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Wilfrid

Santo Domingo restaurants

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In my experience, the best all-round restaurant in Santo Domingo is an old-timer called Vesuvio on the Malecon.  An ambitious French restaurant recently opened in the Zona Colonial, but I haven't gotten to it yet (and I've lost the name).   El Meson de la Cava had disappointing cuisine, despite the drama of the underground setting.  La Bricciola and Fonda de la Ataranza were similarly pretty but gastronomically unremarkable.

Can anyone suggest places I should try (and if anyone has suggestions for any restaurants at all in Sosua or La Vega, please don't hold back)?

If anyone is planning a first-time trip to Santo Domingo, please let me know here, and I will happily give recommendations at both ends of the price range.

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Tempted to start a new thread called 'Amazed at Unresponsiveness of e-Gulletarians', but I suspect the reason this Caribbean forum is not moving yet is that it's probably a minority of members who have eaten in the region enough to want to discuss it, and then the experience of that minority is scattered over various different islands and cuisines.  

Anyway, if anyone has got Dominican Republic suggestions up their sleeve, I will be checking in once more before I leave for Santo Domingo.  I will comment on my experiences when I get back.  And if that fails, I shall just go back to posting on A. Balic's bio thread.

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We have a Dominican Republic-based member at last, so maybe we can breathe some life into this old thread. My enduring favorite in Santo Domingo remains Vesuvio, but I quite liked La Reina d'Espanya last January: elegant dining room, professional service (rare in the DR), and acceptable, not brilliant, food.

I recently read, however, that Caribbean Blue is by far the best restaurant in the city. I don't suppose anyone has been there? It's in the Zona Colonial - I've walked past it but had no reason to go in.

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(oops - i dont know what I hit before but I think I managed to erase 2 pages on info on santo domingo restaurants)

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Here I go again (non-techno)

Restaurants in Santo Domingo -

Yes, Vesuvio is a classic and the service is excellent but one of my pet peeves is overpaying for pasta, i wont do it there, or at la Briciolla which is also pretty good. The owners are so sweet however that I do find myself there (Vesuvio) every so often. I do love the colonial zone, its got such potencial to someday become the caribbean equivalent of the french quarter in NOrleans. There is so much going on all the time - food, art, music, bars. My new favorite opened a few months ago (garlic haters skip ahead) its called La Masia and its about 3 blocks away from La Briciolla - its basque spanish food, sort of, and makes the best black rice with squid I have had in a while, plus some nights there is live entertainment (tango night and bohemian night are my favorites). But the colonial zone also has brazilian fare, dominican fare (meson de bari, palmito gourmet), british (cafe cocos), cheaper italian (pasatiempos), expensive italian (cafe bellini - although i have heard the owner is being looked for by interpol so beware!), french, spanish (meson de quintana, meson del jamon, la masia), beef (mi casona)... and many more, even falafels at S Bar. Caribbean Blue was also a favorite of mine but it has closed, and the entire street has been taken over by bars - very happening younger scene. More soon on life outside the zone...

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One of my great regrets is not having made the trip across the Mona Strait to La Republica Dominicana when I lived in San Juan for two years. The closest I got was a dive trip to Desecheo. I've heard wonderful things from so many people who have been there about the dilapidated beauty of Santo Domingo and of the countryside and resorts.

Slightly off-topic, but in my limited experience and from conversations I've had, the basic cuisine is very similar - to the point of being nearly identical to the basics of Puerto Rican comida criolla. Is this true? Are there Dominican delights to be had that one couldn't get elsewhere in the Caribbean or particularly in Puerto Rico?

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The basic ingredients between Puerto Rican cuisine and dominican are similar but the DR I believe was more influenced by the african slave cuisine mixed with the indigenous.. Casabe, for example, is a "flat bread" with a longe shelf life than a twinky... delicious toasted with EVOO and a bit of salt. The "pot a feus" (stewy soups) in all the caribbean are delicious for compare and contrast purposes, I love the Dominican "sancocho" on a rainy day... its supossed to have 8 different types of meat including manati... but thank goodness these days is only made with pork, beef, chicken and sometimes goat along with tons of tubers. A soup that eats like a meal.

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Well, so much for Caribbean Blue! I like Meson del Jamon (I thought it was Museo del Jamon, but I am not absolutely sure) - but like so many Santo Domingo restaurants, the servers (while perfectly nice) have little idea what they're doing. I'd say the same of La Bahia, the fish restaurant on the old part of the Malecon - nicely refurbished, with good, simply grilled fish, but the staff are a bit puzzled by the whole deal. I asked one of the captains at Vesuvio about training waitstaff in the DR, and he said there were some schools. At Vesuvio, it looks like the waiters train on the job, and the skills get handed down generation to generation.

Damian - in my experience DR and PR food are indeed similar, but some dishes are made with variations. For example, I understand PR sancocho includes potatoes, while DR never does.

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Museo del Jamon - quite right.. after having to write everything again typos are bound to be all over the place. I havent been to La Bahia since the 80s, had almost forgotten about it. They did used to make delicious crabs with coconut sauce (recipe from the cocolos in Samana - freed slaves from the US south who settled a colony after their emmancipation, yet another of the many influences in our pepperpot of flavors)

The city itself (non-colonial zone) is brimming with great new restaurants. Asian Nouvelle cuisine influenced (Jasmine, Taboo Bamboo, Pepperoni), Italian (Fellini, Spaguettisimo, Donatello), Spanish (Donosti, Pata Negra, Sancho Tapas), French (Le Lautrec, La Poellee), International but very good as well (Papparazo, Seasons).

If anyone is planning a trip and wants to plan the trip culinarily check out the website for the newspaper El Caribe, which has a weekly magazine Bureo with a great list of restaurants and a listing of activities happening around the city that week

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I have heard good things about Lautrec. Sadly, I don't think I'll be coming down for a few months, but there are a number of restaurants here I've never checked out - thanks.

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Beware when you come on down... albeit a cassoulet in Le Lautrec is always nice on a rainy day I can say from first experience that hurricanes suck and the season this year (if the long winter in the states is any indication - cant believe its snowing a foot in NYC right now!!- is bound to be rough!)

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As this is my first post I thought I'd better introduce myself, Aunt Ilana from www.dominicancooking.com

I am based in Santo Domingo and was delighted to be introduced to this site by Suvir Saran who recently visited ours. I have visited many other parts of the world and lived in some of them and so hope to participate in many of the regional forums, especially the Mediterranean, Middle East, Central and South America. It took me a couple of visits to find the Caribbean section, tucked under the US when the more logical place for me would be with C and S America.

Best restaurants in SD? Meson de Bari for Dominican cuisine and Cocos for international are my favourites. La Lasagna on Gustavo Mejía Ricart is amazing. The yuca and conch empanadas at M de Bari and their conch stew is heavenly. The atmosphere is second to none. There are many others.

Aunt Ilana

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I'm reviving this thread to add a few thoughts.

My family has lived in the D.R. for over 30 years ago, and I've been spending summers there all my life. I can never wait to get off the plane, and have a cold presidente and tostones. Don't pass up the chance to eat plenty of fresh fruits like mango, and pineapple.

I haven't tried any of the new trendy restaurants, although I plan to when I go in a few weeks.

Vesuvio's is a classic, but I've found the service lacking in the last few years. Still, the food is consistent, if overpriced.

My hands-down favourite is Coco's, in the colonial district. I would classify Coco's as British cuisine with a Caribbean twist, a description that doesn't give it justice. The restaurant itself is charming, comfortable, and unique. It's a nice place to stop for lunch after sightseeing.

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Been a while since anyone posted here. A friend is going to Santo Domingo in two weeks and just wondering if there are any new recommendations or the places previously mentioned are still around.

Any thoughts?

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