In Old San Juan lies this nice nugget of a restaurant that will transport you in time to the Puerto Rico before urbanized was more widespread- when we lived in the countryside humbly with no electricity. The name of the restaurant, meaning roots, refers both to tradition and to the food.
The wait staff dresses in the old fashion garments, alluding to that era. Women wear traditional white dresses and headdress, and men wear their guayaberas and tropical panama jack-style hats. The interior resembles abodes reminiscent of the country sheltered by the zinc roofs. Memories stirred in me! When walked in, the place reminded me of nights going to sleep listening to the tropical rain drops falling on the roof making this soothing and comforting lullaby that helped me go to sleep as a kid.
The menu matched the atmosphere. For appetizers, we ordered
Festival Tipico: an assortment of small appetizers including “Bacalaitos” (Cod fritters) , “Alcapurrias” (Ground beef filled fritter), “Piononos,” (Fried plantain meat pie), “Taquitos de Jueyes” (Crab mini tacos), and “Mofongo de Yuca” (Mashed fried plantains with cassava root).
We also ordered a house salad a typical boston lettuce, tomato and topped with house dressing a latin version of Thousand Island.
Lomillo empanado (Breaded beef tenderloin)
accompanied by white rice and beans, which are served in a small “caldero” (a cast iron cooking pot). It was golden brown and crispy, and the flavors in the breading Oregano and other spices were well balanced .
For desserts we ordered
Sorullitos a’la mode (Vanilla ice cream on a bed of corn fritters lusciously adorned with caramel, cinnamon, brown sugar, and topped with whipped cream): delectable and sensual.
Some of the dishes in the restaurant are served in tin plates, typical of what was used in the old times.
If you want authentic Puertorican cuisine in a restaurant setting that reminds you of comforting, simpler, less hectic times, this is the place to go. You will feel at home.
I will be back to this place for more when we return to the island again. It captures this nostalgic sense of returning.