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“Must see location and must eat food...” 5 of 5 stars
Review of El Rancho Original

El Rancho Original
Calle 184, Puerto Rico
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Ranked #193 of 2,371 Restaurants in Puerto Rico
Cuisines: Caribbean
Restaurant details
Oakton, Virginia
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“Must see location and must eat food...”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 29, 2013

We visited El Rancho after a long day at Toro Verde National Park. We arrived around 2pm on a Sunday and the place was packed. The streets were lined with people and loud salsa music was playing - it was great. We waited in line for around 20 min to get the food. While Anthony Bourdain recommended the pork we found the pork and the chicken to be incredible. The texture was soft and the taste was amazing. We were the two only tourists that we could see which is slightly confusing as this is only an hour outside San Juan and the experience is one of a kind. HIghly recommend renting a car and driving out. Warning - the road to get there is typical mountain road - ups, downs, and light turns.

  • Visited July 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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27 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    18
    7
    1
    0
    1
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
meredithj
Top Contributor
58 reviews 58 reviews
12 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
44 helpful votes 44 helpful votes
“Delicious pork, rice, plantains, beans an pina coladas in the mountains!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 11, 2013

We rented a car from San Juan and took the beautiful drive up the mountain to Guavate. Very easy drive, I just recommend reviewing the directions before you leave because the GPS wasn't that helpful. But honestly, if I can do it- you can do it, too! The Pork Highway starts with a couple scattered lechoneras, but do as everyone else says- drive all the way to the top (the restaurants stop and it becomes some type of park. Turn around and pick a parking spot). We immediately hit the Pina Colada stand and to this day we don't believe our delicious drinks. For $4 you get a large pina colada, with lots of rum, whipped cream, a pineapple wedge, rainbow sprinkles and a cherry on top. We couldn't believe the attention to detail (reminded me of the "Would you like it gift-wrapped" scene from Love, Actually!!!).

Anyway. I can't say that El Rancho Original was the BEST lechon because we didn't get it anywhere else, but it sure was delicious! I think a plate of pork, rice, beans and plantains with a soda was around $8. It's a little confusing to order but just tell them what you want and they help you. I would definitely recommend this lechonera to families because there are lots of seating areas out back (gazebos over a stream). We got there around 10:30 which was smart- they start coming in with PACKED school-buses of people around 11:15. There are also little stands of knick-knacks to explore. Don't be intimidated by this off-the-beaten-path destination. This was an easy and very unique place to visit!

  • Visited April 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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Orlando, Florida
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“Experience Puerto Rican culture in the mountains”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 11, 2013

Guavate is one of the most visited places in Puerto Rico. It's about 45 minutes from San Juan into the beautiful mountains in the town of Cayey. Once there you may choose several places to shop and dine, but my favorite is El Rancho Oriiginal. This family-oriented restaurant is in the middle of artisans and souvenir shops and it offers great typical Puerto Rican food: rice with pigeon peas, boiled green bananas, sweet potatoes, sweet bananas, plantains, grilled chicken, excellent pork, famous and delicious morcillas (blood sausage - I know it doesn't sound too encouraging, but you would love it!), and many other delicious menu items. Not your typical sit down restaurant more of a buffet style. Plenty of parking for $3.00 to $5.00. Beautiful mountain scenery with live music and dancing. Food price is very affordable.

  • Visited July 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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Fort Campbell, Kentucky
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Good home town feel.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 1, 2013

When you pull up the locals hint to where to go to eat. It is packed with locals which is always a good sign in my books as where to eat. You walk up to order and you get food right away. In most cases this is bad but they run through food so it is always fresh food. Pork is their claim to fame so you will see a whole pig in the window, and man it is juicy and just pulls apart. You cannot go wrong whatever you order, even the blood sausage stuffed with rice is good.

  • Visited July 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Miami, Florida
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Great Day Trip in P.R.”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 28, 2013

Went on this day trip to El Guavate to celebrate my partners Birthday. About 45 min ride into the mountains in P.R. we arrived at the rest. about noon on a Sunday The party had already begun there was live music playing and the dancers had already begun crowding the dance floor. We settled downstairs in a gazebo( our group consisted of 9 adults), and then went back upstairs and ordered food and drinks for everyone. The Lechon and all the other Puertorican staples we ordered were finger licking good. The Piña Coladas were refreshing and delicious. Spent all afternoon at this rest. were you can experience Puertorican life at it's best

  • Visited June 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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