Outrageously Delicious Italian Food in San Juan, Puerto Rico

by Janis on April 22, 2013

While in San Juan, Puerto Rico last week for a quick visit, we hoped to find great food.

We had a dinner reservation at one of San Juan’s highest-rated restaurants.  But when our waiter at another restaurant, and our food tour guides both independently recommended that we try a new Italian restaurant in the away-from-the-tourists Santurce District of San Juan, we took notice.

We canceled our reservation, and instead dined at the new Nonna Cucina Italiana.  It was a great reminder to listen to the locals.

Nonna, San JuanNonna, Italian for grandmother, is a warm, inviting place to relax and enjoy fresh, filling Italian food.

“Eat, that makes you well!” is its slogan.

wine at NonnaWe selected an unfamiliar bottle of wine from a well-priced list with the help of our waiter who said, “if you do not like it, I will drink it!”  We were confident that he meant it.

The wine was a malbec blend from Argentina — 2007 Las Perdices Reserva Don Juan — and after the first taste we knew it would be a great meal.

olive oilWhile we were getting our wine, a waitress brought out a small plate with fresh herbs and garlic, and poured olive oil followed by a splash of balsamic vinegar to accompany the bread.

We had a difficult time narrowing down our selections from the menu, resulting in us ordering too much food. The portions are large but sharing is encouraged at Nonna.

We started with two appetizers.  The vegetables included 4 dishes of antipasti: Caponata Siciliana  (Sweet and Sour Eggplant) and Funghi trifolati (mushrooms) Peperonata (stewed peppers)  and Cannellini beans (garbanzos). The polpette — pork and veal meatballs — with mozzarella in Marsala sauce over mashed potatoes (or was it polenta?) Regardless, they were delicious.

Trying to control ourselves, we did not order the fresh mozzarella “fior di latte” with tomato marmalade, hazelnuts and fried rosemary, which we hear is delicious.


lobster risottoThe risotto con champagne contains peas, capers, fresh herbs and champagne with a significant amount of  lobster. Despite the fact that Mr. Jones hates peas, he ate every bite (except those that I stole) of this creamy deliciousness stuffed with large chunks of lobster.

Rucola pizzaI ordered the rucola pizza with prosciutto, mozzarella, arugula and shaved parmesan. It contained bit of a sweet, nutty flavor, which we later learned was walnut pesto.

rucola pizza sliceOutrageously good. One slice is quite filling.

If you are visiting San Juan Puerto Rico, head to Nonna  at Calle San Jorge #103, 00911 San Juan, Puerto Rico. (It was about a $10-$12 taxi ride from the San Juan Marriott).

NonnaOur waiter didn’t have to drink our wine.

What’s your favorite restaurant in San Juan?  Please share in comments below. 

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