Food & Drink

Where to drink coffee In Santo Domingo

Zona Bici Bike Rental & Coffee, Zona Colonial

Photo: Mikkel Ulriksen

Looking for the best coffee in Santo Domingo? Everyone claims to have it. (Huh??) Well, the Spanish word for coffee is cafe. So if you want the brew, not the bean, read on:



Coffee is a staple in the Dominican Republic, and raw beans and coffee products are one of the Dominican Republic’s biggest exports. Like other local staples, it’s prepared according to set traditions across the country. For most people, several tiny cups of espresso-like coffee is a cherished part of the everyday routine.


European/American-style cafes appeared relatively recently in the DR, and new cafes pop up in different cities all the time. In Santo Domingo, most cafes are found close to the center of the city in fashionable neighborhoods (Starbucks arrived in 2020).


That said, there’s still a bit of a twist in finding European/American-style cafes. It’s easy to head for what you think is a cafe and arrive at a bar, an eatery or even a lottery hut. In the Dominican Republic, these are all called cafe.


So how to find a real cafe in Santo Domingo?

Here are the best independent cafes in Santo Domingo according to a local:

El Buho Café, Zona Colonial

Photo: Mikkel Ulriksen

El Buho Café

El Buho Café on Calle Arzobispo Noel in the Zona Colonial. The Zona Colonial building is hundreds of years old, which makes for a very unique cafe setting. A big place with a lovely patio, El Buho is great for large groups.


We recommend: the linguini with clams, topped off with a tiramisu.

Affogato Café, Zona Colonial

Photo: Mikkel Ulriksen

Affogato Café

Affogato Café on Calle Arzobispo Noel in the Zona Colonial. Just up the street from El Buho, the ambiance of this place couldn't be a greater contrast. Where El Buho is light and expansive, Affogato Café is cozy and cute. Because Dominicans have their heaviest meal at lunchtime, it's not unusual to see people cuddled up with lighter fare at night.


The crepes, croissants, and waffles are great. Be sure to indulge yourself with the titular coffee specialty: ice cream over espresso (affogato).

Cakes at Pastelería del Jardín, Santo Domingo

Photo: Pastelería del Jardín

Pastelería del Jardín (Pastry Garden)

Pastelería del Jardín on Calle Licenciado Polibio Diaz behind the Instituto Dominicano de Investigaciónes Agropecuarias. As the name suggests, this is a great cafe for anyone with a sweet tooth. As well as a cabinet full of pastries, they offer tasty sandwiches and delicious milkshakes. Try the turtle cheesecake.

Zona Bici Bike Rental & Coffee, Zona Colonial

Photo: Mikkel Ulriksen

Zona Bici

Zona Bici in Zona Colonial is a bike rental and coffee shop. This little gem is one of our favorite coffee places in Santo Domingo. They serve up specialty coffee made by professional baristas that know what they're doing. Expect an assortment of hot and cold brews as well as croissants and pastries. Or try one of their natural juices, soft drinks, organic ice pops or a beer from the large selection of local craft beers.

Dessert at Nocciola, Santo Domingo

Photo: Nocciola


Nocciola on Calle Doctor Gilberto Gomez, around the corner from Sambil Mall. This cafe is dedicated to desserts made with chocolate-hazelnut Nutella. Headed out early? There’s a great breakfast menu here too. For lunch, don’t skip the Spanish Sandwich with ciabatta. Gluten-free menu options are available.

Baksa Coffee & Tea, Santo Domingo

Photo: Baksa Coffee & Tea

Baksa Coffee & Tea

Baksa Coffee & Tea on Calle Frederico Geraldino, across from Subway. If you're traveling with a group, there's surely a tea drinker in it. This cafe serves a nice variety of black, green and fruit teas. They also serve Russian and Turkish coffee, in addition to Dominican brews. The cups are pure art and match the decor. Just be sure to get there when the swinging seats are available.


Our top food pick is the omelet with roasted vegetables - it goes well with everything.


Photo: Joshua Earle /

Casa Barista

Casa Barista on Calle Victor Garrido Puello across from the Lincoln Food Truck Park. These people visibly roast their own coffee beans inside the cafe, which has a beautiful modern setting. The menu borrows from traditional Dominican fare and is full of vegetarian and vegan options, too. There's also gluten-free ravioli with ricotta and porcini mushrooms. Don’t worry though, there’s meat on the menu too, and of course, a ton of brews.

Come to Santo Domingo and relax in the warm culture of people who are dedicated to coffee. If that describes you, too, consider trying a different cafe for breakfast or lunch everyday. Every cafe on this list offers a unique, delicious menu and a peek into the Santo Domingo coffee culture.


Buen 'provecho!

Written by G. Abdullah.


Published January 2021

Top things to see in the Dominican Republic