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NW PR Favorite Eateries

My reviews unless otherwise noted. We favor eating comida criollo (local style) when in Puerto Rico.
(click on pic for larger image)

North Coast
(Arecibo to Isabela)
El Buen Cafe. Hatillo. Comida Criollo. Always a must stop on the road from San Juan to the west coast. One of the Mesones Gastronomicos de Puerto Rico.  Km. 84.0, De Diego Highway #2, just east of Arecibo after exiting the toll road (Rt 22). Updated: January 2010.


El Fogón de Abuela. Camuy. Comida Criollo. One of the Mesones Gastronomicos de Puerto Rico.


Northwest Coastal Area
(Isabela to Aguadilla)
Fritura West of Jobos. This outstanding fritura stand opened several years ago. Hardly anyone drives by without stopping to grab a quick bite to eat or to take something for the road. The food is fresh, tasty and not too greasy.  Location: Rt. 466, west of Jobos, in the middle of a sharp S-turn, before heading up the hill.









 



Panaderia Borinquen. Comida Criollo. This is one of our favorite inexpensive eateries in the N/NW coastal areas. The Borinquen is a combination bakery, restaurant and grocery store. You have a wide range of great choices: sandwiches, luncheon items, baked goods and coffee. One of my morning favorites is the jamon,huevo y queso sandwich (ham, egg and cheese) on toasted criollo bread (about $2). For lunch, the rotisserie garlic one-third chicken with a heaping plate of rice & beans is can't miss, or the pasteles. The other items are also very well done. Skip the fried plantains.

One Ten Thai. Thai food made with locally grown and fresh veggies. Offers a wide range of thai-insprired entrees and appetizers. A real bonus is the large selection of craft brews from San Juan, California and elsewhere, including many on tap. Not expensive (see the menu). May be reached at 787-890-0113. Directions: East of Gate 5 of Ramey Base and the PR-110 or San Antonio Road. Driving east you will find the restaurant on the left-hand side, just after the Texaco Gas Station, just before La Cima Hotel. Visited: January 2012.

Photo courtesy of goseePR.com.

Rincón Area
(Greater Rincón)
Comida Criollo. One of the best restaurants around. Excellent variety of appetizers and entrees. One of the specialities is the mofongo (pictured to the right). Fresh seafood, chillo (red snapper); very good steaks; and special "home fries." It is always tough to choose between the killer starch of the evening. Updated: January 2010.









 

Restaurante Doña Fela. This relatively new restaurant was recommended to us by friends. Business was slow the night we were there but the staff was attentive and the food was great. Location: Calle Colón de Aguada. Updated: January 2010.


Casita Rica.Comida criollo. This establishment has been in business forever having exanded from its beginnings as a limber stand to include now a sit-down restaurant. Excellent criollo food at a good price. The line for frappe/limber was quite long! We enjoyed grilled chillo al ajillo, arroz con camarones, churrasco and mofongo. Location: Km 20.0 on PR-115. Visited: January 2012.


Platano Loco. The "Crazy Plantain" specializes in food made by plantains. You name it and you can have a plantain version: plantain sandwiches, plantain pizza, plantain soup... and so on. Of course, El Platano Loco specializes in traditional foods made with plantains such as tostones, pasteles and mofongo. Inexpensive. Closed Mon-Wed. Directions: Click on this link for the address and directions. [Note: In Spanish]. Updated January 2010.


More pics: Front | Sign

Ode To The Elephants. Thai. Great sunset view from atop the mountains overlooking Rincón surfing beaches of Punta Higuera. The food wasn't bad either! Not a huge beer selection but some good drinks and fresh ingredients. The curry smelled very good. We would go again. Address: Barrio Puntas, Rincon. Moderately priced. Visited: January 2012.


Lazy Parrot. Comida Criollo. Great sunset view from atop the mountains overlooking Rincón surfing beaches of Marias, Dogmans. The food can also feature some very good latin fusion meals. Last time not as good, but it has had a good track record. Believe it is under new management (and name), but located at the Lazy Parrot. Address: On Rt 413, north of Rincón and Puntas. Moderate to expensive for the area.







The Brothers Pizza. Comida Criollo.Sandwich criollos at The Brothers in the evening. Across from the plaza (southside).

January 2010 Update: Still the reliable place for a sandwich, frituras or pizza. Check out the Black Out.















Panaderia Rincoeña. Comida criollo and bakery. Sandwich criollos and luncheon menu. Really good wood-fired baked bread (pan horneado con leña) and pan frances. We used to be regulars at The Paradise so when it was closed during January 2008, we had to find an alternative. This is no true alternative but it was very good. There is a popular Mexican restaurant next door (note: we don't go to PR to eat Mexican food - eat criollo style!). Across from the plaza (northside). Updated January 2010.




La Napoletana. Comida Criollo and Pizza. Sandwich criollos, pizza and frituras. Side street a few blocks south of the plaza and across from skate park.













The Paradise. Comida Criollo. Breakfast and lunch. Good Criollo food and usually some American items (if that is necessary!). Home cooked. Reasonably priced. New Location: As you enter Rincón from the south where the road bends to the right there is a one-lane entrance; or, drive further into town and turn right at Calle Nueva Final, drive past the La Napoletana and  turn into the Publico Station (across from Skate Town). See more here.

Updated January 2010: The Paradise is now closed. We heard that El Capitán passed away this past year and that the restaurant had declined. Sweet memories.




Rincon Tropical. Comida Criollo. It has been around awhile but we just started eating there the past few years. Good menu selection and reasonably priced.  Route 115, km.12.

Updated January 2012.











Villa Cofresí Hotel & Restaurant. Comida Criollo. Excellent Puerto Rican food, seafood and special dinners during holidays. Also a bar and grill next to the beach featuring the El Pirate (coconut drink), pinchos (pieces of chicken, seafood, shish-kabob style with a bbq sauce, grilled over a fire) and a good hamburger & fries (the only gringo food I allow my wife and son to indulge during our visits). Inside dining is air conditioned. Moderately priced. Located south of Rincón town on Rt. 115, km.12.3. Updated January 2010.








Bambinos. Comida Criollo. Dinner (maybe also open for lunch). A good mix of American, Italian, seafood and Criollo selections. More expensive than eating on the economy.

Update January 2010: Still a good dining choice. Broke my rules and ordered a take-away pizza so we could watch the Ravens football game back in our room - mistake. Salads, garlic bread, seafood and everything else was very good. Served the best piña colada we had in the
Rincón area. Located south of Rincón town on Rt. 115, km.12.3, at the turn off to Villa Cofresi.


El Tropical. Comida Criollo.  They've come a long way in the past 5 years. Update January 2010: This restaurant continues to improve. Great empanadillas (seafood, shrimp, meat and cheese), rice & beans and everything else on the menu seemed to be enjoyed. Located across the road from Bambinos, in the Plaza Bonet, Route 115, km.12.3.

Update January 2011: Seems to have become more of a bar than a restaurant. Disappointed about that!










BBQ SmokehouseSimply Delicioso [formerly El Cerdito del Cielo (smokehouse)]. Comida Criollo and barbque. Sells fresh fish. Good reviews on Trip Advisor. We ate there in January 2009 - very good pulled pork with a boricua twist, excellent rice cooked with gandules type beans and bits of pork, and mofongo. They prepared tostones as one my sides even though it is not on the menu. We understand that the fish is very good. New name under new ownership in Spring 2009.

January 2010 Update: The restaurant is under new management and in our opinion the quality was uneven. My wife's ribs were good but my pulled pork was delivered luke-warm, consisted of cut strips of pork (not pulled) and was rather fatty. The tostones were average at best. There is a new lechonera at Las Curvas de Rincon that we have not visited but have heard good things about.
Directions: Just down the road south from the Econo on the right. January 2011 Update: Appears to have closed.


Antojos. Comida Criollo. For dinner we tried a new place in Rincón, just south of Cofresí, Ajontos. It was ok, but no great shakes. Road 115, Km. 11.2, corner of Calle 11. January 2011 Update: Doesn't appear to have improved from what we have heard and it is never very busy.


EC Bakery. Panaderia typical. Good baked goods and criollo sandwiches. My free WiFi access point when in a pinch. Excellent coffee made from an espresso machine and thick frothed milk. The sandwiches are very good and were available until 8pm or so (in 2010). Some good pastries and flan. Directions: South of Rincón, on Route 115, km 10.9. Updated January 2011.


Panaderia Calvache.  Delicious pressed sandwiches and rotisserie chicken. Inexpensive. A couple of kilometers south of Rincón  - just beyond the school with large track on the right. Reviewed on Trip Advisor.


El Fogón de la Curva. Specializes in lechón (roast pig). Comida Criollo. Inexpensive. Fresh fish market from 1p-6pm. The reviews were on the money: tasty and inexpensive. I had the plate dinner of lechón and two sides (arroz con gandules and amarillos). We will return! Bonus: Rex Cream (ice creams/sorbets of tropical flavors)! Click here for the menu. Directions: South of Rincón on Rt. 115, Km. 7, in the Curvas de Rincón area overlooking Mayagüez Bay. Updated April 2011.



Kaplash. Comida Criollo. Empanadillas! are the speciality. Must be over a dozen varieties. These empanadillas are baked and not deep fried. Directions: South of Rincón on Rt. 115, Km. 7, in the Curvas de Rincón area overlooking Mayagüez Bay. See the menu. Updated January 2010.


Western Coast
(Mayaguez to San German)
Panaderia Franco. Mayagüez. Comida Criollo.Our first stop was the old panaderia down near the water in Mayagüez, Panaderia Franco, renown for their brazo gitano (jelly roll cake). Staying for lunch was impossible to resist, so a cubano and sandwich de tuna we had, followed by the complimentary slice of brazo gitano topped with a scoop of helado vanilla. Address: Calles Mendez Vigo and Manuel Pirallo 3 Oeste, Mayagüez, PR 00680. Directions: West on Calle Mendez Vigo from Rt. 2. You can also exit towards the Ferry Terminal and go south along the coastal street (Calle Clemente or Concordia), over a bridge and you'll see Mendez Vigo on the left. January 2010 Update: Service was a little rough and there were too many beggars hanging around the front entrance and parking areas for our comfort. Will check it out again in 2011. No complimentary slice of brazo gitano topped with a scoop of helado vanilla. Wassup with that!?



RicoMini Bakery and Restaurant. Mayagüez. Comida Criollo. In the early evening we drove into Mayagüez to have a look at the holiday decorations of the renovated plaza and city hall and to grab a bite to eat at the old time panaderia RicoMini(awesome medianoches and flanes and excellent espresso café con leche. Fodors notes 'this popular bakery is a good spot to try one of the city's trademark delicacies, a brazo gitano (literally "gypsy arm"). These gigantic jellyrolls are filled with anything from guava to lemon to sweet cheese. You can also find another famous local product here, Fido's Sangría, made from the closely guarded secret recipe of Mayagüez resident Wilfredo Aponte Hernández. There are also tasty pastries, freshly baked bread, and a selection of sandwiches." If you are not full you can top off the evening with Rex Cream cones of parcha (passion fruit) and coco or other flavors nearby. Address: 101 - E Méndez Vigo Mayagüez, P.R. (two blocks north from the plaza). Updated January 2010.



Elsewhere In the Mountains
(West to East)
Heladeria Lares. There is a great ice cream shop across from the plaza in Lares where we purchased some cones of smooth parcha and coconut full of shavings and enjoyed on the Plaza de la Revolución. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, for Lares, PR, "the Heladeria de Lares has become very popular for it's very unique ice cream. Flavors like corn to rice and beans are some of the clever flavors you can get. It's a nice place little place to go get some really good old fashion ice cream while shopping in the town square.

The local news monthly: http://www.coquirincon.com.



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Last updated on: 01/31/12