The Ethereal Cave Dining Experience In The Dominican Republic

The idea of dining in a cave may sound fantastical, but there's something truly primal about it. After all, according to History, from about 2.5 million years ago, early humans lived and ate in caves. We often refer to our prehistoric ancestors as "cavemen" for a reason.

Cave dining is a time-honored tradition common to everyone's forebears, and the Dominican Republic is no exception. The Pomier Caves, in what is now San Cristobal, were discovered by indigenous peoples — the Igneri, Carib, and Taino — an estimated 2,000 years ago, per Visit Dominican Republic. While we can't say for certain that they ate food there, we can absolutely say they left behind cave art depicting sources of food, like birds and fish. More to the point, the ancient inhabitants made micro basins in the caves to hold water for agricultural purposes (even if produce wasn't grown there).

Fast forward to today, and the Dominican Republic's cuisine is more modernized. Presently, the country enjoys food that's a combination of African and Spanish influence built upon Taino traditions. Using items like avocado, banana, cocoa, rice, sweet potato, and yuca (to yucca), many Dominicans make dishes like casabe, mangú, and sancocho.

Given all of this historical context, you can see why some people might want to try fine dining in a cave — and why exclude the Dominican Republic from possible locales, considering how rich its culinary history is? Now, one Dominican resort is offering its guests that very opportunity.

Eden Roc's Cave of Love

Eden Roc at Cap Cana is a luxurious hotel that allows patrons to experience a romantic, subterranean dinner. This meal includes four courses and a bottle of wine, provided via private service, along with a bouquet of roses and a musical performance from a saxophonist, violinist, or a "romantic trio" (three vocalist-guitarists singing and playing rhythmic love songs). All for the not-so-low price of $1,200 — tax not included.

After the initial spelunking from the base of a 65-foot-tall cliff, visitors discover a lush grotto, its greenery tinged purple by lights (via Food & Wine). A candlelit deck holds the table where dinner is served. Fireflies and swallows wander in and out, providing an extra sense of liveliness to the meal. The atmosphere sure sounds lovely — maybe that's where they got the idea for the restaurant's name!

The wine is Moët & Chandon. Starters include crudo de chillo, parmigiana med, vitello tonnato, and more. Then, the raw course has ceviche, tuna tartar with caviar, or an assorted roll and sushi platter as options. For the main course, diners can choose from cauliflower and tomato, miches red snapper, suckling pig, and more. Finally, dessert options include chocolate mousse, fruit mango cake, lemon pie, Oreo cheesecake, and pineapple baked alaska for two. Eating underground certainly does sound odd, but sometimes, you just need to dig a little deep to find truly unique food service ambiance.