Las Terrenas’ considerable European expat community has injected international flavor into the local dining scene over the last two decades. The Pueblo de los Pescadores (Fishermen’s Village), a row of casitas that once housed fishermen, is now a cluster of charming restaurants and bars a stone’s throw from the water’s edge; most boast beachfront open-air decks. Here, try the Spanish-influenced seafood, including paella and garlic shrimp, at El Cayuco (809-240-6885); the fish-heavy French fare, like squid à la provençale, at romantic La Terrasse (809-240-6730); or the excellent thin-crust pizza at Pizza Playa (809-240-6399).
Another testament to the expat scene is French-owned bakery El Pan de Antes (Plaza Kanesh on Calle Carmen; 809-994-3282), near the center of town. Stop by for breakfast and choose from such goodies as fresh croissants, pain au chocolat, and ham-and-cheese quiche, chased down with Dominican coffee.
One of the Dominican dishes for which the Samaná Peninsula is known is seafood prepared con coco, in a flavorful sauce of tomato, garlic, and coconut milk. You’ll find it on some of the European menus, but the same fish will be much cheaper (say, $7 rather than $11) at more bare-bones local restaurants, like Comedor los Chichos (Calle Carmen, no phone).