Food is a big deal in the Dominican Republic with Spanish, African and Taino – indigenous people of the Caribbean – flavours coming together to make up traditional Dominican dishes. There are plenty of fantastic restaurants to enjoy here, some of which are in the local hotels.
La Bandera is the most commonly eaten meal in the Dominican Republic and consists of white rice, stewed beans and is usually accompanied by a stewed or roasted meat dish. You'll also find plenty of plantain with Mangu a native staple, made from boiled and mashed green plantains topped with sauteed red onions. Seafood fans will be in their element and you'll find plenty of fresh catches grilling along the beach fronts as well as ceviche - a raw fish cured in citrus fruits.
If you like a good old English fry up, you'll love Dominican Republic breakfasts. Just ask for Los Tres Golpes, which consists of fried eggs, fried salami and fried cheese. The Dominican Republic is also one of the best places to drink coffee, as the conditions are ideal for growing it. Drink it Dominican style — strong, black with lots of sugar.
This is a romantic venue located at the Puntacana Resort & Club that is part owned by Dominican-born designer Oscar de la Renta. Not only does it offer a fantastic culinary experience, the architecture is sublime and has an al fresco area with a palm-thatched roof.
The restaurant sits on stilts on the Caribbean Sea with glass floors and views to Punta Cana marina. Indulge in Mediterranean and Caribbean flavoured dishes such as black bean soup, fried plantain, sliced avocados and goat stew, or try the Puntacana ceviche.
Located at the Natura Cabana boutique hotel and Spa in Cabarete, this is a gourmet dining experience. It's another romantic venue with a palm-thatched roof and only a few steps from the fine white sands of the stunning beach.
The la carte menu features some fantastic fish and steak dishes that are elegantly served, such as tuna steak topped with caramelised onions, walnuts and raisins. While desserts look equally smart served on black slate plates.
Located in the fantastic coastal area of La Romana is Italian gourmet restaurant Punto Italia. This trattoria-style venue is casual yet smart, offering an extensive a la carte menu, which includes mozzarella lasagne, caprese salad, wood-burning pizzas, tiramisu and a rich choice of cheese and salami.
Punto Italia also boasts a great outdoor space and its own deli. You might hear whispers about the celebrities that like to frequent this authentic restaurant.
This is Bavaro's standout beach restaurant. Walk down a small wooden walkway, cross a fishpond and you've arrived at the remarkable Jellyfish. This two–storey tropical building is dominated by a palm-thatched roof, while stone and wood make up the other elements of this restaurant and lounge bar, giving the feel of a beach club.
The food is sublime – try their famed lobster dish or the creamy jellyfish soup, all locally caught on the day. Or simply enjoy a delicious cocktail while taking in the views over the shimmering Caribbean Sea.
Located in Bavaro, this hotel restaurant won Trip Advisor's Travellers' Choice Award in 2013. While the chef Martin Berasategui is one of the most important chefs in the world with seven Michelin stars to his name. The interior is warmly decorated with striking red and black chandeliers.
Expect a sublime culinary experience where the food is Spanish gourmet and you can pick from the a la carte menu or try the tasting menu. It's the ideal venue for a special occasion such as a wedding proposal.