You know who to ask for restaurant recommendations? Taxi drivers. This isn’t some huge revelation, I know that, but somehow our family always seems to forget this nugget of gold when we travel someplace new. Los Pinos Café was our revelation in San Juan, Puerto and they serve the best churrasco we’ve ever had!
► Ranking: #cleandiaper
Los Pinos Café
Ave Ponce de Leon #659
Calle Salva, San Juan, 00907 Puerto Rico
Turns out if we had asked anyone else, everyone would have repeated the same recommendation of our taxi driver. So in this particular instance, Los Pinos Café was less a revelation and more of an establishment, but whatever works. Los Pinos Café is a local favorite among Puerto Ricans and they serve up creole island delicacies.
The restaurant is right across the street from a local grocery store in the middle of a busy neighborhood. It offers an unassuming interior with standard table and chairs and no frills. Our server was great and offered menu recommendations, all of which we ordered.
Everyday Los Pinos Café offers specials, published on the website at 9:30 am and served until supplies last or until 2pm. The best thing our family ate was the churrasco.
It was buttery and succulent and nothing else we ordered touched it. My knife cut straight through it and the flavor was impeccable. Had we not dined on this perfect dish, Los Pinos Café might not have earned a #cleandiaper ranking.
Aside from this our family ordered a Chicken Milanesa, and a Shrimp Mofongo Relleno. The Chicken Milanesa was very good, but felt misplaced like it should have been on an Italian menu. The Shrimp Mofongo Relleno is a classic dish from this region. It’s hard to describe; like cornbread meets pudding topped with shrimp or another type of meat. We did not find it very appetizing.
We started the meal out with empanadas and they were fantastic. Typically I find empanadas to be far too dry, but these had the perfect blend. We also really wanted to try the breadfruit, but they were out for the day; instead they substituted fried plantains and they turned out to be some of the best we’ve ever had!
► For Kids: The flavors are fairly mild here at Los Pinos Café, and they’ve got french fries. Puerto Rico doesn’t necessarily have a cuisine of their own; it’s more of a combination of all the regions of Latin America and the Caribbean.
Have you dined here? It was super fun for our family to dine at a staple on the island and someplace that was so innocuous but very well known. But I gotta tell you: As good as this churrasco was, the churrasco at Sofrito Latin Cafe in Orlando still has them beat.
► Nap-Time Version: Family review of local restaurant favorite in San Juan, Puerto Rico: Los Pinos Café where you definitely want to order the churrasco.
Los Pinos Café was within walking distance of the Hyatt Place San Juan City Center where we loved staying during our time in San Juan! Also check out our beach day spent at Balneario El Escambron and our review of El Hamburguer!