Where to Eat Out in Davao
As the second largest city in the Philippines, with a population about to reach over 1.5 million people, Davao is a centre for many cultures and this is reflected in the foods. It’s possible to find food from many different parts of the world and once you start eating, it’s like being in the country itself the flavours are so authentic.
No area is this more true than Rizal Street where visitors can hop from continent to continent trying different delicacies just by walking from one side of the road to the other. Rizal Street is about half a mile long and is located in Metro Davao where food and drinks are available at almost any time of day. Some of the key restaurants on this stretch are Merco which has an excellent bakery with an assortment of pastries but these are better saved for dessert as you’ll want to have room for the Filipino dishes that taste just like great home cooking. Directly opposite the Mandarin Tea Garden provides tasty dim sum and original rice dishes along with congee and so many other choices it takes a while to get through the menu.
Anyone with a really big appetite should try the Iron Horse Buffet which lets you select how you want your Davao dishes cooked either baked, fried or grilled and at roughly 130 Pesos the price isn’t steep either. Another buffet, all you can manage kind of place and perfect for seafood lovers, is Apung Kula Seafood Grill. It also has a set price and the prawns, crab or the speciality catch of the day always keeps this place busy with large groups of people.
It may not be fine dining but TAPS is a chain with an outlet along the street where Filipino food can be bought cheaply and it’s reputation is why its grown from a small family start-up to multiple eateries around the city. Ox feet may not be for everyone but it’s worth trying and their tapa and chicken adobo, which is a stew cooked in vinegar, are some of the dishes that truly represent the Philippines.
Continuing on the theme of authentic Filipino meals, Lechon is a distinct favourite and it’s impossible not to go to any sort of music or religious festival without seeing a pig being slowly roasted. If you’re not in town over one of the big occasions then Mr Whaw Litson Biik Grill is an absolute must if you want to try this home-grown specialty.
Away from Rizal Street, the Harana restaurant has a couple of locations on Torres Street and in Matina by the McArthur Highway and is a great choice for families with children. The atmosphere is always welcoming and house specialities include the spare ribs or fried rice known as sinangag which is still cooked to the original owner’s recipe.
Not far away from the Harana on Torres Street is Tiny Kitchen at the corner of Mabini Street. The restaurant is a mixture of Filipino and Spanish food and their dried fish called tuyo is regarded as being so good people from Manila even ask friends to bring some back when visiting the capital. The Calderata Espanol is also highly rated and consists of a beef stew with olives, potatoes and carrots covered in a deliciously thick sauce.
For a coffee after dinner or a quick caffeine boost during the day, the final suggestion for the best place to visit is the Coffee Mood Coffee Shop. Found within the Davao hotel Las Casitas de Angela, the coffee here is always good and they do a few cakes just in case there’s any chance you could still be hungry.