Hacienda Don Jose – Puerto Rico

Last time Cassie and I went down to Puerto Rico, we stumbled upon a little hole-in-the-wall shack that really doesn’t look like much from the street.

Hacienda Don Jose

The part of the restaurant you can see from the street looks like a fairly drab place with a bar. But it’s the back of the restaurant that is special.

View from Don Jose

If you’re lucky, you can get one of the four tables overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, and the waves you can watch the waves crash and crash as you enjoy some cocktails and decent Puerto Rican (and oddly enough Mexican) fare.

If you’re not lucky, you can sit at a different table and hope that one of the coast-side tables opens up.

The rest of Don Jose

What I always order there is the carne frita, which is deep fried bits of pork marinated in garlic and salt.

Carne frita at Hacienda Don jose

For $12, it is served with some sauteed peppers and onions, a small salad, and a side.

Carne frita


On this particular trip, I picked arepas, a fried bread much like the outside of an empanada.



What I like about the carne frita is that the pork has a salty crust outside but is tender and juicy inside. The onion and peppers help to cut through a lot of the richness of the pork. The salad brings some lightness to the dish, and I loved having the crispy, doughy arepas to break up some of the saltiness.

This is pure comfort food, and I can’t think of any better way to enjoy watching the waves and hermit crabs on the coast than to be enjoying this kind of food.

When we arrived in Puerto Rico, this was our first stop. Before we leave, it’s always our last stop, and I always experience the bittersweet feeling of sitting in a little bit of heaven knowing that it’s ending shortly.

We really love this place!


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