Where to go; Dominican food in Boston

By Shannon Garrido, Editor-in-chief

Although Boston provides a diverse and eclectic selection of authentic food from all around the world, Dominicans have a pretty heavy presence in the local cuisine. Dominicans are one of the largest immigrant groups in Boston, and our rich, loud and fabulous culture leaves (literally) no crumbs. If you are a Dominican in Boston, like me, longing for that Caribbean sun, sometimes what brings us back home is the reminder that our dishes and cultures can be found elsewhere. So if you are new to the city and want to get to know this giant diaspora a little better, or simply looking for good food, these are the places to go. 

Happy feasting, and buen provecho!


Located on 156 Blue Hill Avenue, Merengue is the perfect place to sit and enjoy colorful Caribbean art, eclectic decorations—which includes a motorcycle hanging above the bar—and an extensive menu for all hours of the day. Their menu includes the classics, from Boca Chica style fish to fried pork belly, or chicharron. All of the options can be enjoyed with a side of fried plantain, or tostones, beef patties, and Presidente, a staple Dominican beer. Their seafood selection will have you staring at the menu for hours not knowing where to start—I suggest the lobster gumbo and the grilled seafood feast, which can be a shared dish as well.  

However, in a homesick moment of anticipation, I wanted to order Sancocho, a traditional stew made from a variety of meats and root vegetables, but was disappointed to find out they don’t have it on their menu. Their dessert and drinks menu, however, make up for it with tastes that transport you right back to the country of origin. Their tres lechesa sponge cake soaked in three kinds of milk:  evaporated, condensed, and whole milk—is absolutely delectable, and their drinks reflect many of the iconic mixes that can be found in what is referred to as the colonial zone in the Dominican Republic’s major city. Although most of the cocktails encompass your basic menu, from margs to mojitos, Merengue uses classic Dominican ingredients like passion fruit guava and coffee liquor. However, they really send you on a first class ticket back to the motherland with their Morir Soñando, which translates to “dying while dreaming.” This is a stable Dominican drink, made up of mostly orange juice, evaporated milk and rum, presented with a slice of orange. 

Merengue also offers catering services for all occasions, including but not limited to bar services, live cooking with paella station, and a tapas station. Do not attempt to order delivery if you are downtown—however, anyone looking for a fun and cheap date location or to just get out of the downtown area, I can’t recommend this restaurant enough.

Santo Domingo Restaurant

If you are looking to gorge on savory food while watching a movie with friends, or you find yourself in Dorchester near the JFK library, grab a bite to eat at Santo Domingo Restaurant. 

Named after the Dominican Republic’s capital city, Santo Domingo Restaurant mirrors the typical buffet-style corner store located at 179 Washington St. They provide a variety of meats including roasted pork shoulder—which I highly recommend—rice beans, stuffed patties, and a myriad of traditional desserts. If you are looking to feed a bigger group, you can’t go wrong with chicharron, tostones, or mofongo, which is a plantain and meat medley that will leave you ripping open the buttons of your jeans. This is also one of the only restaurants that provides a traditional Dominican breakfast, including fried cheese, salami, sunny side eggs and a lot of mashed plantain. 

If I were to recommend one dish, it would be a big juicy plate of white rice, bean, and pollo guisado, also known as stew chicken. The chicken is cooked to perfection, and paired with a traditional sazón that goes perfectly with the plain rice and beans. Unfortunately, my search for the perfect sancocho in Boston once again failed as Santo Domingo, which provides a more grab-and-go service, does not have it on their menu. Nevertheless, if comfort takeout is what you are looking for, then Santo Domingo Restaurant is the way to go. 

La Parada Dominican Kitchen

La Parada, located at 3094 Washington St., has a less diverse menu than the previously mentioned, but is the only Dominican restaurant that offers sancocho. Although nothing can ease the homesick itch to eat the delicious, meaty stew straight from a scalding pot in my kitchen, La Parada comes close. Even though they only incorporate beef for the meat portion of the stew, ignoring the pork and chicken, the stew feels and tastes almost authentic. From the array of vegetables, potatoes, and squash to the perfect bowl of moist rice to pair it with, La Parada helped ease my heart yearning for comfort whilst filling my roommate’s stomach. 

Similar to Santo Domingo Restaurant, La Parada is mostly a buffet style establishment for customers to grab their meals and go. However, their menu is more affordable and provides an extensive list of traditional soups that are perfect for a cold day. La Parada also has a large selection of typical Dominican breakfast, available at specific hours and perfect for commuters or locals looking for a quick and delicious breakfast. 

Guira & Tambora

I saved the best for last: Guira & Tambora is my personal favorite amongst this list. This was the first Dominican restaurant I tried when I first moved to the city, and they do not disappoint. Located at 4014 Washington St., Roslindale, the atmosphere is the perfect combination of cool, calm, and collected. There is a patio space, with umbrellas and couches, perfect to grab a quick bite and a drink with a colleague. Inside, the energy is just as laid back, although the music is impeccable, and every dish is the closest thing to authentic I have experienced. Once I realized the meat just fell off the bone, I knew I came to the right place. My favorite dish has to be their mofongo with pork belly, which is a plantain based dish, that if not cooked correctly can become very dry and overbearing. Guira & Tambora’s version is perfectly moist and seasoned with a side of salami and passion fruit.