Foodie Finds: 5 Great Places to Eat in San Juan

by Brianna Krueger /
Brianna Krueger's picture
Apr 26, 2012 / 0 comments

Prior to traveling to San Juan, Puerto Rico, for Spring Break, I figured it’d be like Mexico or any other Hispanic country and serve lots of tacos, enchiladas, burritos, rice and refried beans in every restaurant. I was wrong. Instead, there are many different restaurants featuring different cultural cuisines. Despite that, you can count on every restaurant featuring the Puerto Rican dish mofongos, fried green plantains (bananas), and they are used in creative ways, such as the Puerto Rican burrito (at Lupi's): shredded chicken on top of a grilled banana that makes the chicken extra juicy. One bite and you will question the chicken you've been eating your whole life.


Foodie Finds: 5 Great Places to Eat in San Juan


With all the interesting places to eat, my family and I tried a different place every night to discover the best places in eat in San Juan - that is within walking distance of our hotel, the El San Juan Resort & Casino. Luckily there were many options all less than a mile away, unlike Old San Juan where it's a walk and a taxi ride away. After a full stomach and a cleared plate, who wouldn't want to walk back in the year-round 80 degree temperatures? Although be careful to never go to dinner starving – service is slow and relaxed. Puerto Ricans encourage everyone to enjoy their meals, and more importantly, their company. Dining takes about an hour and half (at best) to complete, but is always satisfying.


Foodie Finds: 5 Great Places to Eat in San Juan


Here are my five favorite places to eat in San Juan:

Lupi's Mexican Grill & Sports Catina

Lupi’s became our nightly spot to get cheap drinks, including my favorite, the Puerto Rican margarita made with 151 Bacardi rum. One of those and you will be feeling good all night. Lupi’s also offers the best reasonably-priced food, ranging about $10 a meal. Outdoor & indoor seating, colorful tile tables, and the latest Top 40 US hits played while sports are shown on big screen TVs makes Lupi’s a fun and relaxing environment to dine.

Recommendations: Puerto Rican burrito, mozzarella sticks with enchilada sauce.


Lupi's Cheese Enchilada

Lupi's Puerto Rican Margarita 

Lupi's Fried Ice Cream 


Barrachina is the birthplace of the piña colada. Served with a cherry, slice of pineapple, and an umbrella, the piña colada is a must try. Hidden between shops in Old San Juan, Barrachina has seating ranging from outdoor patio garden to more sophisticated indoor areas. Waiters are very friendly and encouraging of their coladas.

Recommendations: Piña Colada, Chicken Nachos



Barrachina Piña Colada

Barrachina Chicken Nachos, Monfogo & Chicken Tenders

Spice Restaurant Bar & Lounge

Spice is a romantically-lit restaurant with live music and comedy acts depending on the night and time – dinner crowds usually begin a little after seven PM. A newly-added outdoor terrace allows guests to enjoy the weather and the music without all the sounds of the nearby road. The menu ranges from Puerto Rican dishes to pastas, including a buttery & cheesy alfredo sauce that your taste buds will enjoy. The beans are also very delicious, but you might have to order seconds because one serving is not enough.

Recommendations: Chicken Alfredo, Skirt Steak, Beans



Platos Restaurant, Puerto Rican Cuisine & Bar

Authentic Puerto Rican food & locally owned in a funky yet chill setting. Menu consists of a mixture of traditional, classic cuisines, & creative, new plates. If the menu doesn't satisfy you, the drink list will, with over 50 wine offerings & several Bacardi (made & produced in Puerto Rico) inspired drinks. While prices are a bit more expensive, ranging $20-35, the food is worth the money with the incredible flavors.

Recommendations: Queso fried with coconut sauce, Chicken Alfredo

Platos' Chicken with Enchilada Sauce




The location of this Cuban restaurant initially turned us off (being placed next to a cock-fighting ring), but it was an unexpected surprise with phenomenal food and speedy service. A large restaurant, but slightly crowded with chairs, tables, and guests, Metropol is casual, family friendly & priced. A waiter is always available to refill drinks and assist with any other needs, but you won't have any aside from wishing to eat here again.

Recommendations: Steak with fried eggs, Cuban skirt steak






All photos courtesy and copyright Brianna Krueger