The food at El Jibarito isn’t radically different from what you find in NYC; the photogenic cobblestoned streets, palm trees and macaron-colored stucco of Old San Juan just make it seem better (sorry, Spanish Harlem).
I don’t mind my first meal in a scorching, new-to-me city being in an air conditioned tourist neighborhood. I need to get my bearings in comfort. The comfortable restaurant wasn’t as hickish as its name might imply; a jibarito is akin to a hillbilly.
Knowing that I was about to embark on a long weekend of rich, fatty eating, I ordered the pernil instead of the fried pork even though that’s what I really wanted. Still pork, obviously. But they brought me the masitas fritas, anyway. My secret wish fulfilled.
James opted for a pork rib dish in a plantain sauce. We ordered rice and beans and tostones as sides to share. Someone in the kitchen decided that the fried plantains went with my food and the rice and beans with the other dish.
El Jibarito * Calle Sol 280, San Juan, Puerto Rico