A trendy take on Cuban cuisine can be found at Ropa Vieja Grill (1025 Ave. Ashford, 787/725-2665, Sun.–Wed. 11 a.m.–10:30 p.m., Thurs. 11:30 a.m.–11 p.m., Fri. 11:30 a.m.–midnight, Sat. 6 p.m.–midnight, $15–25). A modern space with a large cherrywood bar, tile floors, and a wall of windows that provides great people-watching, the restaurant serves risotto with pork rinds, filet medallions in Roquefort sauce, and grilled sea bass in pesto sauce.
Decor is secondary at the crowded casual Cuban restaurant Metropol (Ave. Isla Verde, beside Club Gallistico cockfight arena, 787/791-4046, www.metropolpr.com, daily 11:30 a.m.–10:30 p.m., $8.95–34.95, although most dishes are $10–15). The house specialty is gallinita rellena de congri—succulent roasted Cornish hen stuffed with a perfectly seasoned combination of rice and black beans. The presentation is no-nonsense and the service expedient, designed to get you in and out so the folks lining up outside can have your table.
© Suzanne Van Atten from Moon Puerto Rico, 2nd Edition