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The high-energy town of Condado in San Juan, Puerto Rico, may not be what you’d expect–the streets are full of Chinese restaurants, New York-style pizza joints, and American fast food.  Ask a local what the deal is and they might reply that Puerto Ricans are just plain tired of their native cuisine. So while you may not get much authenticity on Condado’s main strip, try your luck on the island, into the heart of Old San Juan, where the streets in the 465-year-old neighborhood are cobbled with old Spanish stone, and lined with 16th-century Spanish colonial buildings. Come here for the casinos, white-sand beaches, history, and of course, the incredible food:

A simple dish of skirt steak is delicious at El Jibarito, grilled just below medium-well, still tender and juicy. Accompanied by buttery rice and well-seasoned beans, it’ll gone before you could say muy bueno. 280 Calle Sol, San Juan, Puerto Rico 00901; (787) 725-8375

A hidden gem in “downtown” San Juan, Levi’s Restaurant and Grill is perfect for Sunday lunch. Servers speak little English but are very welcoming, even Levi himself! You may recognize him from the painted mural behind the bar. Off the beaten path, Levi’s fills up quickly with large families needing respite after church.  After sharing an arroz con pollo and a giant fried pork chop, you won’t need dinner.  2473 Calle Loiza, San Juan, Puerto Rico 00913; (787) 727-3322

With a patio over looking the beach, modern, sleek, and beautifully intimate, the Puerto Rican-American fusion eatery Oceano as the perfect space for a romantic dinner.  Order the Coral de Fuego–a lot like a Tequila Sunrise but with rum. Try the churrasco eggrolls, sweet and savory steak topped with aioli.  2 Calle Vendig, San Juan, Puerto Rico 00907; (787) 724-6300

Chicken Mofongo

Café de Angel receives an honorable mention for their chicken mofongo. The national dish of Puerto Rico, mofongo is made of smashed plantains seasoned with garlic, peppers, onions and other spices. It’s delicious!  1106 Ave Dr Ashford, San Juan, Puerto Rico 00907; (787) 643-7594

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