If you look up the meaning of the Spanish word "conuco", you'll find that it refers to a piece of land cultivated by a poor man, or by the Tainos, the early residents of the Dominican Republic. Well, the restaurant El Conuco is a little piece of that kind of land in the heart of the bustling city of Santo Domingo. There are huge clusters of banana at the entrance, and the unusual decor is sure to raise a smile. Within you can find both tourists eager to try the very essence of the Dominican Republic, and locals who want to redisover their roots. The cuisine is the Conuco Creole style, the traditional food of the Dominican people. This restaurant has won awards at the Dominican Gastronomic Festival for dishes like comai cod (cod fillet in a creamy sauce), chicken merengue (diced chicken breast with mushroom sauce) and conuco rice (rice with vegetables and pork rinds). And that chicken with sauce ... it makes my mouth water just thinking about it! But the best thing about this restaurant isn't the food - it's the entertainment. You can see traditional music and dance, bachata, merengue, etc ... live music, in the traditional costumes. Delicious healthy food, full of flavour, and a great experience!
While we were visiting the colonial city we decided to take a break and sit down for a drink so we thought about going to one of the typical terraces in Columbus Park but the guide ve accompanied us offered to take us to a more native place, so we ended up in Colmado Omar, which is almost opposite the Palace of Borgellá. The colmados are small shops with a bar area where you can enjoy a drink. Prices are local, so for tourists it is very cheap. The basement of the building where was this colmado was located was shared between this colmado and a small money exchange shop where we tried to change 200 euros to dollars. The exchange rate was not great, about 10 cents below the official rate, what a ripoff!! As we were given a pile of bills, we weren't given a receipt and one of the 50 dollar bills was ripped and to top it off it turned out to be fake! In the whole week we couldn't pay for anything with it as everyone rejected it. So, never go to one of these exchange stores and always check the bills, one by one.
The terrace of the legendary Hard Rock Cafe is a great place to take a break in the center of the colonial city, as it is located on one side of Columbus Park, opposite the Monument to Christopher Columbus, with spectacular views of the First Cathedra. The dining area is very large, has two stories, and there are also sometimes shows and concerts.
I passed by that corner not even thinking of eating when my feet kept walking but my eyes couldn´t stop looking at the colors and textures that made my mouth water. When I reacted I could stop by meet before my neck started to turn. I couldn´t help but ask for a pastry and a coffee to try what tasted like how it looked.
Here, you´ll eat well but it is a bit expensive. The Plaza de España is for tourists only as you can only pay in euros or dollars. The food is Spanish-style and not bad. Pan tumaca with real ham (which is hard to get here). Sometimes, they bring flamenco dancers to liven up the day. It is, of course, the most beautiful place in the Colonial District.
If you´re missing Spanish food or want to have a good time with good music, this is a place to consider. The price is average and the croquettes are just like your grandmother´s. Don´t order the sepia expecting a large order of large cuttlefish because it´s actually a small portion of small cuttlefish .... But the ingredients are exceptional in all of the dishes.
You may wonder what is mofongo? Imagine fried ground plantain with some garlic for flavor. What if we add a few shrimp or octopus to the mix? Voilà, we have mofongo. A traditional Dominican dish (in Puerto Rico too). And there isn't only mofongo, there are many dishes to choose from burgers, sandwiches and pastas, to Dominican food. The place is very well located, near the hotel area and the financial center. The food is exquisite, and the treatment is very friendly. The cocktails are also highly recommended, don't leave without trying a Chinese margarita (passion fruit).
Within the Renaissance Jaragua Hotel & Casino I found a piece of heaven, a dessert called Trilogy of chocolate. Imagine three types of chocolate, one white and two dark, covered by a thin layer of semi-sweet chocolate. I know you are thinking 'too much chocolate', but it is not. There's a delicate balance that makes it not too sweet, as every type of chocolate is different, and everything is mixed on the palate. One of the best desserts I've ever eaten, but hurry because the hotel closes on 28, April this year for a remodel.
Given how expensive it is in Santo Domingo, I found that this restaurant was more or less cheap. Piantini is situated in one of the luxurious residential neighborhoods of the capital. The traffic at rush hour in the Gustavo Mejia Ricart is hell, but they have private parking. The food is good. I tried a SALAD with avocado and chicken which was not bad. The service was good and attentive. And the decor was modern, yet simple. It is a good choice for a snack or dinner because I found the menu a bit short of things to offer clients.
The Restaurant Don Papo is an ideal, quiet and cozy place to have a good time to have a good time as a family. They have the best Creole and international dishes. It has a rich and varied menu every day.