Wait... there is more!
We have seen the views and we have experienced the great El Nido outdoors but there is one aspect of El Nido that you do not often read about - it is a haven of gastronomical treats! Before we move forward from my El Nido trip, let me share with you the food stops of the town.
I get an impression that El Nido is popular among foreigners compared to local tourists. As they say, only the ones with a pack of patience dare go to El Nido because of the travel time that comes with the punch. You either spend out or take the long road to El Nido. So it is not a surprise that the place is teeming with food spots that lean towards its international market. One thing is for sure, El Nido will always have something to fill your tummy.
Pizza lovers... this is THE place for that great brick-oven pizza in El Nido. I guess the long waiting line in their main restaurant along Calle Halma is enough proof of how good their pizzas are. Good thing that they have an Altrove Express just a few meters from their main branch where you can enjoy freshly made pizza without the crowd.
You also get to be treated with a look at how your pizza is made and baked. So after the dough aerial flips and preparations, I enjoyed two of their flavors in one pizza and I am telling you that it is REALLY good. Take it from a guy who is not a pizza fan.
If you are still craving for fresh seafood even after you had your fill of your tour’s buffet lunch, head on to Angel Wish along Serena Street. The restaurant is located along the beachfront of El Nido Bay.
This is where you can get a fill of your fresh seafood cravings whether you like grilled, sizzling, steamed, or whatever your cooking preference maybe. The fresh catch are laid out in front of the restaurant where you can order by the kilo and have it cooked the way you want it done. But if you just want the usual selections, you can order from their menu.
Looking for something different, get a fill of authentic Ukranian food at Odessa Mama. Odessa Mama is a popular food spot that can rival the few restaurants that offer Ukranian dishes in the country. No wonder this street cafe along Calle Hama is always full of guests.
You can try out the Varenyky – a Ukranian version of stuffed dumplings. You can choose from a selection of seafood, fish, beef, pork, and vegetables topped with your choice of their homemade sauces. You can match it up with Cheburek. It is an empanada kind of dish that is stuffed with either pork, beef, and tuna. This is a must-try foodie stop when in El Nido.
If you are hungry for something Filipino, you can check out Happy Tumi along Rizal Street. Finding the place can be a bit tricky because the actual resto is inside a compound. The place is cozy for a nice meal because it is a few meters away from the main road.
My choice meal was their twice-cooked adobo which I loved because of its tender and flavorful meat. It was a perfect choice for a Pinoy craving for a Pinoy meal.
Maa’s Grill and Restaurant
Another restaurant that serves good Filipino food is Maa’s Grill and Restaurant along Calle Hama. This is best place to satisfy your cravings for Pinoy grilled seafood or meat at a really affordable price.
Don’t be deceived by its simple appearance because their Filipino dishes can satisfy. The best combination for me is grilled pork and “sinigang na isda” (fish tamarind broth) served with steaming hot rice.
One thing that El Nido never gets tired of is crepes. There seems to be an unending supply of this snack around town. You are sure to find a crepe store on every street and on every turn.
My fave crepe spot is Belle Ile on the corner of Rizal and Serena Street. There crepe is just the same as the others but what I like about the place is the ambiance. It is the perfect spot to lounge around after a full day of island hopping. You can just sit back, relax, and watch tourists weaving through this busy area of the town.
If you still have room for dessert, head off to Gusto Gelato along the corner of Calle Hama and R. Magsaysay Street and get that sweet tooth treat with their home-made ice creams. The place is not hard to find as you will always find the crowd gathered in front of the place.
They have a lot of ice cream flavors to choose from. My personal favorite is the Dark Chocolate flavor. If you opt to hang out, you can head up to its second floor where you can chill with friends or get a bird’s eye view of people walking along Calle Hama.
Post Travel Notes
El Nido is more than just a beach spot. It is also a place where you can try out authentic international dishes that sometimes you cannot even find in Manila. Its main food stops cater to its tourists which are mostly foreigners so expect it to be a bit pricey and a tad different from the usual Filipino food fare. You can expect to have a fill of Filipino dishes during the island tours and reserve your evenings in trying out international food selections that may catch your fancy, from sausages to gelato, El Nido definitely has it!
The gastronomical delights of El Nido is an example of how a local community adapts to its tourism economy. We can see that El Nido first charmed international travelers, with some of them taking their residence there. This paved the way for the opening of businesses that cater to these foreign guests and their taste. In the end I can say that El Nido is not just a tropical paradise but it is also a gastronomical heaven for travelers alike.
Getting there: The fastest way to get to Coron is via Air Swift who have direct flights from Manila, Clark, and Cebu. One can also opt to fly in through Puerto Princesa and then take a 5-hour land trip to Coron. The latter option is the cheaper alternative.
There are a lot of accommodations in El Nido that cater to every kind of traveler. Nido Bay Inn is an affordable beachfront accommodation. You may reach them through +63927 5608535. You can also arrange your island tours with them without additional fees as the tours have standard rates. A Php200 environmental fee is charged at the hotel/resort. You need to bring the receipt with you always.
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Marc del Rosario
I believe in education, entrepreneurship, and caring for the environment.