Hard Rock Punta Cana Review – The Food!

I hope everyone had a great weekend! Mine was lazy and wonderful. I checked things off my to-do list for our upcoming trip to Mexico and got some much-needed sleep. It was heaven and now I’m ready to jump back in time to part two of our trip to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic and specifically about the resort we chose, the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. Last time I introduced you to the resort and our hotel room. If you missed it, check that post out here. This time is all about the FOOD! 

As I mentioned before, the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Punta Cana has nine restaurants and 24-hour room service at no extra charge. They also offer dinner at “Simon Mansion,” which is a dinner put on by Chef Kerry Simon. It’s extra and ultra-fancy, but we opted not to try it during this trip. Frankly, I read mixed reviews on it and with nine restaurants, we thought there was plenty to try that we had already paid for. 

There is a small café, Caffeto, that serves coffee, snacks, breakfast, lunch and cocktails and basically traditional American food you’d find at a Hard Rock Cafe; an Italian restaurant, Ciao; a true Brazilian restaurant that serves meat hand-cut at your table from huge metal skewers (where we also ate a breakfast buffet everyday… no skewers of meat in the AM, though) called Ipanema (ee-puh-knee-ma if you’re like me before we went and have no idea how to say that); Mexican cuisine at Los Gallos; Mediterranean salads and brick oven pizza at Pizzeto; a huge buffet restaurant called The Market; a true Americanized steakhouse called Toro that also served a traditional breakfast and lunch buffet; and finally, the teppanyaki/hibachi grill that also served sushi or traditional Chinese food called Zen

If you’re counting those restaurants, yes…I left one off. Here’s a short side story: my husband and I both love seafood—he a little more than I, but nevertheless, we always look forward to eating seafood on vacation! About a month to a month-and-a-half before we were set to head out to HRHPC, the thatched roof of the Caribbean/seafood restaurant on the property, Isla, caught on fire! We were a little disappointed, but figured it wouldn’t be too difficult to find seafood on the menu at the other restaurants. 

Isla on Fire in 2014 - Pic from here.
We never ate at The Market—we usually either had room service, food by the pool or Pizzeto for lunch and none of the restaurants require dinner reservations, so we always tried a specialty restaurant for dinner. With that being said, there was always quite a few people in The Market and the buffets were very big! 

We only tried Caffeto once for lunch. It’s basically a Hard Rock Cafe within the resort. There were burgers, buffalo chicken wraps, appetizer samplers, etc. The food was good and the drinks were even better. This one was also open 24 hours a day. 

The Italian restaurant, Ciao, was the worst place we had eaten at this resort. The food was bland and barely even resembled Italian food, unfortunately. However the restaurant itself is really cool and has an enormous wine selection that is made part of the décor. Our service was impeccable. We actually ended up leaving and getting room service after this dinner. 

Wine Selection at Ciao
Ipanema was really good. This was my first experience at a Brazilian restaurant and it didn’t disappoint. I was full before I got to try all of the different meats, but the service was great and the drinks and food were amazing. 

Dinner at Ipanema
Los Gallos was very, very cool! It was basically an upscale Mexican restaurant. There was a server mixing fresh margaritas on a cart that he pushed around the room and the food was the best Mexican food I’ve ever eaten. There was also a Mariachi band and the décor was just gorgeous. (Are you sensing a theme? Love, love, LOVE this resort!) 

I’ve kind of mentioned Pizzeto, but this place was great for lunch. It was nice to come in from the pool and have a sit-down lunch. They had 10 or so pizzas to pick from, a few Mediterranean salads, and breadsticks and marinara sauce on the table. I believe we ate here for lunch 3-4 days. They also (like everywhere) have a full bar and the wine was great with the brick oven pizza. 

Our top two restaurants were Zen and Toro. Zen is your typical hibachi restaurant and experience and was as good, if not better, than any hibachi I’ve had anywhere. The “show” at the grill was entertaining and we got sushi as an appetizer. I was happy with that, because when you go to Zen you tell the waitress whether you want to eat at the grill, have sushi at the sushi bar, or eat traditional Chinese food at a table. I wanted sushi, but Jason isn’t that big of a sushi guy, so we picked hibachi (which I love, of course). It was nice to get to have a little of both.



Toro, however, was a.ma.zing. Jason and I have both frequently told friends that if our server had brought us a check at the end of the night and each of our dinners cost $50 a plate, we wouldn’t have even blinked—that’s how good it was. We loved Toro so much, we ate dinner here twice during our stay. The steaks were tender, the steak butter was awesome, the appetizers were good, the wine pairings were even better. Can you tell we liked it? If we come back, I may eat dinner here every night. Yum.

Dinner the First Night at Toro
We also got room service a few times throughout our stay and it was good. It was typical Hard Rock Café-type food like chicken tenders, burgers, pizza, cheese fries, etc., and was perfect after a long day out on the water or after a nightly show. It wasn’t the best of any food I’ve tried here, but it was definitely good for room service.

In addition to the restaurants, HRHPC has 19 bars and lounges all over the property (YES! 19!). If you couldn’t find a place to grab a drink, you were either blind or had already had too much ;) 

Stay tuned to hear all about the pools and things to do on the resort! If you missed it, check out my post on the check-in process and our room here. 

Have a great week!

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