Cabarete Eats: Ali’s Surf Camp
Find out Ali’s Surf Camps menu, opening times and locations
Under a huge cana roof, directly on the edge of El Choco National Park’s lagoon, hidden in the back of Ali’s Surf Camp is one of the most suggested restaurants in Cabarete. The name is Ali’s Restaurant believe it or not. It’s pretty unassuming when you first walk in past the 5 or 10 dogs sprawled across the path that leads to the restaurant. You might not even know if you are in the right place. Once you see the lighted tower to the right, which is actually stacked full of rooms for the hostel, you will be faced with 2 choices as you meet a fork in the path: left onto a narrow bridge that takes you out onto a deck full of tables on the lagoon or right where you will have to duck under low-hanging cana to find a seat. Either choice will lead you to a meal that will satisfy your belly just as well as your soul.
Open from 7:30am to 10:30pm 7 days a week, Ali’s is definitely best known for their dinner menu, but serves breakfast and lunch, too. During the day the restaurant is mostly occupied by people staying in the hostel. But come 7:30pm the shack springs to life with people trickling in from all over town. We always like to arrive a little early because during the summer the sunset can be amazing over the lagoon.
As for the menu, you will be asked to look at the various chalk boards that surround the room. It seems that there is no theme to the cuisine presented other than every entree comes with a salad and your choice of potato, rice or veggies. Just like most of the regulars patrons will admit, I am a sucker for the XL Churrasco Steak which has seemingly made Ali’s famous worldwide. It has been marinated in some sort of brown sauce that must be made in heaven. Dipping my sauce covered churrasco in the generous side of yogurt sauce that also comes on the plate has become one of my favorite pastimes. That being said, sometimes I like to switch it up by stuffing my face with either the Thai Chicken or Camarones (shrimp soaking in a cream sauce that must have been sent from heaven). Other noms include items such as BBQ ribs, chicken, and snapper. There is also a basic selection of beer and spirits to wash it all down.
The service is super friendly, but be prepared if you are starving…it could take a while to get your food. Mostly because the place is usually slammed, but that just speaks to the yumminess of the food. People are always willing to wait for yummy food! One other thing we feel necessary to tell you: mosquito spray is a must. Because of the lagoon, there is all sorts of wildlife chirping and flying around and that can include mosquitoes. Again this is nothing that should deter you from dining with Ali. We just chalk it up to tropical ambiance!