Piñones restaurant puerto rico: Piñones | Discover Puerto Rico
Home Is Where the Manteca Is: A Visit to Piñones in Puerto Rico
My first stop off the plane in Puerto Rico is the roadside kiosk where the fried food is crispy and the beer is ice-cold.
By Laia Garcia
PHOTO BY JAVIER J. FREYTES
This is part of our series that celebrates America’s Favorite Neighborhood Restaurants. We asked 80 of the most interesting people we know to reveal the local spots they love the most.
As soon as the pilot announces that we are about to make our initial descent into the San Juan airport, I’m smiling with complete abandon. After the customary round of applause that signals a smooth landing, I look at my boyfriend, Jack, and squeeze his hand—it’s his first time coming to Puerto Rico and meeting my family.
My mom picks us up and immediately asks the most mom question of them all: “Are you hungry?” Every time I fly home, there’s one essential first stop. We drive 20 minutes to Piñones, an area known for its beaches and mangroves, but more importantly, its fried food.
Everything is deep-fried in lard.
PHOTO BY JAVIER J. FREYTES
Say you are going to Piñones, though, and everyone knows that where you’re really headed is the small stretch of route 187 dotted with little roadside kiosks that sell typical Puerto Rican food and beer. We call them chinchorros. They vary in size, from open-air restaurants to a few tables and chairs under a zinc or wooden roof. But the one thing they all have in common is a glass vitrine that displays the very-recently fried food. Everything is deep-fried in manteca, or lard. Hanging out at these spots is such an important part of our culture that we’ve turned it into a verb: chinchorrear, to spend a day going from kiosk to kiosk eating and drinking. Hurricane Maria hit this area pretty hard, but Puerto Ricans were already back in Piñones two weeks after the storm, seeking the thing that would make them feel human again.
The place we always go.
PHOTO BY JAVIER J. FREYTES
We arrive at El Rinconcito Latino, our usual spot. There’s loud salsa music playing, and just a few feet away, the sun shines bright upon the surface of the ocean.
First, I order my favorite, a bacalaíto. It’s a golden brown deep-fried pancake-ish thing made from a mixture of cod and flour that’s generally bigger than my head. The woman behind the deep-fryer hands it to me on a napkin that’s already translucent; it’s no match for the grease that covers its surface. Sometimes I just eat around the bacalaíto, ripping all the super crispy edges first with my fingers so I get them while they are still hot and brittle. Then I give the leftovers to my stepdad, bless him. I wash it down with an ice-cold Medalla, a light Puerto Rican beer that may as well be our water.
The alcapurria, in all its fried glory.
PHOTO BY JAVIER J. FREYTES
Next is an alcapurria, a long, dark-brown oblong cylinder of green plantain and taro root (although the best and rarest ones are made with yucca) that’s stuffed with ground beef or crabmeat. Jack douses the alcapurria with hot sauce and my stepdad hands him a beer.
For the rest of the trip, Jack will ask if they have alcapurrias everywhere we go. I’m proud that it’s one of the first Spanish words he’s learned. Another round of Medallas. Another round of alcapurrias and bacalaítos. Our family cheers to the ritual indoctrination that’s taken place: Jack has passed the first test.
Laia Garcia is the deputy editor of No Man’s Land.
“Try some fritanga!” A foodie’s guide to Piñones’ street food | by VIEWPR
by Cristina Pérez
The rising cloud of smoke announced the beginning of our gastronomic journey on PR-187 to Loíza — or, as the locals call that exciting stretch of beaches and food shacks, Piñones. Everything’s cooked over a fogón where coconut shells burn steadily, the soot covers every surface, and the smoke rises — impregnated with a heavy woody scent— to greet the diners. Hordes of people line up to order beer and local delicacies like pickled conch with peppers and onions, fresh oysters, crabmeat alcapurrias and bacalaítos. Most of us are locals who have made a tradition out of the monthly trip to Piñones to discover the best fritters in town.
So, if you’re near the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t come to Piñones immediately and experience one of our best-kept gastronomic traditions.
A woman in Piñones making alcapurrias (by Foundation for Puerto Rico)
Piñones is the area that surrounds the PR-187 from Carolina to Loíza — a sandy road that is replete with restaurants and chinchorros, bordered by the Piñones State Forest on the south and the Atlantic Ocean on the north. Sundays are the busiest and most interesting day to go to Piñones since most kiosks are open; the beaches are filled with families, surfers and fishers; and the impending dread of the upcoming (working) Monday makes everyone relish even more the last few hours of the weekend. So, here are some tips on how to make the best out of this experience.
Visitors enjoying a shrimp arepa, an empanadilla, an alcapurria and a bacalaito (photo by Foundation for Puerto Rico)
Some recommendations before you head over to Piñones:
- Many establishments only accept cash, so you might want to visit Piñones with some dollars on you.
- Don’t overdress. The heat and humidity here are intense, so you may like to bring light clothing. Plus, the beach is just steps away — you might enjoy sunbathing while sipping coconut water and enjoying a bacalaíto.
- Respect the people, respect the culture — as you would anywhere else.
- You can take the #45 bus (AMA) from Sagrado Corazón station to Piñones. Or you can order an Uber or a taxi. BONUS: ask your driver for the best chinchorros (or food shacks) on Piñones, and keep reading to know what to order when you’re in front of a burén (a traditional taíno clay plate where cassava was baked, and is still in use today).
- If you go to Piñones on Sunday, you may encounter heavy traffic to and from Loíza. Plan accordingly.
And that’s what a burén looks like — hot and covered with alcapurrias (via Kiosko El Boricua)
So, finally, we get to our main course: the actual dishes.
Fritanga — various kinds of fritters such as chapín, octopus and judges turnovers (author’s photo)
Fried alcapurrias are hung to take the excess oil off (photo by Foundation for Puerto Rico)
The most beloved fritter in Loíza is — without a doubt — a cylindrical deep-fried mass of grated yautía, yuca and green plantains, and filled with crabmeat, beef or chicken. Try any alcapurria with some pique and experience heaven on earth. By all means, go to Kiosko El Boricua to try some of the BEST fritanga in Puerto Rico.
Bacalaítos (skewered, at the front) and alcapurrias (photo by Jorge Rodríguez via Flickr)
Another Piñones staple is this iconic codfish fritter. You can find it anywhere on Puerto Rico, but nowehere as crunchy as in Piñones. Just try to picture a thin, seasoned codfish pancake with a delicious crunch, and you’ll have an idea of what a bacalaíto is (which, by the way, pairs amazingly with fresh coconut water).
3. Caldo Santo:
Caldo Santo (which translates as “sacred soup”) is such a local dish that many Puerto Ricans outside Loíza don’t even know what it is. So, to make it clear for visitors and locals: it’s my favorite kind of soup, and it’s made with a mélange of fish, coconut milk, tubers, pumpkins and plantains. This sancocho-like soup is usually served around Easter but, since its popularity has grown, you can find it during almost any weekend in Piñones. Click HERE to know more about this dish.
A man shucks oysters at Hipi Cache Restaurant in Piñones (author’s video)
Piñones is known throughout Puerto Rico for its deep-fried delicacies, its glorious pocket beaches and its fresh-caught seafood. You can find cups filled with fresh, pickled conch and octopus in most shacks along the PR-187, and in the more upscale restaurants you will be able to relish on the best red snapper or mahi mahi you’ve ever had. You can also stop on the roadside shacks that sell enormous fresh oysters (big and delicious enough to put New York’s oyster bars to shame) — and get a hearty dozen for $20.
Moreover, we’re big on jueyes, or landcrab meat, and you can find most fritters filled with this delicious crabmeat. Try arroz con jueyes (rice with crabmeat) and an alcapurria de jueyes, and be forever obsessed with this meat.
Mofongo (photo by Arnold Gatilao via Flickr)
Deep-fry some plantains and mash them. Add some pork crackling, olive oil and lots of garlic. Mash it all up in a pilón and top it with crabmeat or shrimp. Or both. The mofongo is one of those intrinsically Puerto Rican dishes that you can try anywhere on the island and it will never taste the same, and the Piñones kind is just my favorite. Try it and tell us in the comments which did you enjoy best!
Piñones is one of those magic places where the gastronomy is so rich that no matter where you choose to eat, you’ll always discover something new. So, book your trip to Puerto Rico and experience in Piñones one of the most underrated treasures in our island.
Also, if you’re a consecrated foodie, don’t hesitate to CLICK HERE, participate in VIEWPR’s Foodie Challenge and get a chance to win $100 dollars-worth of Gustazos by just uploading three photos of your favorite dishes. Don’t forget to name the restaurant and have fun while you’re at it! ¡Buen provecho!
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Piñones — 36 tips
37 Tips & Reviews
- tomar sol
- comida callejera
- hay estacionamiento
- (1 more)
Visit the Piñones beach to snack like a local; drive past the parking lot to the small kiosks across the beach! Bring back these delicious treats to enjoy on the beach among the sounds of the waves!
Would highly recommend getting a cab just to visit this. There are a bunch of roadside shacks that offer the tasty local grub right by the Pinones beach. The best ‘street food’ experience in SJ.
Yes voted Sep 8
I love the alcapurria and various local street food in pinones. Had a great time with family enjoying the beach and great food.
Looking for the best snacks? Drive past the first round of road shacks & turn in to the parking lot of the little kioskos, at the end, on the right, across from the beach. Get one of everything!
Try the alcapurrias which are meat or egg filled breaded cones, pinchos are meats on a stick, medalla beer is $1.50 at most places, the best thing I had was the pionono sweet plantain filled with beef
good place to take a bike ride and enjoy some good and relax time near the beach
This is the strip!!! Come here for loud music, good food, local prices!
Typical food of Puerto Rico fried pinchos pionono alcapurrias and bacalaitos next to the beach and music
Ricos pinchos de pollo y alcapurrias!
Great place to relax, eat and have beers with your close ones!
Nice area to chill on the beach and eat amazing local food
More of a «locals» spot than tourist but a few great restaurants with great food.
There’s a pathway to a hidden beach. The GPS coordinates are at backpackers.org. It is beautiful, but be careful if the tide is high.
Very traditional place. The food is amazing
Had the alpacurries at The Reef with a bottle of Madella. Great view of reef from the deck.
Una alcapurria de jueyes con una cerveza local
For frituras this is your spot….
Visit La Vereda for cold Medalla and fresh creole fish — happy eating!
DELICIOUS ARTERY CLOG! And stunning beaches.
el boricua the best mucha fila pero vale la penaaa
Cocoy Place Frituras esquisitas!!
From About. com: Do the words «alcapurrias, bacalaítos, pasteles, and empanadillas» mean anything to you? Probably not … but these finger foods represent Puerto Rico’s greasy, crispy, artery-clogging
Para piononos de jueyes,Restaurante Playa 79.
Awesome place for a day with the family and/or friends!
Las mejores alcapurias.
bring the PeptoBismol if you are gonna eat alcapurrias.
Están Chequeando La Gente Pa Dui En La Entrada de Piñones … Cuidao X Ahí;)
Restaurante Carmin 9000
Jorge Luis y Mit
Jorge y Mityaliz!!!
Guavate en pinones