San Juan has often been included on best lists of “foodie destinations”. Taste the fusion of three cultures on a plate, Taino Natives, Spanish, and African flavors. Old San Juan, being the cultural hub of Puerto Rico, you can find the best variety of food, from traditional to the best fine dining, however, the prices tend to be higher in the city. One of the best dining experiences is eating al fresco so you can enjoy the sights of architecture and feel the energy of the city as you eat. Near the cruise piers, you’ll find food trucks selling traditional fritters at good prices and vendors selling piraguas, tropical fruit frappes, ice cream, and more.
If you don’t have much time in the city, you may try traditional fritters at food trucks, you can find many at La Casita and food vendors at Paseo de La Princesa.
Refreshing Treats to Enjoy during your Walking Tour of Old San Juan
- Piragua – think shaved ice with syrups made from delicious tropical fruit flavors.
- Ice Cream – Delicious fresh ice cream made from tropical fruit. You’ll see vendors pushing a cart, typically they offer coconut, pineapple, passion fruit, and/or rainbow (a combination of flavors).
- Mavi Drink – this is a drink made from the bark of the Mavi tree and sugar. It is fermented and oh-so refreshing…
- Piña Colada !! – You can leave San Juan without having one… it was invented right here in the capital city of Puerto Rico.
Breads & Treats
- Mallorca – A sweet delicate bread loved by Puerto Ricans, it is delicious all by itself typically served with powdered sugar on top or on a sandwich. You can stop for some at Plaza de Armas in Old San Juan, you’ll see the booth at the corner. Many restaurants offer it on their menu. Our favorite Mallorca Sandwich is served at Cafe Cortes, is called “Mallorca Iberica”, with serrano ham, manchego cheese, and guava butter… so good.
- Quesito – a favorite for Puerto Ricans, available at every bakery in Puerto Rico. Quesito is a pastry puff in a rectangular shape stuffed with creme cheese, the top is covered with a decadent caramel crust. Goes great with cafe con leche. (coffee with hot milk).
Traditional Foods to Try
- Mofongo – Fried plantains are mashed, added olive oil, garlic, and seasonings then served with your choice of meat topped with a sauce. Traditionally, mofongo is served with meats such as stewed chicken, roasted pork, skirt steak with chimichurri sauce, or fresh seafood.
- Tostones – If you choose to order a hot sandwich, ask for Tostones instead of fries. Tostones are fried green plantains, then smashed flat, then twice fried until crispy. Delicious!!
- Arroz con habichuelas – A staple meal in Puerto Rico, white rice with pink beans seasoned with sofrito, tomato base, and seasonings with a delicious sauce to go over the rice.
Mayo-Ketchup please – Don’t forget the sauce for sides such as fries and tostones… A Puerto Rican sauce made with a mix of… you guessed it, Mayonnaise and Ketchup with added seasoning such as adobo or garlic.