Owner Manolo Caama�o has been serving authentic Spanish cuisine since 1972 in this renovated European mansion. Enter through the arched doorways and feel welcomed into the heart of the home. Paella studded with seafood, grouper prepared in Basque-style, and hand-crafted desserts will please the palate as the strolling guitar player provides the background music.
Local Expert tip: Wake up to the smells of Spain.
Courtyard by Marriott is home to this wonderful spot which features creative yet traditional fare by award-winning master chef Augusto Schreiner. The space is contemporary and elegant, yet comfortable. The menu, international with hints of French and Caribbean influence, includes lobster ravioli, venison, fois gras terrine and chocolate souffl�. Also features an extensive wine list with over 250 selections.
Right on the beach and in the Numero Uno Guest House. You can choose inside, alfresco or poolside seating. Stop here for a sophisticated lunch or enjoy tapas served from 3pm to 6pm. For supper try the pork loin spiced with island flavors. Fresh local fruit makes a light and healthy dessert.
Local Expert tip: Alfresco eating with a spectacular beach view.
Traditional tapas are served with a flourish in this little section of Spain in Hato Rey. Try the fried calamari or savory sausage. Should you find yourself there on a Friday night, you can indulge in the seafood studded paella while the flamenco floor show unfolds before you.
Local Expert tip: Tapas here, there and everywhere for those who wake up a little later.
This dark, sophisticated spot in the baroque Banco Popular also offers a terrace with great views of the ships in the harbor. Black and white dominate in a bistro space accented with marble tables and a Steinway grand piano. Owner Carli Mu�oz used to play with the Beach Boys (among many other groups) and entertains nightly at the caf�. The menu is a continental tour that includes seared loin of lamb and duck rissol�.
Local Expert tip: Great terrace perfect for people-watching.
Plunked down in the middle of a vast array of fast food restaurants, this bustling cafe offers the real goods. The large dining room holds over 100 within walls covered with wild paintings of angels. The menu is stacked with traditional Puerto Rican items including the creamy grits called pastel and mofongo, all at very reasonable prices.
Local Expert tip: Big breakfasts that will have you full half of the day.
When in San Juan, do as the San Juaneros do and stop into this little cafe in a working class neighborhood in the Old City. Don't let the sparsely decorated place fool you, the food is in the spotlight of those bare bulbs. Breakfast is a bargain with eggs, potatoes and ham, but you can stop in for authentic cuisine for lunch and dinner, too. The pork and seafood dishes taste like abuela cooked them on a Sunday afternoon.
Local Expert tip: Great food and casual ambiance. This is as local as it gets.
Through large arched windows, you can look out over Plaza Col�n as you enjoy either vegetarian or non-vegetarian dishes at this truly versatile caf� that also features a muesli energy bar. The menu is made up of creative salads, sandwiches, pastries, freshly squeezed juices, and organic coffees. For lunch or dinner eggplant tofu or veggie pizza topped off with frozen margaritas are excellent choices. Live street musicians stroll in to entertain from time to time. Features great outdoor covered seating as well.
Local Expert tip: Seat outside to get a feel of the old city.
This local gathering place for great weekend brunches is said to have some of the best coffee around. Located just a few blocks from the beach, it draws a room full of local politicians and other community figures. Strong coffee complements sweet, fresh pastries, but also try the caldo gallego (a spiced soup with sausage and vegetables), the octopus salad or any egg dish.
Local Expert tip: The best place for breakfast for those who like a calm and refined environment with of touch of Spanish flair.