Our Puerto Rican Honeymoon: The Food & Drink Guide

I’ve linked out restaurants, bars and places to TripAdvisor here but if you plan on going to other places in PR besides ones below, check out Yelp as many restaurants/bars/clubs remain closed after Hurricane Maria.

Hubs and I ate to our hearts’ content in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The food and drinks were delicious. Vermont in comparison, does not utilize their spices enough while PR was just everything and more. With our Indian backgrounds, we always crave more flavor and spices in our dishes.


On Day 1, we arrived at our hotel several hours prior to check-in. We stayed at the Condado Vanderbilt Hotel which happens to be #1 in the San Juan area on TripAdvisor. We soon learned why. Our concierge named Efrain took care of our bags. He then offered us a glass of champagne or water. We obviously chose the champagne to start our honeymoon on the right foot. After Efrain gave us a tour, we decided to have lunch at Tacos & Tequila located inside our hotel. We ordered the nachos with chicken and several tacos. The nachos were like no other nachos I’ve ever had before. They were so flavorful.


After lunch, our room was still not available so we sat at the pool bar area of Ola Oceanfront, also located in our hotel, and had a few more drinks. I had the El Yunque Cocktail and husband had the Original Pinã Colada….Oh My GOODNESS! I had a sip of his drink and I had never had a real pinã colada before. Oy, I ordered his drink as soon as I finished my first drink. Yum! Soon after this, I needed two Advils, passed out for an hour, rehydrated, and was ready to go again. #OldLadyStatus

Later, we had dinner at Santaella. We had made reservations and good thing we did as it was a busy Saturday night. Husband ordered the Shrimp in Garlic Sauce with Trifongo and I had the Roast Chicken French Style with Mashed Potatoes.  As usual, I tried whatever husband was eating. He ain’t no Joey from “Friends.” He can share his food. Anyway, his shrimp was *drool*. My chicken was also delicious and not dry at all.

For dessert, we had the almond and coconut custard with ice cream. It tasted like the inside of an almond joy essentially. I wasn’t too impressed as it was overly heavy and sort of gritty in your mouth because of too much coconut. Overall, we were happy with our meal and looking forward to more good eats on the island.


After dinner, we headed to La Placita for the usual weekend block parties with people literally dancing on the street. It was a fun scene. We got mojitos from a stand called El Coco de Luis, recommended to us by a friend. The mojitos were refreshing and the best we had the entire trip.


On Day 2, we had lunch at Kabanas, which was walking distance from our hotel. The empanadillas (I believe they’re just a smaller empanada) were the best here out of all the places we tried…which is why we came back two more times. Husband had a pinã colada, I had a sip and liked it here as well. I also tried the chicken and fish tacos during different visits but the empanadillas definitely won my heart (and stomach).

We had dinner at Pirilo Pizza Rustica with some newfound friends. We weren’t all too impressed with the pizza. It was overly cheesy. Maybe our bar was set too high as we make great pizza at home and have American Flatbread in Vermont.

On Day 3, after a self-guided walking tour of Old San Juan, we stopped at Casa Cortes Chocobar for lunch.

I was clearly tired after the walking tour

We weren’t daring enough to try one of their chocolate based butters or spreads on a sandwich so I settled on the Ciabetta de Pollo a la Parilla and hubs had the Un Cubano en San Juan.


He also had the Don Pedro cocktail. I thought to hold off on a drink as I didn’t want to get dehydrated from all the heat and walking around, but I had a sip of his drink and ordered it ASAP. This clearly is a trend. Hubs is my guinea pig/taste tester. The drink first hit you with a lime flavor and then an aftertaste of chocolate. It was a treat!


We had the churros with chocolate because obviously we wouldn’t leave here without having some chocolate. The churros were too crispy for our liking and the chocolate was fine.


As mentioned on their menu, if you write a review for Casa Cortes Chocobar on Yelp, you get a free chocolate bar. We left with a chocolate bar that later melted in my purse because I had forgotten about it. I recalled it once husband exclaimed “BABE!” and reached into my purse and pulled out the melted bar. I said “Oops, but throw it in the fridge and it’ll reform.” He sighed, but still ate it with me later.

We had tapas for dinner with our group of new friends at La Factoria. They had run out of 3 tapas by the time we had arrived so choices were limited. I had the fish tacos and some cheese balls with honey. They were both good. At 10pm, the speakeasy portion of La Factoria opened up. The drinks were good but nothing too memorable.

On Day 4, we had an early dinner at a cocktail lounge called The Mezzanine. This was a really relaxing atmosphere during the day. We had drinks on the little balconies overlooking the blue cobblestone streets of Old San Juan. Every drink was delicious but our favorite was the St. Germain de Pres which was also our signature drink for our wedding.


The tapas, especially the Escabeches de Gandules (essentially pickled pigeon peas), were deliciously satisfying.

On Day 5, we had lunch at Pannes and were greatly disappointed with the food despite the high ratings. I’m usually one to always clean my plate but the eggs tacos were very bland.

We ended up back at the Mezzanine for more drinks before dinner. And we had a lot of drinks.


We continued to drink at Marmalade Restaurant and Wine Bar, the number two restaurant in San Juan. We had made reservations online and in the special request box I mentioned it was our honeymoon. Because of this, they sat us at a table with a million pillows. It was comfy. I suggest all seating have a million pillows. I now want a million pillows for my own home. Our server was great and told us how to order (everything is set up as a tasting menu). We opted for the four course tasting menu and it was plenty. Husband also went with the wine pairing with dinner. I wanted to as well but I would’ve been on the restaurant floor by the end. I definitely tried all of my husband’s drinks as usual and they were all perfect. I definitely recommend not drinking beforehand so you can get the wine pairing. This was by far our favorite meal on this trip (shockingly, despite having Popeye’s & Subway en route home).

I ordered the “popcorn” shrimp for my first course. And husband had the white bean soup. We enjoyed both tremendously.

The truffle pasta was my second course. Impeccable!


My third course was yucca. It had something crispy on top which was a nice play on the textures.


For my fourth and final course, I had the Caramel Corn Creme Brulee with Peanut brittle ice cream. With dessert and all those pillows, I was in heaven. *Drool*.


For our 6th and final full day in PR, I really wanted to have some good mofongo. We found Orozcos online and settled on lunch there after lounging on the beach. Husband had the empanadillas but thought Kabanas was much better. My chicken mofongo was amazing and very filling.


Husband tried the mofongo and liked it so we finished it off together. I think food shouldn’t be off limits when it comes to sharing. Sharing is caring. Food is just so much more enjoyable when sharing because you’re experiencing something together.

And because the empanadillas didn’t hit the spot at Orozcos for hubs, we went to Kabanas for empanadillas and our last meal in San Juan! After that we were supposed to go back to La Placita for our last night out but instead we ordered room service…


We definitely ended our honeymoon on a sweet note.

(And somehow after all that, I didn’t gain any weight. Phew!)

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My Travel Essentials Packing List

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Summer is arriving and everyone has begun their travels. I just came back from Puerto Rico and I’m definitely ready to see more of the world. But until then, here are a few essential items that I think everyone will need at one point or another while traveling! They were all helpful or could’ve been helpful during my last two major trips.


These backpacks are carry-on size. They come in multiple prints/solids. I have the one above because I was amused by paper airplanes on my backpack while traveling on an airplane. They’re ideal if you’re walking around busy cities and need both your hands free. Carry-on bags with wheels just get in the way. They were perfect for our 17 day Euro-trip. These are also more portable than wheelie bags when it comes to stairs (think London train stations with limited elevators/escalators). A few flights restricted us to one carry-on bag and sometimes that one carry-on bag had to be 10 lbs or less. How do you fit 17 days worth of clothes in one carry-on bag? Continue reading!

Compression bags

Everyone needs these in his/her life. These compression bags are a lifesaver. You can pack a lot more outfits so you can still look cute while traveling. And if you’re traveling during winter, you can pack more layers and sweaters compactly. These bags don’t require a vacuum. You just zip it and then compress the bags to remove the excess air.

Travel steamer

If you’re using compression bags, your clothes may become wrinkled. I just purchased this portable handheld fabric steamer for our recent trip to Puerto Rico. It’s compact, easy to use, and works well. There is a new version but the original is smaller. I plan to use this plenty for the upcoming wedding season instead of traveling with my full size steamer in my car. Indian clothes are such a pain to iron so a steamer is much more ideal.


I’m always hangry so snacks are needed to fend off the beast in me. Breakfast wasn’t included at our hotel in Puerto Rico and was $30/person. We preferred to wait and splurge on lunch instead. We brought granola bars & cereal. We made a stop at CVS once we reached our destination. We picked up some milk and asked our hotel kitchen for bowls and spoons. Voila! Breakfast is set for the next few days. By the way, milk at CVS was $3 while the convenience store across from our hotel was charging $7! So check out a chain store instead as they’re more likely to regulate prices more fairly.

Water bottle

This Contigo water bottle from Walmart was $20. It’s a little cheaper on Amazon right now. It keeps water cool for 18 hours. I kept forgetting to utilize it on our trip but when I did, it kept our water cool on the hot sunny beach. It’s helpful carrying reusable water bottles at airports because you can refill them after going through security. Then you don’t have to pay for overpriced water.

Comfy Shoes

Leave the heels at home. If you’re doing lots of walking, be sure to pack comfortable walking shoes. And if you must pack heels, pack block heels!

Perfume Samplers

We all get those really small sample size perfumes from Sephora or wherever that just sit in our drawer forever. A great time to utilize them is when you’re traveling. This way, you don’t have to worry about packing your large bottle of perfume and it possibly breaking.

Travel bottle sets

These are only $1 at Dollar Tree or $1.50 at Primark. I prefer the Primark set as it has a variety of containers. When I needed them last minute, they were $8 at CVS which is pretty ridiculous.

Portable Charger

I use my phone lots out of boredom at the airport or on my flight. This is a necessary backup.

Extra baggage

It’s smart to carry a smaller suitcase/backpack/bag inside your main luggage. If you plan on doing some serious shopping on your trip, you don’t need to go buying more luggage too. Just throw your new goodies into your extra bag!


I had bought a few new clothes and didn’t rip the tags off yet. One was impossible to get off so I had to call guest services to use their scissors and use them on the spot. It’d be better if we had carried our own instead. From the TSA website, they state “if packed in carry-on, they must be less than 4 inches from the pivot point.”


Happy travels, everyone!

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