El Caribe: Places to go eat in the Cibao

Christmas is a time when thousands of expats return to enjoy the tastes of the land. El Caribe newspaper has picked four cities in the Cibao region – Bonao, Moca, Santiago and Puerto Plata — to list some of the good places, many new, to go to eat for the holidays.

In Bonao, there is Kiko Restaurant with its thatched roof right there at Km 76 of the Duarte Highway. Their specialty dishes are “quipes” and crabmeat paddies. The coffee is excellent. They are open every day until 10pm.

Not far away is Jengibre Caffe (Or Ginger Café) in town at the corner of Duarte and Dr. Gautier. Everyone knows where it is. It is a great breakfast place. They are open from 7am until 4pm, Monday thru Friday.

Up the highway to Moca, the capital of Espaillat province, there is the Grano de Café (Or, the Coffee Bean), offering waffles, and specialty coffee, as well as crafts. It takes a lot of willpower to leave the place once you are inside. They are located on the Ramon Caceres highway that connects the Duarte Highway to Moca, at Km 7 ½. They are open from 8am to 5:30pm, Monday thru Friday, and from 8am to 7pm on Saturdays. On Sundays, they open at 9am.

In town, there is an ice cream parlor called Arte Helado at the corner of Morillo and Cordoba streets. It is run by Maria Victoria Brito, and she uses the Italian style of making ice cream using local fruits.

Just a few minutes down the road is Santiago, the Heart of the Cibao. El Café de la Abuela is the place for coffee and sandwiches and desserts. As a bonus, they will sell you small packages of their own coffee to take home or gift to friends. This charming place is located on Leon Jimenes Street, which runs along the back of the Union Medico del Norte. It is easy to find. It is open every day from 7:30am until 10pm.

And then there is Doña Pula, a place for eating meat. BBQ, rotisserie chicken, fried pork, and all the fried plantains you can eat. Doña Pula is located on the highway entering Santiago, but there are several locations in the city, all with ample parking. Google will show you where they are. They are open every day of the week until 10 or 11pm.

Fine dining? Oh yes! Kyoto, on 27 of February in the Jardin Plaza. Open from noon until midnight. Dishes made from imported fish, sushi and shrimp are their selling point. It is an excellent place to dine.

Galipote Afterwork, on Benito Juarez Avenue in Villa Olga is open in the afternoons and until 2am. It is a very special place that excels in its culinary offerings. Before or after a game or a party, it is a special place.

Puerto Plata
In Cabarete, in Puerto Plata province, check out Gypsy Bowls, a wee bit of Bohemian life in the Caribbean. It is located on the main drag of Cabarete across the street from the La Rosa Supermarket. Closed on Sundays, it is open from 8am to 5pm.

And in Puerto Plata proper, there is Restaurant Aguaji. Open only on weekends (Friday-Sunday) from 6pm to 10pm, this is famous Chef Tita’s place, and it is located inside Ocean Club. However, you do not have to be a guest at the hotel to enjoy the great food.

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El Caribe

26 December 2023