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La Bombonera Café: A Local Institution in Old San Juan
In business for over a century, La Bombonera Cafe has been a local institution for decades. It caters today to a mixed crowded of locals and tourists, as the restaurant is referenced in every guidebooks. It is a cafe-type of restaurant, a good choice for breakfast and for light, unpretentious meals.
The ambience is rustic and the service informal. I came here for breakfast (that seems to be a must-do experience in Old San Juan). Do not expect a large choice on the menu, they serve Puerto Rican-style breakfast, usually made of a cup of coffee with a pastry or a sandwich. The specialty of the place is the "mallorca", a Spanish Danish, or a kind of sweet bread topped with powder sugar and filled with your combination of butter, ham and cheese. The place is also renowned for its coffee, apparently brewed into coffee-machines from Cuba in service for over a century. To my taste, coffee was great but be aware by ordering coffee they serve you "coffee with steamed milk" or cafe con leche if you will. Fresh squeezed orange juice is another item on the menu worth trying.
As said, breakfast at La Bombonera is an Old San Juan's classic, worth for checking out the place and the crowd better than for the good but not memorable food-experience.
- Arts and Culture
- Historical Travel
Restaurante El Jibarito: Great Choice for Traditional Food in Old San Juan
Located in Old San Juan, where it seems no restaurant opens nowadays but posh and expensive "fusion" and "eclectic" restaurants, El Jibarito is a terrific landfall for those looking for some good traditional Puerto Rican food.
The place is on the guidebooks and it is crowded with tourists and locals. Don't expect anything else than good food served in a rustic atmosphere. On the menu plates from Puerto Rico traditions such as sancocho, pernil the cerdo, camarones a la criolla, arroz con abichuelas, arroz con gandules and mofongo. I was totally satisfied of my lunch experience and found out with regret the same night, arriving past closing time, the restaurant at dinner closes at 9:00 pm. All in all, a great choice for a Puerto Rican traditional meal in Old San Juan.
I noticed the Restaurant has a colorful website that I am attaching for reference.
- Historical Travel
- Arts and Culture
Los Pinos Cafe: Good local dishes, open 24 hours
Los Pinos is your typical laid back PR restaurant found in many of the neighborhoods throughout the island. What's so great about this place is that it's open 24 hours which can be a blessing for those late night cravings or after party hangover meals. The dishes are typical "criolla" meals with a large range for rices, meats, sandwiches, salads, fish, mofongo, appetizers, desserts and drinks. Prices are a wide range from coffee and lunch maxing out at $5 (coffee is $1); chicken, steak or combo or any meat at about $5.95; appetizers about $6.95 with a combo at $30.95; meats, chicken and steak about from $8.95 to $14.95; seafood starting at $12.95; specialty rice dishes like paella at about $22.95; Mofongo start at $10.95 and up and dessert $2 and beverages starting at $1.
The restaurant is located in the Miramar area within walking distance from the Marriott where I was staying. I arrived late in the afternoon from NYC and after checking in decided to go out and get something to eat, do a little shopping (there is a supermarket that sells cheap liquor) for last minute items before our cruise the next day.
As you enter the restaurant with it's open space you see a bar to the right with TVs and tables. The server/host will greet you with a menu and ask if you have a preference where to sit (the restaurant wasn't too busy and a few tables were available), so we chose a table nearest to the large windows facing the street. We were asked if we wanted anything to drink and told of the specials. We placed our drink order and perused the menu.
I love Mofongo and don't get to eat it as often as I would like, so whenever I am in PR I try to indulge at least once or twice during my visit. So, I knew exactly what I wanted, the Mofongo relleno con camarones (Mofongo filled with shrimp). My dish was $17.50 and included a "salad" which comprised of lettuce and tomato. Service was very good and my server was very courteous and helpful. She circled around a few times asking if there was anything we needed. She wasn't over imposing, just enough to make you feel that they cared.
The food was quite good and filling with authentic criolla tastes that Puerto Rican's love so much.
Favorite Dish: I had the Mofongo Relleno con camarones -- Mashed plantain filled with shrimp in a "criolla" sauce with a side of lettuce and tomato for $17.50. I ordered a Pepsi which was $1.00
- Wine Tasting
- Food and Dining
- Beer Tasting
Festival of San Sebastian: Local cuisine-Arepas con queso
While at the Festival of San Sebastian we decided to try a couple of food booths, the best thing we tried was Arepas con queso, a fried cornmeal snack filled with cheese.
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