If you’ve ever been to Puerto Rico, you know that one of the best things about the island is the food. Lechon, tostones, mallorcas; the list is endless. So during a recent trip to San Juan, my girlfriends and I made sure that we tried everything the city had to offer (when we weren’t lazily soaking up the Caribbean sun on the beach, of course).
After a long flight and a stop at our hotel to check in, we were famished. Our first stop was Plato’s in Isla Verde, after it came recommended by the staff at the InterContinental San Juan. Oh my, were they ever right. My red snapper was cooked perfectly and had to be at least two pounds! My friend said the seafood paella was on par with the paella she had in Spain. Everyone’s dish was so good. However, we all agreed that the best part was their coconut sangria. Heavenly.
We then headed to Old San Juan for some shopping and sightseeing. After exploring the old town, with its cobblestone streets and pastel colored buildings, we walked to Raices for dinner. Located on a busy Old San Juan street, it was packed when we arrived at 8 p.m. We waited and were seated after 45 minutes. We started with mojitos; pineapple for my friend and tamarind for me. An island that’s the leading producer of the world’s rum has to make good mojitos, right? As for my meal, I have one word – mofongo. Their starch-tastic mix of plantains and garlic is a top contender for my last meal on earth. Seriously, the shrimp mofongo was that good.
The morning after a night out on the town, we were in search of an authentic Puerto Rican breakfast. We did some searching online and decided to venture to Panaderia Espana. After a short walk from our Isla Verde hotel through a not-to-pretty, non touristy neighborhood, we arrived at the unassuming panaderia. This place was full with tourists and locals alike, which I always take as a good sign. This place had everything – coffee, pastries, sandwiches, traditional entrees. It even sold bottled wine! Strong cafe con leche and my medianoche sandwich of roast pork, ham and swiss cheese was exactly what the doctor ordered after a late night. A to-go box full of guava tarts, mango cheesecake and quesitos for later made the trip complete.
Now that I’m home, I long for some of the specialties I tasted on this trip. I’m on a constant quest for a good Puerto Rican restaurant in my city, but there don’t seem to be any! If you’ve been to Puerto Rico, what are some of your favorite dishes or treats?