Two weeks ago, I was invited to visit the stunning Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. I could go into great detail on the family-friendly atmosphere and dozens of activities provided for individuals of all ages. BUT, apart from the beautiful beach, 13 pools, casino, nightclub, and impeccable all-inclusive service provided by the staff.
The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana is also known for its nine, yes, you read correctly, nine restaurants throughout the property, ranging from super casual quick bistros for lunch to elegant and romantic sit-down restaurants for dinner.
For the sake of this article, I won’t be going into great detail on ALL nine restaurants in the resort. I didn’t even have enough time in the day to visit all nine during my stay because there are just so many options for guests. That and the fact I was sitting poolside for more than half the day, but that’s irrelevant.
The one restaurant I want to highlight is their latest concept, The Market Food Hall. The first of its kind in the Dominican Republic, the Market Food Hall reflects the stunning tropical environment that the Dominican Republic offers. The restaurant is visually spectacular day and night with hanging tropical gardens throughout and art provided by local Dominican artists.
It feels like you are sitting in the heart of a lush greenhouse, but chic modern interior details accompany it.
However, what makes the new Market Food Hall so unique is the cuisine. The menu is designed to take guests on a culinary journey across the globe and spotlights a range of international street foods and iconic dishes. All of which contain locally sourced ingredients and are prepared fresh each day.
The menu consists of several iconic dishes from several culinary meccas throughout the world. The Market Food Hall offers a New Orleans-style French market, a Mexican Mercado, a Thailand market, an Italian Mercato from Rome, a Spanish Boqueria with tapas, and desserts to accompany each of the cities provided.
I wish I had more time to eat dinner there to try more dishes. But, from what I gathered from the tables surrounding me, there is something for every guest to enjoy.
Granted, the menu is ever-changing based upon the seasonal local ingredients in the area. I started the meal with the steamed pork bao buns from Thailand. If you don’t know what “bao” is, it’s basically steamed dumplings wrapped in “mantou,” which is similar to white bread dough you bake it. You just pick up the bao buns and enjoy!
I then moved onto the main course and had the strawberry risotto from the Italian portion of the menu. I have never in my life had strawberry risotto because it’s usually accompanied by some sort of protein like salmon, shrimp, etc. But to have freshly cut strawberries on top of creamy risotto, lord, it was AMAZING.
I accompanied the meal with their Tuesday featured craft cocktail, the “La Fragaria” martini. It was tequila with strawberry and rosemary syrup and a splash of lemon juice. It was the perfect combination.
My guest had the roasted and smoked suckling pig from the New Orleans section. The roasted and crunchy pork was absolutely delicious, accompanied by the Sangria de España cocktail.
I finished the meal with a delicious tiramisu from the Roman market, and like everything else, it was super fresh and yummy!
But, the most critical thing I want to point out about The Market Food Hall is not the food but the educational aspect behind each dish. I’m a history nerd and enjoy a random documentary here and there. What I loved and respected the most out of this menu was the paragraph that started each page.
The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana didn’t just want to combine random dishes and culinary meccas into one location. It is really meant to educate us all on one of the most critical aspects of every culture, the markets themselves.
Markets throughout history have always been a center of commerce, cooperation, and collaboration regardless of nationality, religious preference, or ethnicity. The Market Food Hall celebrates this concept and, like its menu, is a center of cooperation and culinary celebration.
I want to thank everyone at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana for a fantastic experience! I will certainly be back anytime I need a relaxing vacation.
For anyone looking for a family-friendly and/or all-inclusive resort experience, you must add the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino to your itinerary. I can guarantee you will not want to leave the Dominican Republics’ stunning beaches, beautiful natural scenery, and delicious cuisine! Cheers.
For more information on The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana, please visit https://www.hardrockhotels.com/punta-cana/