Happy Wednesday Friends!
I am hungry just writing this Puerto Rico Travel Guide post. One of the things I miss most about Puerto Rico is definitely the food. There was no shortage of plantains & piña coladas & pineapples and I was in heaven. Every meal was a success and I walked away feeling so full, but so happy. So today, I wanted to round up all of the places that we ate & drank at and share my thoughts on each one. I had done some research on Yelp prior to my trip and for the most part I stuck with my Yelp finds, but there were a few spots that we just stumbled upon.
Puerto Rico Travel Guide (The Best Places To Eat, Drink & Snack In San Juan):
A few disclaimers.
I’m obviously new to the Puerto Rico food scene so I don’t know everything and I didn’t try everything, but my family & I did make an effort to explore and try new restaurants every day and I was really impressed with everywhere that we went. Also, I’m not a food blogger so I struggle with making food look pretty! And a lot of these photos were shot on my phone quickly before we ate. But, I promise it was oh so yummy!
WHERE TO EAT IN SAN JUAN
1025 Ave. Ashford, 00907 San Juan, Puerto Rico
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
I’m so bummed I don’t have any photos of our meal!! This was the first restaurant we went to when we arrived in Puerto Rico and after we got settled into our hotel room.
If you exit the main entrance of The Condado Vanderbilt Hotel and make a left, you will come across all of the restaurants and shops and pretty much all of the action. When we first arrived, we had no idea that was the case so we actually made a right. There were a lot of businesses that hadn’t reopened after the hurricane so you could definitely see the impact. But, we came across Waikiki and since we were starving and just exploring, we decided to pop in.
The place was really nice and there are seats out front that are still covered which is nice in case it rains, seats inside and seats out back with an amazing view of the water. It was super windy the first day we arrived so we just opted to sit inside. My mom & I shared the lobster rice with an order of sweet plantains. And I think my boyfriend got the fried pork with rice and beans. It was a great first meal and our waitress was super nice!
1104 Ave Magdalena, San Juan, Puerto Rico 00907
Overall Rating: 100 out of 5
*Storefront of Kabanas. They have a lone picnic table outside. Then you walk up the steps & they have a few more tables outside and of course seating inside with super strong air conditioning!*
*Our first meal. I got one beef empanada & one pork taco. My mom got the fish tacos. And Eddie got a cheeseburger with fries.*
*Eddie got fresh passion fruit juice. I went with a Strawberry Daiquiri. Pretty disappointing to be honest. Not a lot of strawberry flavor, but a lot of liquor. I’m not a big drinker so I like my drinks fruity & sweet. But, if you’re different than me, you may like it!*
*Eddie & I split a chicken empanada & a pork empanada.*
*My mom ordered a steak taco. I went with a beef taco and Eddie went with a chicken & cheese sandwich.*
*Taco Night! My mom and I both ordered beef tacos. Eddie went with a pulled pork sandwich with cheese.*
*Eddie went with the fresh passion fruit juice again. There are a ton of different fresh juices on the menu and lemonade so I mixed two and went with a watermelon lemonade. It was amazing!!*
*Our last time at Kabanas! My mom and I split the fish tacos & steak tacos. Eddie went with the pulled pork sandwich with cheese and bacon. He said this sandwich was his fave and wish he had ordered it everyday!*
*We saw the table next to us order onion rings so we ordered a serving. So yummy! They were perfectly crispy!*
Today, I have prepared a 500 page essay, or rather a thesis on how amazing Kabanas is and the importance of its existence. Kidding. Kind of. But, no really, this place is amazing.
It was our second meal in Puerto Rico. After an afternoon exploring the resort and lounging by the pool, we all felt 10 times more relaxed, were freshly showered and ready to head out for dinner. I found Kabanas on Yelp and it had amazing reviews and was marked as inexpensive. Kabanas is honestly a 3 minute walk from our hotel, it’s super close. It was Sunday evening so when we arrived it wasn’t busy and the waiter actually greeted us at the door as we walked up the steps. We opted to sit outside since the air conditioning was so strong inside which is great because it’s humid in Puerto Rico, but my mom and I just do no function well in the cold!
The service was absolutely amazing. Our waiter on night one was Juan and he was incredible. The food was amazing and we were still dreaming about it the next day. I’m not lying when I say that we went to Kabanas once a day. We wanted to try different restaurants, but were just so hooked. They make their tortillas and there is cheese inside the tortillas! I honestly can’t eat tacos at any old place anymore because I’m spoiled by Kabanas’ crispy tortillas with cheese.
We tried most of the items on the menu and they are all great. They have traditional tacos like beef, chicken, pork and it’s about $3 per taco. They have speciality tacos like fish which includes the fish of the day and automatically comes with two of them and that’s pricier for about $15, but it is fresh fish! And then they have steak tacos which you can choose how many you like and I believe that’s about $5 each. The tacos come with onion, lettuce and tomato on top. The fish taco has a speciality sauce on it and honestly the fish tacos were the true stars of this place.
They also have deals most nights, especially on beer so if you’re a beer drinker or just looking for a meal on a budget, follow them on Instagram to keep up with their deals. We even went on Taco Tuesday where the classic tacos were $2. I would honestly opt against it. It was super crowded so we had to wait and while the service was still great, they were definitely a bit rushed and our tacos were a little burnt that day. But, overall they are truly so amazing in every aspect, service and food!!
315 Calle Recinto Sur, San Juan, 00901, Puerto Rico
Overall Rating: 5 out of 5
*My mom & I ordered two different items on the menu and chose to share them both so that we could try more dishes! We went with the seafood paella and the shrimp mofongo. Eddie went with the fried pork chunks with fries. We all ordered piña coladas.*
I feel like this one might be a chain since there are three or four other locations, but it’s still amazing nonetheless. This one is actually in Old San Juan. We stumbled upon it on our first day visiting Old San Juan. We had just finished taking photos and I was on Yelp trying to find a spot for lunch, but was so overwhelmed by all of the options so we decided to just walk around. I’m not sure what made us choose Raíces, but I’m so happy we did.
My mom & I decided to treat ourselves so we went with all the seafood. We split the paella and decided to try mofongo for the first time. Mofongo is a Puerto Rican dish that consists of smashed plantains, typically green plantains, garlic and topped with either seafood or meat like steak. I had heard mixed reviews so I was nervous to try it, but omg it’s amazing!! Especially the one at Raíces. Both of the meals my mom and I ordered were amazing and Eddie loved his pork chunks. The true star here were the piña coladas. They make them with Bailey’s here rather than the traditional rum and it is so good!! We went back one day just for drinks because they were that good. I want to try to make them myself because I got so hooked on them. The service was great as well, especially the day we sat at the bar, our waiter was so kind and fun to chat with!
This was probably my second favorite meal because nothing can top Kabanas.
1126 Avenida Doctor Ashford, San Juan, 00907, Puerto Rico
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5
*My mom went with the salmon with rice & beans and sweet plantains. I went with the Puerto Rican Combo so it consisted of pork, rice & beans, sweet plantains and pasteles. Eddie went with pork chunks, rice and fries. He’s so boring lol, are you seeing a theme with his meals?*
*My mom went with the Puerto Rican combo. I went with the sweet plantain mofongo and shrimp. Not sure what Eddie got, but it was definitely pork, rice and sweet plantains.*
Honestly, just by passing Orozco’s you wouldn’t think much of it because the decor and storefront aren’t particularly amazing, but the food is so good! I loved that they offered a Puerto Rican special which just hit the spot. Their mofongo was pretty good as well. They had a trifungo which is a mixture of green plantains, sweet plantains and yuca. I went with the sweet plantains with garlic sauce and shrimp. It was good, but I wish I had gone with the trifungo or just the green plantains. My mom said her salmon was a little dry, but still pretty good.
The have a pretty diverse menu so you can definitely find something there. And I believe they have happy hour all day. Their piña coladas are pretty good. I got a virgin one on our last night and it was great. The service was also great, they were super nice and willing to answer questions here.
Av. Doctor Ashford 1106, Condado, Puerto Rico
Overall Rating: 3 out of 5
*Eddie went with pork, rice and fries. Honestly, he sticks to his basics. My mom and I split our meals again. We got the shrimp mixed rice and the crab stuffed tostones.*
This one was actually a recommendation from one of my mom’s coworkers and to be honest it was our least favorite meal of the trip. The service was great, they were super nice here, but the food was just eh.
Eddie liked his food, but the boy is pretty basic with his menu. Pork, rice and fries all the time. The shrimp mixed rice was pretty disappointing. Not a lot of flavor although the portion was pretty generous. The crab stuffed tostones was okay. I would have loved more seasoning, but it was pretty good. They have all day happy hour and the piña coladas were great.
Overall, I would say to skip this place on your visit. Go around the corner to Kabana’s for some great tacos or walk down a few shops to Orozco’s. It’s also directly in front of the La Concha so they definitely get crowded.
WHERE TO DRINK IN SAN JUAN
STARBUCKS… ANY STARBUCKS
After a day of exploring Old San Juan, we stopped into Starbucks to grab something to rehydrate and wait for our Uber. My go to Starbucks drink is a green tea lemonade, but was pleasantly surprised to see local drinks when I walked in so Eddie and I opted for those. We tried all three during our time there, the mango passion juice, the strawberry lemonade, and some raspberry drink that I can’t recall. The strawberry lemonade was amazing, but the mango passion was a close second. They also have a few local treats like a cheese, nutella pastry that Eddie liked.
I think it’s definitely worth popping in to see the local offerings!
1129 Avenida Doctor Ashford, San Juan, 00907, Puerto Rico
Truly a hole in the wall. It’s actually just a window that you walk up to and order from. I really wanted at least one piña colada in a pineapple while I was there because it combined my two favorite things and because I knew it would make a great Instagram photo. We came across the Piña Loka sign and I was sold because I loved their logo.
I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. I thought that this would be super strong, but at least make for a good photo. But, the actual piña colada was so good and I can’t tell you how cool/amazing it was to drink from the pineapple. This was a little more costly since it came in a full pineapple. I think it was about $15 bucks but honestly worth it. It was a hit at the hotel and we got so many questions about it!
SNACKING IN SAN JUAN
153 Calle de Tetuan, San Juan, 00901, Puerto Rico
*Strawberry Lemonade Popsicle & Mango Popsicle.*
*Strawberry Mango Popsicle & Lemonade Popsicle.*
Señor Paleta’s is iconic in Old San Juan. They typically have a line out front because it’s a pretty small shop and they are so yummy, but the line moves pretty quickly and a few times I passed by, there was no line. They have so many flavors!! They had a ferrero rocher one that my boyfriend had that was great and a ton of fruity flavors. I wish I had tried more flavors! I will say, the popsicles melt so quickly! We got maybe a block away until we had to stop and literally hunch over to try and eat it without getting dirty. But, it made for a nice laugh so it was fun!
You can definitely find something you like. They are so nice and helpful inside and it makes for a really great pic. So random, but there was a homeless man outside of the shop, right in front of the sign and I was trying to take a photo of my popsicle and he actually moved and told me to stand in front of the sign because it would be a better photo! Love that he cared about the gram and he was just so sweet.
There is no shortage of street carts in Old San Juan. My boyfriend told me that at night, if you go by the water, there are a ton of food carts. But, during the day there are a ton that sell these sorbets. After our walk to El Morro, we were tired and in need of a refreshment so we stopped by one of the carts. The man was so nice and so playful, talking in English and Spanish. They had mango, passion fruit, strawberry and coconut. I opted for everything, but strawberry.
It was so cheap at only $2-3 for a cupful. So worth it and so good. You have to at least try one to get into the spirit of being in Old San Juan!
Okay. I’m definitely hungry and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t salivating while writing this Puerto Rico Travel Guide post.
But, I hoped you enjoyed this post and found it helpful. Puerto Rican food is one of my favorite types of food so I was so excited to eat my way through the island and almost every meal was amazing.
Let me know if you have tried any of these spots, plan to, want to or have any other recommendations!
Thanks so much for reading my Puerto Rico Travel Guide!