Puerto Rico is a paradise for foodies but most tourists have no idea what to expect or even where to go. The unadventurous folks tend to only stick to the restaurants they have heard of and never venture out of their comfort zone. The only way to truly experience a new destination is by diving head first into the local cuisine.
I have prepared THE food guide for you to eat like a local. The restaurants will be listed in alphabetical in the spirit of full transparency. Also because they are all truly tasty and it is really hard to pick an all time fave. The first installment will be focused on Santurce located in the metropolitan area. Skip the tourist traps and head over to the places frequented by the locals for a reason so you have an authentic experience in Puerto Rico.
Acapulco Taquería Mexicana
Authentic Mexican street food is always a great idea regardless of the day at Acapulco. Let’s face it tacos are not meant to be savored only on #tacotuesdays! My favorite location is located on La Calle Loiza near Ocean Park Beach. Keep in mind their parking is limited to what is available on the street so I suggest using Uber. Once inside enjoy the beautiful day upstairs in the open terrace and make sure that Ramón is your waiter. Check out their Insta account to see how yummy the rest of their menu is. Be warned, your mouth will water and you will be in the mood for tacos.
Acapulco serves an amazing Queso Fundido with melted Oaxaca cheese and Mexican chorizo to spice it up rather nicely. You can feel the heat but it will not deter you for going back in for more. Make sure to leave some space for the main course because the tacos is where it’s at! Acapulco prepares special sauces in house that take the tacos to a whole other level. The Green is the Jalapeño and Tomatillo blend while the Red is Chipotle with Coconut. Try them both on each taco to indulge your senses, they smell and taste amazing.
Special House Sauce
The main attraction are the street tacos and they have a great variety to satisfy anyone but there is only 1 veggie option. I have never tried the vegan alternative so I can’t speak to that. Sorry Vegans! I enjoy them all but my fave is the Al Pastor. The pork is slow roasted on the vertical split which makes the meat so tender and juicy. I love the local pineapple kick accompanied by the crunchy radishes. Unexpected and delightful 😀 The Cochinita Pibil (Braised Pork), Carnitas and BBQ braised short ribs are other faves. Honestly, it is really hard to choose a fave here and again my mouth is watering as I prep this.
Authentic Mexican Street Style Tacos : Al Pastor, Carnitas, Braised Pork and Braised Short Rib
El Baoricua is an eclectic asianrican experience that serves up amazing combinations of Puerto Rico and Taiwan. They are located at Lote 23 in the heart of Santurce. El Baoricua takes pride in their creations using the best local and imported organic ingredients. One bite and you will taste the complexity in their carefully thought out dishes.
Paxxito creates a menu that is constantly evolving so please stop by when you get a chance before the next creations roll out. You will not regret it! I had to stop by twice before leaving Puerto Rico just to get my David Baowie fix. Check out their FB or Insta accounts for more info.
David Baowie is by far my favorite. I will admit I am biased but thoroughly enjoyed all the combinations on the steamed buns they prep in house. The chicken is seasoned in such a way that is doesn’t overpower the salad or dash of chipotle mayo. All the flavors play off each other quite nicely. Please note that my mouth is watering as I type this up.
David Baowie & Sloppy Kanye
The Sloppy Kanye commands attention just as much as the famous celeb but in a much nicer manner. The Sloppy Kim sauce compliments the beef, pickled onions and chopped iceberg lettuce nicely too. The flavor definitely grabs your attention and will keep you guessing.
La Cueva del Mar
La Cueva del Mar is a local staple that has expanded into other cities. Their fresh seafood selection is amazing yet affordable so you can visit regularly and enjoy different plates each time. This place is usually packed but trust me it is well worth the wait. The waiters are very friendly and helpful so feel free to ask any questions about the different dishes.
Very hard to narrow down but here are just two of my favorite dishes, the Fish Tacos and the Shrimp Arepa. The Fish Tacos are lightly battered mahi mahi chunks topped off with a spicy coleslaw salad that offers the perfect crunch served on wheat taco shells. Squeeze some lime on them to truly indulge. It adds the perfect kick and heightens the different flavors.
The Arepas are fried goodness stuffed with fresh shrimp. I have never met a fried anything I did not like. Even tried those fried Oreos people rave about and must admit they rocked. Suffice to say that the fried version of any meal is bound to be amazing. The Arepas are fried just right, they are golden and flaky yet sturdy enough to hold those perfectly cooked shrimp. Do yourself a favor and order the Arepas as an appetizer while you wait on your meal.
Panuchos is another mexican restaurant located in Santurce. Their fierce menu boasts some delicious margaritas to make time speed by a little quicker while you wait for your meal to arrive. You can’t beat a great conversation with some rad margaritas, frozen or regular. Your choice.
Sticking to the fresh seafood them I had to order the Governor of theShrimp . Puerto Rico is an island so taking full advantage when possible because I am landlocked at the moment in Nashville. The Governor totally ruled! Had a spicy kick to it but the avocado and quesadilla cheese pulled it off nicely. Did I mention how glorious the avocados are in Puerto Rico? Let me tell you they are nothing compared to the ones grown in Mexico. They are local, fresh and flavorful to say the least.
The Governor of the Shrimp
I am about to book a one way flight to Puerto Rico so I can eat off this again. I will have to swim and Forrest Gump it back in order to stay in shape. Well worth it if you ask me.
Would you like to join me on my journey?