This residence-cum-restaurant is the home of the D.R.’s most acclaimed chef, Rafael Vasquez. Guests “knock the door," decorated with an oversized fork and spoon; it's indicative of this charismatic chef’s mantra—he is a rule breaker. The indoor dining room is sophisticated with classy china, glassware and cutlery and lots of white, with contemporary art by Rafael’s father, a recognized painter. The outdoor seating is arranged between the bar and the swimming pool and the twinkle lights of the former play on the latter. The candles make it as romantic as Valentine’s Day. Vasquez’ Dominican heritage always is represented in his global repertoire; his island version of sushi is a sweet plantain roll with tempura shrimp and mofonguitos have goat marinated with local Brugal rum. The mains are more international, such as salmon or baby lobsters in a creamy pastis sauce that is so French. The staff is mature, discreet, and professional. Ask if a dessert sampler is available…mmm. Mares can be like a house party or it can be your venue for a landmark celebration.