Old San Juan is one of the most visited Caribbean places. Additionally, it’s Puerto Rico’s most popular tourist destination. You’ll enjoy delicious meals from the best restaurants in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. The food is excellent, but you’ll also enjoy the neighborhood of Viejo, which is rich in color, art, and heritage and offers a soothing seaside ambiance.
If you find yourself in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, and are wondering where to dine, this article have you covered.
1. Marmalade Restaurant & Wine Bar
The exceptional cuisine and warm, inviting ambiance at this one-of-a-kind wine bar and restaurant have earned it widespread acclaim. If you find yourself in this place, you’ll realize why Marmalade is widely considered one of the best restaurants in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico.
There are no artificial flavors or preservatives in their food; instead, they use creative and natural combinations to enhance the nutritional value of their dishes. All of their products come from environmentally responsible farms in the area. Thanks to the careful pairing of ingredients and expert preparation, you’ll find both refined and hearty dishes on their ever-changing menu.
The cuisine of Puerto Rico is highly distinctive and varied. Spanish, Latin American, Caribbean, and American cultures all contributed. Marmalade’s menu is unrivaled in terms of healthfulness because it combines elements of lighter and healthier cooking approaches, resulting in a wide variety of meat, veggies, and alkaline options.
You can also peruse their selection of exquisite wines and champagnes. Moreover, you may also choose a wine to match your handcrafted cuisine. You may pick cabernet to chardonnay and wherever in between. The Marmalade Restaurant & Wine Bar in historic San Juan is a must-visit.
2. Chocobar Cortés
The entire eatery is permeated by the aroma of hot chocolate. Hot chocolate, lattes with chocolate, frozen chocolate frappé, cognac-based Don Ignacio, rum, and many other variations are served in glass cups.
At Chocobar Cortés, an avant-garde restaurant in Mexico City, chocolate is a key ingredient in nearly all of the menu items and drinks. If you’re a chocolate connoisseur, this is one of the best restaurants in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, you can go to.
The venue also serves to honor Chocolate Cortés’ long and storied past. Since 1929, this family-run business has provided Puerto Rican and Dominican families with their favorite chocolate, which they make from bean to bar.
A wall formed of the genuine vintage metal chocolate molds used to produce the trademark Chocolate Cortés bar. It complements the bright murals depicting past ads and historical iconography of the Cortés brand that decorate the room.
Chocobar Cortés is ideal for a fast chocolate fix, a classy business lunch, dinner for two, or a family brunch.
3. San Juan Smokehouse – La Placita de Santurce
San Juan Smokehouse is the place to go for the greatest barbecue in Puerto Rico. The Memphis-style dry-rubbed ribs exemplify how this restaurant brings southern flavors to Puerto Rico. Furthermore, there are Pulled Pork Stuffed Avocados and Caribbean brisket as well.
Ribs with such a black bark and a smoky hickory flavor that no meat eater can resist. With a coffee rub and Pico de Gallo on the side, their Caribbean brisket is a tasty take on the classic. Additionally, they have vegan alternatives to traditional BBQ staples like brisket, ribs, and pulled pork. There are also vegan accompaniments for each.
If you’re looking for a place to eat, you should visit San Juan Smokehouse. This family-owned establishment is among the best restaurants in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. There is a wide variety of delicious traditional southern dishes to pick from, and there are even live musical performances on certain evenings.
Deaverdura is one of the best restaurants in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico.
A pleasant casual dining experience with friendly service. The staff needs to deliver you a menu when you sit down. Instead, they engage in conversation to find out what dishes sound good. In addition, the eatery is widely recognized for its extensive vegan menu.
This eatery serves a fusion menu based on local cuisine with an African and Spanish twist. Roasted pork, rice, and beans (which go great with the housemade hot sauces) are just a few tasty options on the small but sweet menu.
Moreover, there are also empanadas, tostones, and homemade sausage. The generous sample platter will give you an excellent introduction to the cuisine the residents are proud of.
Crispy croquettes and tasty steaks paired with rice, beans, and plantains have made Deaverdurat a global phenomenon. The location is ideal for taking in the sounds of Old San Juan, as the street is just steps away.
5. Cafe El Punto
Café El Punto in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, serves authentic, traditional Puerto Rican fare and has terrific service. This place is truly one of the best restaurants in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. It’s not hard to miss this hidden gem, but don’t mistake it for the one you should bypass.
When you first walk into Café El Punto, you might think you’ve made a wrong turn into a souvenir shop. But have no fear; this is all a part of the café’s unique atmosphere. Spend some time window shopping before or after your dinner.
Café El Punto was once a juice bar. It serves traditional Puerto Rican fare, including sofrito- and herb-infused rice and beans, filled avocados, and mofongo. Delicious, freshly squeezed juices made in-house are still available.
Traditional Chilean dishes, the owner’s homeland, are featured on the menu to provide some variation. Tourists and locals alike frequent this diner due to its convenient location and high-quality cuisine. At Café El Punto, you might have a chance encounter with a local star or politician.
6. El Asador
Its superb location at the entrance to Old San Juan and in the heart of Old City nightlife makes El Asador Restaurant the go-to spot for meat cuts, the finest seafood, and Puerto Rican cuisine. This bar and restaurant have a stunning internal patio that complements the modern and upscale interior design, creating an atmosphere that is equal parts inviting and chic.
The tastiest mojitos in all of Puerto Rico may be found here. Traditional dishes like fish mofongo are also available. The ceviche and lobster risotto, in particular, are guaranteed to please any foodie’s taste buds. In addition, the indoor terrace is lovely, adding to the pleasant atmosphere.
El Asador Restaurant is one of the best restaurants in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. Many visitors go there to get a bite to eat, have a romantic evening, or relax with some beverages and good company.
7. Verde Mesa
If you are looking for a restaurant where you can obtain vegan and vegetarian food that is both tasty and healthful, you can try Verde Mesa, which is one of the best restaurants in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. They got a lot of props for using only fresh ingredients like fish caught in local waters and veggies grown in nearby farms.
Their furniture and decorations are beautiful, giving off an air of warmth and antiquity. The pierced tin ceilings, mason jar light fixtures, and quirky furniture at this pescatarian eatery are all inspired by the Petit Trianon at Versailles. Don’t forget to raise your eyes to the ceiling to take in the handiwork for which this space is famous.
You can begin with garlicky red lentil hummus and go on to the Verde Mesa rice, a blend of seasonal veggies and chickpeas. Depending on the day’s catch, the menu may also have salmon, tuna, and scallops, all of which have been carefully prepared by the restaurant’s skilled chefs.
Scallops might be served over a bed of white beans simmered with pineapple, sunflowers, and salsa verde. At the same time, swordfish might be prepared as a delicious ceviche that melts in your mouth.
Regarding wine, the restaurant’s collection is modest but respectable. There is no way to make a reservation, so you’ll need to be there early if you want to eat dinner there. When you visit Verde Mesa in Old San Juan, you’ll get more than simply excellent fresh food; you’ll get an experience you’ll always remember.
8. La Casita de Rones
La Casita de Rones is a beautiful place with a restaurant, shop, and bars in the middle of Old San Juan. This place is an authentic portal to the best rum cocktails in the world and island-inspired gourmet cuisine that draws inspiration from the anecdotes of Puerto Rico’s rum distilleries.
This place is conveniently located near the cruise ship terminals, specifically Pier 1. It’s hard to miss the bright pink structure. It has many tropical drinks and a rum-tasting flight that costs $45.
Those interested in spirits should make a reservation at La Casita, one of the best restaurants in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. The local music and upbeat vibes are noteworthy. They offer a wide variety of dishes, such as fried meat, chicken pizzas, dumplings, and fish bites.
The menu at this upscale eatery is as diverse as the city’s location. Moreover, the fresh fish and mofongo are to die for.
9. Azalea Latin Asian • Sushi
This is one of the best restaurants in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, combining Latin and Asian cuisines. Luxury tropical décor and soothing acoustic tunes set the mood at Azalea.
Thanks to the pleasant atmosphere and helpful wait staff, you are guaranteed a wonderful time in this restaurant. All of the meals are beautifully presented. But what sets this restaurant apart is the quality and freshness of its ingredients.
There are a total of forty-eight options to choose from at this restaurant. Moreover, Azalea is famous for fusing the punch and heat of Latin American cuisine with the precision and finesse of Japanese cooking.
Put in the best, freshest local produce you can find. Plus, you receive far more than just Nikkei food. It’s the coming together of customs with an infusion of taste, a cornucopia of spice, and a pinch of perfection.
10. La Bombonera
Since its opening in 1902, La Bombonera has been a staple of Puerto Rico’s culinary scene and a must-visit for everyone visiting Old San Juan. In 1925, construction began on 259 and 261 San Francisco Street.
How do they do so well, exactly? Mallorquin pastries packed with meat, eggs, or veggies are sweet but delicious. Mallorca is made by pressing contents between two pieces of sweet bread. It’s a creole twist on the traditional Majorcan dessert.
You can eat for cheap at this diner-style restaurant with a unique blend of local flavor and retro furnishings. To experience what a classic diner in Puerto Rico must have been like, you must eat here. This place is definitely one of the best restaurants in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico.
11. El Jibarito
The friendly staff serves authentic Puerto Rican food at moderate pricing in a lovely dining space. El Jibarito, run by the same family for decades, features enormous murals depicting the Old City and rural island life. The smell of fresh fruit and vegetables being cut drifts through Puerto Rican music from its patio.
El Jibarito, one of the best restaurants in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, makes the greatest mofongo. It’s no wonder locals frequent it. They serve the best Puerto Rican food and have colorful décor.
Puerto Rican, African, Indian, and Spanish cuisine are served at this restaurant. El Jibarito is the ideal place to eat real Boricua comfort food like stewed goats, breaded sirloin, fried red snapper, or a mofongo packed with shrimp in sweet tomato sauce.
You can also try fried plantains, white rice with pink beans, yellow rice with pigeon peas, garlic bread, and a salad. Then, you can end your meal with a flan or a cheesecake. Locals genuinely love it.
Now that you have this handy list, finding a great place to eat in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, should be easy. There’s no going back once you try a Puerto Rican dish for the first time.