From fresh French croissants to delicious Spanish tortillas. An insider’s view on the top cafes in the Colonial Zone.
Over the past two years, we have seen a steadily increasing number of Europeans hanging out in the Colonial Zone. Not just tourists, it seems, as they are beginning to open businesses here that include cafes and restaurants. These newer Euro-influenced places, combined with the Dominican Classics, have resulted in a great selection of cafes. Here are our Top 5:
About 5 months ago, we were delighted to see a French couple open a new cafe on El Conde near Calle Duarte called Paco Cabana. It was exactly what the neighborhood needed… great coffee, a nice ambience and fresh croissants!
While we were content with just the wonderful coffee, croissants and atmosphere, the owners had bigger plans in mind because they recently began operating a full-fledged bakery on the premises. That’s right, real freshly baked bread and pastries made daily. They also serve sandwiches, so stop by for lunch some day, too.
Cafe at Hotel Conde Penalba
This is the ideal spot in the city, at least in the Colonial Zone, for people watching. Located on the pedestrian street El Conde, facing the Cathedral and Parque Colon, there is an endless stream of people passing by. Tourists from the cruise ships, local artists and business people, musicians, and expats pass by here or stop for a Presidente beer, a cool drink or a coffee. There are perhaps a dozen outside tables and most are usually occupied throughout the day. The food is very good and reasonably priced, too. You’ll love the views!
Perhaps the most crowded cafe in the Colonial Zone, Segafredo is located on a very shady section of El Conde between Isabel la Catolica and Calle Las Damas. This area is gorgeous. Having a drink, a coffee or a even a meal during dining hours is always a delight. The 16th century Spanish Colonial palaces surrounding the outdoor terrace area are certainly a plus.
Segafredo is also quite busy at night, so think about after dinner drinks or ice coffees and frappes in this beatiful setting.
Once again on El Conde, but at the far end across from Parque Independencia, Grands is a Dominican landmark. Open 24 hours/day, it has large opened wall sections on two sides that allow for great air circulation and unforgettable views of a more authentic Colonial Zone lifestyle.
There are several outdoor tables, too. Grands has good food and incredible fruit juices, so ask for a jugo de lechosa (papaya) or pina (pineapple). Yummy! Don’t pass up the Grand on your visit.
Cafe La Dama Imperial
For authentic Spanish food and great coffee, you should stop by this cafe-restaurant, also on El Conde, near the corner of Calle Espaillat. Great breakfast specials that include huevos revueltos (scrambled eggs) and tortilla espanol (omlette with potatos and onions) and come with juice and coffee are a real treat.
There are outdoor tables that are great for people watching. Open for lunch and dinner, too, we hear that the paella is incredible and will be trying it ourselves sometime soon!