Restaurants in Puerto Rico
Blending its Taíno and Arawak roots with ingredients brought over by the Spanish, Puerto Rico’s cocina criolla features tropical fruit, corn, seafood, beef, pork, rice, and a lot of sazón.
Often compared to Spanish, Cuban, or Mexican cuisine, Puerto Rico’s food has a unique blend of local ingredients and African, European, and American influences. Indigenous ingredients such as papaya, coriander, plantains, apio, cacao, and more give this Caribbean cuisine its singular flavor.
With recipes being passed down through the generations and new ingredients being incorporated through time, Puerto Rico’s food has evolved into one of the most popular and delicious in the world. Its flavors are characterized by savory sofrito (onions, garlic, coriander, and pepper), herbaceous adobo, sweet plantains cooked in every way imaginable, and hearty proteins like pork and chicken.
Some of the most iconic dishes include mofongo, made from deep-fried green plantains mashed with pork and soaked in broth; lechón, whole roasted pig served with pigeon pea rice and plantains; fried fritters filled with everything from chicken to crab meat and octopus; arroz con pollo, an absolute classic; and the deliciously sweet coquito, an eggnog-style drink made with various types of milk, white rum, and cinnamon. Is your mouth watering yet?
Puerto Rico’s food is heavily influenced by fresh, local ingredients, so each region has its own dishes based on the best ingredients in the area. From fresh seafood along the coast to 100% Puerto Rican coffee in the mountains and fusion cuisine in San Juan, there is something delicious to eat no matter where you are.
Check out our breakdown by region to find the best Puerto Rican restaurants anywhere on the island!
Fresh Seafood & Coffee in the Coastal Area
Puerto Rico’s coastal area is famous for its caves and beautiful beaches, especially those located along the northern coast. The most popular areas include Arecibo to the north, Fajardo to the east, and Ponce to the south.
Located on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, Arecibo is the largest municipality in Puerto Rico by area, and it features smokey dishes seasoned with cumin and coriander as well as fresh seafood caught just off the coast. One of the most popular ingredients is cetí, a small fish that can be used in mofongo, empanadas, and pasteles, but is most commonly enjoyed deep fried.
Heading toward the southern coast, Ponce is the most populated city outside of the San Juan metropolitan area. The most important agricultural product in Ponce is coffee, and you can find some of the most delicious fresh brews here.
Explore some of the most iconic restaurants along Puerto Rico’s coast!
If you’re spending time in Loiza, you can’t miss this popular seafood spot. This area’s cuisine is full of African traditions combined with Taíno techniques. El Nuevo Acuario serves fresh-caught seafood and traditional dishes prepared in creative ways.
From lobster empanadas to fried yellowtail snapper, you simply can’t go wrong with this menu. The friendly service and family atmosphere make for an unforgettable culinary experience. Make sure you come hungry, because the portions are generous!
Ponce is the heart of Puerto Rico’s coffee production. It’s the headquarters of coffee grower Cafeteros de Puerto Rico. Naturally, the city is full of spots where you can enjoy absolutely delicious, smooth, and sweet blends. Cafe Lucero is an iconic spot for both coffee and brunch, and it’s well-known for its friendly service.
Featuring 100% Puerto Rican coffee, Cafe Lucero serves up everything from a classic cafecito to the delicious coffee flan. Whether you’re looking for a morning pick-me-up or some of the best desserts in town, you can’t miss this popular family-owned spot.
The freshest seafood and the most breathtaking sunsets over the Atlantic Ocean make Salitre Meson Costero a can’t-miss restaurant in Arecibo. After a fun-filled day at the beach, indulge in the catch of the day (if you’re lucky, you might find the queen snapper on the menu) and share some of the most iconic starters, like muscles, tostones rellenos, fried empanadas, shrimp cocktail, and other delectable coastal treats.
Pork, Frituras, & Cocktails in the Metro Area
If you’re visiting Puerto Rico, chances are you’re planning to spend some time in the historic city of San Juan. At the heart of the island’s metro area, San Juan boasts 500 years of history, great museums, beautiful beaches, the iconic Casa Bacardí distillery, and of course, lots of delicious food.
Some of the most famous Puerto Rican restaurants can be found in San Juan. Whether you’re looking for street food or fine dining, you can find culinary delights around every corner of the capital city, from tropical cocktails to slow-roasted pork and deep-fried treats.
You can enjoy amazing versions of all of the island’s most classic dishes — like mofongo, rice and beans, and tripleta (an impressive sandwich containing chicken, beef, and ham) — as well as upscale dining featuring local ingredients. Come hungry, because every moment spent in San Juan promises to be full of delicious meals.
If you’re in the mood for seafood and amazing ocean views, the locals will probably recommend that you check out Oceano, and for good reason! This restaurant does right by the island’s fresh seafood by combining classic preparations with innovative presentations.
Grab a seat on the terrace and enjoy the ocean breeze while you tuck into a seafood paella, share some scallops with your date in the intimate indoor dining room, or enjoy a tasty brunch with friends on the weekend!
If you’re looking to splurge on a fine dining experience, pick up the phone now and make your reservation at Marmalade. American chef Peter Schintler features the best ingredients on the island with innovative presentations and a health and environment-conscious philosophy.
Blending the local cuisine with Spanish and other international influences, Marmalade is sure to surprise you with its stunning dishes and flawless wine pairings. This is not only one of the best restaurants in Puerto Rico, but also one of the best in the world!
When it comes to local staples, Casita Miramar is the place to eat. Many places in San Juan will say they have the best rice and beans in town, but this restaurant is certainly in the running!
The same goes for their absolutely mouth-watering mofongo, crispy bacalaitos, and life-changing tres leches cake. Casita Miramar does the classics right, and the casual atmosphere and friendly service keep customers coming back for more.
Puerto Rican Burgers, Coffee, & Schnitzel in the Mountains
Puerto Rico is more than just beaches and coastal views. The island also features a lush mountainous interior known as the Cordillera Central, intersecting the island from east to west.
While technically part of the Metro area, Río Grande is the doorway to the stunning mountains and rainforests of Puerto Rico. If you’re planning on exploring El Yunque National Forest, you’re likely to begin your journey in Río Grande, and you can prepare for the adventures ahead with delicious barbeque, indulgent pastries, and more in the city’s restaurants.
If you’re looking for adventure, you might find yourself in Orocovis, one of the biggest towns in the mountain region, featuring one of the longest ziplines in the world and great restaurants to visit afterward. In the smaller towns along the mountain ranges, you can find true hospitality, fresh coffee, local dishes, and deliciously smoked meats.
Any Puerto Rico mountain town you visit is bound to have delicious food right around the corner. Take a look at some of our favorites!
You’re sure to work up an appetite after ziplining in Toro Verde, so stopping by Casa Bavaria for some German fare with a Puerto Rican touch is an excellent idea. Enjoy a cold beer while you wait for your German sausage or schnitzel, which is always a crowd pleaser. This is a family-owned spot, and you’re sure to feel like part of the family by the end of your meal.
Enjoy your spicy olives or German potatoes while you take in the stunning mountain views! There’s no better way to unwind after flying through the treetops. Bonus: If you’re around in October, they have the best Oktoberfest celebrations on the island!
Tucked away in the mountains, about a two-hour drive from San Juan, you can find this charming cafe featuring mouth-watering brunch creations, local coffee, gorgeous views, and a wonderful atmosphere. Locals are willing to take the drive just for the pumpkin waffles and a perfect cup of coffee. If you’re in a celebratory mood, you absolutely can’t skip the parcha mimosa (made with tangy passion fruit!).
Surrounded by nature, this spot is truly peaceful. Breathe in the fresh air, listen to the sounds of the birds, and enjoy. The attentive staff make this an experience you won’t soon forget.
A burger might not sound like the Puerto Rican fare you’re looking for before or after your adventures in El Yunque, but trust us, the American-inspired fare with a Puerto Rican twist served up at this local favorite is a game-changer. With a rustic venue and a relaxed vibe, this place is as welcoming as it gets.
Taro fries? Check! Mofongo bun? Yes, please! Spicy margarita? Better make it a double. The special sauce they drizzle on their unique burgers and tacos will make you a believer, and even if you think you don’t have room for dessert, you can’t skip the nutella empanada. Mi Vida Cafe also has plenty of options for the vegetarians, vegans, and gluten-free folk in your group.
Food is an integral part of Puerto Rico’s culture, and after enjoying some of the best meals of your life at these renowned establishments, you’ll understand why.
Make the most of your time on this iconic island and indulge in all the flavors that have made Puerto Rico a culinary destination. One thing’s for sure — you won’t leave this island hungry.