Restaurants & Nightlife in the Dominican Republic
Some visitors may choose an all-inclusive resort for their visit, which in most cases will include food and beverages as part of the total vacation package. Even if this is the case, venturing out to try some delicious Dominican Cuisine or international cuisine, will surely add variety to both your visit and your palate. Most tourism destinations in the Dominican Republic offer an incredible variety of restaurants to serve most every visitor's taste and budget. The owners of these establishments are from all over the world, as well as from the Dominican Republic, so the cuisine offered is as varied as they are.
In most tourism destinations, restaurants tend to serve all three meals. Generally breakfast and lunches are typical American and European fare, varying from fruit plates to bacon and eggs for breakfast, to sandwiches, burgers and fries, and soups and salads, for lunch. For most of the Dominican Republic, lunch is the largest meal of the day and is usually served from about 12 to 2:30 pm.
Dinners are where the cuisine tends to become a little more specialized. In the larger destinations, you can generally find at least one restaurant specializing in fresh seafood, American, Mexican, Italian, French, German, or Asian cuisine. Establishments range from locations right on the beach that offer candlelight dining under the stars, to smaller roadside gems offering something a little more economical and casual.
Many of the medium to higher-priced restaurants will accept major credit cards, but most do not, so it is advisable to ask before ordering if you wish to pay by credit card. The Dominican Republic collects 16% value-added tax (ITBIS) and allows restaurants to collect a 10% service charge. This means an additional 26% can be charged to your total bill. To keep things simple, many restaurants include these charges within their food and drink prices. Whether an establishment has included these charges or not will generally be indicated on their menu. When service charges are charged they rarely make it into the hands of the actual servers. If you receive great service, a tip of 10% is customary and very much appreciated.
The Dominican Republic offers an array of nightlife options where you can drink, socialize, dance, gamble, or celebrate the various festivals taking place throughout the country. Options range from smaller beer/pool halls, frequented predominantly by Dominican men, to large nightclubs where thousands of both tourists, foreigners and Dominicans can be found bumping and grinding to live bands or DJ's, into the wee hours of the night. Most hotels and restaurants offer casual bar/lounge settings within their establishment that offer a wide range of local and international drink selections and play internationally recognized music. Dominican-owned bars tend to offer only locally produced drink selections and play Merengue or Bachata music. Most tourism destinations offer beach bars that feature something for everyone, in terms of music, drink selection, and setting. Enjoying 'Happy Hour' and watching the sunset is a very popular visitor activity at these establishments. Casinos can be found in most of the larger tourism destinations and cities throughout the country and usually provide gamblers free drinks while they take part in Black Jack, Roulette, and Poker. The hours of operation for most casinos are from 4 pm - 4 am daily.
The most popular drink to be enjoyed in the Dominican Republic is the famous Cuba Libre, poured with a very generous amount of locally produced Dominican Rum and Coke (or Pepsi), topped off with a slice of lime. If beer is your beverage of choice, the beloved locally brewed and ice-cold, Presidente , will certainly not disappoint. If tropical cocktails are on the agenda, you'll have more than a few to select from, with Piña Coladas, Rum Punch, Banana Mamas, and Cahpariñas , being the most popular of the bunch. Most establishments offer a wide variety of both locally and internationally produced beers and liquors. Good wines can be a little more difficult to find unless you are in one of the higher end hotels, restaurants or bars.