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What to Eat in Puerto Rico

Dining in Puerto Rico reflects the island's mixture of Caribbean, Latin, North American and indigenous Taíno influences. No matter where you dine, make sure you get a taste of some of Puerto Rico's most authentic eats: asopao is a traditional stew often made with chicken or beef; mofongo consists of seafood, meat or vegetables atop mashed plantains; pasteles are made of mashed banana (or yucca) and stuffed with pork, chicken or cod; and lechón is smoky, roasted suckling pig. Other items to try include tostones (fried plantains), arroz con gandules (rice and pigeon peas). For something sweet, try tembleque (a coconut custard), pastelitos de guayaba (a guava-filled pastry) or mantecaditos (a Puerto Rican shortbread cookie).

Drinks in Puerto Rico are a huge part of the island's dining culture, too. Coffee and rum are its two best-known beverages. Puerto Rico's climate makes it perfect for growing coffee, so you'll find lots of local growers and no shortage of places to enjoy a great cup. You can also visit one of the haciendas for tours of the coffee farms or to enjoy a warm drink.

You won't want to leave the island without trying local rum. Start with a piña colada, which was first created in Puerto Rico (specifically at the Caribe Hilton Hotel) and is the island's national drink. If you'd rather do a tasting, pop by the Bacardí or Ron del Barrilito distilleries. Each distillery offers tours of its facilities, tastings and mixology classes. And if you visit around the holidays, be sure to sample coquito, a coconut-based drink akin to eggnog.

As the major metropolitan area, San Juan offers a variety of dining options (though you'll want to be prepared to battle crowds). Some favorites include Jose Enrique. Though lauded for its bacalaito (fried cod fritter) and other seafood dishes, travelers warn the restaurant's perpetual crowds can deaden the vibe. For upscale fare, head to Marmalade for a varied tasting menu that could include vegan sausage, "rum barrel" pork cheeks and butterscotch bread pudding. Hacienda San Pedro, a local coffee grower, also has a popular cafe in San Juan. If you're looking for more of a local feel in the city, start out with one of the best food tours of Old San Juan. The tours will not only give you a taste of traditional cuisine but also help you orient yourself in the city.

If you're staying in the northeast, you can expect a quieter dining experience along Luquillo or Fajardo beaches. The kiosks in Luquillo are a must-visit in the area, as you can sample a range of different cuisines. If you want to try some of the best eats in the area, Puerto Rico's tourism board has put together a list of food trails themed around island staples like pork, coffee and rum.

Find the Best Restaurants in Puerto Rico

  • #1
    Asao Smokehouse
    #1 of 17 Places to Eat in Ciales
    Tripadvisor Traveler Rating 4 based on 392 reviewsTripadvisor (392)
    $ - $$ | Steakhouse, Caribbean, Latin, Puerto Rican
    PR-149, KM. 18.5, Int. PR-615 Intersection Road 615, Ciales 00638 Puerto Rico
    Read More »
  • #2
    Fussion Restaurant
    #2 of 17 Places to Eat in Ciales
    Tripadvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 108 reviewsTripadvisor (108)
    $ - $$ | Caribbean, Puerto Rican, Latin
    carr. 149 km 18 Plaza bella vista Bo. pesas, Ciales 00638 Puerto Rico
    Read More »
  • #3
    Casa Vieja
    #3 of 17 Places to Eat in Ciales
    Tripadvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 27 reviewsTripadvisor (27)
    $ - $$ | Latin, Puerto Rican, Caribbean, Spanish
    Road PR-149 Kilometer 26.0, Ciales 00638 Puerto Rico
    Read More »
  • #4
    Pollos Neco
    #4 of 17 Places to Eat in Ciales
    Tripadvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 19 reviewsTripadvisor (19)
    $ | Caribbean, Barbecue
    Carretera 149, Ciales 00638 Puerto Rico
    Read More »
  • #5
    Abu Casona's Kitchen
    #5 of 17 Places to Eat in Ciales
    Tripadvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 15 reviewsTripadvisor (15)
    $ - $$ | Latin, Puerto Rican, Caribbean
    Carr 149 KM 18.5 Sector Jaguas, Ciales 00638 Puerto Rico
    Read More »
  • #6
    Algo Lindo Restaurant Bar & Grill
    #6 of 17 Places to Eat in Ciales
    Tripadvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 18 reviewsTripadvisor (18)
    Carr #146 Km 0.2, Ciales 00638 Puerto Rico
    Read More »
  • #7
    Ricuras del Mercado
    #7 of 17 Places to Eat in Ciales
    Tripadvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 10 reviewsTripadvisor (10)
    Carretera 632 Km 2.2, Ciales 00638 Puerto Rico
    Read More »
  • #8
    Don Carlos Retaurant
    #8 of 17 Places to Eat in Ciales
    Tripadvisor Traveler Rating 4 based on 19 reviewsTripadvisor (19)
    Caribbean
    Carreterra 149 Km 12.1, Ciales 00638 Puerto Rico
    Read More »
  • #9
    Rancho El Desahogo
    #9 of 17 Places to Eat in Ciales
    Tripadvisor Traveler Rating 4 based on 12 reviewsTripadvisor (12)
    $ - $$ |
    Carretera 145 Km 0.9, Ciales Puerto Rico
    Read More »
  • #10
    Arturito
    #10 of 17 Places to Eat in Ciales
    Tripadvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 3 reviewsTripadvisor (3)
    Caribbean, Puerto Rican
    Carr.149 km. 17.7 Interior, Sector La Linea, Ciales Puerto Rico
    Read More »
  • #11
    Bohio BBQ
    #11 of 17 Places to Eat in Ciales
    Tripadvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 2 reviewsTripadvisor (2)
    International
    Barrio Cordillera Carretera 146 Km, Ciales 00638 Puerto Rico
    Read More »
  • Willy's Pinchos "El Original"
    #12 of 17 Places to Eat in Ciales
    Tripadvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 1 reviewsTripadvisor (1)
    Caribbean, Puerto Rican
    Pr - 146, Ciales 00638 Puerto Rico
    Read More »
  • #13
    Lacies Cafe
    #13 of 17 Places to Eat in Ciales
    Tripadvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 1 reviewsTripadvisor (1)
    Caribbean, Latin, Cafe, Spanish, Diner, Puerto Rican
    Calle Palmer #1 Esq. Ignacio Fernandez, Ciales Puerto Rico
    Read More »
  • #14
    Chalan's Restaurant
    #14 of 17 Places to Eat in Ciales
    Tripadvisor Traveler Rating 4 based on 1 reviewsTripadvisor (1)
    Caribbean, Puerto Rican
    Carretera PR-149 Hato Viejo, Ciales 00638 Puerto Rico
    Read More »
  • Subway
    Pr 149 Km 12.3 H1, Ciales 00638 Puerto Rico
    Read More »
  • Cialenos
    Pr-149, Ciales 00638 Puerto Rico
    Read More »
  • Down Town Bar & Grill
    $ - $$ | Caribbean, Puerto Rican
    calle Palmer Esquina Betances #10 En el pueblo de Ciales, frente a la Plaza Pública, Ciales 00638-3217 Puerto Rico
    Read More »

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