When you are in Dominican Republic why not try eating in a little locally owned and operated place. These places usually are not all lush and beautiful. A cafeteria can be found on almost every street and they are very easy to pass by, as most are very non-discrete. They are usually very basic and cozy. Most have a small box type-viewing window with all the foods they have made for the days meal behind. If you do not know what the food is named, no big deal, just point at what you would like and they will heap it onto your place.
Lunch normally consists of beans, rice, meat and a salad called La Bandera Dominicana/ The Dominican Flag, which it the everyday Dominican lunch. The typical Dominican cannot survive without this daily meal (Recipe and description of La Bandera). Sancocho (sancocho recipe), which is the dish of the country, is also a good thing to try in these Cafeterias. You should try some of these local cafeteria-style eateries. The food is good, the price is right, and the locals are plenty.
There are also some places that open in the evening to sell some good sandwiches, fritas (fried meats), and other various types of foods. These places are great places to stop for an evening snack. Many of these places are set up in peoples front rooms of their homes, in front of a Colmado, or on a street corner. You can see a barbeque grill set up, sometimes under an umbrella. Best of all you usually can smell the food cooking on the grill as you approach.
Try eating in a Colmado/ local corner store especially if you are on a strict budget. Get a piece of bread called pan de auga (a crusty roll type bread, very tasty even just eaten alone or with some butter), a slice of ham and some cheese and make your own sandwich. Some Colmados even have a little grill where they can make you a hot sandwich.
How about buying a locally grown avocado/ aguacate and limon and make a sandwich with these. Have a pineapple or strawberry soda. Many places have fresh squeezed juice made by the locals that you can enjoy. Maybe you just want a nice refreshing a bien fria/ ice cold beer (to read about Dominican beer) while sitting it the Colmado or buy it and move to the nearest park or street corner (how does a Dominican enjoy their beer). Relax and enjoy on a hot Dominican afternoon hanging with the locals and take in the surroundings.
Go on...give it a try, remember when in Dominican Republic is cannot hurt to ast like a Dominican. Millions of Dominicans do so it cannot be that bad.
I have listed here a few of my favorite places. There are usually at least 1 or 2 Cafeterias in every street in the Zona Colonial. Remember, many are only open for lunch as Dominicans eat their large meal mid-day.
+click images to enlarge
left - Cooking empinadas on the street
center - eating an avocado sandwich in the Colmado
right - A food truck with sandwich grill and assorted juices
B-B-Q Calle General Cabral
The man brings out his Barbeque grill, some great food and sets up shop. Get grilled meats Dominican Style. The chicken is wonderful and he serves salad and other side dishes as well. You can get a cold drink at the Colmado on the corner. Pull up a chair and sit in the street and enjoy some great dishes while watching the events happening in the street.
Location: Calle Gran Cabral and Isabel la Catolica (just walk north up Isabel la Catolica past Plaza España a few blocks and it is on the right), Zona Colonial in the Santa Barbara sector.
Hours: more or less he is open from Tuesday thru Sunday after 3PM.
Chimmi, Hot Dogs and Pork Sandwiches
This is a little place in a small room. They cook up some pretty good Dominican style Hamburgers, Hot Dogs, Pork Sandwiches and more. It is very clean and they cook the food up fresh when you order. Pass by some evening and get yourself a good burger.
Location: Pina #206, Cuidad Nueva, just a few blocks from the Malecon.
This little unassuming spot is one of the traditional cafeterias and more. They make the traditional Bandera which is beans, rice and meat and their Mangu is very good. The place has tables for dining and is very comfortable. The place and bathrooms are very clean. They also specialize in buffets for parties and weddings. The owners and staff are very friendly and always greet you with a big smile.
Hours: 10:30AM to 9PM
Location: Arzobispo Nouel # 301, 1 block from Calle El Conde, Colonial Zone, Santo Domingo
Barbeque at Rinconcito
Get some fresh barbeque Chicken, Pork and Beef all cooked over a charcoal flame. They serve tasty sandwiches also. They are always there on Sundays for the out door concert by Grupo Bonye.
Get some typical Dominican food everyday that will not hurt the pocketbook. They prepare the midday meal daily with prices starting at $100 pesos. They also have Sancocho, Monfongo, tacos, fresh juices, cold beer and more. Sit inside or walk across the street to sit in the park. They also offer delivery service incase you do not want to leave home or office.
Contact - 809-682-1210
Location - Where Calle Arz. Portez #2 and Isabel la Católica meet in front of Parque Rosado, Zona Colonial, Santo Domingo
A little unassuming place where you can get some typical Dominican dishes and snacks. Willy prepares different selections daily. He is open early for a cup of coffee and empanada, for the mid-day meal and in the early evening for a quick snack. There are a few tables inside or take your treat to the local park and enjoy.
Hours: morning to evening
Location: Calle Isabel la Católica #112 across from Hotel Hodelpa Caribe, Zona Colonial, Santo Domingo