Established in 2015, Casa Vieja is much more than just a restaurant, it's an experience. Located in the Central Mountain Range of Ciales, northwest of Orocovis; south of Manatí, the small and quaint family-owned and operated restaurant specializes in traditional Puerto Rican cuisine.
“Casa Vieja” literally translates to Old House, they describe the experience as a “new” way of sharing, and by “new” they mean old.
The small interior of the restaurant consists of a bar and a few tables. It is decorated with antique sofas and chairs, different memorabilia from cameras, to vinyl records, and plenty of fresh mint at the bar (they make the best mojitos!). But the highlight of “house” is the open windows that look into the breathtaking mountains of Ciales. The restaurant's atmosphere transports you to what you imagine your great grandma’s house used to be like on the mountainside of the island, it makes you feel at home. Outside of the restaurant, you can find a deck with more seating with the same stunning view.
The menu pays homage to Puerto Rican "abuelitas" and their kitchen secrets, it is a small menu but big in flavor. Everything is delicious, but I do have a few favorites.
You have to try (not optional) the “Pastel al Caldero” it’s a soup made of the same ingredients you will find in a traditional Puerto Rican “pastel”. Green bananas, sofrito, pork, chickpeas, among many other secret ingredients are cooked low and slow in a “caldero”, a traditional cooking pot used for cooking rice and other foods in Puerto Rico. It is the most amazing soup I have ever eating, every spoonful is a magical combination of traditional Puerto Rican flavors simply elevated to into an innovative perfect dish.
I also love the “Pastelillo de Bistec”, a Puerto Rican turnover filled with flavorful tender pieces of steak and cheese. The “Bolitas de Mofongo” are also incredibly good. And if you are going with a group I highly recommend getting the “Palangana” a sampler with everything you must try!
I promise that whatever you order will be delicious, and don’t forget the mojitos they have over ten varieties of flavors!
So, if you are visiting Puerto Rico or you are a local (and have yet to visit), I highly encourage you to go to this beautiful "house" in the mountains of Ciales, it will be an experience that you will always remember!