Puerto Rican Empanadas in California

The 7 Best Puerto Rican Restaurants In California

From traditional Puerto Rican empanadas and tostones to the ever-classic national dish of arroz con gandules, the best Puerto Rican restaurants in California showcase all of the flavourful favourites you’d expect to see wandering the streets of San Juan.

Delightful ingredients range from plantains and salt-cured pork to tasty, tantalising sweets. And, when seasoned and cooked just right, the range of flavours in Puerto Rican dishes are overflowing with flavour. Drooling yet? You’re about to be.

From the Bay Area all the way down to San Diego, here’s where you can find the seven best Puerto Rican restaurants in California. The state’s pretty big, so you know that if a restaurant made this list then it’s because they’re serving up authenticity.

Best Puerto Rican Restaurants In CaliforniaHow do these rankings work?

1. Sol Food – San Rafael

Featuring truly authentic flavours and a line of festive diners out the door, Sol Food serves more than just quality Puerto Rican dishes. Whether you’re indulging in the arroz con pollo and pernil or are opting for stuffed taro, everything here is bursting with flavour. Simply put, dining here feels like entering a quaint restaurant on the streets of San Juan.

Best Puerto Rican Restaurants in California

2. Mofongos – North Hollywood

Fancy experiencing a bit of Puerto Rican food, music, and tradition while you’re in Southern California? Head to Mofongos. First, you’ll be welcomed by a wonderful atmosphere that oozes charm and culture. Then, you’ll tantalise your tastebuds as you indulge in a unique blend of native Taino, Spanish, and African cuisine that defines Puerto Rican cuisine.

Puerto Rican Food in Los Angeles

3. La Perla – Oakland

Puerto Rican empanadas overflow at La Perla, one of the best Puerto Rican restaurants in America. If you’re looking for authenticity, then you’ve just found it. Spending an afternoon devouring everything on the menu here is easy to do. From the Chuleta Kan Kan to their golden, crispy empanadas, it’s all filled with flavour.

Puerto Rican Empanadas in California
Image: La Perla

4. Señor Big Ed – Cypress

At Señor Big Ed, you’ll be able to delight your taste buds as they indulge in some of the most traditional, authentic Puerto Rican food in California. Puerto Rican flags and colours cover the walls of this simple restaurant, which is undoubtedly proud of its roots. Enjoy dishes such as Canoa de Plátano and Arroz con Gandules. Or, stick with the basics and opt for a puffy pastelillo.

5. Andres Restaurant – San Diego

If you’re new to Puerto Rican food, then it might be easy to confuse it with Cuban cuisine. At Andres Restaurant, you’ll have the chance to sample both in a slightly upscale, delightful setting. Alongside their standard Puerto Rican dishes, they offer a pretty comprehensive beer and wine list. A glass of wine and delicious food from the island? It doesn’t get any better.

6. El Coqui – Santa Rosa

Live salsa music floods out of the bar at El Coqui, easily one of the best Puerto Rican restaurants in California. This Santa Rosa hotspot is a favourite amongst locals looking to indulge in authentic, flavourful Puerto Rican cuisine. Whether you order the loaded empanadas or opt for something unique like a vegetarian dish, it’s all filled with traditional flavours.

7. El Nuevo Fruitlandia – San Francisco

Delicious Puerto Rican and Cuban flavours melt together at El Nuevo Fruitlandia to form some of the most delectable dishes in the Bay Area. While their Cuban sandwiches and Ropa Vieja are second to none, it’s the Puerto Rican dishes that truly shine. Stop by to sample their mouthwatering Lechon. It’s some of the best you’ll taste outside of Puerto Rico.

Header Image: La Perla

Elizabeth Thorn

Elizabeth has lived and worked in North America, South America, Europe, and Asia, all of which have contributed to her passion for travel writing. When she's not writing, you can find her exploring little hideouts in Colombia or watching photography tutorials on YouTube.

Contact: [email protected]

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