Puerto Rican food: from traditional to creative and gourmet


Just got back from a week in Puerto Rico and have to say it was fantastic. We are an older couple (mid 60’s) and were a bit worried. But it was great! Everyone was very hospitable and nothing was ever trouble.

My husband and I are retired now. We used to own a restaurant down the Cape (Massachusetts). When we travel, we like to swing by the restaurants and try the local food. Our main goal was to relax and also get to know Puerto Rican flavors.

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We never go blind when traveling. We research online because the more information you gather before you go, the less vulnerable you’ll feel. The search for Puerto Rican restaurants was broad. With the help of other reviews, we were able to pick the ones we wanted to visit. We also left space for planning upon arrival and searched for a good hotel in San Juan. The hotel staff at the Courtyard in San Juan suggested 2 more Puerto Rican restaurants.

I will describe the restaurants as part of this review to help other travelers who are looking to try excellent Puerto Rican food. These 5 were the best. They go from very traditional to more creative and gourmet.

La Casita Blanca

A 30 year-old restaurant distinguished by its authentic flavors and traditional cooking methods. Don’t expect it to be fancy, but the food is great. Once you arrive, they give you free “bacalaítos” (cod fritters) or chicken soup. You can order traditional dishes like plantain stuffed with grounded beef, pig’s feet with garbanzo bean, chicken fricassee, and much more. Head’s up: the menu is in Spanish.

Comedería Fonda Urbana

I like to describe it as the creative version of Puerto Rican food. You can find from classic rice and mashed rooted vegetables to ceviche. We had the pork belly with “mofongo” and the “pastelito”. Both were exquisite!

Restaurante Casita Miramar 

Don’t get confused with the first restaurant I mentioned. This one is called Casita Blanca Miramar. They have authentic Puerto Rican food in a more elegant ambience. You have to try the “chicharrones de dorado”. Fresh and delicious!

Jose Enrique

Don’t be put off by the location. This restaurant should be on your wish list. The snapper with papaya and avocado is the best whole fried fish I’ve ever eaten in my life (and I’m from the Cape!). Their meaty menu is also great. The restaurant is small (very poor acoustic) and there’s usually a long waiting line.

Now that we are back home, we’re dreaming of flying back. Wish I were there: at the Courtyard by Marriott Beach Resort in San Juan laying in a hammock, sipping piña coladas and having the time of my life!