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All Inclusive Dining Guide at Riu Palace Bavaro

For many, all-inclusive is more about quantity of food than quality but I think it should be the other way around. The trick is finding a resort that believes in quality too. Knowing that food is important to my family when traveling, the folks at Sunwing Vacations suggested the Riu Hotel and Resorts for foodie families, including the Riu Palace Bavaro in Punta Cana.

You won’t be wanting for food and drink with the two buffets and 4 themed al-a-carte restaurants along with the Sports Bar, a lobby bar and a café coffee shop.

BREAKFAST

The main buffet, the Montecristo, is the largest of all the dining options and the only one offering both indoor and outdoor dining. We started most mornings here with a selection of hot and cold dishes. From eggs with a spicy salsa and grilled cheese fingers to waffles and an omelet station, each morning we were able to try something different.

Family Travel All Inclusive Punta Cana Riu Palance Bavaro Breakfast Buffet

My youngest loved the large fresh fruit selection and I always started my day with blended fruit. We were always greeted by our server and developed a fun rapport with her and her team.

Family Travel All Inclusive Punta Cana Riu Palance Bavaro staff image

LUNCH

For lunch we alternated between the Montecristo and the Taino buffet. If we had a morning pool day planned, the Taino was a perfect pick. Located right off the pool deck you can just toss on a cover-up and grab a table. Sometimes we would just grab a plate of fruit or chips and salsa to bring out to our pool lounges.

Family Travel All Inclusive Punta Cana Riu Palance Bavaro lunch Buffet image

DINNER

When it comes to dinner time more dining options become available and we took advantage of booking a table at one of the Riu Palace Bavaro’s four themed restaurants. I say four since the fifth restaurant, the Kullinarium, is reserved for adults only staying in a selection section of the resort.

I’ve outlined the four themed restaurants below in older of my family’s foodie preference:

La Bambola (Italian)

One of our favourite features about dining here was the starter. Instead of a shared appetizer, La Bambola offers a great antipasto salad bar before your meal. The trick is not filling up before your main course. If you happen to have a picky eater in your group that isn’t persuaded by any of the main dishes, the salad bar can be a perfect substitute.

Family Travel All Inclusive Punta Cana Riu Palance Bavaro Italian Restaurant image

Family Travel All Inclusive Punta Cana Riu Palance Bavaro Italian Antipasto Bar image

When it came to choosing our main dishes we all found something we to enjoy, like crepe lasagna, braised calamari, even rack of lamb. No surprise, dessert was our favourite including tiramisu, limoncello tart, and Nutella calzone.

Family Travel All Inclusive Punta Cana Riu Palance Bavaro Italian Dinner Dessert image

Family Travel All Inclusive Punta Cana Riu Palance Bavaro Italian Dessert image

La Bambola was indeed our favourite, so much so that we booked a second night.

Krystal (French)

Unlike the other restaurants we visited, the Krystal is designed to be more experimental, opening your taste buds to new dishes. The shared tapas to start certainly lived up to the “nouvelle cuisine” idea with stuffed briouat (a Morraccan based sweet puff pastry), foie gras (a product that I’m not a fan of due to its questionable background) and marinated salmon (the last one being my favourite).

Family Travel All Inclusive Punta Cana Riu Palance Bavaro Krystal French Dining image

Family Travel All Inclusive Punta Cana Riu Palance Bavaro Krystal Starters

The starter and main dishes didn’t seem that experimental to me but they were very well done. We tried squash soup, lobster risotto, curry lamb, beef tenderloin and even grilled duck to name just a few dishes.

Family Travel All Inclusive Punta Cana Riu Palance Bavaro Krystal French Food image

The desserts were a nice treat, especially the pineapple done three ways and the cinnamon coffee crème anglais with chocolate. If we had more nights to book, we would have planned a second dinner at the Krystal.

Family Travel All Inclusive Punta Cana Riu Palance Bavaro Krystal French Desserts image

Family Travel All Inclusive Punta Cana Riu Palance Bavaro Krystal French Desserts2 image

Geisha (Japanese)

After experiencing the Royalton Riviera Maya’s Japanese dining (the sushi bar was a favourite), the Geisha was the most anticipated restaurant on our list by my family.

Family Travel All Inclusive Punta Cana Riu Palance Royal Giesha Dining image

We loved the sushi platter offered at the start of the meal, giving everyone a taste of sushi and sashimi (a great way to introduce the kids to this type of food if they hadn’t tried it before). To be honest, we could have made a meal out of just the sushi platter.

Family Travel All Inclusive Punta Cana Riu Palance Royal Giesha Sushi Platter image

From the starter and main dishes we tried the ramen noodle bowl, Dashi soup (fish broth based), spring rolls, chicken satay, even tempura seafood and vegetables. Most dishes we enjoyed though the ramen noodles felt more like packed noodles and the tempura was a fried fish batter than traditional tempura, two easy changes that would have elevated the meal. I did like that sake was a beverage option, a nice meal addition.

Family Travel All Inclusive Punta Cana Riu Palance Royal Giesha Main Dishes Image

Family Travel All Inclusive Punta Cana Riu Palance Royal Giesha Springrolls

We were too full to sample any of the desserts.

Taino (Steakhouse)

Steakhouses never rate high on our list whenever we travel, often finding the meat very salty and fatty, so we didn’t have high expectations for the Taino when we booked our meal.

Family Travel All Inclusive Punta Cana Riu Palance Bavaro Steakhouse Image

I was pleasantly surprised by the meal though only two people order steak. We tried shrimp and chicken skewers, lobster tail and of course steak. The meat and seafood dishes were cooked well, not over cooked at all. The only disappointment was that the side in all cases came with fried potato wedges.

Family Travel All Inclusive Punta Cana Riu Palance Bavaro Tiano Steakhouse Food image

The assortment of a small dessert tray was a nice way to round out our meal. Add to that the view since this restaurant is located by the pool unlike all the other restaurants that are closer to the main building.

Family Travel All Inclusive Punta Cana Riu Palance Bavaro Tiano Steakhouse View image

Although we enjoyed the buffet dining at the Riu Palace Bavaro, it was a nice experience sitting down in a quieter, smaller space and being served. I share some tips for families opting to take advantage of the al-a-cart dining (a must) as well as a walkthrough of the various restaurants in the following video.

Along with the dining options mentioned above, you can also enjoy cocktails in the lobby bar and swim-up pool bar (pool drink service is amazing). The Sports Bar and room service operate 24-hours should you need something plus the café, across from the lobby bar, is a nice place to grab a specialty coffee and pastry.

Family Travel All Inclusive Punta Cana Riu Palance Royal Lobby Bar Image

Sunwing’s Riu Palace Bavaro certainly delivers on the 24-hour all-inclusive service when it comes to food and drink. The quality of food in the buffet and the al-a-carte restaurants was better quality than my expectations at all-inclusive resorts. I would certainly recommend foodie families book a night at the Krstal and La Bambola during their stay.

Are you a fan of all-inclusive resorts? Have you stayed a resort that really impressed you food quality wise?

About the Author:

Mom of three with a love of video games, bread, and children's books. As the Editor-in-Chief she writes about everything from family travel, products she loves, and the interesting experiment known as motherhood.

4 Comments

  1. Christine October 2, 2016 at 7:35 am - Reply

    Thanks for sharing!! 🙂

  2. Holly November 30, 2016 at 10:08 am - Reply

    Thanks for this. We will be there soon and I’m trying to put together some tips for my extended family travelling together so this has been very helpful, particularly the images. I keep hearing that the entertainment and activities either aren’t great, or are tough to take advantage of because the resort doesn’t provide much informationand/or there is a language barrier with staff. Any advice as to where I can get some info so we don’t miss out?

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