- Where to Go
- The Best of the Dominican Republic
- A Nature Lover’s Dominican Trek
- The Sexiest Dominican Beaches
- Historical Dominican Road Trip
- A Dominican Culture Tour
- Carnaval and Its Masks
- Planning Your Dominican Wedding
- Dominican Adventures
- Golfing the Dominican Republic
- Dominican Music and Dance
- La Ruta del Mango
- Day-Tripping in Monte Plata
- The Best Small Resorts
La Cafetera Colonial (El Conde 253, tel. 809/682-7122, 7:30 a.m.–10 p.m. Mon.–Sat., US$2–5) has been around for decades, and locals say it has barely changed at all. Men who have been going to this café/diner for 25 years or more are still content to while away their afternoons perched on the stools at the counter talking about the old days. Sandwiches, fresh juices, and breakfasts are good, but the espresso and the pineapple cake will likely never be equaled elsewhere on the planet. This is a top pick for its sentimental presence on El Conde.
The restaurant of Restaurant & Hotel Conde de Peñalba (El Conde at Arzobispo Meriño, tel. 809/688-7121, www.condepenalba.com, US$2–15) is in the best people-watching position, right across from Parque Colón. Sandwiches, omelets, and a good variety of international choices are on the menu, in addition to a good international beer selection. Try the Gallego sandwich for US$5.
Just a few storefronts down is Bar & Restaurant Anacaona (Calle El Conde 101 and Calle Isabel La Católica, tel. 809/682-8253). Anacaona has a relaxing atmosphere under a huge tree for shade on a hot day. The fish in coconut sauce is a tasty choice. Service is good, beer is cold, and the bathrooms are clean. These two restaurants are like “dueling banjos” for hungry tourists. They have perfect locations and similar prices.
The alluring Meson de D’Bari (Hostos and Salomé Ureña, tel. 809/687-4091, noon–midnight daily, US$6–14) has been fashioned from what was once a private colonial home. Dominican art hangs on the walls and is for sale, making it like dining in an art gallery. The cangrejos guisados (crab stew) and filet a la criolla (filet of beef) are signature dishes. Or try the lambí stew (conch stew). Many more Dominican-style seafood and steak entrées are on the menu. The bar is quite a popular spot for nighttime entertainment, with live music on the weekends.
Café de las Flores (El Conde between Sánchez and José Reyes, tel. 809/689-1898, 9 a.m.–10 p.m. daily, US$4–10) has tables right on the walkway of El Conde; this is great for people-watching. The food is relatively cheap. Choices include breakfast sandwiches, asopao (soup), mofongo, meat, paella, and other typical Dominican dishes. The bright murals on the walls and the ceiling fans make it look achingly like a tourist trap; granted, there are better restaurants, but this location is tops for a quick lunch while shopping Calle El Conde.
Meson La Quintana (Calle La Atarazana 13, tel. 809/687-2646, 12:30 p.m.–1 a.m. Mon.–Sun., US$4–18), a Spanish restaurant, is appropriately located across from the Alcázar de Colón. Tapas are the specialty, served in a typical Spanish decor. Outdoor seating is available at night.
El Rey del Falafel (Padre Billini and Sánchez, tel. 809/412-2266, US$4–8) has Middle Eastern food for something different. Here in this newly remodeled restaurant, enjoy falafel sandwiches, shawarma, and hummus on the swanky new outdoor patio under the stars. They play a good mix of music and this is a popular place to have a drink on the weekends with the 30-somethings and up. It is a relaxing atmosphere.
Saxony Café Galeria (Calle Padre Billini 205, tel. 809/221-6313) is a small, casual and inexpensive restaurant next door to the Doña Elvira Hotel. Here is the big shocker: It is a vegetarian restaurant. In the Dominican Republic, this is a major find. Enjoy fresh vegetable dishes over rice, eggplant parmesan, samosas, and many types of yogurt and natural juices.
Pat’e Palo (La Atarazana 25, tel. 809/687-8089, www.patepalo.com, opens at 4:30 p.m. Mon.–Thurs. and 1:30 p.m. Fri.–Sun., US$12–15) is off the Plaza de España. This restaurant serves some very delectable seafood in what was purportedly the first tavern of the New World back in 1505.
The open-air dining in Ristorante La Briciola’s courtyard (Arzobispo Meriño 152, www.labriciola.com.do, tel. 809/688-5055, lunch noon–3 p.m., dinner 7 p.m.–midnight Mon.–Sat., US$15–30) inspires romance, with candlelight and white tablecloths under the stars in the sky and elegance at every turn with fantastic service. The food is international and Italian with dishes like seafood gnocchi, tenderloin Angus with gorgonzola filling, and grilled lobster.
Pescadería Comedor Mora (Calle Profesor Gómez and Summerwells, open 24 hours), a budget seafood option, has a large open-air dining area with ceiling fans, but you order at a counter deli-style. It’s rather a chaotic place; you just have to jump in and make yourself known—Dominicans don’t really form orderly lines, not here anyway. Parking is available across the street. Options include cangrejo guisado (crab in sauce), fish in coconut sauce, ensalada de pulpo (octopus salad), fried seafood, paella, yucca, rice dishes, shrimp, and beer.
© Ana Chavier Caamaño from Moon Dominican Republic, 4th edition