The Bottom Line
- Authentic home cooking
- Outstanding value for money
- Fantastic Sunday brunches
- Can get noisy
- Can get very crowded
- Can be hard to get to
- If it's available, try the pastelón de carne for a Puerto Rican take on lasagna.
- It might be off the beaten path in Santurce, but if Rachael Ray can stop by La Casita Blanca to sample the food, so can you.
- The interior is nothing to write home about, but the pleasant local vibe more than makes up for the lack of decor.
Guide Review - La Casita Blanca: Home Cooking at One of the Best Restaurants in San Juan
A Home Away From Home
A trip to La Casita Blanca is a journey into the real Puerto Rico, the family-oriented, fun-loving Latin hospitality that is so much a part of life here. This is a boisterous, unpretentious place that offers simple cafeteria-style tables and chairs. Miscellaneous curios and artifacts pack the room almost haphazardly. The well-worn couch at the entrance looks like it was imported from someone’s sitting room. It all adds to the sense of being a guest at a family get together, which has made La Casita Blanca a lunchtime tradition for countless Puerto Ricans and one of the most popular restaurants in San Juan. The regulars here include artists, politicians, families … the gamut of Puerto Rican society.
Cocina del Barrio
La Casita Blanca proudly sets the standard for cocina del barrio, or cuisine of the neighborhood. The menu is scrawled daily on a chalkboard, and is limited to 10 to 12 dishes. This is the place to come for hearty ‘Rican fare like arroz con pollo (chicken with rice – a Puerto Rican staple), patitos de cerdo (pigs’ feet), and pastelón de carne (a local spin on lasagna, only with mashed plantain instead of potato). What the food lacks in presentation it makes up for in flavor and simple goodness. This cholesterol-is-overrated food will linger on your taste buds and sit pleasantly in your belly.
If you can, try to make it out here on Sundays, when great cauldrons of food line the bar, waiting for you to attack with relish. Heaping portions of good food and the communal atmosphere of the meal only adds to the fun.
- Cuisine: Classic Puerto Rican
- Located at 351 Tapia Street in Santurce
- Phone: (787) 726-5501
- Hours: 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, Thursday from 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.
- Price: $7-$15