Having never been to the Caribbean before, I was more than excited to spend a few days at the beach with my guy, trying new foods and getting lost in a city I have never visited. San Juan, Puerto Rico became our latest adventure.
Right off the plane we set up shop at Condado Beach, our home for the next few days. Our first taste of the town? A Tequila Sunrise and Piña Colada from the swim up pool bar — because, obviously.
Our first real taste of the town took place at Kasalta, a short walk down the road in Condado and a charming Spanish and Basque-inspired restaurant. The place was filled with a mix of locals on their lunch break and tourists getting some air conditioned relief from the heat.
I went with the soup and sandwich special, choosing the Cuban sandwich and hearty chicken soup. Both full of flavor and not too heavy for a day at the beach.
For our first full breakfast of the trip we grabbed a table at Niche to get our fuel to start the day. My selection included a cup of coffee and the Mallorca French Toast, which was unbelievably good and smothered in a housemade strawberry jam. Sprinkled with cinnamon, I’ve been craving another bite ever since I left.
For a fresh lunch, before hopping on the bus to Old San Juan for the evening, we stumbled upon Kamoli Kafe & Butik, just a stroll away from our hotel. There we ordered a couple refreshing fresh juices — apple, ginger, lemon, pineapple for one and pressed passion fruit for the other.
Our meal started with the beef gyoza with sesame seeds and an amazing sauce and ended with us splitting the coconut curry chicken rice bowl.
For dinner, we hit up Orazco’s a family-style Puerto Rican inspired restaurant that we ended up eating at twice during our visit, we were so impressed. Our first experience with Mofongo (the famous dish made up of smashed green plantains and mixed meat) was fantastic. We tried the beef the first night and came back again for the shrimp version seen below.
Last by certainly not least, we made sure to get back out to Old San Juan one last time before catching the flight back to New York City. So impressed with Mofongo (we could not get enough and tried it three times) we headed to Restaurante Raices for our final meal.
Super fresh lemonade cooled us off as we sat down and we started the afternoon with the waiter-recommended creamy chicken dip with Malanga Chips — which were fantastic.
Then of course, to split we ordered the Chimichurri style skirt steak mofongo, served beautifully in a raised wooden bowl, complete with plantain sticking out of the top. The meat was so seasoned and delicious, I wish we could have ordered our own. But since the dish is so hearty and rich, a bowl to split was the perfect portion.
Our first trip to San Juan, Puerto Rico was one for the books. A beautiful city with incredible beaches and sand, paired with some of the nicest people we’ve met while traveling resulted in us making plans on where to explore the next time we visit.
Have you ever been to San Juan or Puerto Rico? Tell us some of the spots or cuisine you tried while you were there!