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Santo Domingo and Las Galeras, Dominican Republic

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We spent two days in Santo Domingo and five in the small-ish town of Las Galeras, on the Samana Peninsula. As has been the case in pretty much every Caribbean destination I've visited, the food was mediocre. Better than Tortola and Nevis, not as good as Aruba and St. Martin.

 

A Supposedly Good Thing I Will Never Eat Again

 

Relleno de lambi at Meson de Bari, Santo Domingo. Ground conch, slabs of eggplant, tomato sauce, and something cheese adjacent. Reminiscent of a sloppy joe. The habichuelas were very nice.

 

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Consider the Langosta

 

Probably our best meal overall, at Le BDM Creperie in Las Galeras. Came with an amuse bouche of mushroom omelet, coconut rice, Russian salad, and the same mesclun mix with vinaigrette that is apparently now found the world over. We also ordered a three cheese crepe, because it was there, and because we figured a French-ish restaurant might actually have some decent cheese (it was fine).

 

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Both Fresh and Not

 

Guanabana, a gift from our (Italian) Airbnb host from his own tree. I'm not sure what the texture is supposed to be like, but if it's supposed to be like this, I don't like it. The host also cooked at a small restaurant on site, which - despite having a pretty extensive menu - only served spaghetti, on par with what I would make for myself on a random weeknight, although I'd take the shells off the shrimp, and scrub the clams.

 

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With the notable exception of the veteran Vesuvio (superb lambi carpaccio) I never found upscale restaurant cuisine (or service) in the DR really worth recommending, although there are some okay places in Santo Domingo.

 

The thing to do is eat what residents are eating, which means restaurants (and street vendors) not in any guide books. The quality of the pork is astonishing, and goat can be very good too. But an upscale restaurant isn’t going to serve you great platters of pork, blood pudding, tongue, intestines, etc. Best place to eat fish is often on the beach where kids are catching them and grilling them on the spot.

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But an upscale restaurant isn’t going to serve you great platters of pork, blood pudding, tongue, intestines, etc. Best place to eat fish is often on the beach where kids are catching them and grilling them on the spot.

 

I only eat fish anyway, so mammal products - no matter how fantastic - are not a draw for me.

 

i don't think we went to any upscale restaurants - just midrange ones, and beachside open air places. Here's what I had at one of those, La Playita in Las Galeras. Not sure what kind of fish this is - I think the menu said "capite." Or "cabite."

 

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We went to Playa Fronton and Playa Madamas with the express hope of encountering someone grilling fish on the beach (we heard rumors). The huts and grills were there; the someones and fish were not.

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Ha, bad luck!  La Playita looks like a lovely location anyway. I'll research the fish.

 

The main gastronomic attractions of the DR, I'm afraid, are mammal. 

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Seems to be a common style of cooking fish in Samana, roasted with coconut or coconut milk. But all kinds of different fish are used.

 

Does that fit the case?

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Salsa de coco was indeed very common - I had it on two occasions. At Domenec in Santo Domingo, not so good. And at La Bodequita in Las Galeras, very good, also involved green curry. It was a very large portion, so I shared it with a stinky old cat that was hanging around.

 

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The menu at La Playita listed types of seafood, along with the way you could have each one prepared. Coco sauce, fried, grilled, creole-style, etc. Cabite/capite was one of the dozen or so types of seafood, along with mero, pulpo, camarones, etc. I had the fish grilled. I don't believe there was any coconut involved.

 

It's really not like me to visit a restaurant if I can't first scope out its menu online, but apparently I do it occasionally.

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Well, Google is no help. I report the opinion of a cook in Santo Domingo. The mystery remains.

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Depending on the day, "mero" is either sea bass, snapper or grouper. The fish pictured in my last post is mero. And probably not grouper, or I would've needed more cats to help me finish it.

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Shrimp or scampi? There is never going to be consistent nomenclature for fish and seafood.

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True that. Plus, the language spoken in the Dominican Republic is apparently so different from my rudimentary but (until this trip) adequate menu & shopping Spanish that no one could understand a damn word I said. This was not the case in Mexico, or Spain, or Venezuela, or any of the various other places where I've attempted to communicate in not-English. I was reduced to typing sentences in Spanish on my phone and showing them to people, which made me sad. I need one of those babelfish from Hitchhiker's Guide. 

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The Spanish is generally conventional, but there are a lot of local words and idioms, certainly where food is concerned.

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I find the accent difficult, although I recently heard canary islands Spanish for the first time and that was even harder.

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