Wine Dine and Play: November 2015

El Jibarito

A Taste Of Old San Juan
San Juan, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, 
United States Territory
Cuisine Style: Puerto Rican, Latin American
Average Price: $
Overall Rating: 4/5
Dined in: April 2015
By Sean Overpeck (CFE)
**A full article and index glossary of restaurants, wines, recipes and travel for 
Wine Dine and Play are in the pages section above, or by following these links:

Executive Chef:
Pedro Ruiz and Aida Medina
Culinary Team:
Angel "Pito", Elie Reyes, Wanda Torres, Fernando Ponce

El Jibarito in Old San Juan, a local restaurant focused on island cuisine, with a small hint of Cuban flair, but mainly on the Latin heritage, was the highlight of a visit my wife and I had. We started the day on a self-guided tour of Castillo de San Cristóbal, followed by the city of Old San Juan, enjoying the various architecture of the buildings and vibrant Caribbean colors. While walking down the old cobblestone streets near the Plaza de la Barandilla, we came across El Jibarito right in time for lunch.

    • Appetizers
    • Entrees
    • Specials
    • Side Items
    • Desserts
They opened their doors in 1977, specializing in local food products that work with the earth as well as several fresh seafood dishes. They are an authentic Puerto Rican home cooking style restaurant. Jíbaro is the name given to the mountain folk who farmed the land for the hacienda owners in the 18th and 19th centuries.

The streets of San Juan and the buildings around them were a sight to be seen. A true example of a Caribbean City filled with history, culture, and most importantly food. El Jibarito was a very nice location, clean, and an upscale family-style restaurant in the heart of the old quarter between the Castillo de San Cristóbal, Castillo San Felipe del Morro, and the Cathedral of San Juan Bautista. I enjoyed a local beer called Magna Special Craft from the Compañía Cervecera de Puerto Rico, an American Adjunct Lager with 5.10% ABV, while my wife had a wine. 

The restaurant appetizer menu consisted of beef turnovers made from plantains, fried codfish, corn sticks or hush puppies as we call them in the states, and a few varieties of turnover empanadas with beef, chicken, and chorizo sausage. For daily specials, there were varieties of dishes from steak, pork, chicken stew, red snapper, and grouper. My wife enjoyed a shrimp salad with a mofongo plantain side. 

 Shrimp salad with mofongo
Traveling around the world, I hadn’t spent a lot of time in Latin America, and though I have eaten plantains before, this was my first trip where I ate mofongo which is fried plantain. After frying they then mash it down with garlic and olive oil and occasionally depending on the restaurant will include pork cracklings. It can also be filled with assorted vegetables, shrimp, crab, or chicken, and sometimes may have a braised sauce poured over the top. Mofongo is an Afro-Puerto Rican dish that has clear roots in the West African Fufu. Fufu is made from various starchy vegetables and was introduced to the Caribbean by Africans in the Spanish New World colonies such as Cuba (fufu de plátano), Dominican Republic (mangú), and of course Puerto Rico (mofongo).

For my dish, I was in the mood for a Latin classic of empanadas, enjoying an assortment of beef and chicken, and having trouble deciding which one I enjoyed the most. This was a great, and relaxing lunch, in a very busy restaurant, not only catering to the many tourists but also to the locals. If you want to judge how good a restaurant really is in my opinion, no matter if it is a ‘mom and pop’ or a Michelin fine dining establishment, the rule is to follow the locals. If it is a place that locals will eat at, then you know it is good.


We did not have any dessert unless Cerveza can be considered dessert!!

Cerveza Magna
Please see these guidelines for Tipping in Restaurants and on following proper etiquette, customs, cultures, and avoiding assumptions when you dine out.

Other Noteworthy Latin Articles and Restaurants:
Brasa Brazilian Steakhouse Rodízio buffet and churrascaria in the Hilton, Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada 
Castile Restaurant Med-Latin & tapas café with 360 views at the Hotel Zamora, in St. Pete Beach, Florida
Fogo de Chão Upscale Brazilian chain with 49 locations. Review based in Buckhead, Atlanta, Georgia 
Frevo Restaurant Authentic churrascaria-style dining at the Fairmont on Palm Island, Dubai, UAE
INKANTO Authentic and traditional Peruvian Cuisine in Sarasota Florida 
Nueva Cantina Vibrant, Authentic, and contemporary Mexican Cuisine in St Petersburg, Florida 
Peruvian Cuisine Andes, Amazon, and Lima - A culinary tour with recipes and history 
The Test Kitchen Modern eclectic and Nouvelle Latin cuisine in Cape Town, South Africa

See the whole list by visiting “The Wine Dine and Play Article Glossary

Final notes, review basics, observations and more pictures:

Most reviews are subjective, depending on the writer; but they should also be responsible, and respectfully written, upholding the truth, and accurately conveying the experience to the best of the writer's knowledge, even if it includes metaphors the restaurant may not like to read about. My ratings are by the stars I award (from 0 to 5). The rating is calculated on a point accumulation of six separate factors based on individual experience. They include wine and other beverage selections, plate presentation, customer service, restaurant or café ambiance, food quality, and wow factor. To see more details of this rating list, read this article:

Overall from this experience, and the score factors outlined in the ‘about page’ section, based on my individual experience and rating, I give El Jibarito a 4 out of 5 stars, meaning that they not only exceeded all my expectations and were far above the average dining experience of most restaurants, but they were outstanding.
Scores are detailed in the factor chart below:

Formula Factor Conclusions and Overall Ratings
Max Points Possible:
Total Points Awarded:
Total Points deducted:
Food quality
Plate presentation
Customer service
Alcohol and other beverages
Total regular points awarded
Total percentage — less the Bonus


“Wow” factor BONUS
Total bonus percentage


Total percentage and bonus for a final star rating


Stars Awarded (see chart below)
             0 - 5

**A full break down and explanation of the observations and point disbursement is available in the linked article above. To receive a detailed copy of your score, feel free to contact me at any time and I will provide it to you.**


Overall Star Rating:
4 of 5 Stars: 
89% Rating with a 1 point “wow” bonus
An Extraordinary Dining Experience
Corkage fee’s:
This Restaurant does not list any corkage fee’s however, most American restaurants charge 
$25.00 per bottle
Restaurant style:
Casual dining
Cuisine style:
Caribbean, Latin, Puerto Rican
Allergen or dietary accommodations: 
Local, Non-GMO, Organic, Pescatarian, Sustainable, Vegan Options, Vegetarian
Not Required
Dress code:
Casual attire
Child policy:

The Restaurants reviewed on this site may have a kids menu or cater to them; however, for full enjoyment of food and wine, it is recommended that kids not to be in attendance, unless they have been trained in proper etiquette. 
If not then:
Hire a Babysitter! 
Place for foodies, Contemporary, Trendy, Hotspot, Tourist grabber, and a Neighborhood Gem.
Cash, Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express
Street meter parking
The restaurants reviewed on this site may have Wi-Fi, but do not require you to go online, because the excitement of the food and wine alone will keep you too entertained instead of checking your social media and emails.
Noise level:
Medium to Loud
Nonsmoking restaurant
Patio or terrace:

Food Prices 
(excludes, alcohol, taxes & 20% gratuity’s)

$£€¥ -                Under 50.00 (inexpensive)
$£€¥ x 2 -          51.00- 99.00 (moderate)
$£€¥ x 3 -          Over 100.00 (pricy)
$£€¥ x 4 -          Over 200.00 (expensive)
$£€¥ x 5 -          Over 400.00 (very expensive)

**Currencies reflect the world’s major travelers, restaurant, or wine connoisseur’s**

United States Dollar (USD)
Great Britain Pound Sterling (GBP)
Canadian Dollar (CAN)
Chinese Yuan (CNY)  
European Union (EUR)

 Alcohol prices:

$5.00 USD

El Jiberito:

Viejo San Juan, Calle Sol #280, San Juan
Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, (PR)
United States Territory, 00901

Old San Juan

Cross streets:
Calle Tanca and Calle San Justo
GPS Coordinates: 
Latitude: 18.467191
Longitude: -66.114421

Contact Information: 
Restaurant website:
Restaurant El Jibarito - the website is currently down 8/12/17
Maître d or host:
(787) 725-8375
Email Contact:
Serving hours:
Eastern Standard Time
(GMT, Zulu, or UTC - 5:00)
10:00 am - 9:00 pm

Social Media 

The worlds best restaurants is a subjective list of who is writing it and changes on a regular basis. The Wine Dine and Play best experiences are based on my highest rated stared restaurants, meaning that the visit was an outstanding or extraordinary experience. From cafés, chains, mom + pops, hole in the walls, to fine dining including a few Michelin spots. Visit the Top 100 page to see the entire list.

A few to tease you with…

Vibrant Downtown & relaxed coastal cuisine
St. Petersburg, Florida, USA
A Parisian style bistro rendez-vous
Monte-Carlo, Monaco
Eclectic & innovative gastropub using molecular gastronomy
Tampa, Florida, USA

Other Pictures:
Front entrance
Dining room
Old San Juan
Old San Juan 
Castillo San Felipe del Morro
Post Card

“Culinary perfection consists not in doing extraordinary things, 
But in doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.”

-Angelique Arnauld (1591-1661)

Who is John Galt?


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