Santo Domingo Restaurants

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Santo Domingo Restaurant Reviews

Santo Domingo's dining scene is the best in the country and probably as fine a selection of restaurants as you can find anywhere in the Caribbean. If you avoid the touristy places in the Zona Colonial that have mediocre fare and just-ok service, you can instead focus on one of the capital's great fine-dining options, such as La Residence. By ordering carefully, you can have a nice dinner here for less than $30 per person. Most notably, you'll have caring service and be sequestered in luxe surroundings away from the tourist hustle.

Some of the best restaurant choices are not in the tourist zones but in the business districts of the modern city and in the upscale residential neighborhoods where the wealthy capitaleños reside. They typically dress for dinner and dine late. The locals usually start eating after 9:30 pm, when the Americans are just finishing their desserts.

Restaurants tend to be more formal in Santo Domingo than in the rest of the country, so worn-out khakis and flip-flops are simply not acceptable, especially at dinner. For lunch in a casual café in the Zone, for example, shorts (though never short shorts) are acceptable, but not at the better, fine-dining establishments, either for lunch or dinner. Similarly, at night in the better establishments trousers and collared shirts are required for men, and skirts, dresses, or resort-casual slacks appropriate for women. Ties aren't required anywhere, and few places still require jackets, even the finer establishments.

About the Food

The city's culinary repertoire includes Spanish, Italian, Middle Eastern, Indian, Japanese, and nueva cocina Dominicana (contemporary Dominican cuisine). If seafood is on the menu, it's bound to be fresh. Among the best Dominican specialties are queso frito (fried cheese), sancocho (a thick meat stew served with rice and avocado slices), arroz con pollo (rice with beans and fried chicken parts), mofango (mashed green plantains and shredded pork or chicken and chittlins), pescado al coco (fish in coconut sauce), plátanos (fried sweet plantains), and tostones (fried green plantains). On this sugar-producing island the local candies are 98% sugar, the populace consumes far more Coca-Cola than Americans do, but when it comes to dessert, they come up short. It's the quiet corner of the menu, where you may have three, possibly four choices, one of them being flan.

Shacks and stands that serve cheap eats are an integral part of the culture and landscape, but eat street food at your own risk. Presidente is the most popular local beer, but try a Bohemia, which has more flavor. Brugal rum is popular with the Dominicans. Barceló anejo (aged) is as smooth as cognac, and Barceló Imperial is so special it's sold only at Christmas.

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