Dining Out In Cabarete

Sea Horse Ranch, Beach Club Restaurant

Beach Club Restaurant in Sea Horse Ranch

Great variety of restaurants between Sosua and Cabarete!

For the combination of qualities that we like in tropical dining, I put The Beach Club restaurant at Sea Horse Ranch first on my list. Despite the inference of the name, it is open to the public.

You will be hard-pressed to find its equal for location and setting—surrounded by woods, smack-dab next to the ocean with a view sweeping out to the horizon, on a limestone bluff overlooking the beach, a wide expanse of forest-lined shore, with the sound of surf breaking on the rocks below.

There is no view of civilization, no sound of civilization; just the ocean and the wind. This is not a huge, bustling restaurant. It is personal. Seats maybe 35, so you do not feel rushed. More importantly, you are not rushed.

And then there is the food: varied, creative, tasty and healthy. The menu has a wide variety of grilled fresh seafood, pasta, and pizzas. It has the classic Argentinean Churrasco steak with chimichurri (no, I don’t know, either) or ginger sauce, $28.50. Filet mignon comes in various styles: with porcine mushrooms, pepper or Gorgonzola sauces, $19.50. There is an array of lighter and lunch food ranging from grilled cheese and tomato to burgers and salads.

Foods of North Africa include Tabbouleh, Falafel platter, $10.50, Hummus, Shish-kabob, $19.50 and Fatoush salad. Top it off with the only Baklava on the North Coast, and you got a hell of meal in a 5-star setting. 12:00 pm – 10:30 pm, 7 days. 809 571-4995, thebeachclub@claro.net.do

On the Main Beach

The most popular seafood restaurant on Cabarete’s main beach is Casita de Papi. The great thing about Cabarete is its informal lifestyle. So, when you eat out, you can dress down, or not change out of what you were dressed in all day, a wet bathing suit and bare feet. So it is with Casita de Papi—no dress code, which is true of all the restaurants, bars, and discotheque on the beach.

Casita de Papi’s signature dish is langoustines at 850 pesos ($20.60) or super-huge shrimp at 800 pesos ($19.50), or both, cooked in a slightly garlic cream sauce with a hint of saffron, served in the paella pan it was cooked in; enough for two, but they serve it for one. These dishes are 10-star delicious out of a possible 5. You do not have to think about ordering anything else. So don’t. You will go home with a happy belly and a smile on your face. “You did the right thing.”
Mondays through Saturdays 11 am to 11 pm. 809 986 3750

Top Ten

Of the ten top-rated restaurants in TripAdvisor’s (currently) 8,204 Caribbean restaurants, 2 are in Cabarete: Gordito’s Fresh Mex and Mojito Moment .

Chichigua is on Kite Beach, named for the kiteboarding that goes on there, and which also dominates the surf scene of Cabarete. The people who kiteboard live an outdoor lifestyle and are usually committed to healthful eating. That is what Chichigua is all about—both.

It is one the beachside of Extreme hotel, with a panoramic view of the beach, the ocean and, most importantly, the kiteboards riding on the Caribbean breezes.

It is breeze-swept and rustic—unpainted wood and a thatched roof. The food is varied and healthy from breakfast to lunch, to snacks, to dinner. It is more like home cooking than like restaurant food. That, in part, is what places it in the top ten of those 8,204 Caribbean restaurants.

Their feature foods are items that have bread made with organic whole wheat, yuca, and quinoa flour, with locally-grown, organic moringa herb (very healthy for ya) mixed in. Among these are pastelitos, which are empanada-like turnovers filled with ricotta and spinach (the house favorite}, pizza ingredients, Chinese vegetables, beef, pork or chicken, 65 pesos ($1.60). Also, a falafel sandwich made with pita bread of the same ingredients, 235 pesos ($5.70). Usually, whole wheat pita can overwhelm the falafel, but not so with the moringa bread. It compliments and uplifts, rather than buries the flavor. People say it is the best falafel since New York.

Daily specials as well 350- 550 pesos ($8.50-$13.35), served with steamed, locally-grown, fresh vegetables, rice or salsa. Moist cupcakes, 50 pesos ($1.20); fresh juices, 75 pesos ($1.80).

Despite its popularity, Gordito’s Fresh Mex is not on the beach where most of the popular ones are. This is along the main road in the shopping plaza of Ocean Dream condominium complex.

First off, it’s five stars *****. No, it is not formal, table service with haute cuisine.

Good restaurants that are not that get short-changed. “Good” of any classification should get recognition. And what Gorditio’s serves is tacos.

By five star, I mean it is what it is supposed to be and more. It tastes good, is filling > > > but not heavy in the stomach. That’s the trick. You are not gonna find a better, fast-serve taco place in the Dominican Republic.

Gordito's Fresh Mex in Cabarete

Wraps at Gordito’s in Cabarete

They use only fresh and homemade ingredients. Nothing is out of a can or a bottle. Zip. They cook their own beans and make three different “heats” of hot sauce. One is screaming-hot, hot sauce. Made with habaneros and sometimes scotch bonnet. Made without vinegar so your food does not taste like vinegar.

They got soft and crispy tacos (I like the crispy for the corn taste), burritos and bowls.

Crispy and soft tacos are 35 to 60 pesos ($.85-$1.45); burritos and bowls are 110 to 150 pesos ($2.65-$3.64).

The bean taco is the least expensive at 35 pesos ($.93). They got long-roasted, shredded pork at 60 pesos ($1.60). And when they got fish tacos, they sell out.

Why go to a Mex joint in the DR, you ask? Because it is good, fast and inexpensive. And people like it. People liking it is the same reason people eat at a pizza joint when visiting the DR. Besides, most of us are not travelers, we are vacationers. And then there are those who live here. We eat what we like.

If you want to know why so many Americans, Canadians, and Europeans live in Cabarete, this is the place to find out. Lots of expats eat here. It is expat central. It is the place to talk. This, and Mojitos.

Mojito’s Bar is on the beach, owned by an Italian couple from Capri. Capri has been a seaside resort since the Roman Republic, 2500 years ago, so they know something about the hospitality business—customer service, quality food, and drink. So do these people.

It is very popular with the ex-pat locals and Dominicans. When other restaurants are almost empty, this place is full. That speaks volumes. Their specialty, as the name implies, is Mojitos. Made when you order it; no pre-made, match-making, so it is not watered down. 120 pesos ($1.90). At happy hour, 2 for 1 at 170 pesos ($4.10). Try the passion fruit mojitos.

They have bruschettas, various paninis (fresh daily bread). Six days, 2:00 pm-3:00 am. Closed Tuesdays. mojitobar-cabarete.com, 809 864 0712. No reservations.

VacaBar, on the beach at Aqualina Kite Resort. Cami, the owner, is a French descent, Barcelona-trained chef. The restaurant sits high on a bluff with cooling breezes all the time. Her specialty is Eggs Benedict—a variety of them (yes, she has other food). With ham, 260 pesos ($6.31); with spinach or bacon, 280 pesos ($6.80); with sea bass, 300 pesos ($7.30); with avocado (you gotta ask for it) 280 pesos. How can you go wrong with all of this with hollandaise? You can’t. Served with two portions (because they are so da*ned good) of home fries with garlic (yummy) and tropical fruit salad. Breakfast all day, lunch, cocktails. Closed Mondays. 809 889 1198

Going Native

Comedor Ambar—it is where the locals eat. The real locals. The Dominicans. By no means fancy, by-all-means, good, if not great, home-made Dominican cooking. All of it is cooked over open wood fires in an unattached shed, typical of real tropical restaurants.

Eating as a local in Cabarete

Typically Dominican kitchen in the countryside

Most all the meats are “guisada” (braised), bones-in and long-cooked to get out all the flavor. Chicken is also either broiled over a wood fire or fried. They even have braised duck occasionally and braised liver. I suspect the duck comes from their own back yard and is sometimes goose. The liver and all beef are from 100%, grass-fed cows. No messing with corn at any time, 40 pesos ($1.00) for about 8 ounces. Any idea what this grass-feed beef would cost in the US, Canada or Europe? Yeah, a lot.

Most meats are 35 and 40 pesos ($.85-$1.00). They have killer-delicious rice (the caldron in the far left in the photo), smokey-flavor beans from the smoke of the wood fire, outstanding smokey-flavor, braised eggplant and other vegetables, 20 pesos ($.50) each.

Located across the street from the Roman Catholic church on a street called the Callejon, which is the first left-hand turn to the west of town. Six days, 11:30 am till the food runs out at night. Sundays, 11:30 am till the food runs out in the afternoon. No reservations. No phone. No website. Just show up.

Relax and feel good: Visit the Caribbean!

With dozens of tropical islands scattered across a crystal clear sea, it’s no wonder that a holiday in the Caribbean has long been associated with luxury and relaxation. Welcoming millions of visitors each year, the islands boast a wealth of attractions, from exclusive hotels and golden beaches to colourful carnivals and breathtaking scenery.

The Caribbean region consists of around thirty distinct countries and territories and is made up of over 700 individuals islands. A vast range of different cultures and languages can be found, as well as a diverse ecosystem that changes significantly from island to island. Once you’ve identified some of the amazing Caribbean holidays found at Deal Checker, you can look forward to seeing some truly incredible sights.

With so much to choose from, and with each of the countries in the Caribbean region offering its own unique twist on island life, actually picking a destination to visit can present one of biggest challenges!

Pool at Hispaniola Beach in Sosua

Hispaniola Beach Condos in Sosua

If you want a holiday where every option is catered to, it’s best to stick to the bigger, more tourist-friendly resorts in places such as Jamaica, the Dominican Republic or the Bahamas. Here you can stay in top-class accommodation and laze on one of the many beaches, whilst also discovering the culture, cuisine and entertainment on offer. Taste the spicy specialities in a Jamaican beach-hut, or explore the colonial history and mountainous terrain of the Dominican Republic.

Cuba is another fantastic destination for adventurous travellers. The largest island in the Caribbean, it is also the most mysterious. Sultry, passionate and full of music, Cuba has a character quite unlike anywhere else in the Caribbean. All through the Caribbean Sea, there are literally hundreds of places to see and things to do. Take in the beautiful harbour views in Curaçao with a romantic cocktail, or snorkel amongst the stunning reefs on the coast of the British Virgin Islands.

Experience the intriguing mix of British and Caribbean culture with a holiday in Barbados, or get away from the beach resorts by spending some time in the unspoiled rainforests and lush valleys on the relatively undiscovered island of Dominica. Whether it’s kite-surfing in St Lucia, yachting in St Vincent or partying the night away in Trinidad, a trip to the Caribbean has all the ingredients you’ll ever need for an unforgettable holiday.

A Special Golf Adventure

Special Golf Adventure – The Dominican Republic is a Unique Golf Destination!

Golf Course at Punta Espada Resort

Punta Espada Golf Course

The Dominican Republic is well-known around the world as a top shelf golf destination.  Visitors come from Europe, North America and Asia to partake of the wide selection of new as well as established world-class championship courses designed by the great architects: Pete Dye, Tom Fazio, Jack Nicklaus and Robert Trent Jones. Names like Teeth of the Dog, Playa Grande and Punta Espada ring like music in the ears of golfers everywhere. Indeed, the Dominican Republic is a visiting golfer’s paradise.


Golf Course at Playa Dorada

But imagine the opportunities available to the resident homeowner living amongst this bounty! For four friends from Cabarete, that bounty presented itself recently when they decided to take a long weekend away from the north coast. They played a few of the great courses near La Romana in the south and Punta Cana/Cap Cana in the east.

The four were members of Fedo Golf, the Dominican national golfers association.  Membership is $100 per year and entitles members to many free and discounted rounds at some of the great golf courses of the country. In addition, these friends joined the Teeth of the Dog Association (TOD) for $50 per year. This entitles members to discounted play at the great Casa de Campo courses (Dye Fore, The Links, and Teeth of the Dog). In addition, the TOD sponsors frequent tournaments, and it is one of these tournaments that the four friends, Tom, Dave, Ken, and Eric, decided to enter.

The entry fee of $295 entitled each player to a round each at Corrales in Punta Cana, Punta Espada in Cap Cana and Teeth of the Dog in the sprawling south coast resort complex known as Casa de Campo”. The entry fee includes a golf cart. Because the players were TOD members, they were able to play an additional fun round at Teeth of the Dog and the famous Dye Fore. They found a charming Italian Inn in La Estancia, 10 km east of La Romana and each took a room, with nice breakfast included, for $50 per night.

The tournament organizers were very nice and accommodating, allowing the four friends to play as a foursome, despite differing handicaps that would in most places cause them to be split apart. The courses were nothing short of sensational with breezy sunshine and nary a drop of rain. Scores were mixed, and in the end, didn’t matter much. The four played poker in the evenings or drove a few km to Bayahibe, a coastal village, to dine on fresh fish and prime Argentine beef. They even found a Canadian bar with TV tuned to the NHL playoffs.

The four friends drove from the north coast to the south coast in under 5 hours using the rapidly-expanding network of fine toll roads that is quickly linking most major areas of the country to each other with safe, well-maintained highways. Being the off-season, costs everywhere were a fraction of what they would be in North America or Europe. They played 5 rounds of world-class golf, spent 4 nights in a charming Italian hotel/restaurant, ate dinner at a range of wonderful restaurants…and when they got home, they realized they had each spent less than $800!

Playa Grande Golf

Playa Grande Golf Course