Beyond the beautiful white sand beaches, you’ll find plenty of places to eat at the best restaurants in Puerto Rico.
This Caribbean destination has become a haven for foodies that are drawn in by Puerto Rico’s rich culinary history as well as its equally promising future as an innovative food capital.
Mixing traditional with trendy, the island’s hotspots stay close to their roots but aren’t afraid to be daring and expand on their already vibrant way of life.
We’ve rounded up the top traveler-rated and reviewed restaurants, cafes, and food experiences in Puerto Rico.
Puerto Rican Food: Your Guide to Puerto Rican Cuisine
- La Alcapurria Quemá
- La Casita Blanca
- Que PezCa'o
- Marmalade Restaurant & Wine Bar
- 1919 Restaurant
- Casita Miramar
- Estela Restaurant
- La Cambija
- El Verde BBQ
Visiting historic landmarks and museums in Puerto Rico will give you a taste of its culture, but to really dig into the Puerto Rican lifestyle, you have to try the food.
Built on a deep history of Caribbean flavours, Puerto Rican Cuisine stays true to its original intent, which is to take care of the people through food.
The restaurants in Puerto Rico honour this heritage by carefully preparing meals that welcome guests with traditional comfort foods.
Some of Puerto Rico’s famous include:
- Mofongo, a dish made of deep-fried green plantains
- Tostones, a dish made of double deep-fried plantain wheels
- Lechón, a slowly spit-roasted pork dish.
Many restaurants, even the most upscale, will serve one of these dishes usually with their own flare added onto it as well.
The best restaurants in Puerto Rico not only show you the best of the local cuisine, but also invite you to try exciting new twists on homegrown favourites. As Puerto Rico has steadily become a more popular travel destination in recent years, its local cuisine has also adapted to include more international influence as well.
Whether it's traditional Puerto Rican cuisine with a twist or a take on international fare, the best restaurants in Puerto Rico will give you a taste of what it’s like to be a part of the action.
11 Best Restaurants in Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico is a growing hub for all things gastronomy so it's hard to limit this list to just ten top restaurants. We gave it our best shot and here are 10 restaurants you’ll definitely want to visit on your trip to Puerto Rico.
For an elevated take on local cuisine in a rustic but chic setting, Santaella is the place to be for locals and travellers alike. Centered around a lush tropical garden this restaurant serves dishes that are rooted in local cuisine.
Santaella takes traditional dishes to new heights with menus items such as quesadillas with goat cheese and truffle oil, and mouth watering pork belly mofongo. Chef José Santaella, a Puerto Rico native, has trained with some of the world's top chefs and uses this global influence to add creativity and flair to every dish.
Neighbourhood: San Jaun
Type: Traditional Puerto Rican cuisine with a modern flare
Best for: Foodies and adventurous travellers who want to try local cuisine that's both comforting and exciting.
#2. La Alcapurria Quemá
La Alcapurria Quemá offers a more laid back way to get your hands on some of the best of Puerto Rican comfort food. This small and almost hidden establishment would blend in with its surroundings if it weren’t for its already well-known reputation as one of the best restaurants in Puerto Rico.
Guests flock to La Alcapurria Quemá for its alcapurrias, which are Puerto Rican fritters made with mashed plantains or yucca and stuffed with meat. With a friendly and relaxed vibe, this restaurant is great if you’re looking to get a quick but meaningful glimpse into Puerto Rican cuisine.
Neighbourhood: La Placita de Santurce in San Juan
Type: Local cuisine with a friendly, laidback style
Best for: Loyal locals who love alcapurrias and anyone who wants to try local food without any need for added frills.
#3. La Casita Blanca
With a name that means “Little white house,” La Casita Blanca evokes the same simplicity as its title. La Casita Blanca is a hidden gem and off the beaten path for most travellers with its location in a mostly residential area. As a haven for locals, La Casita Blanca is a no-frills, homestyle restaurant serving a strictly Spanish menu of about 20 items that change daily.
Come hungry to La Casita Blanca because this restaurant serves large portions and gives you a lot of bang for your buck when it comes to included sides and appetizers.
Neighbourhood: Santurce, San Juan
Type: Family-style restaurant that serves traditional Spanish food in large portions
Best for: Families with children who want to try affordable local cuisine and feel like they’re getting an authentic Puerto Rican culinary experience.
#4. Que PezCa'o
A casual and more rewarding alternative to high-priced tourist traps along the harbour, Que PezCa'o is a local haven for delicious seafood and affordable main dishes.
Tucked away from the allure of Old San Juan, Que PezCa'o has some of the freshest seafood in Puerto Rico. Using this fresh seafood, the restaurant boasts impressive dishes like ceviche nachos, mahi-mahi mofongo, and a whole grilled red snapper.
Neighbourhood: San Juan
Type: A local favourite that serves fresh seafood in large portions
Best for: Fresh seafood at an affordable price
#5. Marmalade Restaurant & Wine Bar
If you want an experience look no further than Marmalade Restaurant & Wine Bar. Here you’ll find dim lighting that sets an intimate mood and instead of an a la carte menu Marmalade Restaurant & Wine Bar offers three tasting menus. Whether it’s four, five or six courses, the dishes include Puerto Rican cuisine with international fusion as well as an emphasis on local organic vegetables.
The food, which is prepared by Chef Peter Schintler who apprenticed with Gordon Ramsay, will excite any guest including the vegetarian or vegan in your life.
Neighbourhood: San Juan
Type: Full course Puerto Rican fusion meals served in an intimate and modern space
Best for: Luxury traveler looking for an upscale taste of Puerto Rican classics as well as vegetarians and vegans
#6. 1919 Restaurant
Located in the luxurious Condado Vanderbilt Hotel, 1919 is one of the most elegant restaurants situated along the waterfront. The restaurant has a stunning view of the ocean and serves high-quality cuisine prepared by Puerto Rican native and Michelin-star chef Juan Jose Cuevas. The menu, which is primarily traditional Puerto Rican cuisine with a modern flare, changes seasonally and each dish is prepared with locally sourced ingredients.
A dinner at 1919 Restaurant during sunset is a truly breathtaking experience that many guests deem an unforgettable part of any trip to Puerto Rico.
Neighbourhood: Condado, San Juan
Type: Traditional Puerto Rican dishes with a modern flare and locally sourced ingredients
Best for: Luxury travellers who want an elegant and traditional dining experience.
#7. Casita Miramar
Home to some of the best authentic Puerto Rican food in San Juan, Casita Miramar serves comida criolla that embodies the island’s Spanish, African, and Taino heritage.
Located in a cozy Spanish villa, you’ll be just as comforted by the food as you are by the atmosphere. With dishes like beef stew and its own take on Puerto Rico’s famous mofongo, you’ll be able to get the true taste of the island’s culture as Casita Miramar.
Neighbourhood: San Juan
Type: Authentic local cuisine and Puerto Rican comfort food
Best for: Locals love it here and it’s great for getting a true taste for local cuisine
#8. Estela Restaurant
Situated in the beach town of Rincón, Estela Restaurant offers guests a cozy space to enjoy its locally sourced dishes. With an all vegan menu and ingredients that come from local farmers, estela Restaurant prides itself on its dedication to maintaining the local environment. Guests can also choose from all grass-fed meats and daily catch of the day. This quaint little spot is great for the environmentally conscious foodie.
Type: Cozy restaurant serving locally sourced vegan and vegetarian meals.
Best for: Environmentally conscious food lovers including vegans and vegetarians
#9. La Cambija
Locally owned, La Cambija is a casual, open-air restaurant in Rincón that serves authentically prepared Puerto Rican dishes specializing specifically in seafood.
Known for its catch-of-the-day menu, La Cambija is a popular spot for locals and tourists alike. Many locals recommend ordering the pinchos, which are your choice of grilled seafood served on skewers.
Type: La Cambija specializes in authentically prepared seafood that is popular among locals
Best for: Fresh seafood and local cuisine
Serving the best breakfast anytime of day, Mona is a cozy spot giving guests the chance to start their day whenever they see fit. Mona is one of the best restaurants in Puerto Rico to get a cup of the island’s famous coffee.
At Mona you’ll find friendly service, homemade pastries and a full menu for breakfast, brunch and lunch with plenty of vegetarian and vegan options as well.
Type: Breakfast and authentic Puerto Rican coffee
Best for: Breakfast lovers and families with kids looking to start their day on the right foot
#11. El Verde BBQ
A hike up towards the mountains is worth the trip to get a taste of authentic Puerto Rican Barbecue at El Verde BBQ. This restaurant has a wide variety of meats cooked in the traditional barbecue style that is a staple in Puerto Rican cuisine.
While this might not be the best place for vegetarian and vegan options, you can still find some of the best authentic Puerto Rican food on the island here.
Neighbourhood: Rio grande
Type: Authentic Puerto Rican barbecue
Best for: While they serve a heavy helping of local cuisine, this spot is best for foodies who have a love for all things barbecue