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Pirilo (Old San Juan)

October 3, 2019

  • 201 Calle Tanca
  • San Juan, PR 00901
  • (787) 721-3322
  • Website
  • Menu

I didn’t do a ton of research when I started looking at restaurants in San Juan because I was hoping we’d just stumble on somethings.  We didn’t have a car so I wasn’t going to plot out our meals knowing we’d have to take Ubers everywhere.

J and I spent our first full day in Puerto Rico exploring the forts of Old San Juan.  We spent a couple of hours at Castillo San Felipe del Morrow then made our way down the hill looking for someplace to eat.

One of the few restaurants I kept seeing over and over again as a place we needed to eat at was just a few blocks away so I put it in my GPS and we headed that direction.

Pirilo in Old San Juan is on Calle Tanca in the heart of Old San Juan.  I was super confused by that address because the entrance to the restaurant is actually on C. Fortaleza right around the corner.  The building is shared with Douglas Pub so I assume that’s where the Calle Tanca address comes from.  You can find the entrance to the pizza place by looking for the awning on the front door. 

We walked in the door and were blasted by air conditioning which felt incredible.  The restaurant is not very big.  The bar takes up a lot of space in the front of the shop.  There’s not even enough room for a host stand.  There’s a sign on the bar that just asks that you wait to be seated.

A waitress saw us and told to sit wherever and she’d follow us with menus.  We headed to the back of the restaurant and found a two top with bench seating along the wall.  The restaurant has no windows and is lit by string lights from the ceiling.  They make good use of the historic structure with exposed brick in certain places and a pretty common black and white checkerboard tile scheme on the floor.  The furniture is all high quality, thick wood giving the pizzeria a little more of a higher end Italian joint than you first expect when you walk in.

We had been out in the hot sun for a while so neither of us were interested in alcohol.  We both got Cokes and guzzled the first one down.  I had no idea if they were free refills or not but I didn’t care at that point.  I needed at least two if not three.

We put in our order for a large pizza.  We were going to do two smalls but the waitress said she’d make it one large and do half with what J wanted and half with what I wanted.

After we ordered, a different waiter came over and asked a really weird question.  Another couple in the bar must have ordered too much and offered the leftovers to us.  We were a little confused on what he was asking and we said “Sure, we’ll take their pie.”  We weren’t expecting him to bring over a whole pizza.

This pizza would have been more than enough for us but since we didn’t order it, we only ate a couple of slices.  Half of the pizza was El Pecado.  It was topped with skirt steak, bacon, ground meat, Spanish sausage and Argentinian sausage.  I actually almost ordered this one on my own because there was just so much delicious meat.  The skirt steak was the dominate flavor and it had a crispy, salty, crust to it.  The other half of the pizza was a combination of a couple different pizzas.  Part of it was Pizza Rosado which is topped with a pink vodka sauce, mozzarella, baby spinach, arugula, and Pecarino Romano.   This was the slice J grabbed because the other slices looked like they had mushrooms. Neither of us are really big fans of mushrooms so we didn’t even try it.  We felt really bad about not eating more of this pizza but, we didn’t order it.

Now, the pizza we actually ordered.  I wanted to try the Pizza Tripleta so that was my half.  J’s half was 7 Quesos.

The Pizza Tripleta is a pizza take on the popular Tripleta sandwich.  The soft chewy crust is topped with a home made tomato sauce, mozzarella, seasoned pork, cube steak and ham.  It’s then topped off with the crispy little potato sticks typically served alongside and Tripleta and a little bit of mayo-ketchup.  This pizza was good.  The potatoes on top were really interesting.  They added a crunchy element to the pizza.  The meat was delicious.  I could have eaten a whole pizza with just the seasoned pork and steak.

The 7 Quesos half of the pizza is essentially what it sounds like.  Mozzarella, Provolone, Muenster, cheddar, Manchego, Swiss, and ricotta top off the pizza.  It’s a super simple but also pretty unique take on a cheese pizza.

Unfortunately, we were not heading back to our hotel yet so there was really no way for us take the leftovers with us….and there was quite a bit.  I ate all but one piece of my side of the pizza and J only left two but we had that whole other pizza that was given to us.

Our bill for lunch was a little over $31 before tip.  My pizza was the more expensive of the two so that’s what we got charged for.

Reviews I read about Pirilo called it the best pizza in San Juan and even though it’s the only pizza I’ve had in San Juan, I can at least say it is an incredibly delicious pizza that would be hard to beat.   They have three locations around town but I’m happy we the one in Old San Juan.  The whole area just has a unique, rich history


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