10 Filipino Restaurants You Shouldn’t Miss in El Nido

10 Filipino Restaurants You Shouldn’t Miss in El Nido

To be honest, Philippine cuisine isn’t anything close to the dishes of most Asian countries. Unlike the fragrant spicy noodles of Thailand or the soul nourishing laksa of Indonesia, Filipino cuisine fits more that of the Carribean or South American countries.

In the Philippines you’ll find a whole lot of meat. They come in large portions, either marinated, deep-fried, sizzling, or coal-roasted, always flavorful and a little bit crusty, with lots of spices and hidden exotic ingredients.

Want to try goat? What about crocodile? Or crispy skinned, pit-roasted pig? Would you fold up your sleeves and eat with your bare hands? When in the Philippines, do what Filipinos do!

Here are some of the best local restaurants that you shouldn’t miss in El Nido:

BoodleFight Restaurant & Bar

Taytay-El Nido Highway, Brgy. Corong-Corong, El Nido (see map)
Open Mon – Sat, 7:30 am – 11 pm; Sun, 2 pm – 11 pm. Budget is around P200 ($4).

If you want to experience Filipino culture through food, this restaurant is pretty extraordinary. Though it’s not anything fancy, it features Filipinos’ way of celebrating family ties or togetherness—by sharing a large banana leaf full of tasty local food and eating with your bare hands! Try the BoodleFight way of eating, which is good for four people. Otherwise, some of the yummiest dishes to try include chicken adobo (marinated chicken) and sinigang na baboy (pork in sour soup).

Photo from BoodleFight’s Tripadvisor page.

Tambok’s El Nido

Taytay-El Nido Highway, Sitio Lio, Brgy. Villa Libertad, El Nido (see map)
Open daily, 7 am – 10 pm. Budget is around P250 ($5).

Located in Lio, about 15 minutes north from the Town Proper, Tambok’s serves delectable Filipino comfort food. You can try the Visayan chicken inasal (chicken roasted in calamansi, vinegar, and annatto), buko pansit (coconut noodles), or the dessert okoy (flat shrimp cakes). Other than its fool-proof tasty and filling dishes, the restaurant comes with fast internet connection–something rare in El Nido! You can also get some cheap unlimited brewed coffee or calamansi juice in the morning. Sweet!

Photo from Tambok’s Facebook page.

Kina Pards Resto-Bar

Taytay-El Nido Highway, Brgy. Corong-Corong, El Nido (see map)
Open daily, 10 am – 10 pm. Budget is around P200 ($4).

Here’s a typical kambingan found on most roadside stops in the Philippines, serving slow cooked and tasty kambing or goat meat. Locals and travelers who go here usually pair up different goat dishes with ice cold beer. If you’re here for a meal though, the best dishes to try are the goat curry and papaitan (goat innards in sour soup). But if you don’t like goat, you can go for sizzling bulalo (beef knuckles on a sizzling plate, a must-try!), seafood curry, or tuna kebab.

Photo from Kina Pards’ Tripadvisor page.

Pala One Chon

Near La Lupa, Brgy. Corong-Corong, El Nido (see map)
Open daily, 6 am – 11 pm. Budget is around P300 ($6).

Although the mouthwatering lechon is mostly associated with Cebu, you can find one in El Nido at Pala One Chon! Lechon is a whole roasted pig, slow cooked in charcoal for around five hours, yielding incredibly soft, fibrous, and tasty meat, and crispy, delicious skin! The top three lechon dishes here are the classic lechon, lechon sinigang (lechon in sour soup), and sisig lechon (lechon spiced on a sizzling plate). Baked mussels are great to try too!

Photo from Pala One Chon’s Tripadvisor page.

The Nesting Table

The Birdhouse, Sitio Pakalsada, Brgy. Corong-Corong, El Nido (see map)
Open daily, 7 am – 10 pm. Budget is around P400 ($8).

This place is carved out of love. Reaching The Nesting Table involves a 10 to 15-minute trek, but the gorgeous views, the hip yet homey ambiance, and the hearty meals make the trek all worth it. The restaurant serves international and Asian dishes, with vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options. Must-tries include its Vegan Burger, Chicken Adobo, and Vegetable Curry. There’s an incredible area for yoga too!

Photo from The Birdhouse’s Facebook page.

Maa’s Grill and Restaurant

Calle Hama, Brgy. Buena Suerte, El Nido (see map)
Open Mon – Sat, 7 am – 10 pm. Closed on Sundays. Budget is around P300 ($6).

Maa’s is one of those dampa-style restaurants where you point at the meat or seafood that you want to have grilled or cooked in the kitchen. The restaurant is one of the most affordable in the town proper, serving traditional meaty dishes based on pork, chicken, and seafood. Dishes that can’t go wrong at Maa’s include its crispy-skinned pork belly, chicken adobo (chicken marinated in vinegar and garlic), chicken curry, and garlic prawns.

SaBabaw

2nd Floor of Botanica, Amboy St., Brgy. Buena Suerte, El Nido (see map
Open daily, 7 am – 10 pm. Budget is around P300 ($6).

Here’s a local restaurant that very few knows about. It serves hearty, homecooked Filipino dishes, the kind that exactly captures Pinoys’ taste and love for meat! The most unforgettable dish to try here is lechon kawali (deep-fried crispy pork), white snapper fish steak, and boneless bangus. And while this isn’t one of the cheapest places to eat in town, the dining area is quite clean and presentable, with good ambiance. You can find it on the second floor of Botanica Cafe.

Photo from SaBabaw’s Tripadvisor page.

Giovan’z Beef Stew Hauz and Grill

Calle Hama, Brgy. Buena Suerte, El Nido (see map)
Open daily, 7 am – 12 mn. Budget is around P150 ($3).

This is one of the very few restaurants that locals themselves eat frequently because it serves amazing food at a cheap price! Returning customers usually go for its outrageously tasty noodle soup. If you’ve had a couple of beers and are looking for something delicious to warm your belly, this is something you should go for! Three other dishes that are also flavorful and unforgettable include beef bulalo (beef knuckle soup), crocodile sisig, and chicken sisig.

Photo from Giovanz’ Tripadvisor page.

Republica Sunset Bar

Taytay-El Nido Highway, Brgy. Corong-Corong, El Nido (see map)
Open daily, 2 pm – 11 pm. Budget is around P250 ($5).

This one’s an awesome place to have a sunset drink or early dinner. Republica is perched on the hillside, facing a panoramic view of Bacuit Bay and the sunset. The restaurant is most known for its signature Spanish Tapas, a well-loved Filipino dish made of cured beef, sunny side-up eggs, and fried rice. The place is usually packed at sunset time so you better come early.

Photo from Republica Sunset Bar’s Facebook page.

Angel Wish

Serena St., Brgy. Buena Suerte, El Nido (see map)
Open daily, 7 am – 10 pm. Budget is around P150 ($3).

Here’s a simple diner that serves affordable dampa-style seafood by the beach. The raw seafood are laid out before the restaurant for you to choose and order. These can be cooked in various ways. Fresh, tasty, and cheap fish, shrimps, crabs, mussels, oysters, etc.–what more can you ask for? Angel Wish also has some cheap alcoholic drinks for sunset hours!

Photo from Angel Wish’s Tripadvisor page.

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