At a Glance:
La Cantina is the newest restaurant in Cabarete, it just opened its doors on the 22nd.
Just like the Beligum Bakery, this restaurant has its dining area essentially set up on a strip mall parking lot; Cabarete has a strange set up.
But at night, when La Cantina is open, the dark night air adds a bit more of a private feel. The candles on the tables add a romantic touch and along with the fountain and its calming melody, you really tend to forget you’re on a parking lot pretty fast. You’re here to enjoy a savoury dinner under the star lit sky!
As far as the dress code goes, no one here will judge you. Sure, if you’re on you way to a fancy event and you’re dressed to the nines you’re bound to get compliments, but if you show up in your PJs (as Gabriel did last night) you WILL get exactly the same service, and the clientele won’t do a double take either.
Because La Catina is essentially an extension of Gordito’s (which we’ll talk about in greater detail at later date) it’s an extension of home. You’re always welcome here, in any state.
We had the Spinach and Mango Salad and the Yucatan Chicken, and they were both absolutely delicious. Succulent I might say, in fact.
It’s brand new and it was our first time there, so we can’t speak for everything on the menu…. Actually, yes we can. We know full well from eating at Gordito’s up to 5 times a week that these restaurant owners serve up quality, consistently, so it was really no surprise when the food met our expectations.
But Gordito’s is fast-food-like burritos and the like, and this is the fine-dining version. It did more than meet our expectations, it way exceeded them.
The food here is subtle and sumptuous.
Gordito’s is good, yes, it will feed you everyday without you getting sick of it, but La Cantina’s got class. Sure it’s a little pricier (our meal came out to RD$650, about $15, Gordito’s is approximately half) but you’ll be getting something really special and lickin’ your chops all night.
The Staff :
This is the best part actually, so we saved it for last. The cherry on top, if you will.
The Gordito’s/La Cantina Owners are some of the best people we know, period, and they do a great job running their restaurants.
Joe is the type of guy to stop whatever he’s doing to open and close the doors for his customers, and Diedre gladly gives out food to the needy who come and ask her nicely as opposed to begging and bugging her clients. They hire competent local staff and train them well.
They have servers at La Cantina, but Joe and Diedre are far from the absent owners. We were served by Joe himself , which is not a rare occurrence, and he even got us our own private little table on the other side of the fountain. (He also was on his way to check on a us a couple of times, but decided against it, realizing we were having a moment… Thanks Joe!)
This is simply really personal really great service. If you come this year, they’ll probably remember your name next year.
Gabriel said to me last night as Joe was walking away to get our check ” I wonder if he knows what a great person and business man he is.” I really agree. They’re not just restaurant owners, they make the Cabarete community more special because of their presence.
La Cantina might be new, but it feels established. It’s fine dining without the pretence.It’s a your home cooked meal away from home. And it’s delicious.
Did we mention it’s delicious?
UPDATE** As far as we know this restaurant is no longer open. **UPDATE