San Juan has a well-deserved reputation as the culinary capital of the Caribbean. The city is packed with restaurants showcasing everything from international haute cuisine and classy Nuevo Latino cooking to American diners and humble canteens serving tasty cocina criolla, the perfect introduction to the island’s own rich gastronomic traditions.
Old San Juan offers the most diversity and some of the best restaurants on the island. Meals can be expensive here, but there are plenty of cheap options and the scene is by no means solely tourist-oriented – most of the people eating here will be locals, especially in the mornings. The cheapest places are the stalls along the waterfront, where you can usually pick up fried snacks such alcapurrias and bacalaítos for less than $2, or Kiosko 4 Estaciones on the northwest side of Plaza de Armas, open 24 hours for pastas, sandwiches (less than $5) and excellent coffee. The most fashionable restaurants in the city are located in Old San Juan’s SoFo (“South Fortaleza”) district, offering superb fusion and international cuisine in equally elaborate premises. For self-catering or picnics, stock up at the Super Max supermarket on Plaza de Armas.
The beach areas of Condado and Isla Verde also boast a number of excellent and conveniently located restaurants, while cheaper, no-frills diners can be found in Santurce, and there are plenty of fast-food outlets if you get desperate, particularly along the main avenues in Condado and Isla Verde.