The City’s Signatures
Frituras are deep-fried street snacks that are a huge part of San Juan's beach culture, despite what they might do to the beach body. Sand-fringed Piñones is the prime hunting ground for fritters, with a line of kiosks along Highway 187 that proffer such treats as bacalaitos, or golden-brown codfish discs; alcapurrias, or oblong fritters stuffed with meat or fish; or pastelillos, turnover pockets bursting with meat, cheese, root vegetable or fish fillings. Some of our favorites include Los 3 Pinos; El Regreso; La Comay; El Boricua and Donde Olga.
Other great snacking stops include TresBe (1805 Calle Loiza), a cafe fashioned from a shipping container, with terrific fish tacos and lobster empanadas. El Churry is a classic food truck that made its name for its chicken and skirt-steak sandwiches, preferred late-night post-drinking bites since the brand's founding in 1998.
Reel in a classic chillo frito, a fresh, deep-fried whole snapper at La Cueva del Mar (1904 Calle Loiza). Their thick, rib-sticking pigeon pea soup (sopa de gandules) is a special to watch out for too.
For classic Puerto Rican specialties in a lovely hacienda setting, it’s hard to beat Casita Miramar (605 Miramar Ave). A glance at the menu lends a primer on the island’s essential eats. All of the staples are here, from pasteles (green banana or root-vegetable tamales) to mofongo (mashed green plantains), asapao de pollo (chicken stew) and exemplary tostones (fried green plantains).