Whether you like sweet or savory food, spicy or mild, Puerto Rican cuisine has something to offer for everyone.
While it might not be the go-to choice of dinner for some people, or perhaps doesn’t spring to mind when looking for places to dine in Texas, you’d be surprised to learn just how many mouthwateringly good places there are to have Puerto Rican food in Houston.
So, suppose you’re trying Puerto Rican food for the first time and want to try something authentic and new or love everything about Caribbean food in general. In that case, you’ll find the perfect spot in my guide to Houston’s top Puerto Rican restaurants.
Where to Find The Best Puerto Rican Food in Houston, TX?
I will guide you through some of the most inspiring restaurants in Houston serving the best Puerto Rican food so you can concentrate on the most important part, eating!
I have included a diverse mixture regarding price, location, and unique selling points. For example, some of them relish in mind-blowing desserts, and some focus solely on the authenticity of Puerto Rican traditions.
I have drawn on my experiences at these restaurants and combined that with other customers’ notes. I have also put my two cents in regarding whether or not the service is up to par and whether they’re good value for money.
Lastly, I’ve looked at each place’s location, parking, and general ambiance. After all, dining out is not just about the food but the whole experience.
So, what more are we waiting for? Let’s dive right into the Caribbean cuisine of Puerto Rico in the bustling city of Houston.
1. Michy’s Chino Boricua
|2424 Greenhouse Road, Ste 180, Houston, TX 77084
|Totsones, ribs, fried chicken, eggroll, lo mein, sweet and sour chicken
|Crab Rangoon and Pepper Steak
So, you didn’t think you’d come across something as exciting as Puerto Rican Chinese fusion when looking for Caribbean food. It was a surprise to me, too, the first time I came across it, but I am glad I found it.
The food here is full of flavor, spice, and texture and offers a fresh insight into Chinese and Puerto Rican cuisine.
I am often spoilt for choice when it comes to meal options here. The menu’s expansive; however, I am always satisfied with my final decision.
The last time I ate here, I ordered the Crab Rangoon, mainly due to my curiosity. I was pleasantly surprised when I bit into a cream cheese-filled wonton stuffed with crab and tasty spices. I also opted for a classic as my main, peppered steak, which was much better than any steak I’ve eaten from the take-out.
The restaurant is open for brunch, lunch, and dinner from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm.
I found the price exceptionally reasonable, my crab starter, for example, was only $5.00, and the mains are priced between $8.00 and $16.00.
2. The Original Marini’s Empanada House
|10001 Westheimer Road, Carillon Shopping Center, Houston, TX 77042
|Empanada, smoked sausage, nachos, chicken diablo, refried beans
|Chicken a La Queen and Fig Empanada
The Original Marini’s Empanada House is another fusion restaurant, combining Puerto Rican cuisine with Argentinian and Tex-Mex style food.
If you’re looking for the best empanada in town, this is your spot! They have a great selection of savory options, and the sweet selections are out of this world. I cannot recommend highly enough the Fig with Everything, which, despite being on the dessert menu, is stuffed with cheese, fig preserve, and walnuts. If you do one thing while here, order this, it will exceed your expectations.
Not only are these some of the best empanadas I have ever come across, not just in Houston but in the whole of the U.S., they’re fabulously priced too. Bargain! Even the specialty desserts like the Fig, Banana Dulce de Leche, and the York Peppermint Patty, are all under $4.00.
It’s a family-owned restaurant that creates a memorable story with every creation it puts to the plate.
If you are looking for a wholesome experience, great food, and perfect service, you’ve found it.
3. Punta Cana Caribbean Restaurant
|17776 Tomball Parkway, Ste 21, Houston, TX 77064
|Empanada, fried chicken, stewed codfish, goat stew, fried plantain flan
|Stewed Salted Codfish
If you want to dine as they do in the Dominican Republic, Punta Cana is the place for you; they truly highlight authentic cuisines such as rick stews, plantains, and mofongo. In short, you will find everything there is to love about Puerto Rican food.
Whether you’re a vegetarian, enjoy a bit of heat, or love a plate full of flavorsome meat, rest assured they’ll be something to appease you on this enticing menu.
I’ve visited this place on many occasions. Still, one that sticks out in my memory, in particular, is the first time I ordered the Stewed Saltfish Cod, it was a new dish to me then, and I was floored by the impeccable flavors, silky broth, and perfectly cooked flaky white fish.
Regarding prices, I find it hard to dine on a budget here because I always want to order multiple dishes. Still, it’s easy to enjoy a starter, main course, and dessert here for under $30.00. And, if you’re sharing, even better, they have some delicious sharing platters such as the Picadera Tradicional for $39.00 for a large or $29.00 for a small. It includes all kinds of delectable treats, such as fried pork skin, green plantains, cassava, and chicken.
The restaurant is only tiny. However, I’ve never struggled to get a table due to the professional yet fast service. Still, I recommend making a reservation if you’ve set your heart on a specific time and date to avoid waiting or being turned away.
4. Antojitos Boronic
|17126 Pine Forest Lane, Houston, TX 77084
|Tacos, enchiladas, mofongo, queso
I might be alone here, but I always love visiting a place with a minimal menu. Something on an extensive menu can mean less passion goes into each dish. I am one of the most indecisive people you could ever meet, so I can spend more time trawling the menu than I do eating.
The menu might be small, but the portions are enormous. The work put into them is even more significant, visible on the plates and in the flavor.
Honestly, it’s hard to pick a favorite dish here, but I managed to whittle it down to the Tacos Nicos. These delicious deep-fried tacos are stuffed with beef and finished with fresh cream, crunchy salad, and tomato ketchup. It’s a straightforward dish that packs a punch in terms of flavor. And it’s only $6.00 a pop.
5. El Caribeno
|12904 Fry Road, Cypress, TX
|Sancocho, pizza, Caribbean sandwiches, kids meals, tomahawk
|Chuleta Kan Kan
This excellent food joint started as a small space inside a gas station. After being positively received by the locals, it eventually expanded to what it is today.
The restaurant is owned by a mother-and-son partnership, Matthew and Rose. Between them, they work hard to ensure customer satisfaction while providing guests with a brilliant atmosphere and even better food.
My favorite dish here has to be the 32 oz Pork tomahawk with pickled onion chimichurri. I don’t need to say much more than that to convince you, but the flavors are to die for, and it’s the best-cooked pork tomahawk I’ve ever been served.
If you want something lighter (unlike my big recommendation), try the Arcadian Mixed Salad topped with skirt steak.
Vegetarians have plenty of options, like sweet plantain, vegetable medley, and mozzarella and oregano pizza. Some of these dishes are also suitable for vegans.
6. PR Food Factory
|10900 Kingspoint Road, Ste 9, Houston, TX 77075
|Galletas, biscuits, pasta, juice, crackers, snacks, and treats
Suppose you’re self-catering and want food that you can take back to your hotel in Houston in the evening and snack in bed (one thing I love about a vacation). In that case, you should head to the Puerto Rican grocery store to stock up on goodies.
With everything from meat and sausages to sweets, biscuits, and chocolate, you can set yourself up for a Puerto Rican feast for your quiet night in.
The food factory has tons of authentic Caribbean choices, so if you’ve traveled from the Dominican Republic and are looking for an authentic taste of home, this is where to find it.
7. Pastelitos Cafe
|1809 Eldridge Parkway, Houston, TX 77077
|Breakfast, pastelitos, fresh juice, coffee
|Pizzarito Pepperoni and Cheese Pastelito
Pastelitos Cafe is the perfect spot for Puerto Rican food in Houston if you’re looking for an early morning breakfast or light lunch.
The quaint cafe opened in 2011 and offered customers a perfect combination of European and Latin flavors in a welcoming, homely setting.
The cafe is open from 7:00 am till 3:00 in the afternoon. During this time, you can indulge in a criollo breakfast consisting of sauteed eggs, tomatoes, onions, shredded beef, black beans, or something simpler, like oatmeal with honey and granola.
However, the show’s star at this Puerto Rican cafe is the pastelitos. I’ve tried them all, and they’ve all been exceptional. If I had to recommend one in particular, it would be the pepperoni, maybe as I’m a sucker for anything that resembles a pizza; I don’t know, but either way, it’s exceptional.
One Last Look
I told you, there are tons of eateries and even stores where you can get your hands on some classical Puerto Rican dishes and ingredients. So, whether dining in or out during your Houston vacation, you’ll always be close to a Caribbean delight. If you’ve enjoyed reading this guide and found it helpful, why not take a look at some of my other restaurants’ reviews, or even find the perfect place to stay with these guides to the 5 Unique Themed Restaurants in Houston and 10 Best Hotels With Restaurants in Houston