Many of Samaná ’s restaurants are along the Malecón (Avenida La Marina). Since Samaná has been a favorite expat residential area, there is a good assortment of cuisine, including French, American, Italian, Chinese, and of course Dominican. In a region surrounded by the sea and teeming with coconut groves, one must simply try a typical regional dish with any kind of fish in coconut sauce.
La Hacienda (Av. La Marina, tel. 809/538-2383, 5–11:30 p.m. Thurs.–Tues. for dinner, grill and bar open at noon, US$8–15) has a great reputation and for good reason. The food varies from international choices to specialty French cuisine dishes and is wonderful. The menu is in three languages, making ordering easier. For dinner try the steak in peppercorn sauce, experiment with seafood like octopus, or go for some traditional Dominican chicken.
Restaurant El Bambu (Av. La Marina, tel. 809/538-2661, noon–3 p.m. and 7 p.m.–midnight, , US$3–10) is directly in front of the Victoria Marine excursion office. While it is not a culinary delight like La Hacienda, it is a suitable choice for a quick lunch after your whale-watching excursion. It serves international favorites like sandwiches and pasta.
Bianchimani Franco, the restaurateur who made Santo Domingo ’s former Caffe Bellini one of the most successful restaurants in the nation, is back at it. At Restaurant Xamana (Av. La Marina, tel. 809/538-2129, US$10–30) you can enjoy top grade Italian and international dishes. Fish is always fresh, so try the pescado carpaccio or the spaghetti mare. There are also many beef choices and a phenomenal lamb lineup. For dessert, we recommend the house favorites tiramisu and dulce de coco Samaná. The atmosphere, in classic Franco style, is stylish and sleek without being stuffy. At the end of your meal, you’ll receive a complimentary chinolacello or mangolacello liquor made with seasonal passionfruit or mango just for the restaurant. This dining experience far surpasses any other in Samaná . Franco has done it again.
Rancho Marina (Av. Maria Trinidad Sánchez 13, tel. 809/538-2057, ranchomarina [at] hotmail [dot] com, 8 a.m.–midnight, Fridays no dinner, Saturdays only dinner) is a major local seafood favorite. Tucked into the neighborhood of Samaná, this smallish restaurant can get pretty busy due to their very reasonable prices. At the front of the establishment there is a buffet line (seating in the back), but there is more available even though there is no menu. If you speak Spanish, ask what else is available that day. Try the fish in coconut sauce or, if you like tripe, try the mondongo. The mofongo (mashed plantain) is great here.
Chino’s (Calle San Juan 1, tel. 809/538-2215, 11 a.m.–11 p.m. daily, US$5–15) is on the top of a hill (just behind the Hotel Docia) with a fantastic view. The thing about the food in Samaná  is that it reflects the number of expats that live there. Here you can get everything from French crepes to Italian pizzas to American burgers and now Chinese food. Stir-fry, egg rolls, wonton soup, it’s all here. Dominican dishes are served too. Indoor and outdoor seating available.
Restaurant Le France (Av. La Marina, tel. 809/538-2257, 10 a.m.–11 p.m. Tues.–Sun., US$5–15), right next to Le Café de Paris, despite its name offers Dominican fare along with French dishes in a relaxed atmosphere. Have a meal in the fresh breeze and watch Samaná go by.
Need something sweet? Try a local favorite. The English cakes at D’Vieja Pan Ingles (Carretera Samaná–Las Galeras, tel. 809/435-6634) are a Samaná tradition and are made best right here at this tiny stand popular with locals. Although the English cakes put it on the map, try the dulce de coco, served in a cup with a spoon and made with sweet potatoes and coconut; its unique tastiness is incomparable to anything, anywhere. English spoken here.
Around dinnertime, small food stands along the waterfront serve cheap eats and ice-cold beers. It’s a good place to grab a casual meal, watch the boats, and ask the locals where the best place for merengue dancing is, since it seems to change constantly.