Tucked away in an unassuming building down a quiet Miramar side street, Chayote is San Juan's see-and-be-seen restaurant. Here's where the local glitterati can be found, decked out in European designer labels and speaking old-world Spanish. But there's substance as well as surface gloss: chef Mario Pagan's cuisine is updated Caribbean cooking at its best, a seafood-anchored menu that uses familiar ingredients (grouper) in unexpected ways (like in a creamy vegetable fricassee garnished with Gouda fritters).
Tip: Leave your touristy duds back at the hotel—this is a place where you'll need to dress up to fit in.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.