The Best Restaurants at Dreams Punta Cana Resort

We used the World Cafe like a personal kitchen to satisfy whatever cravings we had. For example, a midday salad with roasted peppers, yucca chips, fried plantains and molasses bread with fresh beet jam.

We used the World Cafe like a personal kitchen to satisfy whatever cravings we had. For example, a midday salad with roasted peppers, yucca chips, fried plantains and molasses bread with fresh beet jam.

We've eaten at seven of the nine restaurants at Dreams' all-inclusive family resort in Punta Cana. Three of them are excellent. We skipped the Barefoot Grill (a shack serving hot dogs and hamburgers). We also passed on the hibachi restaurant, Himitsu, because our daughter wasn't old enough to enter (who is hibachi for, if not children).

To some extent, the food at Dreams Punta Cana is hit or miss like the service. But, what Dreams does well, it does very well. There is a bakery on the resort that makes fresh bread and desserts each day at 3 a.m. These baked goods rival the best we've had in New York City and Italy (and absolutely smoke the desserts at Beaches Turks and Caicos). The ice cream, bread pudding and homemade jams are also amazing.

We normally shy away from fried foods, but we found it impossible to resist the fried yucca, plantains, chicken and fish. These Dominican favorites were prepared in fresh oil and tasted impossibly light and airy. It's the best fried food that we've ever had.

The meat at the resort is tender, lean and perfectly seasoned. On the other hand, most of the grilled fish (mahi-mahi and grouper) was overcooked. Cooked vegetables are scarce at the resort; the veggies we did find were soggy and insipid. Pastas were disappointing overall, but salads were good.

Outside of restaurants, there is great food inside the Preferred Club Lounge and at special events like the "Dominican Party" in Sugar Reef Plaza.

Here are short reviews of each restaurant that we've eaten at, plus, our favorites. 

  • Best Breakfast - World Cafe; Oceana

  • Best Lunch - Preferred Club Lounge; Dominican Party at Sugar Reef Plaza

  • Best Dinner - Bordeaux; Oceana; World Cafe

  • Best View - Oceana

  • Most Romantic - Bordeaux; Oceana

  • Best Service - World Cafe; Bordeaux

  • Best Coffee - World Cafe; Coco Cafe

  • Best Desserts - World Cafe


A Note About Reservations

The restaurants at Dreams Punta Cana do not accept reservations unless you pay extra for butler service. On our first night at the resort, we were shocked that many restaurants that looked half-empty had long waits (we had as many as 15 tables ahead of us!).

The sandwiches at the Preferred Club Lounge are worthy of standalone meal.

The sandwiches at the Preferred Club Lounge are worthy of standalone meal.

We discovered two tricks for minimizing waits:

  1. Get to restaurants before 7 p.m.; or 

  2. Put your name on the waitlist at multiple restaurants and get a beeper for each one. Then, go for cocktails and appetizers at the Preferred Club Lounge and dine at whichever restaurant pages first. We typically waited 20 to 30 minutes until a buzzer went off.

Some days, we decided to skip the restaurants and have our lunch at the Preferred Club Lounge. The salads, sandwiches and pastries were excellent and the lounge has the best bar on the resort (there is true “top shelf” booze). We never felt like we sacrificed anything when we chose to have a meal outside of the restaurants.


Barefoot Grill

Hours

  • Daily: 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Details

  • Menu: Hot dogs and hamburgers

  • Buffet: No

  • Kid-Friendly: Yes

  • Dress Code: Officially, yes. In practice, no.

  • Outdoor Seating: Yes

  • Ocean View: Yes

The Barefoot Grill is a tiki shack on the beach. Picnic table seating is available, but many people grab and go. We didn't eat here because we didn't feel like waiting in line for a burger. There is an outdoor grill near the Barracuda Bar that has a similar menu and a shorter wait.


Bordeaux (Excellent)

Bordeaux is upstairs from Oceana, but interestingly, the ground floor has a better view of the ocean.

Bordeaux is upstairs from Oceana, but interestingly, the ground floor has a better view of the ocean.

Hours

  • Dinner: 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

  • Closed: Monday and Friday

Details

  • Menu (link): French cuisine

  • Buffet: No

  • Kid-Friendly: No (adults only, 18-years and older)

  • Dress Code: No shorts, t-shirts, sleeveless shirts or flip-flops allowed.

  • Outdoor Seating: No

  • Ocean View: Partially obstructed

Bordeaux was our favorite restaurant on the resort. We were seated right away and received "white glove" service until the moment we left. The decor is ho-hum and the view isn't as good as we thought it would be, but we loved the relaxing background music, fine stemware and tablecloths.

The food at Bordeaux was excellent and it paired well with the included red wine (a cabernet sauvignon from Spain). Portions are small, but this allowed us to enjoy each course fully.

Consider visiting Bordeaux earlier in your trip. This restaurant is the most likely to be closed because of a wedding (and it would be a shame to miss it).


Coco Cafe (Excellent)

Dreams Punta Cana has an onsite bakery and the desserts (like salted caramel macarons) are to die for.

Dreams Punta Cana has an onsite bakery and the desserts (like salted caramel macarons) are to die for.

Hours

  • Daily: Open 24-hours

Details

  • Menu: Pastries, sandwiches and fresh fruit

  • Buffet: No

  • Kid-Friendly: Yes

  • Dress Code: No sleeveless shirts or exposed bathing suits allowed.

  • Outdoor Seating: No

  • Ocean View: No

The Coco Cafe is located in the welcome center of the resort. It's a hidden gem that is open 24-hours and serves excellent pastries and espresso drinks. We finished each evening with cakes, donuts and cappuccinos. The evening barista is friendly and prompt.


Himitsu

Hours

  • Dinner: 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

  • Closed: Thursday for dinner

Details

  • Menu (link): Pan-Asian, Teppanyaki

  • Kid-Friendly: No (10-years and older to enter; 12-years and older for Teppanyaki)

  • Dress Code: No sleeveless shirts or exposed bathing suits allowed.

  • Outdoor Seating: No

  • Ocean View: No

We skipped this restaurant because our daughter wasn't old enough to enter, let alone sit at a Teppanyaki table. For us, the fun of going to a hibachi restaurant is being able to enjoy it with your children. We think the resort's seating policy is too restrictive.



La Trattoria

Hours

  • Lunch: 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. (pizza only)

  • Dinner: 6:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

  • Closed: Tuesday and Sunday for dinner

Details

  • Menu: Pizza, pasta and Italian classics

  • Buffet: No

  • Kid-Friendly: Yes

  • Dress Code: No sleeveless shirts or exposed bathing suits allowed.

  • Outdoor Seating: Yes

  • Ocean View: Partially obstructed

La Trattoria would be one of the most romantic restaurants on the resort if it wasn't for slow kitchen service, awkwardly-shaped tables and mediocre food. Surprisingly, we liked the pizza at the World Cafe better than this dedicated pizzeria. Our pasta dish was also disappointing. On the plus side, the waitstaff was friendly, attentive and apologetic for the wait.


Oceana

Oceana has the best view of any restaurant on the resort. It is especially nice during morning hours.

Oceana has the best view of any restaurant on the resort. It is especially nice during morning hours.

Hours

  • Breakfast: 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. (for Preferred Club members only)

  • Lunch: 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. (for Preferred Club members only)

  • Dinner: 6:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

  • Closed: Sunday for dinner

Details

  • Menu: Seafood

  • Buffet: Breakfast only

  • Kid-Friendly: Yes

  • Dress Code: No sleeveless shirts or exposed bathing suits allowed.

  • Outdoor Seating: No

  • Ocean View: Yes

Oceana has the best view and ambience on the resort. All meals are table service, but at breakfast, there is also a small, supplemental buffet. We enjoyed all our à la carte dishes at breakfast as well as the buffet, but the coffee was weak and watery.

Lunch at Oceana was disappointing because kitchen service was slow.

We had a lovely dinner at Oceana. Our server was attentive, kitchen service was fast and we had excellent (albeit, somewhat overcooked) fish dishes. A mariachi band played beside our table.


Portofino

Portofino has a great ambience, but we found the kitchen and table service to be unacceptably slow.

Portofino has a great ambience, but we found the kitchen and table service to be unacceptably slow.

Hours

  • Dinner: 6:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

  • Closed: Wednesday

Details

  • Menu: Italian classics

  • Buffet: No

  • Kid-Friendly: Yes

  • Dress Code: No shorts, sleeveless shirts or flip-flops allowed.

  • Outdoor Seating: Yes

  • Ocean View: No

We were seated immediately at Portofino and quickly received fresh bread. It was a great start to the evening, but things went downhill from there. The restaurant is lovely inside, but the kitchen service is painfully slow and some of our dishes (like the osso buco) were disappointing. After waiting for almost an hour, our appetizers and entrees came out at the same time. We missed the resort's Thursday night "Fire Show" as a result


Seaside Grill

Hours

  • Dinner: 6:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Details

  • Menu: Steaks and burgers

  • Buffet: No

  • Kid-Friendly: Yes

  • Dress Code: No sleeveless shirts or exposed bathing suits allowed.

  • Outdoor Seating: No

  • Ocean View: Yes

We had a great meal at the Seaside Grill, but a bad experience overall. After being seated by the kitchen, we were left for dead. It was uncomfortably hot. No one brought us bread or water for 15 minutes even though other tables got those things immediately. Our daughter fell asleep while we waited for our entrees. The steaks were excellent, but not worth the wait or frustration.


World Cafe (Excellent)

Don’t be fooled by the World Cafe’s unassuming entranceway. Some of the food is downright amazing.

Don’t be fooled by the World Cafe’s unassuming entranceway. Some of the food is downright amazing.

Hours

  • Breakfast: 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

  • Lunch: 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

  • Dinner: 6:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.

Details

  • Menu: International fare

  • Buffet: Yes

  • Kid-Friendly: Yes

  • Dress Code: No sleeveless shirts or exposed bathing suits allowed.

  • Outdoor Seating: Yes

  • Ocean View: No

The World Cafe is an amazing buffet with foods from around the world. There are a dozen varieties of fresh bread, carving stations, fruit and salad bars, fresh pizza, traditional Dominican foods (like friend yucca and plantains), fresh fish, tacos and speciality hamburgers that are made-to-order.  

Crepes and omelettes are made to order at breakfast and dozens of fine pastries are available throughout the day. The cafe serves Santo Domingo coffee (it's excellent) and the servers are among our favorite at the resort (Estrella is especially kind and attentive).

We ate at the World Cafe more than any other restaurant, and on many nights, we went here for a light second dinner before bed. The pizza and ice cream are the best on the resort.



Off-Resort Dining

Dreams Punta Cana has a program called "Sip, Savor & See" that allows guests to enjoy dinner, drinks and entertainment at neighboring resorts. In hindsight, we're a little disappointed that no one at Dreams told us about this program.

To take advantage of it, guests must make a reservation with the concierge no later than 3 p.m. Up to four guests are allowed per seating and visitors are allowed to use the neighboring resorts facilities from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m.


Restaurant Questions

Do the restaurants at Dreams accommodate food allergies or other special requirements?

This is one aspect of the resort in which our family doesn't have any firsthand experience. Dreams suggests contacting the concierge to discuss vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free dining options. For food allergies, the resort suggests speaking with your server or captain before dining.

Many servers do not speak English well, so travelers with serious food allergies must be mindful of how to communicate their needs. To make arrangements before travel, the resort can be contacted here: info.drepc@dreamsresorts.com