Is there any better way to learn about a destination’s culture than through its food? If you agree there’s not, then you’ll love getting to know Carolina by eating your way through its diverse restaurants and beachside chinchorros (food stands).

In this municipality, you can taste authentic Puerto Rican food with heavy Taíno, African, and Spanish influences, as well as savory flavors from across Latin America and beyond. From recipes that have been passed down through the generations to unique spins on traditional plates, these are some of the top places to dine in Carolina:

Steaks on display at Meat Market Miami in Carolina.

Prime cuts of steak are the specialty at Meat Market Miami.

Meat Market

This upscale contemporary steakhouse keeps things sizzling in Carolina, with a vibe that feels straight from Miami. Meat Market's steak-centric menu features perfectly cooked cuts like prime rib, filet mignon, ribeye, and lobster, which you can top with rich, flavored butters and creative sauces like roasted-pepper chimichurri or fiery mango. Pair your entree with one of many savory sides or a glass of award-winning wine.

A barista prepares an elaborately decorated coffee drink at Bistro Cafe in Carolina.

Start your day with an artful cup of coffee at Bistro Café.

Bistro Café

This quaint breakfast eatery in the heart of Isla Verde is one of the best ways to start the day in Carolina. Famous for its large and varied brunch menu, Bistro Café turns traditional breakfasts into works of art that are almost too pretty to eat. From fruit-topped French toasts to skirt steaks drenched in guava sauce, this hot spot makes the most important meal of the day a gastronomic experience.

El Nuevo Acuario Restaurant in Carolina.

El Nuevo Acuario is one of the hottest restaurants in Carolina.

El Nuevo Acuario

Right on the beach in Piñones is one of the hottest spots in town. At El Nuevo Acuario, which means “the new aquarium,” the seafood is so fresh that you’ll think they caught it at your personal request — and you wouldn’t be far off. Dishes such as lobster empanadas, ceviche, and grouper served in guava and tamarindo sauces make this relaxed restaurant a true treasure. The atmosphere is completely casual, and you can walk straight from the beach and cool off with a cocktail (try the blackberry mojito).

El Alambique

Come for the view, stay for the food. With over 25 years of service, this low-key restaurant highlights the quality of Puerto Rican products. The menu at El Alambique beachfront bar and grill is heavy on seafood items, like their famous plantain arañitas stuffed with fish and octopus salad. Elevated dishes like salmon with coconut cream and asparagus, or spice-marinated steaks with tostones are enticing options as well. The breezy ambiance and live music complement the culinary offerings.

The modern interior of Platos Restaurant in Carolina.

Platos Restaurant in Carolina.

Platos Restaurant & Bar

Get a real taste of Carolina at Platos, which prides itself on serving the most authentic Boricua plates in the Isla Verde district. Platos offers a great variety of staple dishes such as traditional mofongo, buttery lobster tails with tostones, and even black bean risotto.

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