Puerto Rico's Top Chefs
Puerto Rico's top chefs are at the cutting edge of culinary innovation.
Puerto Rico isn’t just known for it’s beautiful beaches, warm temperature and hip-shaking music; it’s also very well known for its cuisine. Dining on the island is a unique culinary experience, one of the best things to do in Puerto Rico. The island is known for it’s tantalizing dishes that are both beautiful and tasty. People who live in the East Coast of the United States may have experienced some of these delicious dishes, but nothing beats eating them in Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico’s unique culinary style comes from a mixture of cultural influences and from the variety of food found right on the island.
Where to Eat in Puerto Rico
When it comes to dining out with your family or friends, you’ll be spoiled for choice! Puerto Rico is peppered with restaurants and cafes, but if you really want an experience to remember, check out one of the island’s top restaurants. These restaurants are run by Puerto Rico’s Top Chefs: Wilo Benet, Roberto Trevino and Mario Pagan.
Not only is Chef Wilo a top chef, but he also owns one of the island’s most frequented restaurants Pikayo. At San Juan’s Pikayo, located at the Condado Plaza Hilton, you’ll find a variety of meals spanning from the island’s favorite sandwich “Tripleta” (a trifecta of meaty delight: ham, chicken and beef) to French Foi Gras with an island twist. This restaurant is known for blurring the line between sweet and savory, while managing to keep it simple.
Mario Pagan’s " Lemongrass"
Mario Pagan is best known for the creative and delicious dishes his displayed on Food Network’s’ The Next Iron Chef. However, since appearing on the show, Chef Pagan opened his own restaurant in the Caribe Hilton called "Lemongrass", which serves the islanders a unique twist on Thai dishes. He has successfully married the structure of Thai dishes and the flavors of the island to create what’s known as Pan Asian Latino cuisine. Lemongrass attracts athletes, stars and couples alike, and the bar here is one of the most sought after on the island.
Roberto Trevino’s “Budatai”
Chef Robert Trevino is another one of Puerto Rico’s crowned Top Chefs. He cooked against world-renown chef Mario Batali in Iron Chef America, which is an achievement that many chefs can only dream of experiencing. Chef Trevino runs one of PR’s best restaurants "Budatai." Budatai is lavishly decked out in oriental decor, which instantly gives it a relaxing and humble feel. Here, diners can experience the exotic marriage of Asian and Caribbean cuisine. Visitors can enjoy everything from spicy pegao (crunchy rice) tuna rolls to roast duck and wasabi crème fraiche. The lovely scenic view from inside of the restaurant, coupled with palate pleasing flavors are enough to keep people coming back for more. If you’re ever in the mood for Chef Trevino’s tasty cuisine and Budatai is overbooked, visit his other insanely popular restaurant Casa Lola just a short distance away and still in the Condado section of San Juan this beautifully decorated restaurant is home to some of the most mouth-watering seafood and creamy desserts in the area!
Other standout chefs in the San Juan Metro Area are José Enrique and José Santaella both own restaurants with their namesakes located by “La Placita del Mercado” in Santurce. These establishments are extremely popular and insanely good.
If vacationing in the Porta del Sol (West Region) of Puerto Rico, don’t forget to soak up the sun and wonderful scenery at the Villa Montana Beach Resort. Here, you will find fun-filled activities, romantic and relaxing suites and food by Jeremie Cruz, a rising star amongst the finest chefs on the island. Jeremie heads arguably the best restaurant in the region Eclipse.
The culinary scene in Puerto Rico is one-of-a-kind. With an endless supply of fresh produce, exotic spices and fresh seafood, top chefs can create some of the world’s most sought after gastronomical creations. Although the majority of top restaurants are in San Juan, there are hidden gems tucked all around the island. So, the next time you’re in Puerto Rico vacationing or visiting ask around, explore, and give your taste buds the experience of a lifetime.