An Eclectic Street to Explore
By: N. Michelle Rodríguez Amadeo
Issue: September 2016
Whether you are a foodie or someone who just likes to eat good food, or a traveler who wants to discover interesting and different places to either drink Puerto Rican coffee, enjoy a drink among friends or explore small shops with vintage or bohemian style-women’s clothing, Calle Loíza is the place to visit.
Calle Loíza is an urban street located in the metro area in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Even though some restaurants were established many years ago along this street, most of the commerce nearby Calle Loíza was targeted at locals, especially the nearby residents. However, a new Calle Loíza has emerged as a result of the passion of brave entrepreneurs determined to offer distinctive food and products. As you wander around Calle Loíza you will encounter an eclectic street to explore and discover.
If you wish to eat local food, La Tasca de Yiyo Restaurant may be an option. This restaurant has been serving Puerto Rican food to customers during many years. You may be delighted while eating the local rice and beans dish accompanied with “bistec encebollado” (beef steak with sautéed onions) or breaded chicken breast fillet. If you prefer to eat local food in an intimate place, you may like to visit Molini’s Café & Restaurant.
Also, creative and fusion cuisine has arrived to stay at Calle Loíza. Punto Medio is an excellent creative cuisine-tapas bar restaurant that exceeded our expectations. You may rediscover international street food when you taste the Asian-Caribbean fusion cuisine at Mere Pescao restaurant. Cocinando Suave specializes in Mediterranean-Asian fusion cuisine and is a great place to spend the evening along friends while tasting specialty-mixed drinks.
Very good pizzerias are all around Calle Loíza. You will find a hidden pizzeria-gem in Loíza 2050. The pizza made of coconut dough with either smoked salmon or smoked pork shoulder is divine. Every time we eat pizza at Loíza 2050 we feel privileged to savor the artisanal pizza and the quality fresh ingredients while enjoying a cozy ambience in this small pizzeria.
Another restaurant that stands out in Calle Loíza is 4 Puntos Café Bar. We must say that its boho-chic indoor decor catches the attention—the tables and chairs, the bar area, and the lounge give you a sign of the restaurant’s groovy ambience. Whether you want to eat breakfast, lunch or dinner, 4 Puntos Café Bar is a nice place to visit along with your family or friends. If you are a solo-traveler, you might enjoy your meal while reading any of the books available for customers to groove on.
The 4 Puntos Café Bar’s watermelon sangria is delicious. The Nachos Batata a lo Jibarito appetizer is yummy: artisanal sweet potato chips are served with fried medium ripe plantain, avocado and other tropical fruits, local white cheese (“queso del país”), a cheese sauce made of feta, provolone and Swiss cheeses, and cilantro-mayo sauce. The tropical fruit-fish ceviche and tropical fruit-fish tacos are succulent. Mangoes, avocado and mandarins are among the tropical fruits you may taste while savoring these dishes.
Those with a sweet tooth may stop at Double Cake Baking Studio to please themselves while eating macaroons, and cupcakes with flavors such as coconut lavender, almond tiramisu and dirty chai. Puerto Rican expresso coffee cannot be missed in this small local bakery.
Besides the vast variety of gastronomical offer, Calle Loíza is also home of women’s apparel local shops that sell vintage attire and retro look-contemporary style-clothing (Lentejuela Vintage), and ready-to-wear classic cut-apparel with peculiar prints or bohemian-style clothing (Moni & Coli). For those interested in vintage garments, you may also find attractive to visit the Finders Keepers store. You may browse around this shop to see multiple curiosities.
If you are a local or a traveler who likes to engage in spontaneous discovery in a casual atmosphere-street, Calle Loíza is a place to explore. In addition to the highlighted restaurants, there are still more food options to uncover during a Calle Loíza experience.
If you plan to walk on this street to check the restaurants and specialty-products-shops, the suggested time to do so is in the daytime. Still, you may visit restaurants and some local shops during the nighttime. Be advised that some local shops along Calle Loíza are closed on Sundays.
Photograph by: N. Michelle Rodríguez Amadeo
Place photographed: 4 Puntos Café Bar