Continuing my travels in the Caribbean on my JetBlue All-You-Can-Jet pass, I left sunny Santo Domingo, DR to head to Puerto Rico.  Landing in San Juan, I was to spend one night there before heading to El Yunque National Forest for a few nights stay in a cabin atop the mountains of the rainforest.

(My home for three nights in El Yunque rainforest)

With one night in San Juan and several in the middle of the jungle, I ate quite differently in each place. After landing and checking into my hotel, I headed into the Old San Juan neighborhood to grab dinner. I had no specific location in mind, instead I wandered the streets looking for a restaurant bustling with activity.  After about 15 minutes of wandering, I stumbled across Restaurante Raices.  With a line out the door and a 45 minute wait for a table at 10 pm, I had a feeling the place must be good. While some of the décor seemed to indicate they catered to tourists at the nearby hotels, the abundance of locals in line and milling about outside led me to believe the food quality was topnotch. I was not disappointed. As I was traveling alone, I was able to eschew the long line and grab a seat for dinner at the bar.

My first order of business was to get a stiff drink after a long day of traveling, and I opted for a Pina Colada.  As I watched the bartender make my drink, I noticed she used Bacardi 151 instead of standard rum.  Let me tell you folks, when your bartender uses Bacardi 151 in your frozen drink, everyone wins. Bacardi wins, the bartender wins, and you as the imbiber of that cocktail? You most definitely win.

As a starter, I ordered crema de platano (creamed plantain soup). If I haven’t mentioned this already, I F-ing LOVE plantains. Love ‘em. In any form possible. This was my first foray into plantain soup, but the chef nailed the flavors. Just the right creaminess and just the right touch of Cilantro.

For the main course I opted for the mashed green plantains stuffed with chimichurri style skirt steak.  Loved the presentation!

Overall a fantastic meal. If you’re looking for a tasty meal in a place with a lively atmosphere and a fun and playful presentation of the food, I definitely recommend Restaurante Raices.

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