazuela de Huevos con Espinaca (creamed spinach topped with fried sunny side up) and the Mallorcas O Croissants with guava filling. For coffee, you must try their coconut latte.
Caribar’s greatest claim to fame is that it is the birthplace of Pina Colada, but its talents go beyond making the famous drinks. (The pina coladas are definitely delicious, but they make other excellent cocktails as well.)
They can even concoct a few that are not on the menu; you need only ask.
The tapas are amazing as well, so you can enjoy your drinks with light bites. The Yucca fries, grouper and mango ceviche, or plantain chips are all great choices.
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The historic Old San Juan joint, Parrot Club, is almost an institution. It has welcomed and served tourists as well as famous people through the years.
This March, following a makeover of its interiors and its menu, the restaurant has reopened its doors to reveal new delectable items:. Appetizers such as the Cuban Black Bean Croquetas and Tropical Veggie Chips as well as the Churrasco Empanadas are fantastic to start.
For your main course, the Pork Carne Frita, Arroz con Pollo and their famous Mofongo are great choices. Save room for desert as their Flan de Guayaba is highly addicting.
One of the top-rated restaurants in the city, Café Manolin has been serving memorable Creole food to locals, dignitaries and tourists alike for more than 70 years. Despite its legendary status, its interior remains charmingly low-key and unflashy.
It doesn’t need the extra frills, as the dishes are the main attraction. The mofongo is a crowd-favorite, as are the skirt steak with beans and rice, along with the sancocho. Top your meal off with one of their homemade desserts or a cup of coffee.
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Kamoli Kafe Butik
Make your way to Santurce on the famous Calle Loiza—not just for its street art scene and hipster vibe, but also for the food.
Pop into Kamoli and order one of delicious juices on the menu, especially if you’re in the mood for something light and healthy for a change. The very bohemian café also serves great breakfast and lunch items if you want a full meal. Or try both: the Let’s Go Green Shake and Criollo Omelette pair well together.
Tucked in Condado is the contemporary-hip Cocina Abierta, one of San Juan’s most venerated restaurants.
Led by Chef Martin Louzao, this wildly innovative establishment takes Puerto Rico’s traditional dishes, creates them using European cooking techniques and serves them in a four-act style with suggested wine pairings.
Some of the best: Rice Plantain Carpaccio Brulee with Tuna Tatake, Catch of the Day Tempura, Duck Confit Stuffed Mofongo, and Petit Beef Wellington. Finish your meal with a plate of Deconstructed Lemon Tart to share.