San Juan is the largest city in Puerto Rico and also the capital. It’s one of the most visited cities on the island and features plenty of history, culture, friendly people, and delicious places to eat while you’re there.
Enjoying local restaurants is one of the best ways to experience a new city, and in San Juan, you’ll want to try as much as you can.
13 of the Best Restaurants in San Juan, Puerto Rico
You’ll find dozens of restaurants in San Juan, but which ones are the best? When you don’t want to sift through Google search after Google search when you’re hungry, here are 13 of the best restaurants in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
1. La Factoria
Located in the beautiful neighborhood of Old San Juan is La Factoria. Since opening in 2013, La Factoria has grown in popularity and has even been featured on the World’s 50 Best Bars list.
If you’re looking for a great spot to enjoy delicious food and even better drinks, this is it. While La Factoria is mainly a bar, they serve a handful of bar bites that are sure to satisfy you as you sip on handcrafted cocktails.
Some of the bites you can order include a juicy lamb burger, fried goat cheese, and empanadas. You can’t go wrong with their lavender Moscow mule for a cocktail. They also have an extensive wine list that your server or bartender will be happy to help you select for your meal.
2. 352 Food and Drink
352 Food and Drink is one of the most popular restaurants in San Juan for breakfast and lunch. Visitors are often here, but you know it’s a great spot when the locals rave about it too.
You’ll find the restaurant within the 352 Guesthouse. The restaurant sits in a restored 19th-century building which adds plenty of charm to the joint.
You’ll know you’ve arrived when you see a bright blue building. You’ll find classic breakfast and lunch items on the menu like bagels, fresh fruit, and eggs in practically every way imaginable.
Some of the best dishes on the menu are their huevos rancheros, chicken arepas, and fish and tostones. Their mimosas are tasty and pair well with everything on their menu if you’re there for brunch.
3. Musa Puerto Rico
If you’re looking for a restaurant that serves authentic Puerto Rican and other international dishes, then Musa is your best bet. If you’re not sure what to order, the staff are more than happy to suggest something for you.
Regardless of what you choose, you won’t be disappointed. The restaurant is colorful and lively, making it a fun spot to enjoy breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Brunch is also popular if you’re looking for a mid-morning meal and drink. Musa has plenty of outdoor seating, which you should take full advantage of if the weather’s appropriate.
Some of their most popular dishes are the Musa mac and cheese, creme brulee pancakes, and the best appetizer is their fried cheese with guava sauce. Besides these, you’ll find plenty of seafood on their menu too.
4. Antiguo 26
Antiguo 26 is a stunning bar and restaurant in an old soda makers factory. The building dates back to the early 20th-century and still has its classic look on the exterior.
You feel like you’re transported back to the 1920s and the prohibition era when you walk inside. Most people come here to experience their delicious handcrafted cocktails, but it’s also a great place to enjoy tapas.
You can’t go wrong with classic cocktails like rum and coke, gin, and tonic, but their specialty cocktails are the way to go. As for the tapas, they have ceviche, churrasco mofongo, and sliders to munch on.
5. Marmalade Restaurant and Wine Bar
Arguably the most famous restaurant in San Juan, Marmalade Restaurant and Wine Bar is the ideal spot in the city if you’re celebrating an anniversary, birthday, or another life event.
The restaurant has a very intimate atmosphere that makes your meal here that much better. Since Marmalade is such a popular restaurant, you’ll want to make reservations in advance to ensure you get a table.
This fine-dining restaurant offers a five-course tasting menu worth trying, but if you prefer to order a la carte, popular items are white bean soup, halibut, and lobster risotto. The chefs plate everything so beautifully that you can’t help but take a photo of it before digging in.
6. Casita Miramar
An excellent spot for dinner in San Juan is Casita Miramar. This authentic Puerto Rican restaurant sits in a stunning Spanish villa with tons of outdoor seating and twinkling lights.
The restaurant features plants, mood music, and vintage furniture, which is unique to Casita Miramar. When making reservations or arriving, you should ask to be seated outside to enjoy the ambiance.
The cuisine here is classic Puerto Rico fare innovatively. The menu is relatively small, but the flavors are anything but minimal.
You can’t go wrong with their mofongo, beef stew, or shredded beef topped plantains. If you enjoy a cocktail or glass of wine with your meal, you won’t be disappointed in their selection.
Inside the Condado Vanderbilt Hotel is the fancy restaurant, 1919. Chef Juan Jose Cuevas uses the finest ingredients to create dishes that will leave you speechless. Everything from the produce to the meat and seafood comes from local suppliers if possible to ensure freshness.
The restaurant’s ambiance makes you feel like the most important person in the room, even with other patrons dining. The menu boasts dishes like swordfish, duck-truffle ravioli, veal chops, and other exquisite options.
Your server will be able to help you pair the perfect wine with whatever you order, or you can go with a classic cocktail. A popular option when dining here is to go with their fixed-price menu, where you can taste a little bit of the best dishes.
8. Sofia’s Old San Juan
There’s just something about a classic Italian restaurant to satisfy you after a long day of exploring San Juan. When you’re craving a bowl of pasta or other traditional Italian dishes, the best place in San Juan is Sofia’s Old San Juan.
It’s an old-fashioned joint that has a comfortable and homey feeling to it. Locals and visitors alike love eating here. You’ll find all your favorite Italian dishes but also seafood dishes and perfectly cooked steaks.
The portions are large here. So, you may leave Sofia’s with leftovers for a midnight snack. People love to order the chicken parmigiana, the gouda empanadas, and their filet mignon. Whatever you order, you can’t leave without trying their homemade sangria.
9. San Juan Smokehouse
In Calle Orbeta is one of the most well-known restaurants in San Juan. San Juan Smokehouse is a tasty barbeque restaurant specializing in smoked meats and casual dining. This restaurant is relaxed and features a blues-inspired atmosphere.
There’s always music playing and other patrons chatting amongst themselves. One of the best things about San Juan Smokehouse is that they serve hefty portions. You can feast on their dry rub ribs, brisket, pork sandwiches, and other smoked meats.
They have classic barbeque side dishes, but the rice and beans are the way to go when in Puerto Rico. If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, you can still enjoy this delicious restaurant! They offer vegan versions of almost all their most popular items.
Deaverdura is a fantastic restaurant that’s famous in San Juan for blending traditional Puerto Rican ingredients with African and Spanish cuisines. It’s a unique dining spot with some of the best food you’ll find in the city.
You don’t need to dress to impress at this restaurant. It’s relaxed, and you can come as you are, as long as you’re hungry and ready to eat. You can smell the food from down the street, so it’s no wonder it’s always packed.
The menu features items like tostones, mofongo, pasteles, and other meat-centered dishes that will have you drooling. Their seafood dishes are always fresh, with fish coming from local suppliers. There are several vegetarian and vegan options on the menu, too, so no one has to miss out.
11. La Bodeguita de Manolo
La Bodeguita de Manolo may not look like much from the outside, but when you walk in, you’re greeted with great ambiance and even better food. The space isn’t massive, but that makes the restaurant feel cozier than some of the larger options in the city.
They sometimes have live music, which makes any meal better, and a reasonably large wine cellar with plenty of options for you to choose from. They have everything from tapas to full entrees to satisfy every appetite.
The arroz con gris, patatas bravas, and churrasco are delicious and worth a try. The red velvet tres Leche is the best way to end your meal and the most popular dessert at the restaurant.
Santaella is a modern and elegant restaurant run by Chef Jose Santaella. He serves innovative dishes using local ingredients. This posh restaurant is perfect for date night, a night out with friends, and celebrating anything under the sun.
Many people come here to celebrate their birthday because they know the food and drinks are top-notch. If you’re looking for something lighter, you can enjoy cocktails and tapas. If your stomach’s really growling, they also offer larger entrees.
You can start your meal with escargot, curry popcorn chicken, or something else before moving on to your entree. As for the entrees, great options include lacon Asado, seafood fresh from the sea, or their soup of the day.
13. Melanzana Bistro
Melanzana Bistro Pizzeria in San Juan has a fantastic atmosphere and menu that is a magnet for people of all ages and tastes. A charming, modern, and comfortable space. Authentic Italian dishes with a modern twist, where you’ll experience the best Italian food on the island.
They specialize in:
- Authentic Italian Cuisine
- Neapolitan Pizza
- Steak House
The menu features fresh ingredients in its dishes that give them a unique taste. They have a delicious menu featuring pizzeria, pasta, and more. And they are open for lunch and dinner. The atmosphere of the restaurant is relaxed and pleasant while being comfortable and easy to enjoy.
Things to Consider
San Juan has hundreds of delicious restaurants, and there’s no way you’ll be able to try them all in one trip to the city. The best thing you can do is think about what restaurants you have to try and make a point to get to those before returning home.
Making reservations isn’t necessary for many popular restaurants we mentioned, but a reservation isn’t a bad idea for the more upscale ones. Besides making reservations and a list of your must-try restaurants, here are a few other things to consider:
- While it can be tempting to order foods you’ve had before, try something new
- Ask the server what their favorite thing on the menu is or what the most popular item is
Frequently Asked Questions
Before heading to San Juan, check out some of the most frequently asked questions people have about dining in the city.
What food is popular in Puerto Rico?
There are a number of very popular dishes in Puerto Rico. Mainly, these are classic Puerto Rican dishes. Rice, beans, mofongo, plantains, and more are popular there.
Does Puerto Rico have a national dish?
Yes! If you ask most people, they’ll tell you that the national dish of Puerto Rico is Arroz con gandules. As its name suggests, the dish consists of rice and pigeon peas enriched with plenty of delicious seasonings.
What’s the most popular drink in Puerto Rico?
The most popular drink in Puerto Rico is also their national drink. It’s the famous pina colada! Even if you’re not old enough to drink or don’t drink alcohol, the virgin version is just as tasty.
Does Puerto Rico have Michelin Star restaurants?
There aren’t Michelin Star restaurants, but 1919 is operated by Michelin Star-rated chef Juan Jose Cuervos.
What’s the most popular restaurant in Puerto Rico?
Depending on who you ask, the answer to this question may be different. For the most part, the consensus is that the most popular restaurant is Marmalade Restaurant and Wine Bar.
So, What Are the Best Restaurants in San Juan, Puerto Rico?
San Juan is a beautiful city with more than enough restaurants to keep you full and happy throughout your visit.
You’ll find casual dining spots and upscale restaurants perfect for celebrating or simply treating yourself. Whether you’re looking for classic Puerto Rican food or something else, you’ll find it in San Juan.