The sun is starting to set, and stomachs are staring to rumble. That means it is time to make some taste buds very happy! Food is such a vital part of the Puerto Rican culture. It involves cooking traditions and practices rooted from Europe, Africa, and the Native Tainos making it known around the island as “Cocina Criolla, or creole cooking”. Throughout the island I found some magical gems that made my heart, stomach, and taste buds over the moon.
La Casita Blanca: Santurce, PR
The first time I heard about this restaurant was on the Discovery Travel Channel show called “No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain. In his words, “nothing short of amazing”. If you want to try real authentic Puerto Rican food, you must check this place out. It feels like you’re eating at your grandma’s house with the flower and fruit table cloths.
The menu for the day is written on a chalk board making it feel real old school. To start off, every guest is given fried bacalaitos (cod fish) and platano soup as a starter. For the main course I had a stuffed avocado with shrimp in a garlic sauce and arroz mamposteao. Woo there was a party in my mouth!
I even tried their Alcapurrias stuffed with beef which is one of my favorite Puerto Rican fritters. To end the meal, the servers brought out free shots of chichaito which is a local rum with a few coffee beans in it. The shot is poured for gratitude and for good luck!
Carbon y Lena Beach Restaurant: Arecibo, PR
If you are in the northern part of the island in the town of Arecibo, you have to check out this restaurant. It is close to the lighthouse and sits right on the beach with a spectacular view.
Throughout the menu they have typical Puerto Rican dishes, but they also have some over the top creative dishes!
I had the pleasure of having “El Yate” (the yacht) which is a chicken breast stuffed with mashed green plantain, yellow plantain, and yuca, all wrapped in bacon which then sits on top of a bed of arroz mamposteao. They also add three jumbo shrimp and finally dosed in a creamy garlic sauce. Now those are some serious layers for a dish!
PJ’s Bar and Grill: Coamo, PR
Take a road trip down south to the town of Coamo Puerto Rico where you will find PJ’s Bar & Grill. If you want to get way from the busy touristy spots and dine with the locals, this is the spot. You’ll drive through countless beautiful mountain views making the trip all the worth while.
Once inside you will feel a sporty bar family vibe. The locals will smile and welcome you right on in. On this day I was road tripping with my dear close friend Yodan and what a blast we had. He ordered a stuffed Mofongo with Churrascó (Steak) with a creamy homemade cheese sauce dripping all over. Of all the things on the menu obviously the stuffed avocado was a must for me! This time around I got the avocado stuffed with Churrascó. This came with a mofongo, small salad and mayo and ketchup to bring it all together. Such a simple dish with big flavors made with a lot of love!
Dinner time, or really anytime where you are surrounded by family enjoying delicious food is a great time and allows a great bonding time and to enjoy the simple things in life!