Get a Taste of Puerto Rico at These 5 Restaurants near the Port of San Juan
| Written by: Dana Hornor
San Juan, Puerto Rico has something for everyone; beautiful beaches, a colorful historical district and delicious food! Home of such tropical favorites as the pina colada (no I don’t like getting caught in the rain but I will take one of these smooth, fruity cocktails) and the rich mofongo, it’s easy to stuff yourself. Being that this is the Caribbean though, San Juan’s abundance of pork fried foods and meat-filled offerings are offset by a profusion of tropical fruit, legumes and fresh fish. So after you dock at the Port of San Juan, satisfy your hunger cravings and dive into these samplings that the locals enjoy.
280 Calle Sol, San Juan, 00901, Puerto Rico
Just a short walk from the Port of San Juan is this Puerto Rican cocina criolla (comfort food) favorite, El Jibarito. Named after the folkloric farmer who cultivated the land, El Jibarito is full of traditional dishes like zesty alcapurrias (beef fritters), plantain tamales and meat stews. To get a seat easily, come during the week because it’s chock full of people on the weekends.
176 Calle Duffaut, San Juan, 00907, Puerto Rico
The eponymous Jose Enrique, named after James Beard semi-finalist chef, Jose Enrique, is a culinary standout in the foodie world. Included in Conde Nast Traveler’s 105 best new restaurants, this eatery is serving up a personalized menu prepared daily that incorporates natural and organic products with a focus on vibrant Puerto Rican produce. They make their own hot sauce, longaniza (Spanish sausage), ensalada tropical (tropical salad), cangrejo (crab in fried pastry cups), coffee flan, tembleque (coconut pudding) and more. Come here to delight your taste buds!
364 Calle Fortaleza, Old San Juan, 00901, Puerto Rico
Known for their funky cool décor (aqua blue and golden illuminated walls and hanging jelly fish lights), Aguaviva specializes in “Seaside Latino Cuisine.” Oysters are prepared fresh every day and there are six bright varieties of ceviche.
“The mar y tierra (surf and turf) is one of the best I’ve had- clean and very flavorful!”- Jose Centeno, local and frequent enjoyer of Puerto Rican cuisine.
Named San Juan City magazine’s Best Seafood Restaurant and Best Restaurant for a First Date, Aguaviva is a fun, relaxed spot to have some appetizing cuisine.
The Mezzanine at St. Germain
156 2nd Floor, Calle Sol, San Juan, 00901, Puerto Rico
Step back in time to this old world cocktail lounge on the second floor of the colonial St. Germain Bistro and Café. The menu offers tapas, brunch, lunch and signature cocktails made with freshly squeezed fruit or their unique concoctions with coffee. Prepare for lift off with the jet-fuel like Pharmaceutical Stimulant, a fusion of 100% agave premium tequila reposado, chocolate bitters and espresso. Or if you really want to start the day off with a bang, drink the Morning Fizz, an iced coffee with espresso, vodka and vanilla liquers.
Patio del Nispero
Hotel El Convento, 100 Cristo St., Old San Juan, Puerto Rico 00901
Enjoy breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert in the romantic outdoor setting of Patio del Nispero, the interior courtyard at Hotel El Convento. While the morning away while eating banana nut pancakes in the shadow of the century-old nispero tree or take the night to devour “rico” Puerto Rican mofongo made with fried green plantains, garlic, olive oil, pork cracklings and your choice of meat filling. At just over 10 minutes walking distance from the Port of San Juan, it would be amiss to miss it.