Experience San Juan’s restaurant revival in full force at the Ritz-Carlton, where a pair of flashy, New York–based newcomers—Il Mulino and BLT Steak—are steering the city's culinary scene away from Old San Juan. This is Il Mulino's first foray into the Caribbean, with a menu—inspired by Italy's Abruzzi region—that has become near legendary back in Manhattan. At BLT Steak, French chef Laurent Touroundel's pairing of prime meats and creative sauces is served in a richly furnished, dark-wooden dining room with a peekaboo open kitchen, where Touroundel mans the stoves every other week.
Steak purists should head for the venerable El Conquistador resort about 45 minutes east of San Juan, where New York's Strip House has just opened its first island outpost. The trademark rich red walls, clubby leather chairs, and vintage burlesque photos are there, and chef John Schenk's meaty menu takes its cues from the Village original.
Back in Old San Juan, keep an eye open for El Toro Salao ("the salty bull") (367 Calle Tetuan; no phone yet) in SoFo, the restaurant-filled area South of Fortaleza Street. The soon-to-debut tapas joint is the latest in a string of SoFo hot spots—including Dragonfly, the Parrot Club, and Aguaviva—created by restaurateur–radio host Emilio Figueroa.