Eating & Drinking El Nido
Finding out a place to dine in El Nido is an experience itself since this small town is filled with restaurants, be it beachfront or scattered along the town. Most restaurant's exterior maybe a bit shabby but do not let this distract you as some of these restaurants are actually some of the best in El Nido. Most of the restaurants specialize in seafood items since El Nido is considered a fishing town and food prices are pretty reasonable. Below is a list of some El Nido restaurants that is worth a visit, but don't limit yourself to these restaurants as there are also lots of new places to discover.
Cafe Taiyo Hama St. http://taiyoresort.com/review-of-taiyo-village-by-the-lonely-planet/ - Consisting of a few plastic tables and chairs that is set outside on the street, Cafe Taiyo is usual hang-out for tourists and is operated by Taiyo Village. Menu items include different breakfast sets like vegetable omelette with bread and fruits, curry and noodle dishes, grilled seafood, sandwiches and coffee.
Sea Slugs Bar and Restaurant Brgy. Masagana http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sea-Slugs-Beach-Bar-Restaurant-El-Nido/128197830580487 - A beachfront restaurant which is usually busy during the day and most specially during dinnertime, is Sea Slugs Bar and Restaurant. They provide dining right on the beach, romantically lighted by a torch while their own house musicians provide live music for its diners. They specialize in grilled Filipino seafood like grilled fish, grilled shrimps and grilled squid, perfect to pair with a glass of cold San Miguel beer. Aside from grilled items, they also serve breakfast, sandwiches, pizzas, steaks and other main courses.
Marber's Restaurant Beachfront, Brgy. Masagana - Marber's Restaurant got its name from the combination of the owners names: Marlou and Bernie. It is a beachfront restaurant located just below OGS lodging house and provides a relaxing view of the ocean whether you're enjoying a meal or just having a refreshing drink. They serve international dishes specifically German and Filipino foods, and is available throughout the day.
Pukka Bar and Restaurant Beachfront, Brgy. Masagana - The beachfront area in the town of El Nido is swarmed with restaurants for a perfect view of the beach and Pukka Bar and Restaurant is no exception. Aside boasting its beachfront location, this bar and restaurant also provides a beach-bar atmosphere with their native-styled structure and also has a variety of food items available like steaks and curries. For a refreshing and sweet drink, try their pineapple shake and cookies and cream frappe.
Squidos Hama St. Brgy. Masagana- As what its name says, Squidos specialty is their vegetable and spice- stuffed squid which is served with a salad and reasonably priced at around 170php. It is a small, native-styled hut located on Hama St. and is one of the well-known restaurants in El Nido. It is owned by a French expat and his Filipina wife,and Squidos has been operating within El Nido for more than 8 years. Aside from their Stuffed Squid, other top seller menu items include their Mixed Seafood Curry (350php) which is made up of mussels, crab, squid and shrimps and is good for 2 persons and their Cirus Fried Rice with Roasted Vegetables (250php).
Altrove Trattoria - If you are looking for something Italian or just want to experience one of the best restaurants in El Nido, then this restaurant shouldn't be missed. Located on the main road of El Nido town which is Hama St., is Altrove Trattoria.
The dining area itself is on the 2nd level of the building while their kitchen is on the ground floor. All of their pizzas are cooked in a traditional brick oven which makes it tastier and provides that authentic Italian taste. Their pasta is also the best in El Nido and uses only the freshest ingredients like shrimp and tomatoes.
Habibi Restaurant and Shisha Cafe http://habibicafe.npage.de/about-habibi-shisha-cafe.html - Only established last December of 2009, Habibi Restaurant and Shisha Cafe is one of the newest bar and restaurant in town and the only shisha bar in Palawan that provides its guests nicotine-free and fruit flavored shishas like grapes, peach, strawberry and banana. The name of the restaurant is derived from the word Habibi, which is an Arabic term of endearment for baby / my love. Aside from Shisha, they also offer different kinds of coffee, each with an intense and sophisticated taste. Must-try are their fresh seafood specialties like garlic buttered shrimp and sweet and sour fish, which the owners pick themselves from the local fishermen and the local market.
ArtCafe http://elnidoboutiqueandartcafe.com/ - One of the few establishments in El Nido that accepts credit card payment and also one of the most popular restaurant and tour operator within the town is ArtCafe. It's a favorite hang-out with most tourists because of it being a one-stop-shop. Aside from the restaurant, there is also a souvenir shop and a tourist center which can help you in planning your island tours. A wide variety of breakfast like omelets, crepes, pancakes, and some Filipino dishes are available as well as different kinds of bread that is fresh and baked daily. Art Cafe is well-known for their pizzas and pasta but also specializes in a variety of international dishes like Indian Tikka Masala, Beef Steaks, Sausages, Salads, Seafood Dishes, and Curries.
Ric Son's Hama St. Brgy. Masagana - Located beachfront and just beside Sea Slugs Restaurant is Ric Son's. Service can be quite slow here specially during busy days so expect to wait a bit longer and just enjoy the music from their live band which usually plays reggae and contemporary music. Ric Son's has a wide menu variety but mostly specializes in seafoods like grilled fish, spicy squid and garlic shrimps.
Blue Azul Restuarant - BEWARE of this restaurant located in Real St. Buena Suerte in El Nido. The restaurant can easily be recognized from the outside with its colorful big drawings. They also claim to serve the best hummus and falafel in town. Aside from the menu having ridiculous prices, the cook/owner is also very arrogant and also not very friendly with local tourists. But the most important part is they use ingredients that is not fresh and most probably rotten. The vegetable spring roll that is served was swimming in oil and has awful ingredients. The author of Jeepneyguide himself had FOOD POISONING from eating the food in this restaurant and considering the isolated location of El Nido, it's not a joke to experience such incident. Again, we advise tourists local or foreign to stay away from this restaurant.