This short article will help you learn more about cafes and restaurants in the Dominican Republic. Where to dine, where to do have a cheap meal and where to try the national cuisine. You will learn all about prices, taxes and tips. Read on, there will be a lot of useful information.

Table of contents:

Dominican Republic restaurants menu and prices
This is what a typical restaurant menu looks like. 57 pesos = $1. But please note that the prices here are without taxes and service charge. And how much – read on.

Cafes and restaurants in the Dominican Republic

More correctly – Cafeterias and restaurants in the Dominican Republic. In this country there are pizzerias, and bars, and burger cafes, but in general food service is divided into two types:

  • Cheap Dominican cafes for locals
  • And expensive for tourists or wealthy locals

And the prices differ by 5 times.

In this part of the article, we will not discuss the cafes for tourists in detail. This is a classic restaurant with a big sign, usual menu, where you are served by a waiter, where there is alcohol. In general, these are exactly the same restaurants and cafes that we are used to at home. Nice service and cold beer. We will talk about it a little later when we speak about taxes and tips 🙂

Dominican restaurant
Great place for locals – 100% homemade food and national cuisine!

About 4-star all-inclusive hotels in the Dominican Republic, which are no worse than 5-star, you can read in the article at the link.

Dominican restaurants for locals

What you need to know about it:

  • There are many such Dominican cafes all over the country. Especially in the town of Sosua. Why – you will understand if you read an article about this city.
  • There are often no big signs and in general they are very inconspicuous. The name of the cafe is painted on the wall.
  • By area: such cafe are always modest in size
  • And they are also very modestly furnished.
  • Such cafe are usually owned by entire families. And here is 100% national cuisine.
  • All such cafe are called Cafeteria. That means you can eat cheaply and tasty here.
  • You can’t pay by card here.
  • Usually there are only two or three dishes to choose from: fried bananas with chicken or chicken rice, and sometimes mangu with boiled bananas with onions.
Restaurant Dominican Cafe
This is what the cafeteria looks like. The writing on the wall is all advertising. The inside is no better than the outside, trust me.

It is important to know:

Such cafeterias are a great chance to try the national Dominican cuisine. Since it is difficult to do this in classic restaurants today. Follow the link to an article about the national cuisine of the Dominican Republic. It will also be about the mangu. Don’t confuse with mango. Mango is a fruit, and you will learn what mangu is from the article.
cuisine restaurants in the Dominican Republic
Standard serving in Dominican restaurants. Fish and french fries. Cooked as close as possible to European cuisine. With all fees and taxes, it will be about $ 9-10 for such a dish.
Dominican cafeteria food
But this is food from the cafeteria for the locals. Two boiled bananas, an omelette with bell peppers, and mangu puree with onions. For a dish – 100 pesos or a little less than $2. I’m not a vegan, but they ran out of chicken.

There is no table service here. Show at the the dish you want, the chef put it on your plate, pay off and sit down to eat at the table. By the way, it is not required to leave a tip in Dominican cafeterias, and taxes are not included in the price. And the menu with prices in such Dominican cafes is extremely rare.


  • And one more important point: alcohol is not sold in cafeterias. Since this is a licensed activity and the prerogative of expensive restaurants.

Good to know:

Although the Dominican cafeterias look like an abandoned construction trailer and not everyone will agree to eat inside here, you should know that the Dominicans are very clean when it comes to food. And even in such cafeteria you can safely eat without worrying about food poisoning.
coffee in Samana in the Caribbean
And this cafeteria is already more elegant. You can not find out the price in advance, everything is cheap here.

Taxes and tips: subtleties and features

In this chapter, more information will be about restaurants for tourists.

About Dominican cafeterias, I can only write that you can have a full meal for two for $ 4-8, without alcohol. And as I wrote above, tips are not left here.

And now back to the classic restaurants:

  • Menu, waiters, alcohol – everything is as we used to
  • If we take the most average prices, then a dinner for two with alcohol (beer or cocktail) will come out from $ 25-30 for two. We rarely have cheaper than $ 40.

It is important to know:

In 90% of cases, taxes and tips are not included in the price of a dish on the menu. And here the most interesting begins.

If taxes are not included in the price of a dish, then this will always be written in the menu at the very bottom of each page. But a phrase like “Taxes are not included” will be written, and no explanation of what kind of taxes.

seafood menu in Dominican Republic
Hard to see but on a black background at the bottom that taxes are not included in the prices. So this is not the final price.

Know in restaurants in the Dominican Republic there are two types of “taxes”:

  • 18% is a mandatory tax. This is VAT.
  • 10% – service charge. Non-mandatory tax.

If everything is clear about 18% VAT, then each cafe interprets the service fee differently. In fact, this is the tip. But I sometimes meet with the fact that the cafe interprets a 10% service fee as a fee for the fact that you sat down at a table, and did not take it out. Like – you soiled the dishes, soiled the tablecloths, a light was on for you and music was playing for you. That’s 10% for this and this amount can be included in the bill.

check from a dominican restaurant
In this bill a 10% service fee has already been added. And also pay attention, there is even information on how much to pay in dollars or euros, this is rather a rarity. But keep in mind that in any restaurant you can pay in dollars.

And in some Dominican cafes, the waiter will also hint to you that it would be nice to give him a tip. They say 10% are intended for the cafe, but he also did the best, served you, and thank him too.

  • Tip: Say or show a 10% tip in the bill.

Travel Tips

A little more about the important 🙂

  • Remember that you don’t need to leave tips in cafeterias.
  • But in Dominican restaurants it is customary to leave a tip.
    • And if in the bill, as in the photo, there is an additional charge of 10%, then you have already left a tip.
    • If there is only 18% tax in the bill, then the good manners rule is to leave another tip.
dominican restaurants taxes and tips
This is another bill: we ordered 4 items for the amount of 620 pesos according to the menu. And in the bill the amount is 793.6 pesos. If you look closely, there is an 18% tax and a 10% service charge, which are added to the final cost. In this case, we do not leave additional tip.
  • As for the total amount for the meal, carefully plan your budget, I explain:
    • Go to a restaurant and look at the prices on the menu. Estimate your expenses and place an order.
    • The amount of your entire menu order, for example, 1000 pesos (for 2024, this is about $ 17)
    • And then they bring you a bill, and there 18% VAT and 10% service charge. Total 1280 pesos. And dinner ended up costing 28% more than expected.

Good to know:

Dominicans, even in tourist areas, either do not know English at all or hardly know it. If you do not speak Spanish in order to discuss with the waiter what taxes and fees will be included, then it is better to carefully study the menu. And be mentally prepared that 28% can be added to the price on the menu, so as not to be upset later. In the article on the link, read about the language in the Dominican Republic. By the way, there will be useful phrases for cafes and restaurants.
Cafeterias and restaurants in the Dominican Republic
Run into this cafeteria for coffee, you won’t regret it!

Dominican restaurants: summary

In conclusion: if you want to eat tasty and cheap national cuisine, go to the cafeteria. If you want beautiful and just as tasty, then you should go to the in the Dominican restaurants. Just don’t forget about taxes and service charge. But in general, in all cafes of the country there are servings of normal sizes, no haute cuisine.

Have a delicious evening and predictable amounts in checks!

Resources to help you plan your dream trip to Dominican Republic

  • Flights at the best prices with discounts
  • Car rental: DiscoverCars – a largest international resource
  • Hotels and apartments:
    • Hotellook – compares hotel prices among dozens of booking platforms and offer you the best price.
    • Booking – large online booking platform.
    • Agoda – even more accommodation options in Dominican Republic.
  • Vacation packages:
    • Expedia – best deals from Europe.
    • CheapOair – cheap packages from all US cities.
  • Tours, excursions and extreme activities:
    • GetYourGuide – more than 800+ tours and water activities.
    • Viator – 3500+ tours and excursions in Dominican.
  • Comprehensive travel insurance: EKTA
  • Internet and Calls:
    • Airalo – eSIM with internet package.
    • Drimsim – universal SIM card (or eSIM) in any country in the world.
  • Taxi and airport transfers: Intui.Travel