Good Eats & Music at the SoFo Culinary Festival

No idea when tThe next SOFO Culinary Festival will be held. We will update when it gets scheduled..

SoFo Culinary Festival

Twice a year the restaurant community in Old San Juan pulls together for their SoFo Culinary Festival. These festivals, typically in summer and early winter, feature lots of great food & drinks, live music, outdoor dining and artisans selling their wares.

The center of the action is Fortaleza Street, on the end near Plaza Colón, not far from Fort San Cristóbal. The city closes down a number of blocks on 5 blocks of Fortaleza and San Francisco Streets to traffic in order to make a pedestrian area where you can enjoy the food and music, and walk around freely with your favorite bar drinks. Most of the restaurants are set up on San Francisco Street, Fortaleza Street and Recinto Sur between Tanca Street and O’Donnel Street.

We went one night for a couple of hours a couple years ago and had a good time. We walked about 3 laps around the whole area before we decided what to have.

SoFo Culinary FestivalThere are usually more than 30 restaurants participating, with all kinds of different food including cerviche, lechon, sweet & sour pork, vegetable lo mein, and sushi. You can get food take-out style served from warming trays, or you can have a full sit-down dinner inside the restaurants or at tables set up in the street. Most restaurants have makeshift bars set up in the streets offering beer, Mojitos, Pina Coladas, martinis and probably just about any other mixed drink you might want.

Once again, we ended up there on opening night, which is a big to-do with the mayor of San Juan making a speech, a ribbon cutting ceremony, TV film crews and newspaper photographers all over. Once the speeches were over the music and food started.

The last time we went, we had a full sit-down dinner in the middle of Fortaleza Street. While the meal was good, sitting at a table in the middle of the street with a gazillion people walking close-by and checking out our food was not for us. Last night we decided not to repeat that mistake. We opted to grab some small, sample-size dishes from a couple different places. We split a ceviche from Aguaviva, I had sweet & sour pork from Dragonfly, and Gwenn had lechon from a small place I didn’t catch the name of. Everything was excellent.

For whatever reason, it wasn’t very crowded that night. And then it started pouring rain around 6:30pm, which was a real shame because everything set up in the street (linen-covered tables, chairs, the bands and their equipment) got soaked. We used that opportunity to duck into one of the restaurants and tried their SoFo Festival special at the special price.

Because of the rain we cut out of there early, like many other people. I hope that they have better weather this time around.

The festival runs Thursday through Sunday. Most of the restaurants have food available starting around 6:00pm. The live music starts around 7:00pm. The event runs until 11:00pm on Thursday, and until 12 mn on Friday through Saturday. Sunday the hours for food and music are 4:00pm until 10pm. There are different stages for bands set up around the area , so no matter when you go you should be able to find some entertainment. assumes no responsibility regarding your safety when participating in the activities described in this article. Please use common sense! If your mother or that little voice in your head tells you that you are about to do something stupid … then don't do it! Read more about Safety →

Comments & Discussion Leave a Comment »

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We don't get the dates until a week or so beforehand. You might want to contact Sofo people directly. Good luck.

Comment by Gwenn on 30 Jan 2017

I have relatives that would like to come for the SoFo food festival. Can you please forward dates for 2017.

Comment by antoinette torres on 30 Jan 2017

No idea yet....we are still waiting for the dates for the December one! But follow their page for newest info:

Comment by Gwenn on 11 Oct 2016

When is the 2017 Summer SoFo?

Comment by Stephanie D. on 10 Oct 2016

It will be a while before we hear the exact dates for the December 2016 one. The dates aren't usually posted until a few weeks ahead of time.

Comment by Gwenn on 30 Sep 2016

Yes, it will be held. Zika is an issue but not an unmanageable problem- use mosquito repellent. Life goes on as usual here. We will post the dates when we have them.

Comment by Gwenn on 30 Sep 2016

I realize it's only September and the December SoFo Culinary Festival dates are usually not announced until November, but will it even be held this December with the Zika epidemic being such a major concern there this year? I know it's usually held on the first weekend in December, so can we expect that it will be held at that same time this year as well (if at all)?

Comment by Ursula K. McClary on 17 Sep 2016

what are the dates for the Sofo festival 2017?

Comment by Victoria Dunn on 16 Sep 2016

Comment by Gwenn on 06 Aug 2016


Comment by EMYLSIE MORELLI on 13 Jul 2016

It changes...a lot! Last year it was in August. We don't find out until about 10 days beforehand. But maybe contact OOF inc Restaurants (Parrot Club or Aguaviva) and ask them if they have any idea when it may be. They always participate, so I would think they would know a little earlier than us.

Comment by Gwenn on 21 May 2015

Hi, when does the dates for the 2015 SoFo Culinary Festival usually get published? And is it usually in June? Want to time for trip my to catch the festival. Thanks, Alice

Comment by Alice Chau on 21 May 2015

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