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San Juan

parrot club san juanSan Juan has a truly cosmopolitan restaurant scene, with culinary options from around the globe. But if you're looking for local favorites, you'll find plenty of arroz con pollo (chicken with rice), empanadillas (fried turnovers filled with meat or seafood) and many varieties of plantains. Medalla Light is the local beer, and while Bacardi is the better-known rum produced in Puerto Rico, the locals prefer Don Q -- an equally (if not more) venerable brand.

The Parrot Club is the restaurant that inspired San Juan's gourmet revolution, and while it's a bit more passe these days, it's one of the few in the trendy SoFo (south of Fortaleza restaurant district) to open daily for lunch. It's known for its Nuevo Latino cuisine, and it often hosts live Latin jazz performances.

Also in the aforementioned SoFo area, one of the most popular restaurants is Marmalade, which offers a U.S.-inspired menu -- think Maine lobster and Hawaiian sea bass -- as well as a wine bar. There's an extensive vegetarian menu.

Aguaviva is another trendy place; the specialty here is seafood, and it has an extensive oyster/ceviche bar. (Note the whimsical, jellyfish-like chandeliers.)

Dragonfly, a fabulous Latino-Asian restaurant, offers Korean kimchee dragon fajitas, Peking duck nachos, and a variety of sushi, dim sum and noodles.

Bagua is a local favorite in Condado, offering a creative menu of Puerto Rican dishes such as plantain-crusted mahi mahi. Past diners rave about the sangria and the ceviche.

A good spot for a light, healthy lunch or dinner is St. Germain Bistro & Cafe, where you can choose from a selection of sandwiches and salads -- like the Arabian (pesto chicken, grape tomato and hummus on pita bread) or the Ginny (mixed greens, shrimp, carrot, tomato and parmesan cheese with a ginger vinaigrette). Also on the menu are quiche and crepes.

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