On a recent trip that included a 48-hour jaunt in San Juan, Puerto Rico, my guy and I were wondering what to do for breakfast. We agreed that we didnʼt want to do another lovely, but over-priced breakfast at the Ritz Carlton for relatively standard fare, and were eager to get off the property and begin our day tour of Old San Juan. A few searches on Google turned up some interesting prospects (but how well can you really trust Trip Advisor?). After all, breakfast is one of those meals that people often give short- shrift in their daily lives — most people give a good rating just because they had time for it at all.
Driven by an unrelenting determination to find something out of the ordinary, I armed myself with two of the names of places from my online search and we embarked on our journey, waiting first for the hotel to summon a taxi. But, spidey senses tingling, just as we were getting into the car, I decided to ask one of the hotel staff, “Where’s a good place for breakfast in Old San Juan.” “Caficultura,” he responded. Not x place, not y place, I asked, but he firmly repeated his selection. “Go there,” he said (in a rather charming local accent). “You will not be disappointed.”
Now, you should know that I am not always keen on taking the advice of locals because all too often they seem to tell you what they think you want to hear. They will send you to the tourist trap places because they assume that’s where you’ll be most comfortable or that’s what’s popular. But I’ve learned that those aren’t always the best places, particularly for dining. There was, however, something in the insistence of this man’s answer that put aside all doubt. Caficultura, here we come.
I can tell you now that I’m so glad that I didn’t listen to my inner cynic. Although, the taxi driver initially misdirected us to where it was located, after asking a few residents on the street near the square where he dropped us off, we found our destination.
Caficultura is located next to a few other shops, one which sold mofongo and other breakfast fare for relatively cheap, but the menu at Caficultura featured dishes that were precisely what I was hoping to find. Deciding what to eat was not an easy task with so many delectable sounding menu items to pick from, but their staff was friendly and eager to help and make recommendations. My guy ordered the french toast with toasted coconut and pineapple marmalade, while I chose the sweet potato crepes stuffed with goat cheese and organic chicken sausage. We dined al fresco, on the sidewalk, watching passersby (cruise ship passengers began to flood the city, which was rapidly coming to life) when our food arrived.
At first glance, sweet potato, goat cheese and chicken sausage might seem an unlikely melange of flavors, but drizzled with a little maple syrup, it literally danced on my taste buds — the perfect contrast of sweet and savory. His french toast was fluffy, sugary goodness, without being cloyingly so, and the coconut shavings added a nice balance to the pineapple. I’m not a rapid eater — well not usually, but before I knew it, I had devoured the food on my plate. We ordered a second plate to share, eggs and home fries, and everything was cooked to perfection, tasty and filling, so we were properly fueled up to begin our walking tour of Old San Juan.
If you’re ever in Old San Juan, I highly recommend checking them out! Caficultura is located at 401 Calle San Francisco, San Juan, 00901, Puerto Rico.
*As seen in Ocean Splash Magazine.