La Estacion (Carr. 987, km 3.5, next to Hotel Conquistador, Las Croabas, Fajardo, 787/863-4481, www.laestacionpr.com , Wed.–Sun. 5 p.m.–midnight, $9–22), owned and operated by Kevin Roth from Brooklyn, New York, and Idalia Garcia from Puerto Rico , is a super-casual oasis of convivial fun and outstanding, freshly prepared cuisine. The kitchen is located in a converted gas station, but the sprawling dining areas are on open air patios appointed with awnings, padded lawn furniture, butterfly chairs, and tabletops surrounded by tiki torches and festive strings of lights. There’s also a partially enclosed bar with a juke box filled with contemporary Latino rock and reggaetón tunes and a pool table.
The vibe is akin to hanging out in your coolest friend’s basement. But it’s the food that really puts this place on the map. Everything is charcoal grilled, right outside where you can watch the action—fresh fish of the day, shrimp, churrasco, strip steaks, chicken, and burgers. The green papaya salad makes for a refreshing starter. And many of the ingredients are locally sourced. Be sure to order the house cocktail, called the Low Tide. It features rum, Triple Sec, and fresh pineapple and tamarind juices.
Rosa’s Sea Food (536 Calle Tablado, Marina Puerto Real, 787/863-0213, Thurs.–Tues. 11 a.m.–10 p.m., $12–30) is a highly recommended spot for traditional Puerto Rican cuisine, especially the grilled fish and lobster.
Restaurante Ocean View (Carr. 987, km 6.8, 787/863-6104, Thurs.–Mon. 11 a.m.–midnight, $10–40) is right across the street from Parque Los Croabas and is a festive casual place to dine on fresh seafood under an open-air pavilion. It serves excellent combination seafood platters, mofongo, and paella, and it has a full bar.
Anchor’s Inn (Carr. 987, km 2.7, 787/863-7200, Sun.–Mon. and Wed.–Thurs. noon–10 p.m., Fri.–Sat. noon–11 p.m., $8–30) is a whimsical black, white, and red wooden structure that looks something like an old English seaside inn. The menu primarily comprises steak and seafood, its specialties being paella, stuffed seafood mofongo, and chillo tropical, featuring boneless red snapper in plantain leaves. For a change of pace, there are two French dishes: escargot and crepes stuffed with lobster. There’s also a full bar with a long list of drink specials. On-site is a small budget guesthouse with 13 rooms.