San Juan is known for its beautiful beaches, vibrant nightlife, and eclectic arts scene. It’s also a foodie’s paradise! From traditional Puerto Rican dishes to cutting-edge international cuisine, this capital city boasts one of the finest dining scenes in the Caribbean. Here are five San Juan restaurants spanning various styles and price points that are sure to please your palette the next time you’re in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Café El Punto
105 Calle Fortaleza
If you want to try traditional Puerto Rican food in a casual setting, grab cheap flights to Puerto Rico (if you haven’t already), then head straight to El Punto, located in Old San Juan. This not-so-hidden gem serves up multiple types of mofongo (fried, mashed plantains with meat, seafood, or veggies), as well as house specials like crab and shrimp stuffed avocados. Be sure to wash it all down with a Puerto Rican beer (Medalla Light or Silver Key) or a delicious passion fruit mojito.
176 Calle Duffaut
One of Puerto Rico’s most celebrated chefs, José Enrique, dazzles diners in his flagship restaurant in iconic La Placita. The thoughtful menu includes a variety of meat and seafood dishes, many of which are innovative reinterpretations of traditional Puerto Rican fare. Enrique’s concept is rooted in the farm-to-table movement – approximately 75% of meat, seafood, and produce come from local sources.
1055 Ashford Avenue
Located in one of San Juan’s most iconic hotels, the Condado Vanderbilt, 1919 is impressive both because of chef Juan Jose Cueva’s inspiring menu and because of the stunning views of the Atlantic. Add in the impeccable service, and it’s safe to say 1919 is the epitome of fine dining. If you love a good seafood meal, try starters like lobster salad (made with heirloom tomatoes, shellfish, and Thai basil) and entrées like showcase local ingredients bursting with flavor. We also recommend you try an expertly curated wine flight to enhance the experience.
317 Calle Fortaleza
Another chef-driven restaurant to check out is Marmalade, led by Peter Schintler, an Iowa native. The revolving menu features unique, mouth-watering dishes like Jamón Ibérico (heirloom cantaloupe served with smoked bleu cheese and pecan vinaigrette) and pork cheeks (served on a bed of barbecued black bean purée, garlic-roasted greens, peanut and lime emulsion, and pineapple-poblano marmalade). Vegetarian options include heirloom golden beets (served with raw hearts of palm, avocado, radish, goat cheese, grapefruit, and almond vinaigrette) or a unique take on “spaghetti & meatballs” (organic spaghetti squash stewed in an heirloom tomato-pumpkin marinara sauce, toasted sunflower seeds & spiced lentil vegan “meatballs”). Locally sourced ingredients exemplify Marmalade’s commitment to sustainability and community building. Their carefully curated wine list provides the perfect pairing options to round out your meal.
153 Calle Tetuan
It’s time for dessert! Honestly, there is no wrong time of day to indulge in a paleta (homemade popsicle), and Senor Paleta is the place to go. With flavors including toasted coconut, Nutella, passion fruit, and strawberry cheesecake, you might have to visit more than once. Take your paleta for a stroll and enjoy the sights and sounds of Old San Juan.
Are you a foodie who has traveled to this city? What other San Juan restaurants or dishes would you add to this list?