San juan puerto rico puerto: San Juan Tourism / Tourist Offices / Centers — Location

The Best Pizza in San Juan, Puerto Rico

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On an island where most ingredients must be imported, bakers in Puerto Rico are finding innovative ways to make chewy, bubbly, and absolutely delicious pizza.

The Lovebirds pie from the Siete Santos food truck in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico. The pie is made with mozzarella, tomatoes, onions, mixed greens and burrata. Photograph by Christopher Gregory-Rivera

In late 2020, my husband and I began to see seemingly endless posts on Instagram of a food truck turning out wood-fired pizzas in Santurce, a neighborhood in San Juan, Puerto Rico near where we live. There was a classic Margherita pie with fresh mozzarella on it, another with a cacio e pepe sauce, and a special topped with burrata that oozed out over the crust when cut into. One was dotted with little cups of pepperoni. They were straightforward—and isn’t that what one wants most in a classic Neapolitan pie? Of course, we placed an order. I chose the pomodoro, a cheeseless pizza dotted with thinly sliced fresh garlic. The pie was everything a pizza should be: simple, elegant marinara, a balance of garlic, basil, and earthy rosemary, and a crisp yet chewy crust. The man responsible for these pies is Ángel Rosario, Fidela’s owner. Since I first tasted his pomodoro, the pizza scene in San Juan has exploded.

The Fidela food truck.Photograph by Christopher Gregory-Rivera

Rosario didn’t set out to become a pizza-maker. But while working as a bartender and server at Pirilo, a San Juan–based pizza chain, he found himself drawn into the kitchen—and to the process of making pizza crust using a sourdough starter. It was 2013, and slowly but surely, the Neapolitan wave of smaller, bubblier pizza was making its way to the Caribbean archipelago. His newfound obsession led to nights watching YouTube videos on how to maintain a starter, days reading the books of every pizzaiolo he could get his hands on, and eventually the purchase of a food truck with partner Camila Cruz in 2019, in which they installed a wood-fired oven. Ever since, they have been serving pies in the Santurce neighborhood—selling out regularly. Soon, the brick-and-mortar location of Fidela will follow. 

Angel Rosario inside his food truck, Fidela, in Santurce. Photograph by Christopher Gregory-Rivera 

Pizza in Puerto Rico is nothing new. Via Appia in Condado has been open since 1976, where crisp-crusted pies are served on a menu that also features comida criolla classics like fried cheese with guava sauce and asopao con gandules—stew with pigeon peas. Loiza 2050, which serves thin-crust pies all weekend, opened ten years later. And there’s Il Sole, which serves wood-fired pies out of the El San Juan Hotel alongside a full trattoria menu. Here, pizza fits in alongside local comfort food.

What Fidela has done, though, is initiate a shift in the landscape, where pizza is the central focus and acts as a canvas for new ingredients and flavors. Since I was first introduced to Fidela, I’ve eaten pizza topped with chorizo-spiced potatoes from La Santurcina, and a pie from Panoteca San Miguel served with merguez sausage and parsley yogurt. Puerto Rico, being car-centric in its transportation, does not have a by-the-slice pizza culture. Here, it’s about sitting down around a table, or bringing a pie home for the family after church or baseball practice. While in the past that pie may have come from a multinational chain like Domino’s or Papa John’s, there’s now the possibility of picking up a top-notch pizza from a food truck parked on a side street, or off the highway.

The understanding of pizza as an event—something worth carving time out to enjoy—has made San Juan ripe for an emergent Neapolitan pizza culture, where the chew and char of sourdough crust and the freshness of toppings are paramount, and sitting down to eat is a communal affair.

Fidela’s Margherita pie.  Photograph by Christopher Gregory-Rivera

While this new wave of pizza-makers take their craft extremely seriously, and work as locally as possible, they have to be resourceful. The archipelago imports over 80 percent of the food that ends up in supermarkets, and relies on outside producers to procure ingredients crucial to pizza-making. Wheat cannot be grown locally, as it thrives in cold weather and requires a vast amount of land to produce. Though these chefs have no choice but to import certain ingredients, they prioritize creativity and local ingredients, while accepting the inevitable culinary influences of a world beyond the Caribbean. Many are making their own mozzarella and fermenting cream sauces as a way to ensure quality and consistent availability. 

Being limber about what “can” or “should” go on a pizza means that as long as there’s dough, there will always be great pizza in Puerto Rico. Despite San Juan being a small city, where the cost of goods is much higher than in the U.S., there is proof of a deep appetite for really good pizza here. These four pizza-makers are up to meeting the challenge.

La Santurcina

1250 PR-25, San Juan

A selection of pies at La Santurcina. Clockwise from left: the Zuchinni Ricotta, Beeteroni, and Santurcina pies served with a yuzu spritz and the house negroni.  Photograph by Christopher Gregory-Rivera

Getting a table at La Santurcina, an upbeat and bustling family-friendly restaurant, requires planning and patience (or going on a Tuesday, when business is a little slower). Since opening up in August 2022, the Santurce spot has been a runaway success. It’s the work of chef-owner Francis Guzman and chef Stephen Reyna, the pair behind the high-end farm-to-table restaurant Vianda. Guzman and Reyna were roommates in San Francisco and have been friends since culinary school. Reyna, whose family owned and operated pizzerias in San Diego while he was growing up, came to San Juan to help open Vianda, which was where he first made a pizza for family meal. That pizza seeded the future project.

Executive Chef Stephen Reyna stretching the mozzarella at La Santurcina.Photograph by Christopher Gregory-Rivera

Assembling pies before they go into the oven.Photograph by Christopher Gregory-Rivera

Vianda, which opened in 2018, made its name with a vegetable-forward menu, and that commitment continues in the new space. At the more casual La Santurcina, the Beeteroni pie has been a particular hit—offering up sausage-spiced and charred cups of thinly sliced beet in place of the classic pork version. “I like the idea of making a vegetable imitate meat,” says Reyna. “And beets are great here in Puerto Rico.” This interest in transforming vegetables into meat substitutes also led to the creation of a chorizo-spiced potato pizza. Other pies feature ribbons of squash and locally cultivated mushrooms, and a list of appetizers evokes both a classic pizzeria, with Caesar salad and Buffalo wings, as well as Spanish influence, with fried olives and a caper-heavy pile of roasted cauliflower. The house-stretched mozzarella on most of the pizzas here ensures a creamy, lightly funky off-set for the sweetness of the beets and other local vegetables. 


Av. Hipódromo & Av. Juan Ponce de León, San Juan

Fidela’s co-owners, Camila Cruz and Angel Rosario, at their upcoming brick-and-mortar location.  Photograph by Christopher Gregory-Rivera

Rosario and Cruz began the new wave of pizza in San Juan with their Santurce truck, outfitted with a wood-fired oven. Since 2020, they have established a baseline, turning out classic Neapolitan pies with a very simple, almost understated approach. “I’m not a chef,” Rosario says. “I just got obsessed with this subject and work with a lot of love and passion.” 

Pepperoni, Margherita, pomodoro, cacio e pepe, and burrata are all staple pizzas at Fidela, which is open just three days a week. Pies have to be ordered by phone first thing on Friday or Saturday morning, in order to reserve before they sell out for the weekend. These pies are taken to go or eaten at small tables set out on the sidewalk. Rosario achieves a bubbly charred crust that’s a perfect complement to the gentle acidity of tomato and richness of fresh mozzarella. “The most important subject for me was the dough and the sauce,” he says—both of which he spent years perfecting. Specials like a white pie with Swiss chard emerge on occasion, and the brick and mortar restaurant will promise more seasonality, plus a selection of wine and beer to pair. 

Panoteca San Miguel

85 Av. José de Diego, San Juan

Diego San Miguel, owner of La Panoteca San Miguel, dishing out pies during one of the pizza nights at his bakery.Photograph by Christopher Gregory-Rivera

For Diego San Miguel, the owner and baker at Panoteca San Miguel, pizza “is really a natural extension of my love for bread—a really good canvas.” The bakery is a bright space with natural wood shelving and blue swinging doors that open to provide a glimpse into the huge kitchen. There are lines out the door on a daily basis for baguettes, large sourdough loaves, and sweet mallorcas. A weekly Thursday pizza night fills the parking lot, where a small number of tables become packed and diners often end up eating (without complaint) on car hoods. Miguel is breaking the mold of the new wave of pizza in Puerto Rico (mostly thinner, smaller pies) by baking up New York-style pies served in bigger slices with crunchier crust.  

La Panoteca San Miguel’s Margherita pie.Photograph by Christopher Gregory-Rivera

“The weekly format is very creatively fulfilling,” he says while adding thick-cut bacon to the top of a focaccia. With this format, he’s able to collaborate with local chefs to create specials. El Bloque, a local maker of cured meats like this bacon, often provides pancetta, and San Miguel spends the rest of the week on ambitious cooking projects. One experiment: developing a house-fermented creme fraiche he hopes will soon provide a white-sauce base that doesn’t overpower the rest of the ingredients. Too much fat and not enough brightness is his complaint about most cream-based sauces. “We have to be able to make a pizza that is satisfying,” he says. “But if you’re in the mood, you can kill a whole pie by yourself. It’s about balanced ingredients.” 

Siete Santos

Marginal Expreso Rafael Martínez Nadal km 2.0, San Juan

The Pomodoro pie at Siete Santos.Photograph by Christopher Gregory-Rivera

Gabriel Brujas, the chef-owner of the Siete Santos food truck.  Photograph by Christopher Gregory-Rivera

Gabriel Brujas fell in love with pizza in an unlikely place: Berlin. Though he studied finance and became an accountant, a visit to Germany gave way to a love for Neapolitan pizza. “Spreadsheets weren’t a fit,” he says of his past career. Instead, he found himself drawn to learning the art of pizza from Naples-born teachers and enjoying the active process of working in the kitchen. 

Siete Santos, Gabriel Brujas’ pizza venture, which opened in July 2022, operates out of a truck in Guaynabo, behind a gas station. Picnic tables are set up for those who wish to eat their pie while it’s hot, and though Brujas offers traditional options like a now-standard honey pepperoni, he’s also collaborated with his friends at seafood-focused restaurant Celeste on clam pies and a fall offering with a pumpkin sauce. Brujas’ hope is to eventually open a restaurant and create a line of supermarket pies to heat up at home. Though a newcomer on the scene, he sees a lot of room for innovation. “Competition is always good,” he says. “Having other restaurants that have the same perspective, the same goal, is good. We educate the consumer.”

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Prepare for the perfect blend of beach vibes and city life.

Hanna Flanagan

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When you think about Puerto Rico, I’m willing to bet that breathtakingly beautiful beaches and coral reefs come to mind. And that visual couldn’t be more true. From white sand beaches to rainforests and mountains, the landscape of this Caribbean island does not disappoint. But what you might not know is that Puerto Rico—especially Old San Juan, which dates back to 1519, making it one of the oldest cities in U.S. territory—is also extremely rich in history and culture.

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I took an unforgettable four-day trip with Discover Puerto Rico to attend the annual San Juan Moda fashion show, and let me tell ya, I highly recommend that you book a similar experience. Whether you’re looking for a long weekend getaway (that’s far enough away from home to feel like you’re, uh, actually getting away) or you want head off to the Caribbean without the hassle of a customs line, Puerto Rico is *the* spot. Keep reading for everything you need to know about your upcoming vacay (because I know you’re already scoping out flights).


  • Palacio Provincial: You’ve! Got! Options! If you want to stay in the heart of Old San Juan like I did, book a room at Palacio Provincial, block off some time for a beach day, then take a cab to one of the best beaches in the world, Flamenco. The colorful Palacio Provincial is within walking distance of all the must-see historical sites, restaurants, nightlife, and shopping destinations. Amenities include an on-site restaurant, complimentary bikes and a rooftop infinity pool that overlooks the city. Situated inside an early 19th-century building that served as the center of diplomacy for Puerto Rico, Palacio Provincial’s historic roots are complemented by a sleek, modern, and cosmopolitan design. And the overall aesthetic is *chef’s kiss*.

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    • Fairmont El San Juan: Flip it and reverse it (S/O, Missy Elliot) by booking an oceanfront hotel, then traveling inland to explore all the historic sites the city has to offer. If that itinerary is more your vibe, then I highly recommend going the resort route and staying at the *pristine* Fairmont El San Juan. I visited the two-mile-long (!!) property a few times during my trip, and safe to say—it’s pretty damn impressive. Aside from four massive pools and white sand beaches, the resort also features a spa, fitness center, several restaurants, a casino, and plenty of nightlight and entertainment options.

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      • Old San Juan Architecture Tour: San Juan’s vibrant architecture is impossible to miss. During this walking tour, a guide from Puerto Rico’s Society of Architectural Historians group will take you through the city, pointing out major landmarks, structural details, and stylistic choices that reflect Puerto Rico’s desire to preserve and protect its rich history.
      • La Calle Cera Art Tour: Complementing the brightly-colored historic buildings are the equally-impressive large-scale murals. If you find yourself wondering what it all means and where it came from, book this walking art tour to learn all about the stunning street art by local and international artists alike.
      • Sunrise Paddle Yoga: Whether you can stand on your head or barely touch your toes, I highly recommend signing up for a relaxing and rejuvenating class with Oscar from Paddle Yoga Puerto Rico. You’ll meet at a quiet lagoon bright and early, then paddle out into the middle where you’ll flex a few flows, sip tea, and meditate while the sun rises. Pretty dreamy, right?

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        • Raya: Located inside the trendy O:LV Hotel, this restaurant by famed chef Mario Pagán is serving up a fresh fusion of Caribbean and Asian fare. Don’t sleep on menu standouts like the tuna poke pegaíto, wasabi grilled cheese, miso sea bass, and my personal fave: The honey garlic chicharrón lo mein.
        • Caña: Located inside the Fairmont, this restaurant by Juliana Gonzalez is another gem you have to try. The mofongo is incredible (so much so that my my mouth still waters just thinking about it). Also on the menu: smoked pork bites, chilled octopus salad, and roasted pumpkin and brown butter-balsamic dumplings.
        • Mercado La Carreta: For a lively vibe, delicious tapas, and an afternoon cocktail, stop by this open-air spot located in the heart of San Juan. My favorite item? The fish ceviche with plantains. Another pro travel tip: Order as many plantains and mofongo dishes as you can while on vacay (because you’ll crave ’em once you get home!).

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          Hanna Flanagan
          Hanna Flanagan is an associate shopping editor at Cosmopolitan, sharing her recommendations for everything from denim and eye creams to coffee mugs and silk sheets.

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