Foodie Friday: Café Puerto Rico in San Juan, Puerto Rico
While in Puerto Rico, my fiancé and I stayed at the Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino in San Juan. Although we loved the hotel, the food was not good at all plus we wanted to eat some real Puerto Rican food! After having a delicious breakfast at Caficultura in Old San Juan, we decided to try another highly recommended restaurant in OSJ, Café Puerto Rico. When I first heard the name, I was skeptical because I thought it would be a touristy restaurant with watered down food. Boy was I in for a pleasant surprise!
Scroll to the bottom to get straight to the food!
Similar to Caficultura, Café Puerto Rico is a fairly small restaurant.
Outside - There are four tables outside (with large cloth umbrellas) that seat four people each. A signature of Old San Juan, the restaurant is painted an eye popping pastel color (a pale mint green). There is a wooden plank in between the two doorways that simply states the restaurants name in dark green lettering. Underneath the plank, at eye level, there is a wooden shadow box with a menu placed inside.
Inside - There are seven tables inside - five of the table seat two people each, one of the tables seats four to six people, a large bar that runs the length of the restaurant and seats four or five people, and a long table in the far corner that seats at least ten people (there was a bachelorette party seated there when we went). The walls are decorated with a large wine rack, hand painted Puerto Rican art, and flags of course.
Customer Service - We were greeted on the sidewalk outside of the restaurant and quickly ushered inside. Our waiter was extremely attentive and helpful from the moment we sat down to the moment we left for the evening. He made excellent drink and food recommendations
Drinks - I ordered the pearl sangria which is white wine and fresh squeezed fruit juices. It was refreshing, sweet, and delicious. The best part: a large chunk of wine soaked fresh papaya at the bottom. I just wish it was served with less ice. My fiancé who is not usually a drinker had not one, but two Café Puerto Rico Specials which is “an exotic spice and fruits blend with Don Q Cristal, Barrilito Rum, and Triple Sec”. The waiter described it as rum punch with two time the rum! My fiancé loved it (hence the second round) but I wasn’t a fan of how strong it was.
Food - One this is for certain: I wanted mofongo! Mofongo is a Puerto Rican dish of deep-fried green plantains or yuca mashed together with other ingredients such as pork, steak, or seafood. I had eaten mofongo several times prior to this trip and I absolutely love it. My Puerto Rican fiancé on the other hand had never had mofongo before that night.
My Order: Yuca/cassava mofongo stuffed with tiritas de churrascos (skirt steak strip). The meal comes with a side of white rice and salad. I traded my salad for a side order of platanos (fried green plantain).
His Order: My fiancé had the amarillos (sweet plantain) mofongo stuffed with masitas de cerdo (diced pork). He traded his salad for a side order of platanos maduros (fried sweet plantain).
Instead of stuffed mofongo, we received mofongo that formed a cup around the meat (which I like even better). The cup was huge - easily the size of my fist or larger. My steak was drenched in a delicious garlicky steak gravy that I slathered on everything. My fiancé’s order did not come with a sauce or gravy which he says would have really improved the dish. Overall, we were extremely happy with the meal! It was authentic, flavorful, and filling!
Dessert: We ordered a tres leches cake to-go because we were so full after dinner! Before heading to the airport, we had a quick bite and instantly wished we would've grabbed a bigger slice. The cake was delicate and delicious!
Price - We spent $70 which is more than we expected but I can’t complain because I was more than full when we left!
Where is your favorite place to eat in Puerto Rico? What is your favorite Puerto Rican dinner?