San Juan Restaurants

In cosmopolitan San Juan, European, Asian, Middle Eastern, and chic fusion eateries vie for your attention, with family-owned restaurants specializing in seafood or comida criolla (creole cooking, or local Puerto Rican food). U.S. chains such as McDonald's and Subway compete with chains like Pollo Tropical and El Mesón, which specialize in local cuisine. Many of the most innovative chefs here have restaurants in the city's large hotels, but don't be shy about venturing into stand-alone establishments—many concentrated in Condado and along Calles Fortaleza and San Sebastián in Old San Juan. Old San Juan is also home to a number of notable new restaurants and cafés, offering more artisanal-style cuisine—crop-to-cup coffee, rustic homemade pizzas, and creative vegetarian food—at affordable prices. There’s a radiant pride in what the local land can provide, and these enthusiastic young restaurateurs are redefining what Puerto Rican food is, bite by tasty bite.

The dress code varies greatly from place to place, although a restaurant's price category can be taken as a good indication. For less expensive places anything but beachwear is fine; ritzier spots will expect collared shirts and long pants for men ("jacket and tie" requirements are rare) and chic attire for women. When in doubt, do as the Puerto Ricans often do and dress up.

For breakfast outside of your hotel, cafés or panaderías (local bakeries) are your best bets. It's rare for such establishments to close between breakfast and lunch; it's slightly more common for restaurants to close between lunch and dinner. Although some places don't accept reservations, it's always a good idea to make them for dinner whenever possible. This is especially true during the busy season from November through April and on weekends at any time of the year.

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  • 1. Bebo's Café

    $$ | Santurce | Puerto Rican

    Huge platters of delicious comida criolla are constantly streaming out of the kitchen here. Low prices and a family atmosphere ensure that...Read More

  • 2. Bistro Café

    $$ | Isla Verde | Café

    This café is wildly popular and doesn't take reservations, but the offerings are worth the wait. Order the pancakes with Nutella, and the mocha...Read More

  • 3. Café Berlin

    $$ | Old San Juan | International

    A handful of tables spill onto a sidewalk deck adorned with tiny lights at this romantic, bohemian restaurant overlooking Plaza Colón. There...Read More

  • 4. Café Don Ruiz

    $ | Old San Juan | Café

    Tucked away in the corner of the old Spanish military barracks, Café Don Ruiz serves some of the finest coffee in town. It's sourced from a...Read More

  • 5. Cafetería Mallorca

    $ | Old San Juan | Café

    The specialty at this old-fashioned, 1950s-style diner is the mallorca, a sweet pastry that's buttered, grilled, and then sprinkled with powdered...Read More

  • 6. Caficultura

    $$ | Old San Juan | Café

    Caficultura prides itself on its full coffee-bar, its mimosas made with fresh juice, and its all-day breakfast and brunch menu (try the coconut...Read More

  • 7. Casa Cortés ChocoBar

    $ | Old San Juan | Contemporary

    The Cortés family has been making bean-to-bar chocolate for more than 90 years, and, in 2013, they opened Puerto Rico's first "chocobar" to...Read More

  • 8. Egg Joint

    $ | Ocean Park | Burger

    Tasty sandwiches and burgers are available all day long at this small joint. The onion smasher comes with two beef patties, finely shredded...Read More

  • 9. Kabanas

    $$ | Condado | Mexican

    Parmesan-crusted tacos are the draw here, with favorites including the fish, pulled-pork, or vegetarian-friendly falafel versions. Pair yours...Read More

  • 10. Pinky's

    $ | Ocean Park | Café

    People pack this playful café—where bustling servers wear cheeky "Eat Me!" T-shirts—to enjoy fresh wraps, sandwiches, salads, batidas (fruit...Read More

  • 11. Rosa & Elena

    $$ | Miramar | American

    At breakfast, this Instagram-friendy restaurant serves dishes like avocado toast on grilled sourdough with a poached egg or bagels with smoked...Read More

  • 12. Santísimo

    $$$ | Old San Juan | Contemporary

    Tucked away on the second floor of the historic El Convento Hotel, Santísmo is one of old town's newest dining destinations. After years of...Read More

  • 13. La Patisserie

    $ | Café

    Everything—from pastries to pastas—is delicious at this café, which sits on a quiet block in Condado. For breakfast, wonderful omelets are stuffed...Read More

  • 14. Papillon Bistro

    $$$ | Miramar | French

    For a break from Puerto Rican cuisine, head to Papillon Bistro in the Marriott Courtyard for traditional French cuisine. As soon as you step...Read More

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