With my job as an Events and PR Consultant, a writer and a part-time teacher, I’ve been to places. My experience repertoire is so rich I could talk all day about all the adventures and misadventures I have since I left college. This is why I came up with a blog series which I will call “Best of the Best”. It will contain my personal “bests” in all the categories that come to my mind. For the first installment of this project, I will talk about food. I know. It’s not surprising.
Now, some of you may or may not agree with my picks. We can agree to disagree, or you can start a debate with me via my comment box. Warning: the latter could be wounding to your self esteem since
1. I am a very competitive debater. Ask my mom about all the tournaments I’ve had.
2. This list is based on opinion. The debate is over. I win and thank you for your time. Go eat some oreos or choke your neighbor if that makes you feel better.
Anyways, people have been suffocating Instagram with food from all known and lesser known places but I’ve cut down the list for you and here are my best picks for Davao Dining:
*Barbeque – Wild Safari Grill has awesome barbeque dishes. Runner-ups include Penong’s and Pastilan sa Ponce. With barbecue from these places, I didn’t need a special sawsawan.
*Buffet Dining – Cafe Marco wins. No doubt about that. Great food, great service, great repertoire, great ambiance. Totally worth your thousands of bucks for that important date. Runner-ups: Zab’s and Chippens. The funny thing is, all of these restos are located just in one strip–Roxas st.! (Btw, here’s a neat list of buffet restaurants here in Davao. Thanks Davaobase!)
*Burgers – A lot of people don’t know about this but the best burger spot for me is Frango. It’s a quaint cafe located at FS Dizon Road (Bacaca st.) near El Rio Vista Village Phase4A. Trust me, I’ve been to many burger places. Their patties are so juicy, just the right size and just the right price. Runner-ups: Riley Simon and Backyard Burgers.
*Chinese Food – Sen Ton Whan, hands down. They have a huge repertoire, not as expensive as you think, and over all, although Chinese food is oily, their food tastes clean and not too heavy. I’m not a culinary expert but that’s how it felt and I liked that feeling. Runner-ups: Shanghai Restaurant, Lotus Court and Ahfat.
*Comfort Food – This one, I’m sure you’d find it difficult to disagree with me. Best comfort food in Davao is housed at Lachi’s. They’ve got the best cakes, Filipino dishes and even their Laing is loved by many. My favorite is their Grilled Pork Chop, Kaldereta and Regal Chocolate Cake. Runner-ups: Tea Amo and Cecil’s.
*Dessert – For this one, I’d say Lachi’s too. They’re the first to offer Dessert Buffet in Davao and my, their name is still a resounding name in terms of dessert. Originally known for awesome Sans Rival, they’re now holding a catalogue of sweet treats including french macaroons, oatmeal based desserts, cheesecakes, muffins, cakes and brownies. Runner-ups: Sugar Munch and Margie’s.
*Doughnuts – My favorite will always be Cello’s donuts. Before Gonuts donuts and Krispy Kreme opened their branches here, I’ve already tasted them and I still cannot find donuts better than Cello’s donuts. My favorite there is Choco Oreo. It’s so good it pieces the broken parts of your heart together again. Runner-ups: Krispy Kreme tie with Gonuts Donuts, and Dunkin Donuts.
*Fastfood – I was really excited to write this part because I’m such a trash eater that I could eat fast food everyday. My fave fast food place is KFC. I could eat KFC everyday. And grow wings on the 100th day of eating chicken. Runner-ups: Jollibee and Tokyo Tokyo.
*Filipino Food – Bistro Selera leads the list for the best Filipino food set. My favorites just got more fabulous, tastier and the place is very conducive for long conversations and ultra-comfy dining. Their waiting staff is very attentive too. Runner-ups: Vista View Resto (Hilltop) and Conching’s.
*Fine Dining – Claude’s would always be my favorite fine dining place. The place is very homey and cozy, and it’s not intimidating at all! Just perfect for a romantic date. The food is very good too. Parking’s not a problem as well. Runner-ups: Bistro Selera (SM Lanang Premier) and Mamu’s (FS Dizon Rd.)
*Japanese Food – I don’t know about you but I really love the food at Red Kimono (Abreeza). My favorites include Yasai Itame (mixed sauteed vegetables) and Yakitori (Chicken Barbeque). The red-and-black set-up is nice too, and the service is good. Prices agree as well. And ain’t those the reasons why you love a certain place? I didn’t need further convincing. Runner-ups: Tsuru and Rai Rai Ken.
*Karinderia Food – I’ve been to many awesome karinderias but my favorite would really be the ones at Agdao Public Market. I don’t care about your sanitation problems. Their Bulalo, Balbacua and Chicharong Bulaklak are so good it makes you want to forget about all the fat it’s gonna leave on your blood stream. Service is very good, too! Finish up with ice cold softdrinks and you’re good to go! Runner-ups: Balbacua Ni Tia Pia (Acacia st.) and Carlo’s (Anda st.)
*Lechon – Isn’t it disturbing how I could eat lechon everyday and still retain the same enthusiasm every time? Crazy. But this is how most Christmases are to me and all I could say is “Bring it on!” The best lechon place for me would be Lechoneros. The lechon is not too salty, not overpriced and the service is great. Runner-ups: Naty’s 2 at Chavez and San Roque (JP Laurel).
*Pasta – This one, I’m not really picky about it. But there are some that really stood out and crumpled my dreams of introducing Jollibee spaghetti as the best pasta piece in the world. Best pasta place for me would be Cafe France. I tried out all their pasta dishes and surprisingly, I liked all of them! (This is not common.) Runner ups: Cafe Demitasse (Torres st.) and Mamu’s (FS Dizon Rd.)
*Pizza – This one is kindly difficult but the pizza place where I usually find myself eating the entire pie…..is Picobello. So it must be that. Runner-ups: Shakey’s (love their Pepperoni Crunch) and Calda Pizza.
*Rice Toppings – My, this one’s difficult. I could eat anything with rice. I personally love Rice Bowls, a place at the Gaisano Mall Food court. I love their chicharon-sprinkled fried rice. It’s the tastiest thing since Leonardo DiCaprio. Runner-ups: Mandarin Tea Garden and Dimsum Diner.
*Seafood Delights – My favorite seafood piece would be Ranchero’s Karagatan Soup. It has clams, prawns, crab, and other seafood delights that makes you want to live near the ocean someday. Runner-ups: Marina Tuna’s tuna dishes and Hukad’s Imbao Soup.
*Snack Place – There are many old school snack places in the city. Choices span from Filipino kakanin, pasta, pastries and sandwiches. I always preferred Filipino so my pick would be Cecil’s. I’ll never get tired of their Palabok. Runner-ups: Mam Bebs and Jaltan.
*Steak – I was in college when I first tasted Bistro Rosario’s steak. Since then, I vowed to marry the person who will take me there. KIDDING. Love love loved their steaks (especially a la Pobre) and the ambiance is very pleasing as well. It’s a little steep in terms of price but it’s worth every cent. Those who come close: Bulgogi Brothers and The Royale House Resto, Cafe Claveria.
*Vegetable Party – I’ve never tasted vegetable that’s as good as Sea Green Cafe’s Eggplant Parmigiana. Soft eggplant flesh sleeping underneath a blanket of tomato sauce and cheese. Heaven! Other veggie goodies include Rai Rai Ken’s Yasai Itame and Ahfat’s Chop Suey.
Here’s also a top 5 list of my favorite quaint-spaced homegrown brands that serve really good food (in no particular order):
*Wings and Dips
*Sea Green Resto
*The Curious Baker
I think I could make this list longer but I would need more time. I also plan to do a similar list on drinks and other destinations soon. Just keep in touch and don’t forget to comment with your own list or your own insights! 🙂 See ya ’round!