The Best Restaurants & Bars In San Juan, Puerto Rico

The top 20 spots for incredible seafood, mofongo, pizza (yes, pizza), and more.
Mixed dishes on a table shot from above at Casita Miramar, a restaurant in San Juan

photo credit: Robert Alvarez

Puerto Rico is known for its natural wonders: crystal-clear beaches, luminescent bays, and tropical forests. In addition to the warmth of its people and its music, Puerto Rico’s cocina criolla, or creole cuisine, is one of the many things that makes going out to eat on the Island so much fun. Food is an essential part of the Boricua identity, and the cultural mix of Taino, African, and Spanish is directly reflected in dishes like mofongo con carne frita, arroz con pollo, lechón, and asopao de gandules.

Puerto Rico’s dining scene—especially in the capital of San Juan—is having a moment: after a string of natural disasters, restaurants are reemerging and reinventing their menus. You’ll find chefs adding modern twists to traditional meals, merging local flavors with other types of cuisines like Asian, Mediterranean, and Italian, and a growing pizza scene cranking out seriously top-notch pies.


photo credit: Ivana Rizik


Puerta de Tierra

$$$$Perfect For:Drinking Good WineDate Night


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Puerta de Tierra is a subbarrio located between Old San Juan and Condado, and is one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods. Celeste is right in the heart of it, and should be on your list for its excellent seafood and wine, plus equally excellent service. The inside is fresh and bright, with high ceilings and raw, exposed cement floors. Their menu is constantly evolving, but expect dishes like squid ink ceviche, tamarind brown butter anchovy toast, and aged tuna with meyer lemon.

Marmalade only does tasting menus, so make a reservation with a group that’s down to linger and work through five or 14 plates (the latter is reserved for groups of six or more). This place is fancy: there’s lots of velvet, lowlights in reddish tones, wall dividers with funky shapes, and an interesting communal table in front of the bar where you can sit and have a few drinks. The menu changes seasonally, but the cilantro and garlic grilled shrimp, white bean soup, seared pork belly glazed with smoked honey, and lamb tagine are constant favorites.

This small, homey Mediterranean restaurant is right across from the entrance of Ocean Park. Show up with a few friends and plan to share a little bit of everything—the baba ganoush with homemade pita, cauliflower wings, lamb kofta, and watermelon sangria are all excellent choices. Tía Dora is pretty easy to miss, so look for the black building with plants on the wall and a mural depicting a turtle—it’s hidden right to the side.

El Vino Crudo is a mellow wine bar that’s located in the middle of an alley in the heart of Old San Juan. This spot, with its terracotta floors, wood ceilings, and low-light ambiance, is great for starting the night with some tapas. Begin with a bottle of the light and smooth I Vicini or the juicy and complex LA Chaussee Rouge, and plates like spicy baguette with ‘nduja, Sicilian caponata, or their ricotta salata (the menu changes frequently, so check their Instagram for the latest). After a few plates, head out to wander the cobblestone streets to continue bar hopping.

There are plenty of incredible pizza places around the Island, and Fidela is one of the best. The restaurant used to be a food truck, and recently opened a permanent location that’s close to their original spot. Pizza is still the star, but now you can get a few small plates on the side, like boquerones with shallots covered in a pepperoncini aioli. All their wood-oven, sourdough-crust pizzas are excellent, but the honey pepperoni and cacio e pepe are next level. For now, they’re only open on Wednesday through Saturday, from 4-10pm.

Cocina al Fondo isn’t a capital-F fancy spot, but its lively and energetic dining room and big backyard patio make it a great place to celebrate something special. Order a lot, and work through it slowly. Start with a cocktail like the mezcal-based La Maja with orange liqueur, pickled chili, and a splash of red wine before lingering over things like corn arepas topped with cheese and cherry tomatoes, and a perfect plate of roasted eggplant with minced lamb and dates.

If you want to experience all of what Puerto Rican food has to offer, head straight on over to Bebo’s Café for a relaxed, casual lunch. It’s always packed, but stick it out—the wait is quick. Order the alcapurrias or sorullitos de maíz before moving on to the different options of mofongo relleno, or the chicharrones de pollo. Make sure to try their guayaba con queso for dessert before continuing on to Bottega for some drinks at their bar.

You’ll find this Caribbean-Asian fusion spot on the ground floor of the O:LV Fifty Five hotel, where marbled floors, a burnt lavender aroma, velvet seats, and a crystal chandelier all set the mood for a fancy date night. Check out their selection of sake and Japanese whiskey-infused cocktails, then share the tuna poke pegaíto and maduro chorizo wontons. Their Mongolian wagyu brisket and honey garlic chicken chicharrón lo mein are a must. After dinner, head up to the hotel’s rooftop bar for a nice view of the Condado lagoon.

Casita Miramar is a classic restaurant that serves traditional Puerto Rican dishes in a cool space that feels like an old house with lots of rooms and an outdoor patio. It’s packed on the weekends, so go for an early weeknight dinner to avoid the crowds. Begin with the buñuelos con chorizo y alioli (a fried dough fritter) and a pitcher of sangria, followed by the cabrito (goat stew), duo de carne frita y ahumada (fried and smoked pork), or the empanada del jefe (fried chicken) with their mamposteao rice. 

The reason why you should go to Spiga for breakfast and not lunch is because their pastries will sell out. What’s in the case varies day by day, but you should get at least two of whatever guava pastry is on the menu. This is a small spot with limited seating, so you might need to hang outside for a little or take whatever you get to-go. The chalkboard menu above the tables also changes daily, and typically includes things like quiches, sandwiches, and plates of pasta for lunch.

You’ll find La Bodeguita hidden behind a back door, and the speakeasy vibes continue once you step inside. This popular local spot mixes Puerto Rican, Spanish, and Cuban flavors in a dimly lit, private setting. It’s a cool place to have drinks—the bar is stylish, with a couple of glass ceiling pendants and black and white tiles, and they have live music on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Settle in and start with the croquetas or patatas bravas and a bottle of wine. Then, try their cocas españolas, a Spanish flatbread—the ropa vieja or serrano options are both excellent.

Vianda is a charming spot in the heart of Santurce that’s known for its warm hospitality and farm-to-table ingredients. It’s laid back and feels a bit like a modern country house, with white walls, hanging plants, and a minimalist vibe. As for the menu, you can’t go wrong with the calamares fritos and the crepas de morcilla, and both the bacalao fresco and the berenjena empanada a caballo are solid options for your main course. There’s also a four-course tasting menu with an optional wine pairing, if you’d prefer to leave it all in the hands of the chef.

You’re going to need to eat after a day of soaking up the sun at Ocean Park. Head to Acapulco Taquería Mexicana, and don’t worry about changing out of your beach clothes. This spot has perfected the art of street tacos and has been a local favorite since opening up nearly ten years ago. Start with some fresh guacamole or queso fundido con chorizo with a margarita or two, then order some tacos al pastor or the cochinita pibil. Try to swing by on Tuesdays when they do a taco Happy Hour after 6pm.

Santaella might not look like much from the outside, but inside, you’ll find an elegant dining room, indoor garden, and a tropical-themed bar. The cocktails are fantastic (two highlights: the mojito de sandía and The Perfect Lady, a watermelon-y drink made of vodka, St. Germain, and white rum) and so is the menu, which offers a contemporary take on traditional Puerto Rican food. Start your meal with the tacos de tartar de atún, pastelón de amarillos con corned beef, or the chillo frito, and do your very best to save some room for the budín de queso crema y guayaba for dessert. This spot is buzzy and always booked, so make a reservation in advance.

Located on the rooftop of Don Rafa Boutique Hotel and Residences in Miramar, Canvas’s floor-to-ceiling glass windows offer spectacular views of the Condado Lagoon. The inside is bright and airy, and has become a popular place for brunch since opening in early 2023. Start with cocktails like their jalapeño margarita or the seasonal sangria and some corn fritters—the weekend brunch menu also includes egg plates and sandwiches.

Berlingeri’s casual atmosphere makes it another solid pick for a chill, relaxed lunch. Their vegetarian dishes, like the vegan tacos and the picadillo cubano, are varied and full of flavor. Order your food and a juice, grab a seat at the communal table, check the weather back home, and treat yourself to a little phone time before hitting the beach.

Pirilo’s in Old San Juan is easy to miss—its tiny entrance leads to a narrow flight of stairs that takes you to an exposed brick, industrial-looking place. Order a classic pie, like their margherita or the Pirilo, which has tomato sauce, mozzarella, ground beef, and ripe sweet plantains, as well as the croquetas de mamposteao or the garlic knots. Add a Genoveva sangria and you’ve got a classic, albeit a bit unexpected, San Juan experience.

Dancing until someone says, “whoa, how is it after 2am?” is one of the best ways to experience the nightlife of Old San Juan, and La Factoria is where you should do it. There are six different bars inside, and each has its own menu and plays different music, including a dancehall that has live salsa on Sundays and Mondays. Start at the front, take a shot of tequila, and explore them all until it’s way past your bedtime.

Sobao is known for its excellent coffee and bread—the founders, Los Cidrines, are a family of bread makers that have been in business for decades. You can’t go wrong with any of the homemade pastries or sandwiches, but a few favorites are the cubano, mallorca con jamón y queso, and queso y huevo. It’s owned by the same team behind La Bodeguita, which is located at the back of the panaderia in the Condado location. Grab a to-go tortilla sobao or tostadas sobao and check it out before you leave.

On the outskirts of San Juan is Piñones, a colorful neighborhood filled with miles of sand, clear waters, and chinchorros: small, rustic bars that serve fritters for lunch or a quick bite. Kiosko El Boricua, located at the side of the road, is one of them—it’s a local hang and usually has a bunch of people waiting to get their order. Bring cash to speed things up, and try the alcapurria de carne, pastelillo de langosta, or a pincho de pollo with a cold Medalla beer.

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