By Allison Tibaldi, Taking the Kids correspondent
Madeleine is a vegetarian inching towards becoming vegan. I am a bona fide foodie who is willing to try anything. If you’ve seen the Odd Couple on television, you get the picture.
Clearly, we have very different requirements when it comes to vacation eating. I am happy to report that we were both satisfied with the dining options we encountered.
It would be impossible to go hungry at the Grand Palladium Bávaro Suites Resort & Spa in Punta Cana. Besides free room service, the property offers plenty of menu options, including buffet and à la carte eateries. If you’ve got a craving, you can rest assured it will be satisfied. Of course, the fact that it’s an all-inclusive resort mean you don’t have to worry about your child ordering costly menu items that will break your budget.
Guests can take a global food tour and choose from Mexican, Asian, Italian, French, Mediterranean and even Indian cuisine. Specialized menus include vegetarian, kid and gluten-free options. This was excellent news for my daughter, who was able to sample a variety of meat-free options at every meal.
We indulged in the breakfast buffet early each morning. There were so many choices that even the most even finicky eater would find something. We both liked the selection of fruit and vegetable juices as well as the variety of sliced tropical fruits. The coffee was particularly good, accented with steamed milk. Waffles, pancakes, crepes, eggs and just-baked cakes were all fresh.
We hit the buffet at midday. We could have nibbled and noshed at the beach snack bar, but we decided to take a break from the heat and have a proper lunch.
The salad bar gave us dozens of healthy options to start our meal. For the main course, Madeleine enjoyed the Latin-style rice and beans while I went to town on the spicy chicken. There were even pig’s feet but I decided to stick with a less adventurous buffet offerings.
The dessert table beckoned, which says something as neither of us has a sweet tooth. We enjoyed the fruit tarts and decadent chocolate delights.
A Japanese Dinner at Sumptuori
We ate at a different restaurant each evening. We enjoyed the buffet at breakfast and lunch but I wanted a sit-down, served meal in the evening. If you choose to dine à la carte it’s advised to make reseravtions.
We reserved a table at Sumptuori which turned out to be highly entertaining, sort of like a live Japanese cooking show. If you’ve ever been to Benihana, it’s a similar concept.
We sat at group tables as our personable chef performed his magic tricks on a hot grill right before our eyes. Though chicken and beef were on the menu, the staff went out of their way to prepare a veggie-based dinner for Madeleine.
Out-of-this-World Indian Food
The next evening was our favorite dining experience, the Bhogali Restaurant. I was surprised to find an Indian eatery at an all-inclusive resort the Dominican Republic.
I did a bit of sleuthing and was able to find out that the restaurant is a response to the high number of South Asian travelers coming to Palladium Hotels & Resorts. A fair number of South Asian couples are having their weddings at the resort, bringing their large extended families with them.
The demand for Indian food prompted the Palladium chain to bring in Indian cuisine expert, Chef Siddhartha, to spearhead the menu at the resort’s Bhogali Restaurant. The Bhogali Restaurant is currently offered in Palladium Hotels & Resorts in Punta Cana and Jamaica. Chef Siddhartha also collaborates with Palladium’s wedding planners and couples to create catering menus for South Asian weddings.
Honestly, my expectations were low. Indian is a sophisticated cuisine that requires a delicate hand and a complex combination of spices.
We were wowed by both the food and the decor. The samosas, crispy fried turnovers filled with potatoes, were as light as a cloud. Mango lassi, a yogurt and fruit beverage, was refreshing. I had a flavorful salmon while Madeleine enjoyed couscous and curry. Service was attentive and the presentation was photo-worthy.
Perhaps you’re thinking Indian food is too spicy for your children? Not a problem; each Palladium restaurant has a children’s menu packed with kid-approved favorites so you may savor exotic cuisine while they stick to chicken fingers and pasta.
Food Allergy Card Program
Palladium is one of the few all-inclusive resort groups that caters to guests with food allergies. Chefs and food preparation staffs have been professionally trained in the preparation of dishes for gluten-free, type 2 Diabetes diets and seven other common allergy/special diets, including allergies to nuts, fruits and vegetables, seafood, eggs, dairy and lactose, fish and monosodium glutamate. Working in collaboration with professional dieticians, the chefs have created allergy compliant recipes so they can offer guests with various food allergies a wide array of carefully prepared gourmet options. Kids on gluten-free diets will especially appreciate being able to enjoy eating pasta and pizza. Whatever dietary allergy you or your child might have will be given the utmost attention.