We had the pleasure of getting together with VTer JosueGonzalez on our very first night in San Juan. When I suggested having dinner together, he in turn suggested going to Bebo's Cafe for great Puerto Rican food. This restaurant is located on Calle Loiza, just one street down from Ashford Avenue. Even though it's within walking distance from most of the Condado hotels, the clientele is mostly local. In fact, I was really glad that Josue was there with us to interact with the waiters and translate some of the items on the menu, otherwise I might have felt a little lost! The atmosphere of the place is first and foremost that of a family restaurant - we enjoyed it very much because we were with Josué, but even though the place was very crowded, we might have felt the lack of ambience if it had been just the two of us. As for the food, I ended up ordering the chicken fricase, which Josué described as a Dominican dish. It was quite good, the chicken was very tender and tasty. Sylvain ordered the shrimp soup and raved about it during the rest of the trip! So if you're looking to get away from the more touristic Ashford Avenue and try a real local restaurant, with good food at a decent price, Bebo's Cafe might just be the place for you!
On our first day in San Juan, we got to Plaza de Colon early in the afternoon and were immediately tempted to have lunch at one of the many restaurants located in the area, especially since many of them had little sidewalk terraces. After looking at some of the menus, we decided to eat at Cafe Puerto Rico. We ordered two rum punches - made with Don Q rum and fresh fruit juices - and they were really good. I then decided to try one of the local specialties that Kristi (VTer Dabs) had recommended and went for the chicken mofongo. It was delicious, the perfect introduction to Puerto Rican cuisine! In fact, based on how good the meal was, I was surprised to see this restaurant wasn't more crowded - until I went inside to use the restrooms and realized the place was packed! I guess only Canadians in desperate need of sun and heat will eat out on a terrace when it's 30°C outside...!
Since our hotel was located in the Condado area, we decided one night to have dinner at one of the numerous restaurants located on Ashford Avenue. We picked Yerba Buena mostly because I love Cuban food, it wasn't too expensive, and there was a really nice atmosphere in the restaurant. As soon as we sat down we ordered two mojitos, and they were excellent. I decided to order their ropa vieja dish, and it was absolutely delicious - the best meal I had in San Juan, and there were many, many good ones! I also very much enjoyed the little Cuban touch all around the place, from the old newspaper clippings posted on the walls to the bill that came in a box of Cuban cigars. I would definitely recommend this place for a good meal in the Condado area.
On our 1st day in San Juan, I was looking for a non touristy place to try some local cuisine so we stopped by Manolin for lunch which came highly recommended. This was the perfect place for us, the clientele a mix of locals and more adventurous tourists, seating is either at small tables or at the counter where we ate. Service is very friendly and it's fun to sit at the counter
Favorite Dish: David tried the Mofongo Relleno con Pollo, mashed green plantain stuffed with chicken. That was excellent, it was filled with the taste of garlic and came with a side of rice and beans and fried plantains. I tried the Empanada a la Milanesa, a parmesan breaded steak topped with cheese and tomato. That was also good. Lunch was about $20 total before tip with a beverage. Good food in Old San Juan and not at tourist prices.
Yerba Buena is a charming restaurant on Ashford Avenue in the Condado area. Choose one of the glider tables on the patio fronting Ashford to enjoy the atmosphere of San Juan. Our waiter was attentive and charming, and our service was quite good. It is the Caribbean, you are probably on vacation, so relax and enjoy your beverage and soak up the ambience - don't expect the same pace as you find in the States. You'll have no problems ordering in English in this Cuban/Caribbean cafe. I don't remember what I ate, I'll pay more attention next time, but the food was delicious the two times I was there and reasonably priced at $12-$25 for a nice dinner meal. I would recommend Yerba Buena to anyone looking a taste of the Caribbean and will return myself on my next visit. I have heard that this restaurant is closed on Sunday so I'd confirm before going.
Our cab driver on the way to San Juan (an immigrant to PR from New York City) suggested this amazing restaurant well-known by the locals. After we visited the Fort, we just asked for directions going to it and it is actually near where the cruise ship docks.
We ordered the 2 specials for the day - the fried pork chop which was okay, and the fried chicken which was awesom. You already know this restaurant is nice when you enter and are greeted by a nice lady wearing the all white Puerto Rican dress and turban, and the male servers wear a hat and PR outfit. The diet coke I ordered was also amazing since it came in a nice tin cup! It kept it cold.
My wife liked the custard dessert - it was yummy. The kids wanted Kitkat and bout outside and it was melted due to the heat when we arrived, but the waiter was nice enough to put it in the refrigerator and gave it to them at the end. Great service, Local favourite dishes...
They also have a branch in Caguas - (787)258-1570, Villa Turabo H-31
This was the first of two places Jason and I ate at while we visited Old San Juan. I thought the place was really charming with it's waitresses dressed in costumes. I didn't want anything heavy so I went with a chicken dish. I had Erick's special which was a chicken breast served with mushrooms and peas in a light sauce. I had a side of fried plantains and some beans and rice. Jason had the octopus salad which was served in a big wooden goblet with munfongo. The service was really slow here, but it didn't matter. It was nice to take a break from the mid-day heat and rest our weary toes. I started my meal with some guava juice while Jason stuck to some bottled water. It was all yummy.
Mon-Fri 11am-4pm, 6-10pm; Sat 11am-11pm; Sun noon-11pm
Favorite Dish: I really enjoyed the fried plantains.
Need some snack and good sangria? Go to Maria's. It was my best ever tasted sangria. Moreover you always can dance some salsa in the bar. There will be always someone who will help you to do that :) Did you know that many Hollywood stars were there? You can check on the walls of the bar. An did you know that Maria is still alive? Ask someone for the story of Maria.
I don't understand what is the deal about this Restaurant and I wonder why it is referenced in almost every guidebook. Location is certainly attractive (in one of the hottest spots of Old San Juan close to other bars, restaurants and clubs) but for the rest the Restaurant has the variety, the quality and the ambiance of a regular American Bar&Grill.
The Restaurant is made of a bar overlooking Plaza de San José and an inner dining lounge. On the menu sandwiches, burgers, salads and other American classics such as grilled chicken, grilled salmon, pasta, plus a choice of few Puerto Rican dishes. I decided to go with local food and tried bifstek encebollada (beefsteak with onions), and a stew made of chicken and rice. The plus is that on the menu there is something for every taste, on the other side the place lacks charm and character. It is centrally located in Old San Juan and, if around, you may decide to stop by, but I don't think it is worth to come here on purpose unless you are craving some American-classic bites in an American-classic atmosphere.
The food was fantastic here, and so were the pina coladas.
The staff was horrible though. The hostess was not smiling and acted like she hated her job. Our waiter seemed annoyed that he had to work too. After he took our order it took FOREVER to get our food. People who were coming in after us was getting their food. Once he came with the food he set it down and didn't ask us how were or refilled our drinks, and we were complelty out and very thirsty. We would try to flag him down and he would ignore us.
The place also boasts that they have "live parrots and a tropical forest atmosphere". There was one parrot in a cage in the back and there were some big houseplants around. That was it.....
Favorite Dish: Fajitas
By the way its not Don Pee Pee, its Don PePe's, you would be surprised how often that mistake is made. This is one of the most authentic places for Puerto Rican food and at a economical prices. Be sure to try their fresh plantains that come from the fruit market next door and don't miss out on trying their black bean appetizer. I tried just about everything off the menu and every item left me wanting more, sadly its been six months since I visited so I have to simply live with the memories. The ambience of the restaurant is a plus as the walls are covered with autographed photos of the many famous athletes that have eaten at the restaurant. The only downside is the wait time for your food, but since they cook to order all the entrees I would have to say its well worth the wait.
Another great restaruant/bar/lonuge located here on Calle Fortaleza!! This place is not only gorgeous and upscale, but the food is fantastic!!
I love their tables and whole decor which invites an intimate and relaxing environment. The food could only be described as unique and inspiring. The appetizers are excellent and their drink specialties just complete the whole night. You can also enjoy some excellent wine (always my favorite with such a yummy meal)!
Favorite Dish: Start the evening with an appetizer...the gnocchi and calamari salad are my favorite or have a tuna tarter or their paella bytes or main lobster rolls, for dinner I had the baked jumbo main scallops always my favorite.
The Holiday Inn in Isla Verde has a delicious new restaurant "Coladas" that serves traditional Puerto Rican food. The place is very nicely decorated and the ambience is super friendly. Suprisingly, the prices are very reasonable for hotel fare and the food is really scrumptious. You can go there to eat or just hang out at the bar. It's a fun place besides having great food.
Favorite Dish: My favorite dish is Churasco. This is a delectable steak meal with rice and red beans. The meat was very tender and cooked to perfection. I also tasted my friend's chicken breast stuffed with plantains. That was yummy too. My niece had the snapper topped with a creamy white sauce. For appetizers we had the crispy pork and ceviche. We ordered more ceviche beacuse it was so good. Dessert was the creamy flan, the coconut flan and the brownie with ice cream.
Overlooking Plaze Colon, this bright and airy restaurant is great for a lunchtime snack. The staff here are extremely friendly and were happy to make recommendations from the menu. The walls are decorated with European style art, yet this place is not at all pretentious.
Favorite Dish: For a nice snack with a cooling beer, try a mix of the home made houmous and fresh baked bread, along with tortillia chips and mang salsa
This great little restaurant is very popular with locals. The ambience is very modern, with nice lighting and wonderful decor. This a nice place for a romantic date! Wait staff and sushi chef are all friendly and helpful. Good place for business lunch or dinner- not too noisy, and tables are well spaced.
The owner, Jean Zhang, is from Shanghai, China, and always has a welcoming smile. Jean has worked in the restaurant business in Puerto Rico for about 7 years. Since she opened the restaurant two years ago, it has grown in popularity and developed a loyal following. The tempura is perfectly fried and light, the sushi fish is very fresh, flown in every other day. Come early to avoid crowds on weekends. Nice selection of Sake, served warm or cold. The friendly wait staff speaks English and Espanol, some of the ones I have enjoyed great service from are Krystel Ortiz and Steven Wu.
Seating: about 15 tables, with some dining on the outside patio.
Monday thru Saturday: 1130AM to 3PM, and 5PM to 1130PM
Sunday: 5PM to 1130PM
Favorite Dish: Try the Gold Dragon roll- absolutely fantastic!