If you're vegan, vegetarian or just someone who's curious and wants to try new and different foods, then you should definitely visit the small vegan restaurant AmaLuna next time you're in Punta Cana.
There's a lot of love in this small restaurant, which is tucked away in the Heart of Bavaro on Calle Aida Cartagena Portalatin, just off the main road of Avenida Alemania. There's love for food, the planet, animals, and, of course, people - because people do, after all, come first here.
When you go to AmaLuna, don't expect anything fancy. The place is very low key. Tables are spread out in a small, tropical garden and meals are served al fresco. It's a really nice and cozy ambiance - away from the hustle and bustle of tourism and the endless all-you-can-eat buffets that are served on a daily basis at any of the big all-inclusive restaurants that make up a large part of this destination.
A lot of tourists, who travel to Punta Cana for vacation, end up only eating the food at their resort, which is a shame. And even though there are several resorts just a few minutes' walk from the restaurant, it's probably safe to say that only a very small handful ever make it to AmaLuna. Guests are more likely to be young(er) travelers staying in one of the nearby hostels, B&Bs or vacation rentals, expats and other locals from the area.
You certainly don't have to be vegan to enjoy a meal at this restaurant. In fact, you may only need to be curious and open-minded enough to want to try foods that you've never tried before. Sure, you can go to any of the other local restaurants in the area that offer international cuisine, Italian food, Indian food, etc., but you've probably already been there before. If not at any of these particular restaurants in this exact place, then certainly in other parts of the world. You already know what Italian food is and how a traditional lasagna or a spaghetti carbonara tastes like. Despite slight variations, it's pretty much the same, no matter where you go. So, why not be adventurous and try something completely new that you've never tried before? You're already on vacation so... why not?
The menu at AmaLuna is very welcoming and many of the items will appear familiar to you. The restaurant serves "ordinary" and well-known dishes such as pasta & pizza, lasagna, cannelloni, and ravioli - only vegan style, i.e., without any meat or dairy products. Then, there is a variety of plant-based burgers that you could try, like the "Insanity Mind-Blowing Burger", a meat burger with cheddar cheese, cream cheese, crunchy vegetables, bacon, caramelized onions and rosemary - served with paprika fried potatoes and sriracha mayo. Just remember that the ingredients aren't like you'd expect because they're made entirely without animal products.
The menu also includes different Buddha Bowls, which have become such a trend, especially among the Millennials. Try the "Vegan Power Buddha Bowl" with caprese salad skewer, quinoa with roasted vegetables, crispy baked lemongrass and ginger tofu, fresh vegetables, beetroot humus, goji berries, sprouts and seeds.
On the drink's menu, you'll find items like organic red/white wine, smoothies, iced tea and cocktails. How about a refreshingly cold smoothie with a kick that has mango, passion fruit, ginger, chia seeds and mint? Or a smoothie with banana, ginger, passion fruit, coconut, agave syrup, turmeric and vanilla? Sounds pretty good...!
AmaLuna Restaurant is open daily, except Sundays, from 11:00 am until 2:00 pm (opening hours are valid until Dec. 15, 2019) and for private events in the evening. Take out is also available and all purchases must be paid for in cash.
Photo credit: Amaluna Vegan Restaurant & Lab.
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