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Rare 125
Rare 125
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The Nine Hottest New Restaurants in San Juan, Puerto Rico

Where to find Roman-style pasta, Latin-inspired sushi, and elaborate tapas

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Rare 125
| Official Site

Today, Eater turns its attention to San Juan, Puerto Rico to focus on nine newish restaurants garnering some serious buzz. Eater has asked local food expert Mikol Hoffman for her picks of the hottest openings of the past 12 months or so.

Like so many other cities, San Juan is in the midst of a food hall revival, whether in the more traditional model (El Mercado de Paseo Caribe) or a more low-key outdoor version (Lote 23). San Juan is also crushing on global food capitals like Lima (Mercado de Lima) and Rome (Bocca Osteria Romana). There's also a gorgeous new brunch destination (Sabrina Brunch & Bistro Bar) and a boundary-pushing new cocktail bar (La Coctelera).

Looking for the essentials? We've got you covered. But for only the newest and hottest, here's the first-ever Eater Heatmap for San Juan:

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Touro Restaurant

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With the launch of Touro, renowned chef Martin Louzao (Cinco Sentidos Group) reaches the height of his creative and culinary expression. The five- or eight-course tasting menu and its elaborate wine and cocktail pairing take you on an interactive and multi-sensorial ride through the foods and utensils of yesteryear, albeit with local ingredients and modern touches. There’s also the elaborate tapas menu with over 44 options to choose from, and at the botanical-style bar, world-class bartender Joey Fernández experiments with tonics, bitters, and rum, resulting in intriguing concoctions.

El Mercado de Paseo Caribe

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El Mercado is a modern, high-end food hall inside upscale waterfront residential complex Paseo Caribe. The gourmet eatery brings together concepts from all over the island, showing off trends from locavorism to ice pops. Here, newcomers like Café Alto Grande and the Noodle Merchant rub elbows with well-known local favorites like Levain Artisan Breads from Aguadilla, Double Cake from Calle Loíza, La Hacienda from Miramar, Señor Paleta from Old San Juan, and Nonna from Santurce.

Rare 125

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Move over, steakhouses of old. As a newcomer to the up-and-coming dining district of Miramar, Rare 125 Neighborhood Grill is already poised to become a neighborhood favorite with its excellent cuts, sides, and sauces. The space is upscale and trendy without the pretensions of white tablecloths, and it provides top-notch service. The lunch options are enticing, with bento box–style steak lunches for $15.

Lote 23

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Lote 23, or “El Lote,” as it’s affectionately known by locals, exemplifies Santurce’s transformation: This once-abandoned lot has been reclaimed and transformed into a culinary mecca for the hip, trendy, and hungry. The open-air space showcases 16 kiosks from veteran local chefs exploring new concepts, like Raúl Correa’s pizza truck, Martin Louzao’s Peruvian fare, and Xavier Pacheco’s creative tacos. Modern, traditional, and exotic flavors intermingle here: you’ll find baos, fried chicken, donuts, sliders, coffee, cocktails, and more. Picnic tables, community games, and murals by local artists fill the multilevel terraces, keeping in line with Santurce’s funky urban vibe.

Sabrina Brunch & Bistro Bar

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Named for Audrey Hepburn’s cinema classic Sabrina, this new bistro has become the spot for a girl’s night out or a boozy Sunday brunch. Owned and operated by chef Mario Ormaza, a Jean-Georges alum and owner of Café Tresbé just across the street, the menu offers traditional-meets-tropical fare, like an eggs benedict with mashed plantains and local sausage. The decor is full-on Caribbean chic, lush with colors, textures, and greenery.

La Coctelera

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At La Coctelera, another addition to the buzzing dining and nightlife scene on Calle Loíza, the creative food and cocktails share center stage. The self-described gastrobar occupies a modern and industrial space, and boasts an innovative cocktail list with items like the Tesla — served in a lightbulb — and an elevated bar food menu with offerings from dark beer-batter pizzas to bloody mary soup. Many items are meant to be shared, so be sure to come with friends.

The latest venture from chef Jonathan Cruz (formerly with Mere Pescao), Shibō combines traditional Asian and Latin dishes into eclectic, contemporary, and flavor-popping creations: sweet plantain dumplings, miso-mofongo, and kimchi-chaufa are a just few of the innovative hybrids. The casual space prides itself on its Latin-Asian soul food concept, and, indeed, the portions are large and flavorful enough to comfort.

Bocca Osteria Romana

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Bocca is the latest venture from the Salvatore brothers (Acapulco Taquerías), and with this Italian eatery the brothers have succeeded again in providing straightforward, soul-satisfying cuisine. The beauty is in its simplicity: Italian fare straight from Rome and fit for purists. Chef Alessandro personally inspects every dish before it leaves the open kitchen, ensuring the freshly made pasta is perfectly al dente and there’s no cheese where it doesn't belong. Some iconic Roman pastas, like amatriciana and carbonara, are mainstays on the daily changing menu — and keep an eye out for handmade gnocchi and some of the city's best tiramisu.

Mercado de Lima

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From the hitmakers that brought the city Lima, Bartola, and Oveja Negra comes this Peruvian establishment in the heart of San Juan’s financial district. Mercado de Lima’s concept is market-style dining — albeit in a more comfortable and fashionable setting — with open kitchen, fresh fish counter, and exposed concrete walls. The sea-to-table restaurant brings together time-honored Peruvian recipes and customs, like personally selecting your fish of the day. If you only try one dish, make it the exquisite ceviche prepared al momento.

Touro Restaurant

With the launch of Touro, renowned chef Martin Louzao (Cinco Sentidos Group) reaches the height of his creative and culinary expression. The five- or eight-course tasting menu and its elaborate wine and cocktail pairing take you on an interactive and multi-sensorial ride through the foods and utensils of yesteryear, albeit with local ingredients and modern touches. There’s also the elaborate tapas menu with over 44 options to choose from, and at the botanical-style bar, world-class bartender Joey Fernández experiments with tonics, bitters, and rum, resulting in intriguing concoctions.

El Mercado de Paseo Caribe

El Mercado is a modern, high-end food hall inside upscale waterfront residential complex Paseo Caribe. The gourmet eatery brings together concepts from all over the island, showing off trends from locavorism to ice pops. Here, newcomers like Café Alto Grande and the Noodle Merchant rub elbows with well-known local favorites like Levain Artisan Breads from Aguadilla, Double Cake from Calle Loíza, La Hacienda from Miramar, Señor Paleta from Old San Juan, and Nonna from Santurce.

Rare 125

Move over, steakhouses of old. As a newcomer to the up-and-coming dining district of Miramar, Rare 125 Neighborhood Grill is already poised to become a neighborhood favorite with its excellent cuts, sides, and sauces. The space is upscale and trendy without the pretensions of white tablecloths, and it provides top-notch service. The lunch options are enticing, with bento box–style steak lunches for $15.

Lote 23

Lote 23, or “El Lote,” as it’s affectionately known by locals, exemplifies Santurce’s transformation: This once-abandoned lot has been reclaimed and transformed into a culinary mecca for the hip, trendy, and hungry. The open-air space showcases 16 kiosks from veteran local chefs exploring new concepts, like Raúl Correa’s pizza truck, Martin Louzao’s Peruvian fare, and Xavier Pacheco’s creative tacos. Modern, traditional, and exotic flavors intermingle here: you’ll find baos, fried chicken, donuts, sliders, coffee, cocktails, and more. Picnic tables, community games, and murals by local artists fill the multilevel terraces, keeping in line with Santurce’s funky urban vibe.

Sabrina Brunch & Bistro Bar

Named for Audrey Hepburn’s cinema classic Sabrina, this new bistro has become the spot for a girl’s night out or a boozy Sunday brunch. Owned and operated by chef Mario Ormaza, a Jean-Georges alum and owner of Café Tresbé just across the street, the menu offers traditional-meets-tropical fare, like an eggs benedict with mashed plantains and local sausage. The decor is full-on Caribbean chic, lush with colors, textures, and greenery.

La Coctelera

At La Coctelera, another addition to the buzzing dining and nightlife scene on Calle Loíza, the creative food and cocktails share center stage. The self-described gastrobar occupies a modern and industrial space, and boasts an innovative cocktail list with items like the Tesla — served in a lightbulb — and an elevated bar food menu with offerings from dark beer-batter pizzas to bloody mary soup. Many items are meant to be shared, so be sure to come with friends.

Shibō

The latest venture from chef Jonathan Cruz (formerly with Mere Pescao), Shibō combines traditional Asian and Latin dishes into eclectic, contemporary, and flavor-popping creations: sweet plantain dumplings, miso-mofongo, and kimchi-chaufa are a just few of the innovative hybrids. The casual space prides itself on its Latin-Asian soul food concept, and, indeed, the portions are large and flavorful enough to comfort.

Bocca Osteria Romana

Bocca is the latest venture from the Salvatore brothers (Acapulco Taquerías), and with this Italian eatery the brothers have succeeded again in providing straightforward, soul-satisfying cuisine. The beauty is in its simplicity: Italian fare straight from Rome and fit for purists. Chef Alessandro personally inspects every dish before it leaves the open kitchen, ensuring the freshly made pasta is perfectly al dente and there’s no cheese where it doesn't belong. Some iconic Roman pastas, like amatriciana and carbonara, are mainstays on the daily changing menu — and keep an eye out for handmade gnocchi and some of the city's best tiramisu.

Mercado de Lima

From the hitmakers that brought the city Lima, Bartola, and Oveja Negra comes this Peruvian establishment in the heart of San Juan’s financial district. Mercado de Lima’s concept is market-style dining — albeit in a more comfortable and fashionable setting — with open kitchen, fresh fish counter, and exposed concrete walls. The sea-to-table restaurant brings together time-honored Peruvian recipes and customs, like personally selecting your fish of the day. If you only try one dish, make it the exquisite ceviche prepared al momento.

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