The Top 11 Restaurants in Santo Domingo

As the most populated and the most cosmopolitan city in the Caribbean, Santo Domingo’s restaurant scene is rich in both local and international cuisines. You’ll find dining options are as numerous and stretch as wide as the city’s multiple neighborhoods. Whether you’re curious to sample Dominican dishes, or you’re craving falafel and shawarmas or vegan meals, there’s a restaurant, food truck, or comedor to suit all tastes.

The city’s best dining spots can be found in three main areas: the Colonial City, the seafront Malecon, and Gazcue neighborhood, and the downtown Piantini and Naco areas. Eating your way around these areas is a great way to explore the city's diverse facets, from Dominican-themed restaurants to seafood on a terrace overlooking the Caribbean, and dining in a cave.

Here are the best 12 restaurants to try while in Santo Domingo.

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Best for Dominican Food: Villar Hermanos

Villar Hermanos
Courtesy of Villar Hermanos
Av. Independencia 312, Santo Domingo 10205, Dominican Republic
Phone +1 809-682-1433

Located in Gazcue, near the Malecon and the Colonial Zone, Villar Hermanos is a bustling, locally-owned Dominican cafeteria restaurant and a staple in Santo Domingo. There are daily fresh lunch options, from rice and beans to chicken or beef stews, fish, yucca, mangu, chicharron, and other Dominican specialties. Enjoy your meal on-site in the spacious, air-conditioned dining area. At the back of the lunch counter, you’ll find a bakery section with sandwiches and empanadas, cakes, and fresh bread. Gourmet coffee and a full cocktail menu are also available.

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Best for Live Merengue: Jalao


Courtesy of Jalao

C. El Conde 101, Santo Domingo 10210, Dominican Republic
Phone +1 809-792-1262

If you love eating to the sound of merengue, bachata, and other Latin sounds, head directly to Jalao. This Dominican-themed restaurant, located on Calle El Conde in the center of the Colonial Zone, serves local dishes with a modern twist and boasts an extensive cocktail menu. Head there for lunch or dinner before or after you’ve explored the area’s museums, parks, and plazas. Live bands perform here nearly daily, playing late into the night on the weekends as diners are invited to join the fun on the dance floor.

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Best for Seafood: El Gallego

El Gallego

Courtesy of El Gallego

C. César Nicolás Penson 76, Santo Domingo 10205, Dominican Republic
Phone +1 809-689-4027

Off the beaten track in the Gazcue neighborhood yet minutes from the hotels on the Malecon, El Gallego lies tucked inside a former home turned authentic Spanish-Galician restaurant. Seating is set on a poolside terrace or indoors if you prefer. The menu is an exquisite selection of Spanish seafood favorites, but there are also meat options. Come here for the ceviche, pulpo a la gallega, or octopus, tapas, the city’s best seafood paella, and the extensive imported wine list.

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Best for Romantic Setting: El Meson de la Cava

El Meson de La Cava

Courtesy of El Meson de La Cava

Av. Mirador Sur 1, Santo Domingo 00000, Dominican Republic
Phone +1 809-533-2818

The most romantic restaurant in Santo Domingo for its unique setting, El Meson de la Cava takes you underground to dine in an ancient Taino cave turned restaurant. Beautifully set with white tablecloth covered tables and soft lighting, the international menu is equally satisfying, from fresh salmon to the filet mignon steaks. It’s a perfect pick for special occasions or a romantic night out.

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Best for Dominican Pastries and Sweets: Dulceria Maria La Turca

dbdb, F494+CH4, Santo Domingo 10208, Dominican Republic
Phone +1 809-686-5248

A stop at a dulceria or a typical pastry shop and restaurant is an integral part of the food experience in Santo Domingo. The city boasts numerous options, but the most locally known and authentic is Dulceria Maria La Turca. With two locations in the Colonial City, you’ll get to sample Dominicans’ favorite sweets and desserts, many of which are coconut-based. There are often hot salty snacks on sale, as well.

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Best for International Fine Dining: Nipau


Courtesy of Nipau

C. Max Henriquez Ureña 20, Santo Domingo 10121, Dominican Republic
Phone +1 809-540-3558

Locked in downtown Santo Domingo, in the upscale Piantini sector, owned and operated by a power chef couple, Nipau is one of the most high quality, consistent, and value-packed restaurants in the capital. In a cozy set of small dining areas, the menu will satisfy the pickiest eater: shrimp risotto, wood-fired pizza, lemongrass salmon with lentils, spinach dips, creamy mushroom penne, and rib-eye steaks. The cocktails are also popular, including mojitos, gins, and an extensive wine list. 

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Best for Middle Eastern Cuisine: Falafel Zona Colonial

Falafel Zona Colonial

 Courtesy of Falafel Zona Colonial

C. Padre Billini 352, Santo Domingo 10210, Dominican Republic
Phone +1 809-688-9714

Specializing in Lebanese and Mediterranean influenced dishes, made using the family’s grandmother recipes—shawarmas, falafel pita sandwiches or salads, flatbreads, mushroom hummus, and delicious chicken skewers—Falafel has lasted in the Colonial Zone since 1999. The restaurant’s highlight, aside from its consistent menu, is its multilevel Spanish courtyard setting.

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Best for Family Dining: Adrian Tropical

Adrian Tropical

Courtesy of Adrian Tropical 

Al lado del Club de Profesores UASD, Av. George Washington, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Phone +1 809-565-9236

Conveniently located on Santo Domingo’s historic Malecon, facing numerous brand hotels, Adrian Tropical is as popular for its “criollo” Dominican soul food as it is for its outdoor clifftop terrace with views of the Caribbean Sea. Order one of its frozen “tropicolada” fruit smoothies, made daily from fresh fruits. Sample a range of Dominican favorites, including chicharron, rice, and beans, fried chicken, seafood in a creole sauce, or a variety of grilled steaks. While service can be a bit slow, it’s an excellent spot for the family—there’s ample seating indoors as well, and the staff will play merengue for special celebrations.

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Best for Date Night: Buche Perico

Buche Perico

 Courtesy of Buche Perico

C. El Conde 53, Santo Domingo 10210, Dominican Republic
Phone +1 809-475-6451

Located on the most scenic cobblestoned block in the Colonial Zone, Buche Perico specializes in “new” Dominican cuisine. Its large, green-room-like leafy courtyard is one of the most beautiful in Santo Domingo, and you’ll feel cool under the giant, rotating yet silent high ceiling fans. Sample the coconut ceviche, Dominican sancocho, or mashed yucca with lobster. There is usually a live jazz performance on the terrace in the evening.

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Best for Food Truck Dining: El Patio Culinario

El Patio Culinario

Courtesy of El Patio Culinario 

C. Isabel La Católica &, Santo Domingo 10210, Dominican Republic
Phone +1 829-645-6666

This food truck “patio” in the Colonial City is a fun option for a night out with your group of friends or as a fun couple night’s out. A series of food trucks are permanently stationed in the yard of this outdoor restaurant, serving grilled burgers, Mexican fare, or seafood. There’s always a happy hour deal taking place throughout the week, and the atmosphere livens up with an in-house DJ or karaoke nights. It’s a great spot to enjoy food trucks in a safe atmosphere.

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Best for Tapas: Pura Tasca

Pura Tasca

Courtesy of Pura Tasca

C. Emiliano Tejera 51, Santo Domingo 10212, Dominican Republic
Phone +1 809-333-8494

One of the most value-packed restaurants overlooks Plaza España, along a row of bars and restaurants that were once taverns in the colonial days. The best reason to dine at Pura Tasca is its list of more than a dozen sangrias in multiple local fruit flavors. Try the passion fruit or the classic red sangria and pair them with tasty tapas—patatas bravas, portobello sliders, smoked tuna, and sausage croquettes, as well as cheese platters.

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The Top 11 Restaurants in Santo Domingo