8 Best Restaurants in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

C/X Culinary Experience

$$$$ Fodor's choice

Reservations at this intimate, 20-seat restaurant within the CHIC Resort in Uvero Alto are highly coveted since it welcomes nonresort guests and is not on the resort’s all-inclusive plan. The chef's table offers a nightly six-course tasting menu, including wine pairings and choreographed musical accompaniments. The talented chef prepares all courses in an open show kitchen. The cuisine is food art, the presentation contemporary, the menu ever-evolving and never disclosed beforehand. This meal is well worth the long ride to Uvero Alto. In fact, it may be the best meal you have in the country.

CHIC Punta Cana by Royalton, Uvero Alto, Dominican Republic
809-468–0404-(ask for the club concierge)
Known For
  • Open show kitchen
  • Fine dining
  • Food art
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Closed days vary, Reservations essential

La Yola

$$$ Fodor's choice

Dining on the deck here with the gentle breeze blowing, you feel as if you’re actually aboard a yola (a small, local fishing boat). The menu, which has always had Mediterranean and Caribbean influences, has been contemporized and given a French flair. Seafood dominates the menu (you'll also find meat and chicken selections). Main courses, including the catch of the day—usually red snapper, grouper, or dorado (mahimahi)—are artfully prepared and presented and most side dishes are extra but worth it; the expanded kids' menu has five options. As always, service is professional and attentive. What does come up short are the desserts—there aren't enough of them—but the passion fruit cheesecake is a palate pleaser. Happy hour remains popular.

Playa Blanca

$$$ Fodor's choice

On a white-sand beach shaded by coco palms, this understatedly cool seafood restaurant is efficient, friendly, and fun. Start with a perfectly executed cocktail—like a lime or mango daiquiri—then dig into the savvy menu, where fresh fish and shrimp done three ways are staples. The prices are an excellent value for the amount of creativity and skill, which seems to increase each season. Refreshing salads and cooked appetizers never disappoint. And there are paellas, pasta, risotto, ravioli, and grilled lobster and meat. Sides are usually extra but worth it. The best dessert is the coffee rum trifle. Live music weekly is just one aspect of the beachfront entertainment; another is watching the kitesurfers—poetry in motion—just next door.

Recommended Fodor's Video

Blue Marlin

$$$$

The fresh catch of the day is always the best choice at this restaurant on a palapa-shaded pier overlooking the gentle Caribbean. Dominican specialties are offered, and the plate presentation is relatively simple. Service is caring and attentive. A blue-tiled fireplace at the bar adds an unexpected, decorative element; it's a great place to chill with an authentic piña colada. The menu is now fixed price, with lunch costing $58 and dinner costing $70.

Blvd. Zona Hotelera, Juanillo, Dominican Republic
809-562–9191
Known For
  • South Seas setting (on stilts)
  • Fixed price menus
  • Caribbean lobster cakes
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Reservations essential

Huracán Café

$$$

This outdoor eatery a few paces from the ocean is on a prime stretch of beach, with a thatch-roof palapa to shelter diners. By day, this Euro-hip hangout with beach beds and blender drinks is the place to be if you want to escape from your AI resort. (And they will let you hang out as long as you’re buying something.) It opens early (9 am) and stays open late (11 pm). Pricey artisanal pastas and other Italian dishes are given a contemporary twist, but you can also get lobster and fresh seafood. During the winter season you can expect to find a beach party going on Sunday afternoons; check online for promotions and special events.

Calle Mare 01, Bávaro, Dominican Republic
829-533--1300
Known For
  • Seafood dominates and ceviche is a fave
  • Kids go for the pizza
  • Vegetarian-friendly with vegan options

Jellyfish

$$$

This double-deck, open-air restaurant right on the sand is within walking distance of some of the big resorts, including Paradisus Palma Real and the Barceló Grand Resort complex, and it draws diners looking for fresh seafood. When weather demands, sheer white linens offer protection against sun, wind, or rain without obstructing the exquisite beachfront views. Families come, too, because kids have a safe haven and a special menu. At night, soft lighting creates a romantic effect, but service is lacking at times. Often staffers are slow, not overly friendly, and lack English skills. Weddings and other private events are popular, and the average diner can be ignored when there's something big going on.

Walk here along the beach; the dirt road is rutted and difficult to navigate.

Bávaro, 23000, Dominican Republic
809-552--6110
Known For
  • Starters like mahi carpaccio
  • Entrées like whole snapper, langoustines, and lobsters
  • A great alternative to the AI resort options
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Reservations preferable

La Palapa by Eden Roc

$$$

If you crave waterfront dining, this palapa-roof restaurant is a great option, exuding Caribbean charisma with an Italian accent. The aromas promise exceptional seafood specialties, even hard finds like baby octopus, which is deftly prepared. The quality of the ingredients is immediately apparent from the authentic Parmigiano-Reggiano that can be found in many dishes and the wines by the glass from the international list. There are some Dominican specialities, including mofongo. The manager and waiters are professionals, yet the atmosphere remains as casual as the pareos on the beachgoers who drop in for lunch.

Pearl Beach Club

$$$
This trendy, open-air restaurant may be the epitome of beach bars. Mediterranean-Caribbean fusion cuisine as well as upscale burgers and tropical cocktails with fresh ingredients make this a destination worth paying for. And when you're sated, there are Balinese sunbeds surrounding an infinity pool, Jacuzzis, and even basic hammocks. Kayaks and stand-up paddleboards are available on the beach if you want some activity after your siesta. There are daytime parties with DJs from Wednesday to Sunday.