What do you do when you have a whole week in Puerto Rico to yourself? Check out the food scene, of course! To be honest, I tend to find a place I like and keep going there. (As opposed to continuously trying new places.) And this tendency is even more evident when I’m traveling alone, since… I’m just less adventurous all-around on my solo travels. So, I figured an Old San Juan food tour would be good for me on this trip. And then I found Flavors of Old San Juan, which has 5/5 stars and nearly two thousand reviews and, well… the rest is history.
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An Old San Juan Food Tour + History + Architecture
Our guide Nahiomy told us a successful tour would end with “a full stomach and a happy heart,” and boy, by the finish of the tour, did I ever have a full stomach (and happy heart). We met in front of a grand old bank near the cruise ship port. It was a small group, but the perfect size to get to know people and have a good time. (I even met a couple from DC!) Not only would be talking about (and eating) Puerto Rican cuisine on our Old San Juan food tour, we’d be discussing its history and architecture along the way as well. We’d have five food stops altogether, with short walks in between each.
Flavors of San Juan Food Tour Stops
Stop #1: Cuatro Sombras
We started with a little pre-game boost at Cuatro Sombras with a cortadito and a croissant. A cortadito is a strong, light-roast espresso with just a little milk. And the croissant was a ham and cheese croissant… with guava butter in it. Now, the cortadito was great to start off with, but the croissant with the guava butter was simply incredible. I’d actually end up returning here more than once later in the week just to get one. I pretty much love guava everything, and Puerto Rico has a lot of it, so… this was pretty much the perfect first stop on my Old San Juan food tour.
Stop #2: Señor Paleta
Seems a little strange that our “second course” would be a popsicle, but… Señor Paleta’s was dope. I got a tasty Nutella popsicle, which was so nice in the afternoon heat and on our walk to an overlook of the bay. It legit tasted just like Nutella, not even kidding. But they had a ton of other great flavors as well, like Guava Queso, Cheesecake Fresa, Mojito, and Piña. A nice little refresher after a ham and cheese croissant… which I ate all of.
Stop #3: Triana Tapas & Flamenco
Stop #3 was Triana, where we had fried food and more fried food. We tried an alcapurria—which is fried plantain, yuca, yautia, beef and garlic—and ham croquettes. Now, I am a big plantain fan, but I think I preferred the ham croquettes over the alcapurria at this stop. My new DC friends agreed. And, I should note here that, Triana is actually a Spanish restaurant. But, of course, the Spanish actually settled Puerto Rico back in the early 1500s, so… there’s obviously a lot of Spanish influence in the cuisine.
Stop #4: El Patio de Sam
While the ham, cheese, and guava croissant was my all-time favorite food of the Old San Juan food tour, I think El Patio de Sam was my favorite stop. Because it seemed to showcase the most authentic Puerto Rican food of all the stops. And it was here that we had piña coladas and mofongo.
On the other side of the bay in San Juan is a big Bacardi distillery for our tasty beverages and, well… mofongo. I love mofongo. It’s fried plantains with garlic and olive oil. And we actually got to mash it all up ourselves. You tuck the chicken in the middle of it and eat it with rice, and it’s… amazingly delicious. And really filling.
Stop #5: Chocolato
Our last course would be dessert, of course. So we stopped at Chocolato, where we were served gelato. They also offered gelato with liquor shots and coffee over the top (creating what’s called an “affogato”), and can you believe I was the only one who went for it? (…Maybe you can.)
Basically, what I ended up with was magically delicious. I had the brownie gelato with a shot of Bailey’s and the coffee over the top. As I hope you already know, Bailey’s and coffee together is simply delicious. Add gelato to it and it’s like drinking a lovely, warm milkshake. Not a bad way to finish the evening off.
Old San Juan Food Tour = Full Stomach & Happy Heart
Now, I did the Classic Old San Juan Food Tour, but there are a couple of other options available. Flavors Food Tours offers the Rum Runners Craft Cocktails tour and the Boozy Bites tour, too. And, honestly, I probably would’ve been all over the alcoholic tours if I wasn’t traveling solo.
I can say without a doubt that Nahiomy certainly left us with a full stomach and a happy heart! I had to roll myself back up a few hills to my B&B afterwards. But it was so worth it. I even caught the sunset over La Perla on the way back. If you’re ever on the island, I recommend an Old San Juan Food Tour with Flavors of San Juan!
Flavors of San Juan
PO Box 9564, San Juan, Puerto Rico 00908
P: 787-964-2447 | W: sanjuanfoodtours.com
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