5 Restaurants to Try in San Juan, Puerto Rico

March 04, 2013 ||
Blueberry Tart Dessert Bodega Compostela

When we visit a new place, we like to find out where the locals eat and usually those end up becoming our favorite restaurants. During my time in colorful Puerto Rico, I fortunately met some locals who were more than willing to share their favorite restaurants and I had a chance to try a few of the best restaurants that San Juan has to offer.

Where to Eat in San Juan, Puerto Rico:


El Jibarito

El Jibarito has been serving “Comida Criolla” (Puerto Rican traditional food) for nearly 30 years. This tastefully decorated restaurant has reasonable prices and is a local favorite. It’s an ideal place to stop for lunch and a few beers after exploring the colorful streets of Old San Juan.

The Mofongos (mashed plantains) are extremely popular and I highly recommend the Shrimps in Garlic Sauce. If you’re not sure what to order, ask your server for a recommendation — you won’t be disappointed.

El Jibarito is located at 280 Sol Street in Old San Juan and open daily from 10 am to 9 pm.

El Jibarito Restaurant - Old San Juan, Puerto Rico
Shrimp in Garlic Sauce at El Jibarito

Budatai

Budatai was my first food experience in San Juan and it truly exceeded my expectations. Chef Roberto TreviƱo (Iron Chef contestant) has created a unique blend of Asian inspired cuisine mixed with local flavors.

A few of my favorite dishes include the Pork Dumplings with Shaved Truffles, Geisha Roll with Lobster, Cream Cheese & Jicama con Besitos de Merengue, Asian Lobster Mashed Potatoes, Spicy Tuna Pegao and Duck Croquetas with Peking Sauce.

I wouldn’t miss this restaurant if you find yourself in San Juan. Budatai is located at 1056 Ashford Avenue in San Juan and is open for lunch and dinner.

La Vista Latin Grill

We didn’t have to go far to enjoy Puerto Rican-inspired cuisine and fresh seafood. La Vista Latin Grill is on the bottom floor of the San Juan Marriott, which made it easy for us to stumble back to our rooms after gorging ourselves on delicious food and wine.

The Grilled Seabass literally melts in your mouth. Don’t miss the Empanadas, Pear and Gorgonzola Salad and, of course, the Seabass.

La Vista Latin Grill is located at 1309 Ashford Avenue in San Juan.

Seabass and Wilted Spinach at La Vista Latin Grill
La Vista Latin Grill - Empanada

Bodegas Compostela

There are multiple items I tried at this restaurant that I never thought I would like, but ended up loving how each dish was prepared. Bodegas Compostela offers a unique selection of wines, champagne, tapas and main dishes.

We ordered a wide variety of tapas to share — a few of my favorites include the Octopus Carpaccio, Rabbit Stew, Duck Confit and Lobster Soup of the Day. We ended our meal by trying one of every dessert on the menu (highly recommended!)

Bodegas is located at 106 County Avenue in San Juan.

Octopus Carpaccio at Bodegas Compostela

BUNS Burger Shop

We found this little gem just across the street from our hotel and it’s perfect for a leisurely lunch accompanied by a few beers. BUNS makes tasty burgers, hot dogs, grilled cheese, fries and shakes. They got my vote as soon as I heard their catchy name, but I was even more intrigued by their variety of beers on the menu.

Even better; they are open on Friday and Saturdays until 4am. Located at Calle Caribe Esquina Ashford in San Juan.

Many thanks to the San Juan Marriott & Stellaris Casino for hosting this trip and introducing me to these heavenly restaurants in San Juan — all of which are easily accessible from their hotel. As always, all opinions are my own.

By Christy Woodrow

Christy Woodrow is a travel photographer and professional blogger based in San Diego. She has been traveling around the world with her partner in crime, Scott, since 2006. Join them in their quest to find off-the-beaten-path destinations by signing up for weekly emails and following her on



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Hi! We are Christy and Scott and we've been traveling the world together since 2006 -- surfing and taking photos along the way.

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