The Ultimate Foodie’s Guide to Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is known for its vibrant culture, rich history, and of course, its delicious cuisine. From traditional dishes to modern fusion, the island has something to offer every type of foodie. In this guide, we’ll explore the ultimate foodie’s guide to Puerto Rico, including the best restaurants, street food, and culinary experiences the island has to offer. And if you’re looking for more than just food, we’ll also include some of the best activities to do in Puerto Rico to make the most out of your trip.

Best Restaurants in Puerto Rico

  • Marmalade – Located in Old San Juan, Marmalade offers a fine dining experience with a modern, creative twist on traditional Puerto Rican cuisine. The restaurant’s unique menu changes frequently and features fresh, locally sourced ingredients.
  • Casa Lola – Casa Lola, also located in Old San Juan, offers a cozy atmosphere and a menu that celebrates Puerto Rico’s rich culinary heritage. Try their signature dish, the mofongo, a classic Puerto Rican dish made with mashed plantains and a variety of savory fillings.
  • La Estación – Located in Fajardo, La Estación is a farm-to-table restaurant that specializes in fresh seafood and local produce. The restaurant’s rustic, industrial decor adds to its unique charm.
  • Santaella – This trendy restaurant in the Santurce neighborhood of San Juan offers a modern twist on classic Puerto Rican dishes. Try their version of arroz con gandules, a traditional rice dish made with pigeon peas and pork.
  • Pikayo – Pikayo, located in the Condado neighborhood of San Juan, is a high-end restaurant that offers a fusion of Puerto Rican and international cuisine. The restaurant’s elegant decor and stunning views of the city make it the perfect spot for a special occasion.

Best Street Food a Foodie’s Guide

  • Pinchos – Pinchos, or skewers of meat, are a popular street food in Puerto Rico. You’ll find them at roadside stands and food trucks throughout the island. Try them with a side of tostones, crispy fried plantains.
  • Empanadillas – These fried turnovers filled with meat or cheese are a Puerto Rican staple. Look for them at local bakeries and street vendors.
  • Alcapurrias – Alcapurrias are fritters made with a mixture of green bananas and yucca, filled with meat or seafood. They’re a popular street food in Puerto Rico, especially on the beach.
  • Bacalaitos – Bacalaitos are crispy, deep-fried cod fritters. They’re a popular snack or side dish in Puerto Rico and can be found at street vendors and small restaurants.
  • Lechon – Lechon, or roasted pig, is a traditional Puerto Rican dish that’s often served at special occasions and festivals. You’ll find it at roadside stands and food trucks throughout the island.

Amazing Culinary Experiences

  • Cooking Classes – Take a cooking class and learn how to make traditional Puerto Rican dishes like arroz con pollo, tostones, and flan. Many cooking classes offer farm-to-table experiences where you can pick your own ingredients.
  • Coffee Plantation Tours – Puerto Rico is known for its coffee, and taking a tour of a coffee plantation is a must for any coffee lover. Learn about the history of coffee in Puerto Rico and taste some of the island’s best brews.
  • Food Tours – Take a food tour of Old San Juan and taste some of the island’s best street food and local dishes. You’ll also learn about the city’s rich history and culture along the way.
  • Rum Distillery Tours – Puerto Rico is also known for its rum, and taking a tour of a rum distillery is a great way to learn about the island’s rich history of rum production. Visit Casa Bacardí in Cataño, the largest premium rum distillery in the world, and taste some of their award-winning rums.

Best Local Dishes to Try in Puerto Rico

  • Mofongo – Mofongo is one of the most popular dishes in Puerto Rico. It is made with mashed plantains, garlic, and pork cracklings. It is often served with seafood, chicken, or beef.
  • Arroz con Gandules – Arroz con gandules is a traditional Puerto Rican dish made with rice, pigeon peas, and pork. It is often served with a side of tostones.
  • Lechón – Lechón is roasted pork that is marinated in a special blend of herbs and spices. It is a staple of Puerto Rican cuisine and is often served at special occasions and holidays.
  • Asopao – Asopao is a hearty soup made with chicken or seafood, rice, and vegetables. It is often served as a main dish and is perfect for a chilly evening.
  • Alcapurrias – Alcapurrias are tasty fritters made with plantains and yucca. They are filled with savoury meat or juciy seafood. They are often served as a snack or appetizer, and they are a must try!

Top Restaurants in Puerto Rico for a Foodie

  • La Casita Blanca – This family-owned restaurant in San Juan serves traditional Puerto Rican dishes in a cozy, casual atmosphere.
  • La Placita de Santurce – La Placita de Santurce is a popular open-air market in San Juan that comes alive at night with live music and street food vendors serving traditional Puerto Rican dishes.
  • Jose Enrique – Located in the trendy neighborhood of Santurce in San Juan. Jose Enrique is a popular restaurant that serves creative takes on traditional Puerto Rican dishes.
  • Pirilo – Pirilo is a pizzeria in Old San Juan that is known for its creative pizzas and craft cocktails.
  • El Jibarito – This restaurant in Old San Juan serves traditional Puerto Rican dishes in a charming, colonial setting.

Best Activities in Puerto Rico Besides Eating

Aside from enjoying the delicious food and drink, there are plenty of activities to keep you busy in Puerto Rico.

  • Visit El Yunque National Forest – El Yunque National Forest is a beautiful rainforest that is home to waterfalls, hiking trails, and incredible views.
  • Explore Old San Juan – Old San Juan is a charming, historic neighborhood that is home to colorful buildings, cobblestone streets, and plenty of shops and restaurants.
  • Take a Bioluminescent Bay Tour – Puerto Rico is home to three bioluminescent bays, where you can experience the natural phenomenon of glowing water caused by bioluminescent plankton.
  • Go Beach Hopping – Puerto Rico is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. From bustling beaches like Isla Verde to secluded coves like Playa Flamenco, there is a beach for every type of traveler.

Final Thoughts

Puerto Rico is a food lover’s paradise, with plenty of delicious dishes and drinks to try. From traditional Puerto Rican cuisine to creative takes on global dishes, there is something for everyone. Be sure to also take advantage of the many activities and attractions that Puerto Rico has to offer, anything from exploring the rainforest to beach hopping. A trip to Puerto Rico is sure to be a memorable culinary and cultural experience.