Lunch on the Beach:
One of our favorite things to do is eat lunch or dinner on the beach. There is nothing quite like the sound of the waves crashing, the salty breeze, and the feeling of sand under your toes. One of our favourite restaurants is called “Estrella del Mar”. It is a local tradition; the DR family run beach restaurant. Little more than a shack, this rustic restaurant is located on Costambar Beach (about 20-minutes northwest of Puerto Plata). There is a cooking area, little gift shop and white plastic tables and chairs on the sand. The structure ain’t much, but the food! – well that’s a different story. This restaurant specializes in fish, but also prepares excellent chicken and other dishes too.
The owner, Clara Guzman, operates the restaurant with her daughter and niece. When she was a child, her father used to milk cows in the area, and she would accompany him. Her history working on the the beach is long. Clara has been part of this restaurant for over 33-years – for over 20 of those years she also worked as a nurse in a local hospital! Busy may be her middle name (or the Spanish equivalent :)).
Clara says her favourite part of running a beach bum restaurant is the interesting, international crowd of people she meets each year. In the winter months her clientele are from all parts of Europe and North America. In the summer, Dominicans come from Santiago and other inland parts of the island for their summer vacation by the beach. She also loves to cook and thrives on giving tourists a taste of local fish like parrot, mero, red snapper, and more. The restaurant provides a nice living for her family, and they get to work together. Hours can be long, but the people are always interesting!
The local fish is caught along the coastline, although most just off the Cabarete coast. This is strange as Cabarete is 45 minutes away, but the Costamar and Maimon areas are very well known for their excellent fish dishes – obviously the locals chefs and restaurant owners have perfected the preparation of the freshest of fish. You can order your fish fried whole (it is the best in my opinion), or go the healthier route which is “a la plancha” or grilled. Other local dishes are ceviche, a local dish of marinated raw seafood typically in citrus juices; fried plantains or “tostones” (instead of french fries); rice with a lovely bean sauce; and the staple salad with vinegar dressing.