The name means small white house. And it's just that simple character that makes La Casita Blanca such a great spot. Locals love La Casita because of the generous portions of Puerto Rican fare. Favorites include the veal fricassee and pastelon de amarillos in a genuine fonda. The grilled shrimp is also popular. Fried plantains, rice and beans come with your meal.
Local Expert tip: This staple of local flavor also serves great coffee.
What better place to enjoy an authentic Puerto Rican meal than at the city's oldest restaurant? Established in 1848 this spot has been lovingly run by the Rojos family since 1900. The house special is asopao, a thick stew made with rice and chicken, lobster or shrimp. Sample fresh gazpacho for a starter and save room for some flan for dessert.
Local Expert tip: Oldest restaurant in Puerto Rico.
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 and great coffee.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.