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Jason Perlow x

Puerto Rico Dining

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Just came back from a short trip/conference. Places we got to try: Metropol for Cuban/Puerto Rican; El Jibarito in Old San Juan-very local; Casa Dante & Mi Casita in the Carolina area-good mofongo, asopao; Yamato in El San Juan where we were staying-excelllent young itamae-san at the sushi bar-made great suggestions-very talented-a very different experience apparently than those sitting at the hibachi tables. Got to eat at a family-run place on a tour to the rainforest. Everything deep-fried- not too healthy, but tasty- esp. the bacalaitos! Anxious to return (this was our first time in Puerto Rico)- would like to range further and have further cultural/culinary adventures.


Mark A. Bauman

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sus et al.--

Hi, all. We got back from PR on midnight Wednesday to find our house in unlivable condition. I won't bore you with the details, but I didn't have internet access until today. (Puerto Rico looks all the better by comparison!)

I had a lovely time in Puerto Rico. I was in San Juan for four days; then we drove to Rincon for another four.

Unfortunately, the conference that brought me to San Juan had almost inedible food. When I escaped on foodie adventures, I found some real treats. On the first day, I met someone who had lived in Puerto Rico on and off for quite a few years and recently moved there; he took me on a walking tour of Condado and Santurce. We hit the Mercado in Santurce (extremely generous portions of excellent batitas--is that the right name for the fruit shakes?) and a neighborhood restaurant called Bebo’s. We had the mofongo with crab and a goat stew, both very tasty. I'll write more about the place later; really enjoyed it. Our guide also highly recommended El Pescador near the Mercado, but we only walked into it, since it was about 10:30 in the morning.

One lunchtime, we took a long walk down the beach from Condado to Pamela's, a lovely, more upscale restaurant right on the beach. I think someone mentioned it upthread. It was excellent. I had a very good fish sandwich with a variety of condiments; others at the table had the chicken and melted Manchego sandwich and the crab quesadilla (not actually called that on the menu). A highlight was the corncake appetizer we shared, with black beans, cheese, peppers. I would recommend Pamela’s highly. It was wonderful to actually sit at a table on the beach.

Our last evening in the city, we had an expensive dinner at Pikayo, in the art museum--an extremely pleasant experience. The dining room is attractive and comfortable. The food was quite impressive overall. For our first course we tried the truffled cheese empanadillas, the alcapurrias, and a tuna tartare served on little crisp rice cakes. This last was outstanding, but unlike so many restaurants, the entrees were better than the appetizers. I had a dish of perfectly cooked shrimp served with a very refined mofongo, and my husband had a wonderful halibut topped with “Japanese squid”; we agreed that they were the best dishes we’d been served in a restaurant in quite a long time. The cheese flan I had for dessert was excellent; the other desserts at the table—key lime pie and a cheese soufflé (which had been ordered at the beginning) were not memorable.

I can’t say we found any superb food on the west coast. Since we were there off season, a lot of places were closed, and the supply of fresh fish seemed limited. We had a nice meal at Capriccio in Anasco; again, my fish was expertly cooked, as was my husband’s pork stuffed with guava. And the people running the place, which is very small, were incredibly warm and welcoming. We ate there the first night, on the recommendation of one of our guidebooks, and we probably should have gone back. Instead, we had a very mediocre meal at in Mayaguez one night, and some good barbecued pork at a place called El Cerdito in Cielito—I think—served by the charming second-grade daughter of the chef and the hostess. The “Flying Pig” is quite new, and the menu says everything is made there; indeed the fried sweet potatoes and cole slaw seemed to be.

I’m disappointed that I didn’t get a chance to try any of the lechon asado or more of the fritters. I was delighted to find that people in the restaurants were generally so friendly.

Thanks again to all whose advice we studied.

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Hello!

I am hosting a wedding the weekend of June 21

looking for a nice restaurant in Old San Juan to hold a dinner for the guests

abotu 15 people

any suggestions might help?

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Resurrecting this thread as we are heading to Old San Juan soon.   Any recommendations for dining?

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Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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Thanks, Jason!

It's a very short trip, just 3 days.  While I may not make it to the specific eateries in your articles, your explanations of the various foods of PR are invaluable in understanding the local cuisine.  

 

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