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A chef holds a tray of vegetables over an open wood fire, while a spatchcocked chicken roasts nearby.
Grilling at Leña Eh in the Miramar Food Truck Park.
Leña Eh

The 24 Essential San Juan Restaurants

Freshly grilled seafood from a spearfishing chef, a weekly pizza party at a hip bakery, crab fritters from a beachside shack, and more great bites to try now in San Juan

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Grilling at Leña Eh in the Miramar Food Truck Park.
| Leña Eh

In San Juan, Puerto Rico, the fried alcapurrias and banana leaf-wrapped pasteles of comida criolla, the local blend of Indigenous Taíno, African, and Spanish ingredients and flavors, are everywhere. They are at the kiosks of Piñones and in the glossy restaurants of the city’s best chefs. But to come to Puerto Rico for only Puerto Rican food would be a disservice to the imagination. The bar scene is constantly expanding with new venues for cocktails that rival the stalwart La Factoria, and the city’s cafes are perpetually invigorated by the growing nation.

This ever-growing dining and drinking scene has thrived despite ongoing crises both natural and political. The archipelago has been under the control of the United States since 1898, and colonial control has had long impacts on agriculture and culinary culture. Serving local produce requires commitment and relationships with farmers, and the same goes for seafood. Part of the Jones Act of 1920 requires all trade to be done on U.S.-owned boats staffed by U.S. workers, which makes many imports quite expensive. Taking care with cuisine under these conditions requires persistence and knowledge. Luckily, many chefs are willing to put in that work.

Updated, October 2022:

After Hurricane Maria in 2017, the COVID-19 pandemic, and most recently Hurricane Fiona, restaurants and bars continue to push ahead in San Juan. More chefs are focusing on local and sustainably sourced ingredients, including more creative vegetarian dishes and local seafood, while importers are bringing in new natural wines that have enlivened a scene previously focused on Spanish and Californian bottles.

We update this list quarterly to make sure it reflects the ever-changing San Juan dining scene.

Paulina Salach Antonetti is a culinary tourism operator and event producer based in San Juan. She is the co-founder of Spoon and Puerto Rico Restaurant Week.

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La Factoría

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An Old San Juan stalwart since its opening in 2013, La Factoria has expanded in the years since into an institution, often appearing on the list of the World’s 50 Best Bars. It is still a go-to for its Lavender Mule, where lavender gives floral balance to a Moscow mule; the La Champeta, with Don Q Añejo rum, pineapple, and fermented ginger; and the Garibaldi Criollo, where Campari is infused with acerola, a Caribbean cherry. If wine is desired, Vino, right behind the main bar, provides a selection.

A tall cocktail on a bar, with two pineapple fronds and a pineapple wedge sticking out the top. The cocktail is a milky yellow with a foamy head. The bar is lit by neon
The Champeta with rum, pineapple, and fermented ginger
Ricardo M Hernandez

Mercado Agrícola de Viejo San Juan

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Every Saturday morning by El Morro, a fort from the Spanish colonial times and a national park, a dozen or so vendors line up at this farmers’ market to sell not just locally grown produce, piques flavored with local fruits, giant tropical flowers, and vanilla beans, but plant-based milks, desserts, and vegan sushi. This is not to be missed for a glimpse at what agroecological farmers are growing, as well as ready-made foods for a walking breakfast while seeing the sights.

La Taberna Lúpulo

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Beer bar Lúpulo is always blasting the best playlist and serving a wide array of beers on draft as well as in bottles and cans. Focus your drinking efforts on local breweries, such as those from Boxlab in Aguadilla on the island’s west coast or Zurc Brauhouse in Coamo. Everything pairs well with the bar food selection, including some truly wonderful French fries and an excellent Cubano.

A restaurant exterior on a sunny day.
Outside Lúpulo.
Discover PR

Pio Pio

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Old San Juan’s Plaza de Armas bustles during the day as locals, visitors, and  office workers descend on the area’s coffee kiosks. At night, though, it tends to  quiet down. Here, far from the dives of Cristo and San Sebastían streets, wine bar Pío Pío serves a big menu of sparkling wine, paired with seasonal small  plates like oysters Rockefeller; beef tartare; and a salad of chrysanthemum greens, silken tofu dressing, hazelnuts, and chayote. There’s even a Negroni  piragua, a decidedly adult take on the local street cart treat of shaved ice and  flavored syrup. 

Deaverdura

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In Old San Juan, Deaverdura is a staple of comida criolla, the Puerto Rican cuisine that blends local Taíno ingredients with Spanish and African influences. Pasteles, carne frita, tostones, and more create glorious smells wafting from the kitchen into the street, which explains why this corner stop is always drawing a crowd of locals and visitors alike. While the menu is meat-focused, there is seafood and they’re always able to do vegan and vegetarian dishes as well.

Tiny but mighty, Spiga is a beloved Old San Juan gem that bakes its own sourdough loaves daily for sandwiches and toast, as well as chocolate chip walnut cookies no one leaves without. Breakfasts of scrambled eggs with tomato, spinach, and feta are simple, but made special by the bread; for lunch, there are daily house-made pastas, occasional lasagna, and satisfying salads.

A loaf of bread sliced in half and displayed on a wooden panel to reveal the crumb inside
The crumb
Spiga [Facebook]

Bodega Chic

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This French bistro in Old San Juan is known for its weekend brunch, with mushroom and blue cheese quiche, but the dinner, too, lives up to the hype. Here, the classics are on offer, from duck confit to coq au vin to trout amandine, in a convivial atmosphere that will take you out of the touristic restaurant path just one block away.

A building exterior with classic San Juan Spanish colonial architecture and signage for Bodega Chic restaurant
Outside Bodega Chic
Bodega Chic [Official]

El Vino Crudo

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Natural wine bar El Vino Crudo operates in an expansive space in Old San Juan that maintains all the character of the old city while coming off beautifully minimalist and modern. It’s operating as both a shop and bar, so take the opportunity to pick up some bottles for the beach, especially since the importers are attuned to the hot weather, providing lots of light reds, rosés, and skin-contact wines. El Vino Crudo is a chill experience in a city where drinking spots tend to get rowdy, making it a respite to enjoy a glass with olives, artichokes, local cheeses, and other Italian snacks.

Corked wine bottles stick out of a hidden ice bucket along a wall. A bust of Frida Kahlo serving as a planter sits nearby
Bottles chilling at El Vino Crudo
Alicia Kennedy

Celeste

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Seafood bar meets wine bar at Celeste in Puerta de Tierra, an area nestled between Old San Juan and Condado. Chef and proprietor Sebastián Martínez Tully prepares elegant dishes inspired by Puerto Rico’s bounty. The squid ink ceviche, aged tuna with Meyer lemon, tamarind brown butter anchovy toast, and grilled sepia are not to be missed. The carefully curated wines come from small wineries. 

From above, a plate of fish covered in chili crisp, greens, and a lime wedge.
Grilled sepia with fried peanuts, spicy chili crisp, crispy recao, and lime.
Celeste

Chef and owner Carlos Portela’s menu changes almost daily and is driven by the produce, fish, and meat available from his local purveyors. The prix fixe menu could be anywhere from 15 to 24 courses, and the experience can last up to five delectable hours. The wine pairings, chosen and poured by chef Portela himself, are equally impressive. Dining at Orujo is like going to a jazz concert and a symphony rolled into one, with bursts of improvisation and moments of exact precision.

A slice of duck breast presented on a small mound of grits.
Duck breast with white corn grits.
Spoon

Peko Peko

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They don’t take reservations at this narrow Miramar ramen joint, so arrive early — though if you have to wait, it’s well worth it for their house-made noodles, intensely spicy vegan broth, various mazemen preparations, and katsu. The appetizers, such as fried trumpet mushrooms, potato croquettes, and edamame, are filling, so order accordingly. This is an excellent spot for those who don’t eat meat, as there are three vegan ramens to choose from.

A bowl of ramen, with noodles curled to one side in the broth. Toppings include edamame, scallion, onion, tomato, mushrooms, and some sort of crunchy sticks
Ramen
Alicia Kennedy

Leña Eh

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Chef Ruben Guzman’s superb cooking over an open fire makes the Miramar Food Truck Park a must visit destination in San Juan. Signature dishes include the choripán sandwich with chimichurri, roasted chicken thigh, and grilled catch of the day, often spearfished by chef Guzman himself. The grilled eggplant is a superb vegetarian option.

A chef holds a tray of vegetables over an open wood fire, while a spatchcocked chicken roasts nearby.
The open fire at Leña Eh.
Leña Eh

Cocina al Fondo

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Chef Natalia Vallejo shut down her Miramar restaurant when the pandemic  hit, and now she’s back in a brand-new, bigger space. A charming renovated  house with an ample backyard provides a stunning setting for her updated, vegetable- and seafood-forward takes on Puerto Rican cuisine, skipping over well-known staples like mofongo to focus on deeper cuts. Vallejo serves a terrine  of beet and goat cheese with toasted bread, pastelillos (or empanadas) filled  with pumpkin, ají dulce (a local sweet pepper) fried tempura-style, buñuelos of mashed root vegetables, perfectly cooked catch of a day, a vegetarian pastelón, and much more on the newly expanded menu. Dessert, a cocktail list by Karla Z. Torres, and a thoughtful wine selection aren’t afterthoughts, but complementary to Vallejo’s cooking. 

A round mound of pastelon topped with a pile of french fries beside a salad on a decorative plate, with a bottle of wine nearby
Vegetarian pastelón
Alicia Kennedy

When the occasion calls for a fancy dinner, there is none better than 1919, where chef Juan José Cuevas uses local produce, meat, and seafood to create exquisite tasting menus that can be made vegetarian or vegan upon request. Located inside the luxe Condado Vanderbilt Hotel, the food has far more substance than the big hotel-style environs might suggest, as Cuevas cooked at New York’s legendary Blue Hill before returning home to Puerto Rico to give local ingredients the fine dining treatment.

An empty table in a dining room, with a view beyond into a darkened sky and sea
Inside 1919
Facebook

Taberna Medalla

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Those who have followed the dining scene in San Juan for the last decade will know of chef María Mercedes Grubb, who closed her longtime Santurce restaurant Gallo Negro at the end of 2019. She’s back now, overseeing the menu at this Condado venue overlooking the ocean, putting her signature spin on comforting bar food. An oyster mushroom choripan sandwich, mussels in beer broth, soft pretzels, a signature burger, and okra fries make this family-friendly outdoor restaurant an easy choice in the neighborhood. As a bonus, local DJs are usually playing.

Los Guapos Taquería y Mercado Mexicano

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Simply put, Mexican food in San Juan has never been great. But Los Guapos, from chefs Xavier Pacheco and Gaby Antúnez, is turning the tide with fresh ingredients and care. The burritos, chilaquiles, and micheladas are especially superb, making it a go-to for weekend lunch. 

A hand squeezes a taco overflowing with pulled saucy meat, crispy cheese, pickled onion, and cilantro
Taco de costra de queso
Los Guapos/Facebook

Panoteca San Miguel

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Diego San Miguel opened this bakery in Cupey, a San Juan suburb, and in a few months made it a destination where items sell out daily. Options include sourdough breads, a selection of wines, cheese, and other high-end pantry options, as well as some pastries and local sweet breads, such as Mallorcas. Thursday night pizza is a real draw, when the line extends into the parking lot for New York-style pies, often made by local guest chefs. 

An oval-shaped pizza cut into wedges, topped with tomato sauce, globs of cheese, and leaves of basil. The pizza is in a cardboard box with one slice missing
Pizza from Panoteca San Miguel
Alicia Kennedy

La Penultima

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This industry hangout came back from the pandemic with a natural wine selection and revamped (but still exceptional) cocktail lineup. The new drink menu features a martini infused with sesame, a daiquiri made with the local agricola rum Ron Pepón, and a spicy hibiscus margarita. Thankfully, the food menu is just as well executed, with bar food you’d expect like wings and burgers, plus veggie lo mein, smoked gouda croquettes, and a barbecue portobello sandwich.

A paper-lined basked of chicken wings, another basked behind it, and a martini on a wood bar with a server standing nearby
Wings and a martini
Alicia Kennedy

Mai Pen Rai

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Chef Kelly Pirro has created a menu with a focus on Southeast Asia, which is a refreshing alternative to the abundant Chinese and Japanese restaurants. Thai curries, banh mi, a healing tom yum soup, and satisfying laab. This is also one of the most vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free-friendly restaurants in San Juan, making it a safe bet when one has a varied party to entertain.

Mai Pen Rai [Official]

Oriundo

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Tucked behind Cocina Abierta (worth a visit on its own), Oriundo is chef Martín Louzao’s newest experimental concept. Louzao, a long-time restaurateur and creative, pays homage to Puerto Rico’s forgotten and underutilized ingredients in a monthly dinner series. Seatings are announced on the restaurant’s Instagram page and sold out within hours. Each dinner includes prix fixe menus for omnivores, pescatarians, and vegetarians, along with thoughtfully selected wine pairings by sommelier Michelle Negrón. A few recent pop-ups paid tribute to pana (breadfruit) and the Caribbean land crab. Top chefs from the Caribbean and Latin America frequently make appearances, showing up with native ingredients of their own. If you can score a reservation, you’re in for a memorable experience. 

A plate of calamari in a pool of black sauce with bright white beans.
Reef calamar, white beans, jazmín rice.
Oriundo

When the strictest local lockdown was lifted during the COVID-19 pandemic, chef Francis Guzmán started a pop-up series with many local chefs who were either out of work or running their own restaurants, giving them a chance to put together a prix fixe menu. Since then, the chef has hit an incredible stride, serving dishes both locally and globally inspired. The Raíces Locales appetizer, with beet and other root vegetables (the restaurant’s name refers to them), horseradish cream, and a dusting of fresh dill cannot be missed for its matching of earthiness and brightness. The wine list dips into surprising choices that don’t always abound locally, like a rosé Zweigelt with a dry punch that pairs beautifully with the locally sourced vegetable and seafood-focused menu.  

A stylish dining room interior with lots of light, cement flooring, pendant lights over the bar, and a wooden back bar
Inside Vianda
Adnelly Marichal

Sur Barra Nikkei

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After staging with chefs Gastón Ocurio and Rafael Osterling in Peru, chef Rafa Ubior returned to his native Puerto Rico to open Sur, a Nikkei spot in the heart of Santurce. Here, chef Ubior fuses classic Japanese and Peruvian cuisines with locally sourced ingredients and a strong focus on sustainably sourced fish. The raw bar doubles as a cocktail bar where you can sip on a superb Negroni or grape pisco sour, paired alongside a red snapper tiradito, ají amarillo ceviche, or octopus tempura sushi roll. High Kitchen, the sister restaurant and food pantry next door, serves the best fried chicken in town (weekdays, lunch only).

Pieces of snapper artfully arranged in a pool of deep orange sauce.
Snapper Tiradito.
Sur Barra Nikkei

Tía Dora

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After an inspiring month-long trip to Israel, chef Rául Correa opened Tía Dora alongside longtime friend and sous chef, Juan Lebrón. The duo plate up Mediterranean-inspired dishes that are a pleasant addition to San Juan’s dining scene. Dishes are meant to be shared. Start with any of the spectacular mezze, including labneh with confit tomatoes, followed by lamb kebab, pasta with local mushrooms and coconut ragu, and salmon with chermoula. Located in Ocean Park, Tía Dora is a great post-beach option.

A closeup on hummus topped with half an avocado, chickpeas, and oil.
Hummus at Tía Dora.
Tía Dora

Kiosko El Boricua

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Minutes from the San Juan airport, Piñones is a rustic neighborhood deeply rooted in African tradition. It’s famous for its beachside shacks hawking endless frituras, or fried foods, including the favorite, Kiosko el Boricua. Locals line up for the handmade alcapurrias, a green banana and yautia fritter filled with meat or crab, pastelillos filled with the same, and fried rice with jueyes, or crab. Wash them down with a cold Medalla, the local light pale lager that cuts the fat of the frituras and cools you down in the sun.

A roadside restaurant and outdoor covered seating area with advertisements and Puerto Rican flags flying
Outside Kiosko El Boricua
Kiosko El Boricua/Facebook

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La Factoría

An Old San Juan stalwart since its opening in 2013, La Factoria has expanded in the years since into an institution, often appearing on the list of the World’s 50 Best Bars. It is still a go-to for its Lavender Mule, where lavender gives floral balance to a Moscow mule; the La Champeta, with Don Q Añejo rum, pineapple, and fermented ginger; and the Garibaldi Criollo, where Campari is infused with acerola, a Caribbean cherry. If wine is desired, Vino, right behind the main bar, provides a selection.

A tall cocktail on a bar, with two pineapple fronds and a pineapple wedge sticking out the top. The cocktail is a milky yellow with a foamy head. The bar is lit by neon
The Champeta with rum, pineapple, and fermented ginger
Ricardo M Hernandez

Mercado Agrícola de Viejo San Juan

Every Saturday morning by El Morro, a fort from the Spanish colonial times and a national park, a dozen or so vendors line up at this farmers’ market to sell not just locally grown produce, piques flavored with local fruits, giant tropical flowers, and vanilla beans, but plant-based milks, desserts, and vegan sushi. This is not to be missed for a glimpse at what agroecological farmers are growing, as well as ready-made foods for a walking breakfast while seeing the sights.

La Taberna Lúpulo

Beer bar Lúpulo is always blasting the best playlist and serving a wide array of beers on draft as well as in bottles and cans. Focus your drinking efforts on local breweries, such as those from Boxlab in Aguadilla on the island’s west coast or Zurc Brauhouse in Coamo. Everything pairs well with the bar food selection, including some truly wonderful French fries and an excellent Cubano.

A restaurant exterior on a sunny day.
Outside Lúpulo.
Discover PR

Pio Pio

Old San Juan’s Plaza de Armas bustles during the day as locals, visitors, and  office workers descend on the area’s coffee kiosks. At night, though, it tends to  quiet down. Here, far from the dives of Cristo and San Sebastían streets, wine bar Pío Pío serves a big menu of sparkling wine, paired with seasonal small  plates like oysters Rockefeller; beef tartare; and a salad of chrysanthemum greens, silken tofu dressing, hazelnuts, and chayote. There’s even a Negroni  piragua, a decidedly adult take on the local street cart treat of shaved ice and  flavored syrup. 

Deaverdura

In Old San Juan, Deaverdura is a staple of comida criolla, the Puerto Rican cuisine that blends local Taíno ingredients with Spanish and African influences. Pasteles, carne frita, tostones, and more create glorious smells wafting from the kitchen into the street, which explains why this corner stop is always drawing a crowd of locals and visitors alike. While the menu is meat-focused, there is seafood and they’re always able to do vegan and vegetarian dishes as well.

Spiga

Tiny but mighty, Spiga is a beloved Old San Juan gem that bakes its own sourdough loaves daily for sandwiches and toast, as well as chocolate chip walnut cookies no one leaves without. Breakfasts of scrambled eggs with tomato, spinach, and feta are simple, but made special by the bread; for lunch, there are daily house-made pastas, occasional lasagna, and satisfying salads.

A loaf of bread sliced in half and displayed on a wooden panel to reveal the crumb inside
The crumb
Spiga [Facebook]

Bodega Chic

This French bistro in Old San Juan is known for its weekend brunch, with mushroom and blue cheese quiche, but the dinner, too, lives up to the hype. Here, the classics are on offer, from duck confit to coq au vin to trout amandine, in a convivial atmosphere that will take you out of the touristic restaurant path just one block away.

A building exterior with classic San Juan Spanish colonial architecture and signage for Bodega Chic restaurant
Outside Bodega Chic
Bodega Chic [Official]

El Vino Crudo

Natural wine bar El Vino Crudo operates in an expansive space in Old San Juan that maintains all the character of the old city while coming off beautifully minimalist and modern. It’s operating as both a shop and bar, so take the opportunity to pick up some bottles for the beach, especially since the importers are attuned to the hot weather, providing lots of light reds, rosés, and skin-contact wines. El Vino Crudo is a chill experience in a city where drinking spots tend to get rowdy, making it a respite to enjoy a glass with olives, artichokes, local cheeses, and other Italian snacks.

Corked wine bottles stick out of a hidden ice bucket along a wall. A bust of Frida Kahlo serving as a planter sits nearby
Bottles chilling at El Vino Crudo
Alicia Kennedy

Celeste

Seafood bar meets wine bar at Celeste in Puerta de Tierra, an area nestled between Old San Juan and Condado. Chef and proprietor Sebastián Martínez Tully prepares elegant dishes inspired by Puerto Rico’s bounty. The squid ink ceviche, aged tuna with Meyer lemon, tamarind brown butter anchovy toast, and grilled sepia are not to be missed. The carefully curated wines come from small wineries. 

From above, a plate of fish covered in chili crisp, greens, and a lime wedge.
Grilled sepia with fried peanuts, spicy chili crisp, crispy recao, and lime.
Celeste

Orujo

Chef and owner Carlos Portela’s menu changes almost daily and is driven by the produce, fish, and meat available from his local purveyors. The prix fixe menu could be anywhere from 15 to 24 courses, and the experience can last up to five delectable hours. The wine pairings, chosen and poured by chef Portela himself, are equally impressive. Dining at Orujo is like going to a jazz concert and a symphony rolled into one, with bursts of improvisation and moments of exact precision.

A slice of duck breast presented on a small mound of grits.
Duck breast with white corn grits.
Spoon

Peko Peko

They don’t take reservations at this narrow Miramar ramen joint, so arrive early — though if you have to wait, it’s well worth it for their house-made noodles, intensely spicy vegan broth, various mazemen preparations, and katsu. The appetizers, such as fried trumpet mushrooms, potato croquettes, and edamame, are filling, so order accordingly. This is an excellent spot for those who don’t eat meat, as there are three vegan ramens to choose from.

A bowl of ramen, with noodles curled to one side in the broth. Toppings include edamame, scallion, onion, tomato, mushrooms, and some sort of crunchy sticks
Ramen
Alicia Kennedy

Leña Eh

Chef Ruben Guzman’s superb cooking over an open fire makes the Miramar Food Truck Park a must visit destination in San Juan. Signature dishes include the choripán sandwich with chimichurri, roasted chicken thigh, and grilled catch of the day, often spearfished by chef Guzman himself. The grilled eggplant is a superb vegetarian option.

A chef holds a tray of vegetables over an open wood fire, while a spatchcocked chicken roasts nearby.
The open fire at Leña Eh.
Leña Eh

Cocina al Fondo

Chef Natalia Vallejo shut down her Miramar restaurant when the pandemic  hit, and now she’s back in a brand-new, bigger space. A charming renovated  house with an ample backyard provides a stunning setting for her updated, vegetable- and seafood-forward takes on Puerto Rican cuisine, skipping over well-known staples like mofongo to focus on deeper cuts. Vallejo serves a terrine  of beet and goat cheese with toasted bread, pastelillos (or empanadas) filled  with pumpkin, ají dulce (a local sweet pepper) fried tempura-style, buñuelos of mashed root vegetables, perfectly cooked catch of a day, a vegetarian pastelón, and much more on the newly expanded menu. Dessert, a cocktail list by Karla Z. Torres, and a thoughtful wine selection aren’t afterthoughts, but complementary to Vallejo’s cooking. 

A round mound of pastelon topped with a pile of french fries beside a salad on a decorative plate, with a bottle of wine nearby
Vegetarian pastelón
Alicia Kennedy

1919

When the occasion calls for a fancy dinner, there is none better than 1919, where chef Juan José Cuevas uses local produce, meat, and seafood to create exquisite tasting menus that can be made vegetarian or vegan upon request. Located inside the luxe Condado Vanderbilt Hotel, the food has far more substance than the big hotel-style environs might suggest, as Cuevas cooked at New York’s legendary Blue Hill before returning home to Puerto Rico to give local ingredients the fine dining treatment.

An empty table in a dining room, with a view beyond into a darkened sky and sea
Inside 1919
Facebook

Taberna Medalla

Those who have followed the dining scene in San Juan for the last decade will know of chef María Mercedes Grubb, who closed her longtime Santurce restaurant Gallo Negro at the end of 2019. She’s back now, overseeing the menu at this Condado venue overlooking the ocean, putting her signature spin on comforting bar food. An oyster mushroom choripan sandwich, mussels in beer broth, soft pretzels, a signature burger, and okra fries make this family-friendly outdoor restaurant an easy choice in the neighborhood. As a bonus, local DJs are usually playing.

Related Maps

Los Guapos Taquería y Mercado Mexicano

Simply put, Mexican food in San Juan has never been great. But Los Guapos, from chefs Xavier Pacheco and Gaby Antúnez, is turning the tide with fresh ingredients and care. The burritos, chilaquiles, and micheladas are especially superb, making it a go-to for weekend lunch. 

A hand squeezes a taco overflowing with pulled saucy meat, crispy cheese, pickled onion, and cilantro
Taco de costra de queso
Los Guapos/Facebook

Panoteca San Miguel

Diego San Miguel opened this bakery in Cupey, a San Juan suburb, and in a few months made it a destination where items sell out daily. Options include sourdough breads, a selection of wines, cheese, and other high-end pantry options, as well as some pastries and local sweet breads, such as Mallorcas. Thursday night pizza is a real draw, when the line extends into the parking lot for New York-style pies, often made by local guest chefs. 

An oval-shaped pizza cut into wedges, topped with tomato sauce, globs of cheese, and leaves of basil. The pizza is in a cardboard box with one slice missing
Pizza from Panoteca San Miguel
Alicia Kennedy

La Penultima

This industry hangout came back from the pandemic with a natural wine selection and revamped (but still exceptional) cocktail lineup. The new drink menu features a martini infused with sesame, a daiquiri made with the local agricola rum Ron Pepón, and a spicy hibiscus margarita. Thankfully, the food menu is just as well executed, with bar food you’d expect like wings and burgers, plus veggie lo mein, smoked gouda croquettes, and a barbecue portobello sandwich.

A paper-lined basked of chicken wings, another basked behind it, and a martini on a wood bar with a server standing nearby
Wings and a martini
Alicia Kennedy

Mai Pen Rai

Chef Kelly Pirro has created a menu with a focus on Southeast Asia, which is a refreshing alternative to the abundant Chinese and Japanese restaurants. Thai curries, banh mi, a healing tom yum soup, and satisfying laab. This is also one of the most vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free-friendly restaurants in San Juan, making it a safe bet when one has a varied party to entertain.

Mai Pen Rai [Official]

Oriundo

Tucked behind Cocina Abierta (worth a visit on its own), Oriundo is chef Martín Louzao’s newest experimental concept. Louzao, a long-time restaurateur and creative, pays homage to Puerto Rico’s forgotten and underutilized ingredients in a monthly dinner series. Seatings are announced on the restaurant’s Instagram page and sold out within hours. Each dinner includes prix fixe menus for omnivores, pescatarians, and vegetarians, along with thoughtfully selected wine pairings by sommelier Michelle Negrón. A few recent pop-ups paid tribute to pana (breadfruit) and the Caribbean land crab. Top chefs from the Caribbean and Latin America frequently make appearances, showing up with native ingredients of their own. If you can score a reservation, you’re in for a memorable experience.