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Spoon’s 2014 San Juan Holiday Dining Guide


Celebrating the holidays in Puerto Rico means relishing life’s pleasures: beaches, palm trees, sunshine, rum, arroz con gandules, lechón, pasteles, and coquito. Unfamiliar with the last few items on that list? Never fear, Spoon has got you covered. We spend all year tasting the best this island has to offer and this holiday season we know where to find some of Puerto Rico’s most traditional and inventive Christmas fare. We also know what will be open on the 25th for those who want to break bread and make merry without needing to crack the oven or face a sink full of dirty dishes. And if you are on a cruise stop in San Juan, follow dining guide for ideas on where to eat on Christmas Day.

arroz con gandules

Restaurants open on 25th offering À la Carte Menus:


Cocina Abierta


Bistro de Paris (Christmas Brunch and Dinner)




-Patio del Nispero at Hotel Convento



Restaurants open on the 25th offering Christmas Menus:

Gallo Negro

Salt Gastrobar – 3 Courses / $38 per person

Papillon Bistro – Brunch with live music

Mi Casa – 4 Courses / $125 per person

-Il Mulino

Restaurants offering special Holiday menus:

Jaquita Baya (Closed Christmas Day)

Santaella (Christmas Eve, closed Christmas Day)

Casita Miramar (Closed Christmas Day)


On December 24th Papillon Bistro will have Cochinillo (beautiful, whole-roasted suckling pig) and other Puerto Rican specialties. They will also offer traditional French holiday dishes.

Chef Jose Santaella will be hosting a special Christmas Eve incorporating the best local ingredients and traditional recipes. For those needing to do a little last minute Christmas shopping, the restaurant is having an exclusive sale: An autographed copy of cookbook “Cocina Tropical” by Jose Santaella + 1 Complimentary Cocktail at Santaella! Don’t leave without trying Jose’s pasteles, extremely labour intensive, banana leaf wrapped parcels of holiday deliciousness.

Over at Gallo Negro, be sure to try chef María Mercedes Grubb’s special appetizer Navideño – a tasting board of all things Christmas including morcilla, pernil, and artisanal pasteles made by local Doña Bárbara. Gallo Negro is accepting to-go orders for Doña Bárbara’s pasteles by the dozen. Call 787-554-5445 to preorder. You can freeze these little bundles of joy and keep Christmas alive all year long.

Pasteles Gallo Negro

On the craft cocktail front, bartender and local favorite George, has created a riff on the classic Coquito, a coconut based drink reminiscent of egg-nog. Using Barrilito, one of our favorite Puerto Rican rums, his ‘Wolf in the Henhouse’ cocktail is sure to go down easy throughout December and well into the New Year.

And remember, Spoon Food Tours would love to celebrate the season with you! We can organize custom food tours to help guide you through the most wonderful (and delicious) time of the year. Need a great gift? What could be better than taking a loved on a culinary tour with Spoon Food Tours? Please check our booking system for availability or email us at

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from all of us here at Spoon Food Tours!

By: Caroline Johnson

Images cc:, (Devorak Amadeo), Gallo Negro.