The Best Breakfast and Brunch Spots in San Juan, Puerto Rico

Photo of Mariette Williams
20 August 2021

Puerto Rico is all about pleasure – beach-bronzing, cocktail-sipping and partying, which means you’ll need restorative calories when you rise the following morning. No visit to San Juan would be complete without a delicious, leisurely brunch. With historic landmarks like El Morro and La Fortaleza begging to be explored, you won’t want to waste any time on subpar meals. Follow our expert’s recommendations for the best breakfast and brunch spots in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Bring an appetite.

Semilla Kitchen & Bar

Cafe, Puerto Rican, $$$
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This is a casual place in the heart of the oceanfront Condado community, its ambience rustic and cool, and its decor appealing, with stringed lights hanging from exposed wood beams and a mix of high and low tabled seating. Don’t come if you’re in a hurry – this is a spot for diners who want to linger, enjoying conversation over delicious dishes. Brunch favorites include “To Die For” French toast and a pepper chicken omelette with fried rice. Make room for the vanilla pancakes.

Chocobar Cortés

Restaurant, Caribbean, $$$
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Need to satisfy a sweet tooth? Chocobar Cortés, in Old San Juan, is your place – ensuring a dash of chocolate in every dish. Seating is limited, in surrounds of welcoming bright yellow and orange murals. Some of the treats include the Chocobar pancakes, marbled waffles and French toast – all made with brown stuff, of course. The best part is that brunch is served all day, every day. Don’t leave without trying one of the 10 different kinds of hot chocolate.

MUSA

Restaurant, Caribbean, $$$
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We love this funky restaurant in the heart of the Arts District – you can’t miss it, with the bright-yellow Airstream bus holding pride of place on the front patio. The menu is a delicious mix of Italian, French and Asian cooking, and the breakfast items are the star of the show. Among our favorites are Mongolian chicken hash browns, cinnamon roll pancakes, and tres leches French toast. Fancy a naughty early tipple? Mimosa offerings include a luscious passion-fruit number.

Café Negro

Cafe, Caribbean, $$$
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Breakfast is served all day at this cozy restaurant with its snazzy orange and black exterior. Inside, walls are decorated with art from local artists, urging you to stay awhile, especially at weekends. The food is worth the wait. Classic breakfast options include a fine ham, cheese and egg sandwich as well as more creative dishes, like the chocolate almond cheesecake waffles. The coffee and chocolate are flavorful – if you have room, order the fresh-baked bread.

Mercado La Carreta

Cafe, Restaurant, Puerto Rican
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Known for its friendly service and amazing brunch menu, this Old San Juan restaurant is a zingy affair, with a buttercup-yellow exterior, small bistro tables and large windows that open onto the street. The brunch menu has umami toast – bread with goat cheese, smoked salmon, sweet plantains, pickles and onions – plus blueberries-and-cream French toast and a savory meat omelette with chorizo, bacon and Black Forest ham. Just add a fresh juice or the ginger lemonade.

Sabrina Brunch & Bistro

Bistro, Cafe, Puerto Rican, $$$
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Named after the immortal Audrey Hepburn film, Sabrina Brunch and Bistro Bar has a pretty pink and green theme and fun neon signs – located on trendy Calle Loiza, it practically insists you snap pics before your meal. You can expect there to be live music, adding even more fizz to the festive environment. The brunch menu is a winner, with cinnamon pancakes with coffee syrup, eggs benedict made with longaniza sausage, mahi-mahi bites and mussels in coconut broth.

Waffle-era Tea Room

Cafe, Tea Room, Tea , $$$
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This is a breakfast fixture in Old San Juan, serving gourmet waffles baked to order. There are two menus of sweet or savory toppings. The former include chocolate syrup, strawberries, blueberries and Nutella – among the latter are mozzarella, tomatoes, roast beef and smoked salmon. You can choose from the set combinations, or make your own customized waffle. If you like a brew, ask about the 30 varieties of seeped and herbal tea to sip when you’re sated.

Pannes

Cafe, Restaurant, Puerto Rican, $$$
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Oceanfront Condado community’s Pannes is a brunch-lover’s dream: a corner restaurant of tables high and low, as well as walls painted a soothing green. Fragile after the night before? Order the Hangover – four eggs any style with bacon, ham, french fries and a side of toast – or a sandwich from the house or signature menus. Our recommendation? The El Galleguito, juicy with brown-sugar ham, salami, pepperoni, mozzarella and mayo on fresh-baked bread.

Caficultura

Restaurant, Cafe, Caribbean, $$$
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There are a lot of things to love about this spot: not least the location, in Old San Juan’s Plaza Colon, perfect for a bite after exploring. Then there’s the cool interior – black-and-white checkerboard floors with wooden bistro tables and oversized chandeliers. The lengthy menu covers sweet and savory treats, like coconut French toast, sweet-potato crepes with chicken sausage and hearty banana pancakes. Coffee is tops – order a cappuccino before you leave.

Bistro Cafe

Cafe, Puerto Rican, $$$
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This place opens most days from 7am to 3pm – consider rocking up early as later the wait can be long. You’ll arrive to be wowed by an up-for-fun interior with whimsical wallpaper: one stretch is covered in pink flamingos. Great breakfasts and lunches come as standard, among the highlights are pancakes topped with Nutella and fruit, and shrimp mofongo and waffles, served in portions large enough to share. Papaya mimosas come with a popsicle – perfect for a hot day.

Treat yourself to a luxury stay in an all-inclusive hotel in the city centre to prepare for a day at one of the city’s must-visit attractions. Alternatively, grab some of Puerto Rico’s famous delicacies in the city’s fabulous restaurants.

This is a rewrite of an article originally by Chanel Mowatt.

These recommendations were updated on August 20, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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