The author in front of Bodega Chic

17 Best San Juan Restaurants (Where to Eat, By a Local)

There is a lot to do and see in San Juan, but if you’re a foodie, you’re probably more excited about where and what to eat. 

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. 

I live in the San Juan area and, every time I go out, still manage to discover a new place to eat!

So you can eat to your heart’s content, here my list of the 17 top places to eat in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support us by purchasing via the affiliate links on this page, which may earn us commissions. Thank you!

17 Best Restaurants in San Juan

Don Ruiz

Cafe | $-$$ | Google Maps | Website | 787 723 1462

View of the entrance to Don Ruiz

If you’re about to start exploring San Juan forts, but you’re hungry, 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.

Casita Miramar

Puerto Rican | $$ | Google Maps | 787 200 8227

View of the Casita Miramar sign illuminated with lights at night

This warm and inviting local restaurant on Avenida Miramar is one of the local favorites 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 beef stew are some 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.

La Casita Blanca

Puerto Rican | $$ | Google Maps | 787 726 5501

View of a rice and shrimp meal on a plate

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.

1919

New American | $$$$ | Google Maps | Website | 787 724 1919

The Hotel Vanderbilt from the outside at night
Hotel Vanderbilt, where you can find 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 to 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 it.

📚 Related Reading: Best Activities to Do in Puerto Rico

Marmalade

International | $$$$ | Google Maps | Website | 787 724 3969

The author in front of the Marmalade restaurant

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 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.

Cocina Abierta

International, Latin, Caribbean | $$$ | Google Maps | Website | 787 946 1333

The Cocina Abierta sign illuminated with light at night

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.

Deaverdura

Caribbean, Puerto Rican | $ | Google Maps | 787 463 1038

A Puerto Rican cuisine on a plate in Deaverdura

If you’re looking for somewhere cheap to eat traditional Puerto Rican cuisine in Old San Juan, 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

A cup of coffee and a bread on the plate

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 perfect to start your morning seeping good, and strong Puerto Rican coffee with a side of guava toasts. 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

A black risotto on a plate

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, La Bodeguita de Manolo is a great option. This restaurant in Condado offers cozy and yet refined facilities. The Spanish tapas, black ink squid risotto, and the 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.

La Bombonera

Cafe, Latin | $$ | Google Maps | 787 705 3370

View of the La Bombonera from the outside

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

View of a salad on a plate

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, rustic, and yet casual atmosphere. 

Cocina Al Fondo focuses on getting local ingredients from farmers, fishermen and even harvested from their own patio and turning 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.

👉🏻 Local Tip: As of November 2021, Cocina al Fondo is temporarily closed. Their website announces they’ll be reopening soon so before visiting make sure to call ahead or check their website.

Bodega Chic

International, French | $$-$$$ | Google Maps | 787 721 6083

View of the Bodega Chic on a wall

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.

Vianda

Caribbean, Puerto Rican, Italian, Vegetarian | $$-$$$ | Google Maps | Website | 939 475 1578

A cocktail on glass with lemon on it

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.

La Factoria 

Bar | $$ | Google Maps | Website 

Bottles of alcoholic drink on a table

For a more lively atmosphere full of locals, loud music, and nightlife, visit La Factoría. Although it’s a bar and therefore the alcohol menu has more variety than the food menu, the fish tacos, tofu fries, and vegan tacos make 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 Ropa Vieja Grill sign illuminated with lights at night

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.

Jose Enrique

Caribbean, Latin, Seafood | $$-$$$ | Google Maps | Website | 787 705 8130

Lobster tails on a plate served in Jose Enrique

Once located in La Placita de Santurce, this place is one of Puerto Ricans’ and visitors’ favorite because it 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

Three alcapurria fritter on a plate

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

A mofongo on a plate

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.  

Alcapurrias

Alcapurrias stuffed with meat on top of a table

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

A white rice topped with red beans on a plate

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.

Piraguas

A man in his Piraguas mini store

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.

Roasted Pork

Chopped roasted pork on a plate

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!

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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.

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