This year, I had the pleasure of spending my birthday in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Not only did we enjoy a couple adventurous tours, we also got to taste pure Puerto Rican cuisine.
Now, we spent roughly 11 days on this trip so you know there was a lot of good eating going on. However, we had a couple of struggle meals here and there in order to save because everything does add up pretty quickly – frozen foods were a lifesaver. Try venturing outside of tourist areas for cheaper meals – they raise the prices for convenience to visitors.
Café del Ángel
1106 Ave Dr Ashford, San Juan, 00907, Puerto Rico
Located right in the middle of a vast array of restaurants on Ashford Ave, this cafe specializes in Latin and Puerto Rican cuisine. Enjoy the traditional mofongo while sipping on a refreshing juice beverage.
What’s on the Menu:
Combinación Puertorriqueña El Ángel (Angel’s Puertorican Combination) $15.95
Roast pork, rice with pigeon peas, sweet plantains, one paste
Canoa (1) $7.95
Fried sweet plantain stuffed with ground beef and vegetables with molted cheese on top
Pass – Although the food wasn’t bad, it still lacked that authenticity of real Puerto Rican food we were looking for. It reminded me of food I’ve already had so it wasn’t too surprising. The cocktail wasn’t flavored at all and tasted a little watered down.
Tacos & Tequila
1055 Ashford Ave San Juan, Puerto Rico | http://www.condadovanderbilt.com/condado-restaurants-lounges/tacos-tequila/
The title alone says it all. Tacos and tequila is the perfect combination to enjoy on a tropical island vacation. Beautiful restaurant located right on the beach inside the Condado Vanderbilt Hotel. At first we were reluctant to go in since the gate did say “for hotel guest only”. However, I asked the hotel security guard and he escorted us in. We had the perfect view of a seating area in water overlooking the beach. Very friendly staff!
Unfortunately during our second visit, we were told by the waiter that we were indeed supposed to be hotel guests so we ended up leaving the pool shortly after. Double check before they kick you out.
What’s on our Menu?
Chicken Nachos $12
Local-Beer-Braised Chicken, Spicy Cheddar Sauce, Radish, Cilantro
Escabeche Pork Taco $6 each | 3 for 15
Spicy Pineapple Salsa, Yogurt, Smoked Chili Cream
Patrón Colada $11
Patrón Silver, Coconut Milk, Coconut Cream, Fresh Pineapple Juice
Fresh Lime Juice, Simple Syrup, Cointreau, Milagro Tequila
Churro Ice Cream Sandwich $10
Choice of Flavors: Mexican Canela | Chocolate-Chocolate Chip-Chili | Vanilla-Mint
If they’ll let you in, hell yes lol. Good view, pool, Jacuzzi, and delicious food.
The drinks were good but obviously not strong enough to get you to a really good buzz.
The chicken nachos were too good to share. It’s not your average nachos. More like high class, I just sh*t on movie nachos, nachos. If you can handle some kick, ask for their red hot sauce! Fireworks, I’m telling you!
The pork tacos were the best I’ve had so far, just a burst of different flavors in your mouth. The dish came with three tacos, but I was getting full after the second one – It is more than enough for one person. It also came with avocados at the bottom which I don’t like, but it did mix well with the other ingredients.
Ou wee, I had to save the best for last. The Mexican Canela Churro Ice Cream Sandwich was mouth-watering before, during, and after. No need to say anymore, just order it. I wouldn’t recommend the chocolate chocolate-chip chili one unless you like the mix of sweet and spicy (yuck!) Too much tang for my taste.
1077 Ashford Avenue San Juan, Puerto Rico | http://serafinasj.com
Casual Italian cuisine that is delicious and flavorful. Exquisite decor and design set up, this place is the perfect spot for happy hour or a chill night out with friends. The patio is more relaxed with an open view of the busy street while the inside is more traditional.
What’s on our Menu?
Lasagne Al Forno $20.50
Homemade fresh lasagna alla bolognese
Steamed Vegetables $8
Assorted steamed vegetables
Di Serafina $12.75
Passion Mojito $12
Bacardi 8 Años, Fresh Mint, Passion Fruit, Ginger, Lime, Soda
Yes! Loved the overall vibe of the restaurant and service. The lasagna was soft and seasoned to perfection. The lasagna with the steamed vegetables make a perfect meal. Hate vegetables? Don’t worry, these ones aren’t those bland ones you get from grandma’s house (sorry!) – these will make you want a second plate.
The salad was great, tasted just like a classic caesar but it also had a sweet taste to it. This is because it came with raisins on top. The chicken was also seasoned well. You will get full from the salad if you are looking to take the healthy route while you are there.
The passion Mojito was refreshing and the perfect amount. Adds an extra taste to your classic Mojito.
Café Puerto Rico
208 Calle O’Donnell, San Juan, 00901, Puerto Rico | http://www.cafepuertorico.com/html/index.html
Shout out to our taxi driver who recommended this restaurant to be the best in Old San Juan. Sitting out on the patio gives you a great view of the historic artwork and architecture while enjoying a delicious meal. Be mindful of the pigeons, they’re not afraid to steal your food right in front of you.
What’s on our Menu?
Camarones al ajillo $9
Shrimp in Creamy Garlic Sauce
Chicharrones de pollo $10
Crispy Chicken chunks
Absolutely – Perfect spot to stop by for lunch while exploring Old San Juan. The shrimp appetizer isn’t filling but perfect as a starter. The plantain sticks are fries on crack. I will never eat fries the same. I would suggest ordering a side of white rice, or stealing some of your friends, for the leftover garlic sauce.
The crispy chicken chunks were just like fried chicken – juicy and extra crispy. It was an appetizer but it was enough to hold me until dinner. It also came with plantain sticks which were delicious and helped fill me up.
315 Calle Recinto Sur, San Juan, 00901, Puerto Rico | http://www.restauranteraices.com
Located in beautiful Old San Juan, this restaurant’s ambiance alone deserves 5 stars. Over the years, it has become one of the most original and impressive thematic culinary concepts in town. The waitresses are all dressed in traditional white clothing from the 1940s. This is probably the best restaurant I’ve been to that expresses so much culture and history.
What’s on our Menu?
Pineapple Mojito $8
Chicken Fried Wings with Fried Green Plantains $10
Fried Pork Chunks $12
The Pineapple Mojito was fresh and perfectly mixed. But in my opinion, those tin cans are pretty small for $8 considering all the ice and mint leaves that take up a good portion of the space.
The chicken wings and fried plantains is my ideal meal. Crisp and juicy – not to mention great price for a filling meal. They come with 4 wings but they’re huge! I can eat a lot, so if they can fill me up then you should be good.
The fried pork chunks were topped with onions and came with a side salad and rice. The pork chunks were nice and crispy but amazing! If I knew of this place earlier, I probably would have went there more than once. The portions are huge so if you go for lunch, you will be able to save your leftovers for dinner.
1045 Ashford Avenue, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Looking for something small to nibble on? Mike’s Pizzeria is the best spot! Perfect for a beach break snack, their mouth-watering single slice pizza is toasted to perfection.
What’s on our Menu?
Single Slice Pepperoni Pizza $5
Yes! Being the fat ass that I am, I crushed that slice of pizza by the time I got to the next block. The only thing I didn’t like was the fact that they put the pepperoni on AFTER they made the pizza. Who wants half-cooked pepps? I don’t know about you but I like mine with some crispness to them. Still worth it!
Wherever you’re headed next, don’t be afraid to ask the locals where the best places to eat are – they are the ones who know best! Try venturing out of the touristy areas and more where the locals go. I guarantee the food will not disappoint.
Have you been to the restaurants listed above? Let us know your feedback and feel free to suggest new places because I’m sure we’ll be back for more.