Where’s the meat?
The cosmopolitan character of Santo Domingo is evident in the diversity of
edible goods sold here. Following is a rundown of places selling the basics and
the goodies. Expect more and more international delicacies to become available
as new shops open to cater to sophisticated Dominicans and an increasing number
of foreigners who are moving to this city.
Where is the best place to buy fresh produce in Santo Domingo?
These days, most Dominicans stock up on fresh produce at the large supermarkets.
If you are willing to make a special trip to purchase fresh fruits and
vegetables, there are several places you can go to select your own. Fresh
produce can be purchased at the Feria Ganadera on Autopista 30 de Mayo at Km. 6
(the Malecon, just before the Nunez de Caceres bridge). It is necessary to
bargain with many of the merchants at this market, who may use your foreign
appearance as a reason for raising prices. Most supermarkets now have an organic
vegetable section, and a fuller range can be bought from the Mercado Ecologico
on Calle Leonor Feltz in Mirador Sur. Tel. 809 482 7463, e-mail [email protected]
They take orders in the middle of the week, and the produce is ready for
collection on Fridays. They offer a home delivery option for an additional fee.
If you’ve ever been through a large intersection in Santo Domingo, you know that
fruits and vegetables can also be purchased right from your car. All you do is
call the vendor over, and hope that the light stays red long enough to make your
transactions. These vendors usually sell fresh produce and are willing to
negotiate. Some vendors also come right through your neighborhood peddling their
wares. There are tricycle carts filled with produce and pickup trucks equipped
with loudspeakers over which the driver announces what he has for sale. Prices
will usually be slightly more than in the supermarket, but the convenience may
make it worth the extra cost.
Finally, supermarkets always stock fruit and vegetables, sometimes for the best
prices, since they purchase these in bulk. Check newspaper ads for the
two-for-the-price-of-one vegetable sales. Supermarkets usually pre-wrap and
weigh the produce, but many also offer the option of selecting items
individually. There is usually a choice between nationally produced fruit and
vegetables and the more costly imports. If you feel adventurous, the Mercado
Modelo on Av. Mella in the Colonial City, which sells mainly arts and crafts
items, also has a fresh produce market. This is a big, bustling market where it
is essential to know what the going rates are, unless you feel like making an
unwitting donation to the local economy.
Where can I purchase fresh baked goods in Santo Domingo?
There are many fine bakeries (panaderias) in Santo Domingo. But for bread, some
of the best are conveniently found in the large supermarkets (Carrefour, Pola,
Nacional, Bravo and the little La Placita on Gustavo Mejia Ricart).
Non-supermarket bakeries are:
La Baguette at Gustavo Mejïa Ricart No. 126.
Panavi located at Plaza Catalunya. France Croissant on Av. Sarasota, No. 82, a
block east of the Pola supermarket.
La Boulangerie on Fantino Falco in Naco.
Hornos Andalucia at Plaza Andalucia on Lincoln esq. Gustavo Mejia Ricart.
La Francesa on Lincoln esq. Paseo de los Locutores.
Frankfurt on Lope de Vega. Le Croissant Dore on Avenida Enriquillo.
Pastry in Bella Vista on Ave. Sarasota.
For pastries and cakes:
Pasteleria del Jardin at Calle Polibio Diaz, near the Banco Popular of Av.
Carmel on Gustavo Mejia Ricart between Lincoln and Lope de Vega, and on Roberto
Pastoriza between Lincoln and Churchill. Bondelic in Julieta. Panavi (see
La Cuchara de Madera, Calle Freddy Prestol Castillo (the street that runs behind
the Acropolis) about 1 block north of the Acropolis in Piantini.
Brioche in Paraiso, one block before Ave. Kennedy.
Pastry in Bella Vista on Ave. Sarasota.
Kitchen Angels, Calle Virgilio Ordoñez Street near La Sirena on Churchill.
Reposteria Vinicio in Villa Consuelo, Calle Maximo Grullon No. 74 (Entre Guardia
Do you recommend any butchers in Santo Domingo?
The first choice seems to be supermarket butchers. Otherwise, people who have
been asked this question are almost evenly divided between two specialty meat
stores. One is Nelo’s Carnes Selectas (Nelo’s Select Meats), located on Calle
Luis F. Thomen. There is a small grocery store in front, and the meat counter is
in the back. Fans claim this meat is the best quality and the selection appeals
to an international clientele. There you can find lamb chops and Italian-style
sausages as well as several other meat items not sold elsewhere. The other
frequently recommended butcher shop is La Espanola on Av. Romulo Betancourt, in
the group of stores behind the Texaco Station. La Espanola has a large selection
of meats, and like Nelo’s will cut to order. It offers meats already seasoned
and marinated for you to take home and cook. The preparation is all done behind
a big glass window so you can watch and even communicate with the butchers as
they prepare your order.
Pricemart, the US membership shopping chain, and Carrefour, the French chain,
have a wide selection of imported foreign meats. Omaha Steaks on Paseo de la
Churchill on Churchill with Roberto Pastoriza, also has a good imported deli
Chef Pepper offers specialty meats:
‘Brothers’ is another recommended butcher, located on the north side of 27 de
Febrero, west of Caonabo.
Are there any special places to purchase cheese?
Supermarkets always carry a variety of cheeses. The larger establishments have
deli counters with top quality local and imported cheeses. Again, Demetrio’s and
La Espanola have good varieties of imported cheeses. Fromages de France, which
produces Yoka products, also manufactures French-style cheeses, such as
Camembert, Brie, and many others. They are located in Arroyo Hondo, Proy. 3 No.
10, La Meseta. Tel. 809 562-1369. Pasteurizadora Rica, the principal milk
distributor in the country, produces fine cheeses, many produced to order.
Autopista Duarte Km. 6-1/2, Tel. 563-7422. The Vesuvio Restaurant on the Malecon
will also sell you small quantities of mozarella and ricotta cheeses.
Where can I buy beer and other liquor?
A number of specialist liquor stores have opened in recent years, on Av.
Churchill. However, most people shop at the local corner grocery, called a
colmado. Beer and rum are always in good supply at the colmados. Supermarkets
also carry a wide selection of domestic and imported beers, wines and spirits.
If you are looking to stock up on beer, you can buy it by the case at any
supermarket or at the Presidente or Quisqueya breweries. You can also sell the
empty case back to them when you are done. While you can buy liquor directly
from the importers, don't expect lower prices than at the supermarkets. A close
relationship with an importer could lead to your cashing in on occasional sales
and help for purchasing that special wine for a dinner.
Can you recommend a place for buying coffee?
Fresh local coffee is available in all supermarkets and colmados. However, if
you are looking for something a little richer in taste and quality, there are
several highly recommended coffee shops in Santo Domingo. Two of them are in the
Colonial Zone, one on Av. Mella next to the Mercado Modelo, and the other on El
Conde, about three blocks from Calle Las Damas. Both are small, modest
establishments that will sell you one terrific pound of coffee. Also, at
Carrefour, Pola and El Nacional supermarkets, you can purchase freshly ground
coffee by the pound. Organic coffee is also available at many supermarkets and
health food outlets.
Where should I shop if I can only make one trip?
The Nacional, Pola, Bravo, La Cadena, Carrefour and Jumbo supermarkets are the
main supermarket chains in the city. Pola has several branches, including those
on Lope de Vega, on Sarasota west of Winston Churchill and at the MegaCentro on
Av. Churchill (La Sirena). They offer a wide range of goods at some of the best
prices. Supermercado El Nacional has a number of locations, at the corner of 27
de Febrero and Abraham Lincoln; at Av. Mella No. 119; on Nunez de Caceres, north
of 27 de Febrero; on Maximo Gomez, south of Av. Bolivar, in Arroyo Hondo, on Av.
Lope de Vega and its newest branch is in Bella Vista Mall on Av. Sarasota. The
Abraham Lincoln store includes the Cuesta department store selling household
wares, hardware, and other non-food items, as well as an outdoor flower market.
La Cadena has branches on Av. Lincoln and at the end of Av. Sarasota. Jumbo is
in the Megacentro Mall in eastern Santo Domingo.
In addition, Amigo on Gustavo Mejia Ricart between Tiradentes and Ortega y
Gasset has a good selection of imported delicacies.
There are a number of specialist health food stores around the city. Madre
Tierra in Zona Universitaria, Mercado Ecologico in Mirador Sur (see above) and
Organica in Plaza Catalunya in Piantini are just a few. Dietary supplements can
also be found at GNC which has branches in La Sirena and in Plaza Andalucia on
Chocoholics take note!
In addition to the stores mentioned above, there are many specialty shops in
Santo Domingo offering a wealth of goods. For chololate lovers, Xocolat in the
Acropolis Mall, and Casita de Chocolate on Roberto Pastoriza (a block from
Abraham Lincoln) in Piantini are the best options. Belgian chocolates and
cookies are sold in Plaza Central's third floor.
If you crave authentic Chinese food, there are two areas in the city with
clusters of Chinese establishments such as supermarkets as well as restaurants.
One is Santo Domingo’s own Chinatown, at Av. Duarte between Mexico and Benito
Gonzalez, and also on Av. Romulo Betancourt in Mirador Norte. The odds are that
any special items you desire can be found in Santo Domingo: you just might have
to search around a bit to find them. Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and Asian
ingredients can be purchased at L’epicier de l’orient on Plaza Paseo de la
Churchill on Av. Churchill esq. Roberto Pastoriza.