Whenever I plan my trips, I always miss researching about food. So when I went to El Nido with J and Janet, I just asked for recommendations from reliable Pinoy Travel Blogger friends.
Thanks to Nina of Justwandering.org and Eskapo’s Dong Ho who both recommended Squido’s. Dom added that we should also try Art Cafe.
We also had our own discoveries. Let’s start with Sea Slugs, which was recommended by Kuya Rod, the owner of Tay Miloy’s Inn.
DINNER: Winner ambiance at Sea Slugs
Darkness filled the sky with the moon and myriad of stars twinkling in the night. The shore in front of the Sea Slug Bar and Restaurant turned into a romantic ambiance with the silhouette of the Cadlao Island in the backdrop. Check out this photo of a “soon-to-be” couple? hehe.
The local musician played acoustics while diners eat to their heart’s content. This was the best dining experience that I had in El Nido not only because of the food but also because of the surroundings that we had while we were eating.
We ordered sinigang na hipon and calamares. The meal was really good. But I learned that food’s not cheap in El Nido. Maybe, it’s because of the influx of foreigners. We divided the total cost of the food to the three of us. It costs Php 170 per meal. Yes, be prepared to pay for about Php 150-200 per meal in El Nido.
DINNER: Great tasting food at ART CAFE
We asked locals for directions just to reach Art Cafe. It’s located at Serena St., one of the narrow streets near the beach front.
Most of the diners in Art Cafe remove their footwear before going up. It was only when we were seated that we noticed that we didn’t remove ours while the others, mostly foreigners, were barefoot.
Art Cafe is a wifi-zone area. Apparently, when we were there, the wifi’s not working. We ordered fish and chips and pinakbet.
PROs: Vegetables were half-cooked. And according to my mom, vegetables should really be half-cooked so that the nutrients would remain. The serving was only good for two people. Since we were three, we tried to divide it equally.
The breaded dory fish and fries were fine. It can be good for three persons.
CONS: When the bill arrived, I saw that the meal that we had was expensive.This was the most expensive dining that we had. Each of us shelled out Php 200.00.
DINNER: Squidoholic at SQUIDO’s
Squido’s can be easily found at the corner of Abdulla St. and M.Quezon, the perpendicular road from the Municipal Hall. Squido’s a small restaurant decorated with bamboo on its walls. Most of the diners during that time were foreigners. The locals were really outnumbered. Derived from its name, I guess squid was their specialty. Hence, we ordered grilled squid and calamares.
The grilled squid can be sliced easily. It’s not like rubber which would make your teeth rumble. It can be easily chewed. Yum!
BREAKFAST: Premium ingredients and large servings at La Chupetta
La Chupetta, which is located at M.Quezon St., is the only one open at 6:30 am. The staff gladly welcomed us to sit while we wait for our orders to be cooked. Though she was alone, she got our orders and cooked them. She then called a staff to assist her in cooking our meals. Our orders: Tapsilog and Banana Pancakes.
PROS: Premium beef were thickly cut and fried. The serving was large compared to ordinary tapsilog. There were also two eggs served with the garlic rice and beef.
CONS: The meal costs Php 150.00 and drink wass not included. But I guess it’s because of the premium beef used.
BREAKFAST: Budget meal at IBR
We were supposed to eat here on our first day in El Nido but the staff said that the chef has not arrived yet. We returned to this small restaurant at around 7 am the next day. I still ordered Tapsilog. Why? I want to compare the tastes. haha I love Tapsi.
PROs: Among all the restaurants that we’ve eaten, IBR’s meal prices were the cheapest. It fitted the budget. The Tapsilog costs Php 75.00 and a cup of coffee was just Php 15.00. The taste was perfect. The beef was marinated in vinegar. It’s the Pinoy style of Tapsilog.
CONS: The downside of the price was the small serving of the beef. Nonetheless the egg compensated for it. The beef was not as tender and easy to chew too.
BREAKFAST: Carabao Lounge
We passed by Carabao Lounge while familiarizing ourselves with El Nido. Carabao Lounge, located in the farther area of M.Quezon St., has a nice looking establishment outside. It has a touch of native architecture embellished with wooden furniture.
However, during the time that we were there. The electricity went off already. I ordered orange juice and it was not cold. I asked for an ice but they don’t have any. I still ordered Tapsilog. This time, their serving includes fruits and drink. It costs Php 160.00.
I was happy with only the fruits but not the whole meal. Janet wasn’t happy either with the taste of the tapa.
Would I recommend this? Not really. You would only eat here if your lodge or inn is near this place. Ours was far from this place but the nice ambiance tricked me. Oh well, too much for the ambiance. haha
In terms of food, there was no remarkable restaurant that would make me come back for more unlike in Coron’s Coron Bistro. We even wanted to take home their pizza. Unfortunately, they didn’t have the packaging for it.
Nonetheless, I had fun during our picnic lunch meals in the islands. Seafood and grilled pork lunch are included in the island hopping tours of El Nido.