La cueva del mar restaurant puerto rico: La Cueva del Mar — Calle Loíza

Where San Juan’s Top Chefs Eat Every Meal

Where San Juan’s Top Chefs Eat Every Meal

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La Comay in Piñones.
Photo: Kiosko La Comay/Facebook

Though local agriculture took a beating due to Hurricanes Irma and Maria, the San Juan food scene refuses to wither. The Saborea Food Festival (held every April) and Puerto Rico Restaurant Week (June 1–10) haven’t missed a beat, returning in force in 2018. Not only are the city’s best restaurants up and running again, they’re still garnering accolades: Chef José Enrique Montes was a finalist for a James Beard Award for the fifth year in a row, while Chef Gabriel Hernández of Verde Mesa just received his first semifinalist nomination. With the support of these chefs, farms are bouncing back as well. Here, we asked 11 of San Juan’s top toques where they go for comfort food, date night dinners, sweet treats, and more.

Traditional piragua.
Photo: Alexandra Oquendo/Getty Images/iStockphoto

José Enrique Montes, chef and owner of José Enrique restaurant “I get my comfort food fix at La Comay, a kiosk in Piñones: white rice, beans, a slice of avocado, and alcapurrias, fritters made of green bananas and tubers. I like the ones made with local land crab. After work, I like going to the New Taste of China; it stays open until 1 a.m. It doesn’t look like much on the outside, but the food is amazing— everything from a simple wonton soup to clams in black bean sauce. And when I feel like having sweets, I grab a local piragua. It’s a snow cone topped with tamarind syrup and condensed milk. So refreshing, it’s a real Puerto Rican treat. Look for the guy with the cart on Ocean Park beach. He’s always there.”

Orujo.
Photo: Courtesy of Orujo

Gabriel Hernández, chef and owner of Verde Mesa
Orujo in Caguas, about 30 minutes from San Juan, is one of my favorite places to go when I want something creative. There is no menu. Chef Carlos Portela will serve you a degustation menu with 15 to 19 courses. He is always doing something interesting — like curing his own Arctic char and pairing it with beets and presenting it in a very modern way, like the kitchens of Spain. The menu is never the same. Spiga Cafe does a very nice homemade sourdough out of an electric oven. It is like Tartine-in-San Francisco-type bread, plus basic baked eggs and great coffee. We use their bread for our toast at Verde Mesa. For sweets, I like Heladeria San Jose. The manchego cheese ice cream blew me away. It’s completely new, very rustic, made from scratch, and using flavors I haven’t seen before in Puerto Rico, like the manchego cheese, and pandan, which is a fragrant, leafy green.”

Serafina.
Photo: Courtesy of Serafina

José Santaella, chef and owner of Santaella Restaurant
Kasalta is one stop where you can go any time of day and enjoy something delicious. Go for their strong coffee and pastries, like quesitos, flaky twists filled with sweet cheese, in the morning. For lunch, I will snack on some bellota ham imported from Spain, the best ham in the world, with some bread. Or a medianoche sandwich, which is the Puerto Rican version of the Cuban — it has ham, cheese, pickle and mustard, but is served on a sweet bread. I also like the caldo gallego, a hearty white bean, pork, and kale soup. At Serafina, have a nice pizza — the classic, Italian oven is right outside; you can order a margarita pie with imported mozzarella, sit outside, and watch all the people strolling along Ashford Avenue.”

La Postreria in Lote 23.
Photo: Courtesy of La Postreria

Juan José Cuevas, executive chef at 1919 Restaurant
When I want to eat something quick, I go La Cueva del Mar on Loíza Street, a very busy seafood restaurant, and I usually get a clear fish broth and octopus salad. They are also known for their lobster and conch. For dessert, no contest, it is La Postreria in Lote 23. The corn crème brûlée and bread pudding is quite good. Chef Nasha Fondeur is always doing something creative with pastry.”

El Ñaqui.
Photo: Courtesy of El Ñaqui

Maria Mercedes Grubb, chef and owner of Gallo Negro
El Ñaqui is the best food truck on the island. I get a Greek salad with ribs. It sounds like a strange combination but the salad is always really fresh and it has all of these nice extra touches, like a sun-dried tomato pesto and cashews and a guava vinaigrette which makes it taste very Puerto Rican. It goes great with the ribs, which are brushed with a guava barbecue sauce. And when I feel like taking in a nice view: El Hamburger. It has a vista of Old San Juan where you can see the water and the old forts and the colorful houses and cobblestones. You are able to see the true essence of the Old City all at once and the burger gets wrapped in with the ocean breeze. It’s spectacular.”

Lechonera El Rancho de Apa.
Photo: Courtesy of Lechonera El Rancho

Mario Juan, chef and owner of Pernilería Los Próceres
I go to Ariel for classic fine dining. They feature local produce, [prepared] with French/German techniques, but with a modern American quality as well. A good example of what the chef does there is a duck with lavender and coriander spaetzle. There’s two places that I would say that are the most culturally significant food establishments right now. El Burén de Lula in Loíza is one. Lula does crab-based Puerto Rican cuisine — her jueyes salmorejo, stewed land crab, is so good. And she cooks her beans with pig trotters underneath. It is one of these places that is preserving authentic local cuisine. The other is Lechonera El Rancho de Apa. Apa’s whole roasted pig is legendary. What Lula is to crab, Apa is to pork.”

The Hen House.
Photo: Courtesy of The Hen House

Mario Pagan, chef and owner of Mario Pagan Restaurant, Sage Steak Loft, and Melao
For street food, I like The Hen House. Chef Pierre-Philippe Saussy’s fried chicken sandwich with ranch buttermilk dressing and cucumber is off the charts! It’s in Lote 23, a food kiosk collective. I go to Musa for brunch, as the ropa vieja ranchera [stewed, shredded beef] is succulently layered. aMare at the new Serafina Beach Hotel is an Italian seafood restaurant. It’s great to go for a view of the ocean and their stylish pool deck. Their spinach and avocado with parmesan salad is perfect for a sunset setting.”

Lula.
Photo: Courtesy of El Burén de Lula

Peter Schintler, chef and owner of Marmalade Restaurant
“My most frequented local restaurant is Casita Miramar. They do simple things well, like mofongo [mashed green plantains], grilled fish, and there are a few nice vegetarian items on the menu. For a special occasion, I like 311 in Old San Juan. Service is very good. The chef is very good. Again, it’s simple things done well. You could have a beautiful salad with seared scallops in lemon butter. Cuatro Sombras goes against the grain of all of the masses of Puerto Rico coffee. Coffee is like music — you don’t have to have a favorite but you have to have a style. Pablo Muñoz, the owner, makes an elegant coffee. It’s nutty, spiced, high-acid, very complex, with a beautiful nose and long palate to it. It’s like drinking wine.”

Heladeria San Jose.
Photo: Courtesy of Heladeria San Jose

Natalia Rivera Vázquez and Luis Castillo, chefs and owners of El Jangiri
“When we want to have rice and beans, we go to Comederia Fonda Urbana. It’s always good and very true to what Puerto Rican food is. For a bakery in San Juan, we like La Jerezana. They make sandwiches where they put everything inside the bread. We’re pretty sure they leave the bread half cooked and then everything melts inside when they heat it up. They have the best choripan — sausage sandwich — ever. Also for breakfast we like Mrs. Potts. She bakes her own bread and what’s really great is that she serves breakfast and brunch all week long so you don’t have to wait for Sunday.”

El Churry.
Photo: Courtesy of El Curry

Wilo Benet, chef and owner of the forthcoming Wilo Eatery & Bar
“For a special occasion, my No. 1 place is Compostela. I go for the cochinillo, the suckling pig. And I have arroz a banda, which is like a thin paella, the edges crisp up really nice. And have to get some jamon de pata negra and a little bit of pulpo [octopus], and then some good wine. For street food, El Churry is a place in Isla Verde that has been around for decades; it has great sandwiches. They were the first food truck in Puerto Rico and now they are many. Their “tripleta” sandwich is what everyone gets: It’s a sandwich with three meats — chicken, pork, and beef — plus ketchup. It’s what to eat after a big night out.”

Where San Juan’s Top Chefs Eat Every Meal

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La Cueva del Mar — Seafood restaurant in San Juan, Puerto Rico


Open on Google Maps


Our Ranking

30 Top rated Bars and Pubs in San Juan

19 Most Reviewed Bars and Pubs in San Juan

3 Top rated Lake in San Juan

3 Most Reviewed Lake in San Juan

Address

Av. Luis Vigoreaux, San Juan, 00920, Puerto Rico

Contact

+1 787-793-8700

Rating on Google Maps

4.60 (1509 reviews)

Working Hours

  • Friday: 11am to 10pm
  • Saturday: 11am to 10pm
  • Sunday: 11am to 9pm
  • Monday: 11am to 9pm
  • Tuesday: 11am to 9pm
  • Wednesday: 11am to 9pm
  • Thursday: 11am to 9pm

Amenities

  • Crowd
    • Groups
  • Planning
    • Accepts reservations
  • Amenities
    • Toilets
    • Bar on site
    • High chairs
    • Good for kids
  • Offerings
    • Beer
    • Wine
    • Coffee
    • Alcohol
    • Cocktails
    • Kids’ menu
    • Small plates
    • Late-night food
  • Atmosphere
    • Cosy
    • Casual
  • Accessibility
    • Wheelchair-accessible toilet
    • Wheelchair-accessible seating
    • Wheelchair-accessible car park
    • Wheelchair-accessible entrance
  • Dining options
    • Lunch
    • Dinner
    • Dessert
    • Catering
  • Service options
    • Dine-in
    • Delivery
    • Takeaway
    • Kerbside pickup
    • Outdoor seating
    • No-contact delivery

Reviews

  • 5Alisson P.

    2 months ago

    Excellent food, friendly staff and great environment. La Cueva is always a great choice to have a good time with family and friends. We had the chance to meet the restaurant manager who was extremely friendly and we were impressed with her professionalism and attention to details. We had an amazing time and will always come back!


  • 5Angel S.

    9 months ago

    A great GREAT place if not the best.
    Always the best seafood, best service, very reasonable prices.
    I have been visiting this place for almost a decade since the old location and is always the best experience possible.
    Not the same with other of their locations like the one on Calle Loíza.


  • 5Miguel M.

    3 months ago

    Spacious and clean venue, comfortable temperature, fast and friendly staff. Excellent tasty food.


  • 5HOT R.

    1 year ago

    Food was delicious! They have oysters most of the time. Staff and service was great. Valet Parking is offered.


  • 5Señor T.

    2 months ago

    Great place, delicious food and excellent service. Perfect to enjoy some of the best puerto rican cuisine.


  • 4Ruben A D.

    1 month ago

    Nice place to eat fresh fish and seafood. Staff was very pleasant and attentive.


  • 4Brittnie F.

    1 year ago

    Would definitely go again! A lot of options on the menu (although admittedly I do not recall a lot of vegetarian or vegan options). I think the pricing is fair. Ambiance is great and the offer bar, indoor and patio seating options. I had the yucafungo and fish tacos, both we amazing. My friends also enjoyed their meals. They also have a kids menu. The place can get pretty busy so keep that in mind when you plan to go, they also offer valet parking.


  • 1Jorge D.

    4 months ago

    Call at 7 for pick up. Was told ready in 20 min. Artive at 7:40 and I pay. I even gave a tip. After paying I was told that my dinner would take 30 more min. The truth 1 hour. Awhen I arrive home I got overcook and smaller shrimp. Poor wuality in montehiedra


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Last updated: 2022-10-21

Call +1 787-793-8700Open on Google Maps

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La Cueva Del Mar — Seafood restaurant

99 Campaigns and reviews

Filter:

    9000
  • cozy
  • good prices
  • crowded
  • good for a snack
  • tacos de pescado
  • camarones
  • salsa
  • sangría
  • filete
  • mojito
  • ponche de ron
  • espacioso
  • (15 more)

and

  • bestsimpta getco! Their sauces are AWESOME, the coleslaw is AWESOME. Try the tacos with a side of TOSTONES de PANA!

  • 4 fish tacos and a medalla make for the perfect meal. Not a single tourist there, which is refreshing. Kitchen closes around 9:30pm. Service was fast and efficient.

  • Fish and shrimp taco combo, period! Wash it down with a home made sangria and Dorado nuggets for app. hungry? Eat @ the bar, they serve faster than on the table area. Great post beach place 🙂

  • El servicio en la barra de Jansi es el mejor que tendrás. Los Tacos de camarones son adictivos. Los mariscos y pescados son muy frescos.

  • Los mariscos son riquisimos. La ensalada de carrucho, los tacos de pescado, la crab salad, las masitas de pescado y la sangría 👌🏼. El servicio al cliente es excelente. 10/10

  • People May say the place has a slow service, but they brought up my meal fast and my beers even faster, now to be honest the place is always packed but good ambiance. Love it!

  • Delicious fish facos!!! Fish fillet with garlic sauce is amazing! Must try Tostones de Pana; they’re seasonal, but sooo incredibly tasty!

  • AN HOUR for appetizers. Another half an hour for the food. It’s SO good though! Don’t come in with excessive hunger haha ​​because its worth the wait!

  • I recommend for seafood lovers, fresh seafood, great ambiance and service. Family ambiance, ask for the local «pique».

  • Seafood Rice and Fish Tacos was amazing! Good quality food and inexpensive…. For a great attention ask for Ivan. 🙂

  • Como todos hablan del lento servicio, me preparé para esperar y para sorpresa nuestra nos sirvieron la comida en 15 min. Las masitas de mero al ajillo, super ricas y la sangría también!

  • Don’t miss this place! Fish tacos, red snapper, I’m considering eating here a second time in a weekend trip it was so good.

  • The fish tacos were truly amazing. Flan for dessert! Great service and fun atmosphere!

  • Best seafood in town! Nice atmosphere and very fair prices. Valet pkg available too.

  • I go there frequently. The fish tacos are outstanding and so is the Arroz Manposteao.

  • Love: conch arepa; fish tacos; cheap beer.

  • You should try the Fish taco with avocado sauce, perfect combination

  • We had the combo shrimp & fish tacos, and ceviche. One word: AMAZING!

  • Camarones o Filete de Mero en Salsa de Coco con Mofongo de Yuca.

  • tremendo, a veces invaden el espacio personal por las mesas tan pegadas pero tremenda mano y los mojitos riquisimos

  • The fried snapper was great and our waitress Olga was super hospitable.

  • Best fish tacos ever. All the seafood is great. Always packed though.

  • Voy frecuentemente y siempre es increíble. Servicio, comida, precios. ¡Muy recommended!

  • If you’re looking for local ambiance and AMAZING fish tacos, there’s no better place

  • Everyone it’s taking about how slow is this place, they only took like 15 mins or less to bring all the food and it was really good!!!

  • ceviche and Lobster tail a la Parilla : very nice !!

  • The grilled seafood platter was amazing!

  • Sit at the bar and ask for yansi best service ever! We have a great time!

  • If you want to eat delicious puertorrican food, you need to try this.

  • muy buena comida, excelente compañía y muy buen servicio, un lugar para gente local

  • Very relaxed atmosphere. Sweet chili calamari was really good.

  • Arroz con mariscos y camarones sweet chilli riquisimos. Vodka con china natural en lo q esperas

  • Fish tacos and masitas de pescado are a must!

  • Comida fresca y ambiente chévere. El pique de la casa es riquisimo.

  • Los fish tacos son excelentes y la salsa de aguacate

  • Food is really good, always crowded, be sure to go before getting «hangry» comido en la vida!!

  • Their fish tacos were really good!!

  • Their fish tacos were very good!!

  • Sweet chili shrimp and rum punch, for the win.

  • Everything is good! excellent service!

  • El dilete de Mero en salsa de Coco divino y más con arroz mamposteao

  • QUE lugar, mi mayor recomendación para San Juan. #MUST #fishtaco

  • Food is great, but the place is noisy. You can’t have a conversation while dining.

  • Fried snapper, empanadilla, octopus salad

  • Wonderful boricua respite in backstreet Santurce.

  • Fish tacos. Mero «a la Cueva». Yucafongo. Calamares. Salmorejo de Jueyes.

  • SUCKS!!! 3 tables sat after us and served before us. Awesome servers… NOT

  • Siempre excelente! Fish tacos👌🏼!

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