From upscale eateries that serve an elevated take on traditional favourites to local restaurants that specialize in homes-style comfort food, the best restaurants in the Dominican Republic welcome visitors to immerse themselves in Caribbean culture.
Adventure is around every corner in the Dominican Republic and the same can be said about the country’s restaurants. With restaurants set on top of the water and housed inside converted historic buildings, the best restaurants in the Dominican Republic invite guests to dive right into the culture of the island.
There are many exciting eateries to choose from and this guide is designed to help get more familiar with restaurants in the Dominican Republic so you know the best places to eat on your trip.
Dominican Republic Food: Your Guide to Dominican Republic Cuisine
- La Yola Restaurant
- El Mesón de la Cava
- La Palapa by Eden Roc
- Restaurante Don Pepe
- Mesón d'Bari
- Le Papillon
- Otra Cosa Restaurant
- Los Tres Cocos
- Le Tre Caravelle
- Mares Restaurant & Pool Lounge
From street fare to home-style dishes, the Dominican Republic’s cuisine is as vibrant, eclectic and welcoming as its locals.
Cuisine in the Dominican Republic is inspired by a variety of Caribbean flavours that are rooted in its rich history that merges New and Old World traditions.
With lunch being the main meal of the day in the Dominican Republic, you’ll most commonly find hearty dishes like bandera dominicana or Dominican Flag being served. This traditional dish includes a large serving of rice and beans with chicken or other meat as well as a side salad and tostones, which are crispy, fried and flattened plantains.
Because the Dominican Republic is one of the largest countries in the Caribbean, its food also differs from region to region. In the Samaná Peninsula, locals will cook their seafood with coconut which is an Afro-American influence and in the northwest, goat meat is a staple in many meals.
For coastal beach towns fresh fish is most common and many restaurants will serve pescado frito, or whole fried fish with tostones, avocado and yaniqueque, which is a thin, fried crispy round johnnycake- a staple unique to the Dominican Republic.
Wherever your activities take you on your trip, some of the best restaurants in the Dominican Republic are sure to serve a variation of these traditional Dominican dishes.
10 Best Restaurants in the Dominican Republic
Some of the best restaurants in the Dominican Republic include
#1. La Yola Restaurant
Situated on stilts above the water to mimic the experience of being on a “yola” or small fishing boat, La Yola Restaurant offers diners a chance to have an elegant meal with an unmatched ocean view. Complete with a thatched roof and a glass-bottom floor, this restaurant designed by Oscar de la Renta emits a stylish atmosphere unique to the Dominican Republic.
This open-air restaurant in the Puntacana Resort & Club boasts an elevated mediterranean and Caribbean-inspired menu with dishes such as fresh-caught red snapper, mahi-mahi, and grouper with organically grown vegetables.
Neighbourhood: Punta Cana
Type: A unique oceanside dining experience that merges traditional Dominican culture with a modern and stylish flare in both its atmosphere and cuisine.
Best for: Luxury travellers looking for fresh seafood and an elevated dining experience
#2. El Mesón de la Cava
Tucked away in a natural, limestone cave that was carved out by waves, El Mesón de la Cava is one of the most well-renowned restaurants in the Dominican Republic.
When you enter El Mesón de la Cava you are suddenly transported away from the hustle and bustle of the city outside and into a tranquil secluded dining experience within the beautiful, limestone cavern. The restaurant also features an idyllic outdoor terrace that features lush vegetation, which is ideal for group gatherings.
The food El Mesón de la Cava includes traditional Caribbean flavours and has an extensive menu that features barbecued meats and fresh seafood.
Neighbourhood: Santo Domingo
Type: Upscale immersive dining experience that has unmatched atmosphere and an extensive menu of Dominican dishes
Best for: Adventurous travellers who enjoy experiencing the excitement of a uniquely immersive dining experience.
#3. La Palapa by Eden Roc
For a memorable dining experience that includes a breathtaking view of the Caribbean Sea, La Palapa by Eden Roc is a chance for visitors to enjoy fresh food while also getting to enjoy some of the best views in the Dominican Republic.
La Palapa boasts some of the freshest seafood in the Dominican Republic with its popular dishes of sushi and ceviche.
Bringing together Mediterranean and Caribbean cuisine in a sophisticated fusion, La Palapa is an elegant dining experience that will leave guests with memories of delicious meals and chic ambiance.
Neighbourhood: Punta Cana
Type: A luxurious beachside restaurant with views of the Caribbean Sea that serves Mediterranean and Caribbean cuisine fusion.
Best for: Luxury travellers who want a relaxing and elegant dining experience that includes a waterfront view on the beach.
#4. Restaurante Don Pepe
As one of the most traditional restaurants in the Dominican Republic, Restaurante Don Pepe has been a local staple for three decades. This restaurant has stood the test of time by specializing in authentic Spanish dishes but also daring to branch-out with new international dishes.
Restaurante Don Pepe is known for its grilled beef, seafood and for its more than 500 types of Spanish red wines.
Neighbourhood: Santo Domingo
Type: Time-honoured restaurant specializing in authentic-Spanish dishes
Best for: History buffs looking for a chance to experience local cuisine at one of the best restaurants in the Dominican Republic
#5. Mesón d'Bari
Located in a converted two-story building in the Ciudad Colonial section of Santo Domingo, Mesón d'Bari is a historic restaurant serving local fare. Featuring welcoming and familiar brick archways and art for sale by local Dominican Republic artists, this restaurant is a favourite among the local community as well as visitors.
On the menu, which is printed in three languages, you’ll find dishes like cangrejo guisado which is fresh crab stewed in brown sauce, and filete a la criolla, a Creole-style filet of beef with onions, tomatoes and sweet peppers.
Neighbourhood: Ciudad Colonial Santo Domingo
Type: A home-style, family-friendly restaurant that welcome locals and visitors alike with traditional Caribbean cuisine.
Best for: Families with children looking to have a memorable and wholesome experience on their trip to the Dominican Republic.
#6. Le Papillon
With rustic, nautical design, Le Papillon offers fine dining in a relaxed, tropical atmosphere. This small eatery packs a big punch with both its atmosphere and its cuisine.
Large aquariums, driftwood hangings, and both historic and eccentric decorations line the small, airy restaurant.
With recipes created by German chef Thomas Ackermann, the food at Le Papillon caters to all tastes with an extensive menu of international dishes.
Neighbourhood: Puerto Plata
Type: A small but eccentric eatery with a variety of international dishes
Best for: Families with children who want to enjoy the playful and exciting atmosphere while getting the chance to try new foods.
#7. Otra Cosa Restaurant
Located in a secluded spot overlooking the beach, Otra Cosa Restaurant offers a romantic atmosphere with warm and attentive service.
This French-Caribbean restaurant has an extensive menu that includes dishes such as salmon tartar with fresh basil and pink peppercorn and foie gras (duck liver) served with madeira jelly and warm toast.
Otra Cosa is an upscale and intimate dining experience that promises a romantic evening for its guests.
Neighbourhood: Cabarete, Puerto Plata
Type: French-Caribbean restaurant serving upscale menu in a intimate dining setting
Best for: Couples looking for a chance to enjoy a meal in a romantic spot with plenty of privacy and elegant meals.
#8. Los Tres Cocos
A favourite among locals and visitors alike, Los Tres Cocos welcomes guests with a warm and welcoming atmosphere. With an inviting atmosphere, this restaurant also gives guests the chance to try more daring dishes such as liver dumpling soup and duck breast in orange sauce.
Tucked away in a tropical setting, this restaurant serves gourmet meals that include the traditional flavours of Dominican Republic.
Neighbourhood: Cofresi, Puerto Plata
Type: A gourmet restaurant without the frills that serves authentic Dominican Republic cuisine
Best for: Elevated local cuisine with a welcoming atmosphere that encourages guests to try new foods
#9. Le Tre Caravelle
Inspired by the discovery of Hispaniola, Le Tre Caravelle is decorated and designed based on the three ships that were used for Christopher Columbus’ journey to the New World.
This restaurant is famous for its Italian-style pasta, imported meats and fish from the region which are all prepared on the grill.
With a sunset view over the Atlantic Ocean every evening, Le Tre Caravelle is ideal for a memorable dining experience that encompasses the history of the Dominican Republic.
Neighbourhood: Las Terrenas, Samaná Peninsula
Type: An oceanfront restaurant that is inspired by the history of the Dominican Republic
Best for: History buffs and luxury travellers who want an upscale cultural experience in an intimate dining setting
#10. Mares Restaurant & Pool Lounge
Using local ingredients to create traditional Dominican dishes, chef Rafael R. Vasquez-Heinsen welcomes guests at Mares Restaurant & Pool Lounge to relax and enjoy their dining experience.
With high-quality service, pleasant atmosphere, and gourmet food, this restaurant is a must-visit for visitors who want to experience the fresh Dominican cuisine.
Neighbourhood: Puerto Plata
Type: An intimate restaurant serving elevated local cuisine in a welcoming environment
Best for: Luxury travellers who want a gourmet dining experience with high-quality service.