18 Best San Juan Restaurants (Where to Eat, By a Local)
If you’re a foodie, then you’re probably super excited about discovering the best San Juan restaurants.
Fortunately, there are many delicious restaurants in San Juan to choose from. Whether you’re into casual atmospheres or fine dining, Puerto Rican food or international fare, this list of San Juan restaurants is sure to offer you something you’ll love.
There is a lot to do and see in San Juan, but I live in the San Juan area and I’m still managing to discover a new place to eat every time I go out. To help you eat to your heart’s content, here is my list of the 18 top places to eat in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Table of Contents
- 18 Best Restaurants in San Juan
- Local Dishes to Eat in San Juan
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18 Best Restaurants in San Juan
🍴 Cafe | $-$$ | 📍 Google Maps | Website | 787 723 1462
If you’re about to start exploring San Juan forts but want to fill your belly up first, then make a stop at Don Ruiz.
Located inside the Cuartel Ballajá, Don Ruiz offers freshly brewed coffee, tea, sandwiches, omelets, wraps, and pastries. Don’t miss the chance to enjoy your coffee at one of the outside tables while admiring the view of Cuartel Ballajá.
🍴 Puerto Rican | $$ | 📍 Google Maps | 787 200 8227
Located on Avenida Miramar, this warm and inviting restaurant is a local favorite for its fresh and flavorful Puerto Rican food. Some items on the menu change, but you´ll always find great local staples.
The mofongo, the chicken broth, and the beef stew are some of this San Juan restaurant’s most popular dishes. Just be aware that the place is small and often crowded, so you’ll probably have to wait before you receive your table.
SUR Barra Nikkei
🍴 Peruvian, Japanese | $$$-$$$$ | 📍 Google Maps | Website | 939 775 0365
You might think you know Peruvian and Japanese cuisines already. But SUR Barra Nikkei in Santurce promises to teach you a new side of each with its unique fusion menu. SUR Barra Nikkei boasts a relaxing and casual dining atmosphere where you don’t have to worry about appearances or etiquette. Yet, the presentation and flavors of their plates are as good as a 3-star Michelin restaurant.
Chef Rafael Ubior Serrati and his team create dishes meant not only to feed you but to produce an experience of distinctive flavors, textures, and colors. Whether you’re a connoisseur or new to fine dining, you will leave SUR Barra Nikkei with a smile on your face and already planning your next visit. It’s definitely one of the best San Juan restaurants to experience.
La Casita Blanca
🍴 Puerto Rican | $$ | 📍 Google Maps | 787 726 5501
Even if it’s off the beaten path, this cozy restaurant will give you a taste of traditional Puerto Rican dishes without fancy additives. With a name that literally means “little white house”, this structure features a casual vintage environment that seems like it’s been the same way for a few decades, but don’t get discouraged by the appearance since you’ll enjoy a top-notch meal.
The mofongo, codfish fritters, and garlic shrimp are some of the best dishes. Just be aware that you’ll have to find parking in the surrounding streets and that the menu is in Spanish.
🍴 New American | $$$$ | 📍 Google Maps | Website | 787 724 1919
In San Juan, you’ll find 1919, a fine dining restaurant with the Michelin-star Executive chef Juan José Cuevas. Located inside the Vanderbilt hotel, the restaurant offers visitors a four-course meal with a spin on local ingredients.
1919 also sports a curated wine list to accompany your meals. Besides the food, this restaurant features great service and a lovely atmosphere with a view of the ocean. Keep in mind you need to make reservations and dress up to visit.
📚 Related Reading: Best Activities to Do in Puerto Rico.
🍴 International | $$$$ | 📍 Google Maps | Website | 787 724 3969
Located in the heart of Old San Juan, Marmalade is undoubtedly one of the best restaurants in San Juan. Featuring meal courses of 4, 5, and 6 plates, this fine dining restaurant offers a tasting menu with vegan and gluten-free options. Their dishes are made with local produce and fresh ingredients.
Groups with more than 6 persons can enjoy Chef Peter Schintler’s menu of 14 courses. You’ll have to park around the streets of San Juan to visit and you should also wear appropriate clothing.
🍴 International, Latin, Caribbean | $$$ | 📍 Google Maps | Website | 787 946 1333
If you’re looking for a culinary experience that makes your taste buds dance, then you should head over to Cocina Abierta in Condado.
This restaurant offers a carnivore, omnivore, vegetarian, and pescatarian menu with 4 to 6 courses that change frequently. Visitors can also enjoy wine pairing in an elegant and relaxing atmosphere. The building has valet parking too.
🍴 Caribbean, Puerto Rican | $ | 📍 Google Maps | 787 463 1038
If you’re looking for budget-friendly traditional Puerto Rican cuisine in Old San Juan, then Deaverdura is a great option. This casual and colorful structure features a dining area, a bar, and a permanent art exposition.
The restaurant’s menu features vegan and gluten-free options but it’s mostly filled with Puerto Rican traditional plates like rice and beans, beef stew, and roasted pork. The menu is on a chalkboard in Spanish but you can always ask your waiter for recommendations.
📚 Bookmark for Later: Top Things to Do in San Juan.
Café Cuatro Sombras
🍴 Cafe | $$ | 📍 Google Maps | Website | 787 724 9955
One of the best places to enjoy coffee in Old San Juan is Café Cuatro Sombras.
With beautiful decoration and a calm environment, Café Cuatro Sombras is the perfect place to start your day. I recommend sampling the strong Puerto Rican coffee with a side of guava toast. There is an exterior patio you can sit on if you want to enjoy the island heat. If you bring your car, you have to park on the surrounding streets.
La Bodeguita de Manolo
🍴 Latin, Spanish, Puerto Rican | $$-$$$ | 📍 Google Maps | 939 399 0001
If you’re looking for a nice place to taste Latin, Puerto Rican, and Spanish food with a lively ambiance and a nice wine chart, then La Bodeguita de Manolo is a great option. This restaurant in Condado offers cozy yet refined facilities.
The Spanish tapas, black ink squid risotto, and ribeye steak are popular dishes you can’t miss during your visit.
👉🏻 Not sure where to stay yet? Check out the top places to stay in San Juan.
🍴 Cafe, Latin | $$ | 📍 Google Maps | 787 705 3370
La Bombonera is one of those restaurants in San Juan that transports you back to the beginning of the 20th century. The facade of the restaurant is charming and everything from the front to the interior screams vintage. But fear not, because you’ll definitely eat a delicious breakfast.
Make sure to ask for your coffee with a Mallorca, a tasty sweet bread you can enjoy with powdered sugar. They also sell lunch, dinner, and drinks. The waiting time can be long if it’s crowded, so this isn’t a place to visit when you’re in a hurry.
Cocina Al Fondo
🍴 Puerto Rican, Caribbean | $$ | 📍 Google Maps | Website | 787 469 5527
Finding Cocina Al Fondo is part of the culinary experience of this restaurant. Located on the backside of a gallery, the restaurant allows you to have dinner in an exclusive and rustic (yet casual) atmosphere.
Cocina Al Fondo focuses on getting local ingredients from farmers, and fishermen and even harvested from their own patio. They then turn them into edible art that will delight all of your senses. To find it, look for a common house structure between the Marshalls and a church.
🍴 International, French | $$-$$$ | 📍 Google Maps | 787 721 6083
If, instead of Comida Criolla, you’re looking for a place to eat Brunch on Sundays, then head over to Bodega Chic in Calle Fortaleza. This restaurant in Viejo San Juan offers a laid-back casual experience and delicious French cuisine.
Besides omelets and toasts for brunch, you can also enjoy plates like fresh mussels and braised lamb during the week. This place also is home to a bar for those looking for cocktails. Keep in mind the vegan and vegetarian options are slim.
🍴 Caribbean, Puerto Rican, Italian, Vegetarian | $$-$$$ | 📍 Google Maps | Website | 939 475 1578
Chef Francis Guzmán started his restaurant shortly after Hurricane Maria and it wasn’t long before it became famous.
Its amazing mix of local and international flavors results in an ever-evolving variety of menus for small plates, large plates, and cocktails. You need to make a reservation ahead because of the high demand for a table.
🍴 Bar | $$ | 📍 Google Maps | Website
For a lively atmosphere full of locals, loud music, and nightlife, visit La Factoría.
You will find that because it’s a bar, the alcohol menu has more variety than the food menu. Still, the fish tacos, tofu fries, and vegan tacos make for a great snack. If the place gets crowded, you’ll have to wait more than expected for your meal.
Ropa Vieja Grill
🍴 Caribbean, Spanish, Latin | $$-$$$ | 📍 Google Maps | Website | 787 428 0237
The Condado area is full of highly recommended and amazing restaurants with renowned chefs, and one of them is Ropa Vieja Grill.
This restaurant offers flavorful Caribbean food served in an elegant and colorful way. During your visit, try out the pork chops with rice or the mofongo topped with Ropa Vieja.
🍴 Caribbean, Latin, Seafood | $$-$$$ | 📍 Google Maps | Website | 787 705 8130
Once located in La Placita de Santurce, this place is one of Puerto Ricans’ and visitors’ favorites. It just captures the essence of homemade local Puerto Rican food and traditional flavors.
Although the seafood is great, other local dishes are definitely worth trying. If you’ve never tried a bacalaito, start your visit by ordering one!
La Alcapurria Quemá
🍴 Latin, Puerto Rican | $$-$$$ | 📍 Google Maps | 787 535 0000
A visit to Puerto Rico isn’t complete without tasting Puerto Rico’s traditional fritters. Hidden inside La Placita de Santurce you’ll find La Alcapurria Quemá, a casual restaurant that features traditional plates like mofongo, pork, and tostones.
But, if you’re visiting this place, you should try the amazing fritters like the alcapurria, and pastelillos. This restaurant is also ideal to enjoy the nightlife of San Juan.
Local Dishes to Eat in San Juan
Mofongo is a traditional Puerto Rican dish that consists of mashed plantains, usually in the form of a half-sphere, that are deep-fried. Locals eat mofongo either alone or filled with meat, chicken, or shrimp.
An Alcapurria is a type of Puerto Rican fritter filled with ground beef. The dough gets prepared with shredded green bananas, yautia, and plantain plus some local spices.
Finding alcapurrias in a restaurant might be difficult, so you’ll need to search on food trucks and chinchorros, smaller food kiosks that sell fritters.
Rice and Beans
One of the staples of Puerto Ricans is rice. You can find it as a side dish on almost any traditional plate. Often it’s accompanied by red or pink beans. If you’re visiting a restaurant in San Juan, Puerto Rico, ask for rice and beans as a side dish with your main entree.
If you walk through Old San Juan, it won’t be long before you feel hot and thirsty. Hunt down the Piraguas kiosks around the city and you’ll find yourself enjoying a delicious cup of manually shaved ice with a sugary syrup of your choice.
Cherry and tamarind are two common flavors.
Pork is an important part of Puerto Ricans’ diet and if you’re visiting the island, you can’t miss the chance to eat roasted pork. You can find the best pork in lechoneras, restaurants that specialize in the traditional dish. There is a great one in San Juan called Pernilería Los Próceres.
If you liked this list of dishes, be sure to check out my full guide to the 47 best Puerto Rican foods and dishes to try during your visit!
🍽️ More Restaurant Guides: Nashville restaurants, Chicago Restaurants, CDMX restaurants
You’ve reached the end of the list of the top restaurants in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Did you already decide which one you’ll visit first? Before you go, check out the top things to do in Puerto Rico.
I hope I helped you find a great place to eat in San Juan!
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Thank you for your blog. The fact that you’re a resident of PR makes the info so invaluable. Keep up the good work!
Thank you Willie! I’m glad I can get everyone excited about visiting Puerto Rico!
By the way, any recommended Asian resto? Thanks
Ujeong Korean BBQ and Silk in Calle Loíza, Mai Pen Rai in Santurce, Denko in Convention Boulevard, Kimpo Garden in Piñero Avenue, and Nam Pla Street Food are some great options within the metropolitan area. If you’re on the west, make a stop in Senpai Ramen in Aguadilla.
¡Gracias Vanessa! Has La Bombonera reopened? Last time I tried to visit in August 2021 it was closed 🙁 am craving their mallorcas and café con leche
Hi Adela! Up to this date, it’s closed. There is a lot of us waiting for their reopening!
These tips rock. Any good Asian food in Condado? Was looking at Dumpling, but I’m worried it’s closed!
Thank you for this information! So many places look good and we always try to get a locals favorite spots to make sure we also enjoy a good meal!!! Looking forward to trying out a few of your recommendations!
This is great information, thank you for your blog!! I am planning a trip in December for my boyfriend’s 50th birthday. We are staying near El Yunque and will have a car. I am looking to find a good place to take him for his birthday dinner. Can you recommend any places near there? Or is it worth it to drive in to San Juan area?
very good blog
thank you for sharing