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Despite being an island, the Dominican Republic isn’t exactly famous for it’s great quality seafood – with most Dominicans preferring to eat chicken or beef. Sadly this means that good quality, fresh seafood is not exactly easy to find and is why every once in a while a visit to Mare Nostrum in Bayahibe is definitely worth the drive!
Mare Nostrum is not exactly a well-kept secret, despite not being in Casa de Campo or even La Romana it is nevertheless a popular and well-known restaurant amongst Casa de Campo villa owners, so when owner, Enrica Tonetti invited us to do a ‘Casa de Campo’ review, we didn’t hesitate to say ‘yes please’ or even ‘si, per favore.’
Mare Nostrum is located in Bayahibe, a fishing village, which many guide books label as ‘sleepy’, but is actually anything but ‘sleepy’ – in the day it is bustling with tourists from nearby all-inclusive hotels, and fisherman making a living from the sea, whilst in the evening it comes alive, as it’s cute seaside bars and restaurants fill up with tourists and locals all out to have a good time. Mare Nostrum is literally metres away from the waters edge, the fisherman’s ‘catch of the day’ arrives by boat and within a few steps is taken directly into Mare Nostrum’s kitchen to be served as your dinner – it doesn’t get much fresher than that!
This little restaurant (which is up the stairs), is essentially set on a wooden balcony over looking the sea, from where you can enjoy Bayahibe’s famous sunsets – it’s small with only space for about 25 people, but it doesn’t feel crowded, the atmosphere is friendly, relaxed and depending on who you are with, romantic.
Prepare yourself for a journey through a seafood feast……this is what we tried during our review:
Lambi a la Vinagretta/Conch Salad in a Vinagrette sauce: RD$350
Refreshing. This dish was light, delicious and the conch was nice and tender, with just a very light seafood flavor, bursting with all the flavors you would want!!
Ensalada de Mar/Seafood Salad: RD$350
This bountiful seafood medley was more seafood than salad! With fisherman reeling in their catch right below us, it was easy to imagine all the ingredients had been caught fresh that afternoon – it certainly tasted that way!
Ravioli de Langosta/Lobster Ravioli: RD$650
Served in a creamy sauce with shrimp, clams and fresh tomato this dish was different and delicious. The pasta was expertly cooked (very important) and the ravioli stuffed with lobster had a smooth texture and delicate flavor, the sauce was delicious – surprisingly light and creamy, while not being over powering, therein allowing the flavors of the seafood to really shine.
Mare e Monti con setas porcino/mushroom and shrimp risotto: RD$500
Delicious, we all loved this well crafted risotto. The arborio rice was cooked just right, bursting with the flavor of porccini mushroom. Accentuated by fresh shrimp and cooked with good Italian extra virgin olive oil, this hearty dish would make an Italian proud.
Mare Nostrum Al Cartoccio/Seafood and Lobster Pasta: RD$700
This is Mare Nostrum’s signature dish, delicious garlic pasta with fresh lobster, clams and fish – served in a steaming bag of foil, thereby ensuring a hot, al-dente pasta, whose bouquet could tame Poseidon himself.
Filete de pescado al cartoccio/fresh fillet of fish: RD$650
A white fish (catch of the day) steamed in foil with fresh tomatoes, vegetables, olives, clams and shrimp, a healthy light and flavorful dish and the fish itself was very tender. The delicate flavors enchant the taste buds and please the palette.
Filete de pescado a la breton/Fresh Fish Fillet served in a cream sauce with mushrooms and shrimps: RD$500
My favorite dish of the evening, this fish dish was far more robust with flavor. A creamy mushroom sauce was playfully and masterfully paired with fresh fish and a lovely courgette tempura. Yummy!
In conclusion: we liked it. A lot. The food is good, tasty and authentic, the portions are generous without being overwhelming, the service is attentive, the location is fantastic and best of all the seafood is fresh! Oh and the prices are good!
Here are a few more photos of the evening:
1 Playa de Bayahibe
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NOTE: As Casa de Campo Living we were invited to do this review, so whilst we expect that the standard of food we experienced is representative of what is normally served in Mare Nostrum, this may not be the case. If you have been to Mare Nostrum – please leave a comment below to tell us (and other readers) how it was so we can have a more rounded review!
Rebecca Hughes, Editorial and Events Marketing
TEL: 809-523-2045 CEL: 809-949-8906 (evenings and weekends)
Altos de Chavón, Casa de Campo
This article was produced exclusively for www.casadecampoliving.com