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Restaurants in San Juan Puerto Rico

I prefer to eat in local restaurants and try authentic food when I travel. I was in San Juan, Puerto Rico for the I-CHRIE Conference last week. I stayed in the Caribe Hilton, which is about 10 minutes away from Old San Juan (by bus; 50 cents one-way per person). As a result, I visited Old San Juan often, where I randomly picked three restaurants for lunch and dinner. They all served very good Puerto Rican food.









First, I tried La Bombonera located on CII San Francisco (Picture 1 to 4). This restaurant was established in 1902 and still maintains an old Puerto Rico feel. I ordered a drink of pawpaw shake ($4.5), rice with lamb ($11.95), and rice with sea squid ($11.95) for two people. I felt the lamb was overcooked, but the rice with sea squid and the pawpaw shake tasted very good. I was too full to even try any dissert. Later, I found out this restaurant was recommended by Rachael Ray. If you like Rachael Ray, you may not want to miss La Bombonera when you are in Old San Juan.

Also located on CII San Francisco, there is another old Puerto Rico restaurant --- Cafeteria Mallorca (Picture 5). Its settings are similar to La Bombonera’s. Most customers of this restaurant are locals. Items served at Cafeteria Mallorca looked almost identical to those of La Bombonera. I ordered a drink of pina colada, rice with chicken, and rice with sea squid for two. I have to admit that I did not like the drink, but I really liked the food in Cafeteria Mallorca because they tasted better and were cheaper (roughly $1 less per item) than those served at La Bombonera.

Last but not least, I truly enjoyed the food in Café Puerto Rico, which is located in the Plaza de Armas. This casual dining midscale restaurant was small but is very good for business lunch or dinner. I ordered shrimp in garlic source for appetizer ($9), fried whole red snapper with two sides ($21), and cod fish with yellow rice ($17) for two people. The price was very reasonable, and the food was excellent (except for the side of mofongo, which tasted too dry for me). One drawback of this restaurant is the service was slow.

Overall, I had great dining experience in Old San Juan. While La Bombonera and Cafeteria Mallorca allowed me to enjoy the “old” Puerto Rican dining experience, Café Puerto Rico served me great Puerto Rican food. After this trip, I am more open to Puerto Rican food. What’s your experience with Puerto Rican cuisine?

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