Puerto Rico food and dining options can please travelers of any kind of budget or culinary taste. There are also plenty of options for those celebrating a special occasion. From local ‘chinchorros’ and ‘lechoneras’, farm to table organic cooking, to American franchises, fast food restaurants and innovative fine dining, you can find it here.
The traditional Puerto Rican kitchen blends ingredients and cooking techniques from Spanish, African, Taíno and North American traditions. In recent years, an explosion of new flavors and international cuisines have become widespread. Using locally grown and imported ingredients that are widely accessible, local chefs and restauranteurs now offer a diverse eating and dining experience unlike any other place in the Caribbean.
We invite visitors to explore local food and drinks for any time of the day. Start with a ‘café con leche’ at the local bakery or the up and coming fine coffee and pastry shops. Continue to a local restaurant or ‘fonda’ for a plate of rice, beans and with any available protein (beef, chicken or fish) and ‘tostones’ or fried plantains for lunch. It’s summer and avocados are abundant. Ask your server if a side of avocado can be added to your order.
Be ready for another small dark coffee with milk or ‘cortadito’ at mid afternoon to get back on your feet before the local beer happy hour kicks in around 5pm. Or perhaps, the sunny afternoon calls for a cold piña colada or mojito. Dinner time takes place anywhere from 6 to 10 pm. You can also find restaurants, bistros, and bars in the tourist and hotel areas that open up to later. To finish the night, head to the trendy bars and clubs and ask for the latest cocktail creations made with Puerto Rican rums, juices and aromatic spices.
If you feel overwhelmed the next day, try a ‘sancocho’. This rich, warm stew with a mix of meats (pork, beef, chicken) and root vegetables like yuca, carrots, corn and potatoes, tastes like a happy celebration of the cultural mix of the Island. It will certainly get you back up and ready to meet your next Island adventure.
Local Food and Plates to Explore
ALCAPURRIAS, BACALAITOS, PASTELILLOS, EMPANADILLAS, PIONONOS
Assorted fried turnovers filled with chicken, seafood or meat. Can be found in kiosks anywhere around the island. The Piñones sector near the SJU International Airport, passing the Isla Verde public Beach and Luquillo/Monserrate Beach near El Yunque area some of the most famous places to grab a turnover.
FRIED WHOLE RED SNAPPER (‘CHILLO FRITO’)
Have it your way with creole sauce, garlic sauce or plain with a touch of lime. Served near fishing towns all around the Island.
Served cold with arepas or tostones, a lighter alternative including octopus, conch, shrimp or all mixed together.
WHITE RICE AND RED OR PINK BEANS
Some people feel if they didn’t have rice with their meal they have not eaten at all. Variations include rice with pigeon peas, Spanish style paellas, or mamposteao (rice and beans sauteed).
Year round made with green plantains and, in season, with breadfruit. They go well with any plate of rice and beans or with a cold seafood salad.
Friend and mashed green plantain with garlic and spices; mixed with yuca and sweet plantain would make it a trifongo. If filled with any meat, fish, seafood or veggies becomes a full meal often served with a side salad.
Add a sweet touch to your meal with one or two of these traditional desserts.
sponge cake that soaks up a mixture of whole milk, sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk
Dessert pudding with coconut milk.
FLAN DE QUESO
Cheese custard with caramel sauce.
Try a Piña Colada or Mojito in a warm afternoon and enjoy the sunset.
is very simple and refreshing blended drink including two parts pineapple juice, one part sweet coconut milk and ice. Have it with or without rum.
Most recipes include: a highball glass, two tablespoons of sugar, fresh spearmint leaves, one lime diced. Add 2 ounces light rum, ice and finish with club soda or sparkling water to top.