The following are the Top 5 Food Spots to visit while in Santo Domingo, ranging from fine dining restaurants to the best midnight snacks and where to find them:
1. Clementine. Recently opened and with an inviting décor, Clementine is a French pastry shop with Caribbean and Latin American touches. The orange awnings and eclectic wall decorations, with their comfortable seating both inside and out, invite you to discover the grand variety they have to offer. Start the day with a Hot Mocha, a rich, luscious coffee swirled with melted chocolate and topped with whipped cream or maybe have a lighter version and try their Capuccino, just as delightful. Although Clementine is known for its perfectly flavorful pastries and desserts, what bring the crowds are the breakfasts. You can have anything from Venezuelan Arepas (crispy yellow corn tortillas with all the fixings, including shredded pork and avocado), Continental (light, airy croissants with homemade preserves), or my favorite, The Criollo Breakfast (mashed green plantains, fried cheese and salami and eggs). The Criollo is a typical morning staple in Dominican Republic.
2. Adrian’s Tropical. If you’re looking for traditional food, look no further. Adrian’s Tropical is known throughout the island as to have the best “Mofongo”, mashed plantains with pork rinds and the best accompaniments to it from thick stews to the best cuts of meats. My favorite location is the one in the Malecon, where you can eat and hear the waves as you watch the sunset.
3. Picalo. Endless flavors seem to be the search during drunken, sweaty nights after dancing and drinking Presidente (Dominican Beer). Best midnight snack is called a “Chimi”, a juicy sandwich made up of a seasoned ground meat patty, cooked cabbage and carrots in a special sauce, raw red onions and tomato; add bacon and cheese if your heart can handled it. You will be given this jewel typically in a plastic bag, as to catch the juices the moment you bite into it.
4. Pelicano. What’s better than food? Eating food on the beach, on a lounge chair and drinking a cold, fruity drink. At Pelicano, you can have that and more. Lounge chairs and beds that float in the warm, Caribbean waters while you eat sweet, fresh lobster; try the paella, share it and soak in the sun the Dominican Republic has to offer you.
5. La Cuchara de Madera. Sweet lovers beware! You are about to enter the land of a thousand sweets and you might not make it back alive! La Cuchara de Madera, literal translation of The Wooden Spoon, has made a name for itself throughout the last years. They have everything from Passion Fruit Mousses to Chocolate Avalanches, with coffee drinks in the mix also. Try their “Piramide a la Mode”, trust me on it.
Clementine: Roberto Pastoriza No 115, Esq. Alberto Larancuent, Plaza Penuel, Naco
Adrian’s Tropical: Malecon, Santo Domingo
Picalo: Lope de Vega # 32, frente a la Plaza Intercaribe, Piantini
La Cuchara de Madera: Jose Amado Soler Esquina Federico Geraldino, y Freddy Prestol Castillo 86
La Bricola is excellent Italian in a romantic elegant outdoor courtyard setting in the Zona Colonial. Not cheap. I had grilled lobsters (or were they some smaller species?).
If you want casual and decent Dominican food, but with a zillion peso view and outdoor dining, go to Adrian Tropical right on the Malecon (on water). Food is ok depending on what you order can be pretty good. Kipes (sp?) were good appetizer. Ceviche was not bad.