Places To Eat
Get ready for unique flavors as soon as you open your mouth in Puerto Rico. You’ll find that the entire Island is full of yummie adventures just waiting to be explored. Most major world cuisines have a savory presence on the Island except for those closer to the Arctic Circle (there’s a shortage of seal meat, but we’re working on it). From 5 star cuisine in the Metro hotels to destination restaurants up in the mountains, if you have an appetite, the Island has an answer. We firmly believe, however, that part of the adventure of visiting Puerto Rico should be eating like a Puerto Rican. Here’s a quick guide.
Where do the locals go?
Islands tend to be meeting points of different cultures. Puerto Rico with its unique history is the quintessential melting pot. The local cuisine is a unique mix of Spanish, African, Taíno (original inhabitants) and North American recipes. The local food scene is evolving and many farm to table restaurants are succeeding and even winning James Beard awards.
Here are some general suggestions for eating like a local:
Look for a “panadería” or bakery and ask for a “café con leche” (coffee with milk) and a “mallorca” (sweet bread inspired by Spanish traditions). If you’re into a more hearty breakfast ask for a “sandwich de jamón, queso y huevo” (ham cheese and egg sandwich). Wash it all down with a “jugo de china” (orange juice).
Local restaurants or ‘fondas’ are the local favorite. Traditional preparations always include rice and beans and the available protein (beef, chicken or fish). You can get sides of ‘tostones’ or fried plantains and avocado. “Tostones de pana” are an amazing option; breadfruit gets fried and mashed the same way as their plantain counterpart. To complete- order a “cortaíto” or an espresso cut with a little bit of milk to up the energy level.
If you have the afternoon munchies you can look for an “empanadilla”. These pastry turnovers are filled, fried dough pockets. They can be filled with seafood such as octopus, lobster or conch, beef, chicken, and get this- pizza.
Everybody eats sushi. Just kidding… To end the day there are many options that range from “pernil”- whole roast pork leg- to sancocho- a hearty vegetable and beef stew. No matter what you have no meal in Puerto Rico is complete until there’s rice and beans or “arroz mamposteado” stewed rice and beans with vegetables and bacon. To add a sweet touch have some “amarillitos” or sweet fried plantains. A perfect combination to the salty savory flavors of the other dishes. Look for a restaurant that advertises “Comida Criolla” or creole food.