As promised, here is the second installment of my trip to Puerto Rico: a guide to my top three favorite restaurants.
My favorite part about traveling is experiencing the local cuisine. When we travel, my mom and I choose restaurants based on the number of natives eating inside. Too many people with giant cameras and Hawaiian shirts and we’re moving on to the next place. So, we were delighted to discover La Bombonera, a diner-style bakery and coffee shop located in the heart of the city, that’s been in existence since 1902. They are famous for their mallorcas, sandwiches with sweet or savory fillings, pressed and then coated with powdered sugar.
If you’re ever in Old San Juan, this is the place to go for a good yet simple breakfast. The inside is huge and has a fair population of tourists, but the majority of people who eat there are regulars who live in the area.
Even though La Bombonera is a bakery, and thus gluten central, it was still possible to find gluten free options. The menu isn’t entirely fixed, and a regular will tell you you can get pretty much anything made to order, like scrambled eggs with onions and peppers instead of plain scrambled eggs with ham.
Latin Roots, located by the pier (and directly across from our hotel!), was my personal favorite. It was the perfect setting for our mid-afternoon lunches; quiet, clean, and extremely affordable. The waitstaff was lovely and eager to answer all of our silly cooking questions (now I have a recipe for authentic rice and beans. Huzzah!). I especially loved their pasteles, made of chicken and green plantains. Mix it with some rice, and your taste buds will be in heaven!
Our third favorite restaurant was a little more upscale, but equally charming.
The best thing about the colorful Parrot Club was how accommodating their staff was. On a night during our trip when I wasn’t feeling well, they happily agreed to make me grilled chicken and rice, despite their unique menu and packed house. We loved it so much there, we went back for a second night!
And had an amazing guava flan…