Food service industry’s increasing demand goes with the booming of tourism industry. This increase is evident in Davao City. Davao’s food service industry has a lot more to offer when it comes to food experience. Davao’s successful home-grown restaurants continue to take part of every Davaoenos’ lives even with all these new restaurants around. Here is the top 12 iconic restaurants that helped train the palate of Davao locals.
- Yellow Fin
Since 1992, Yellow Fin is a destination for family, friends and business meetings. Yellow Fin kept their cafeteria style, where there is a food-serving counter upon entering. The customers can point what they would like to have. They also have table service where you can order from your seats. Whatever style you want, their menu for seafood dishes is a must try.
One of their famous dishes is their sizzling seafood platter where you can have a multiple types of seafood in one plate. While waiting for your order, their memorial hall offers a glimpse of Davao City’s history.
- Marina Tuna
Marina Tuna’s main attraction is their original ten way tuna menu experience. You can choose any of these parts cooked in different ways: panga (jaw), belly, tail, sashimi, kinilaw (raw fish meat in vinegar), bagaybay (gonad), bihod (roe), eyes, tendon, and karekare (stew in peanut sauce).
They are a partner of the city government’s feeding program. Every dish you order has an equivalent of one bowl of tuna lugaw (porridge). This is also one of President Duterte’s favorite restaurants.
- Dencia’s Restaurant
It may not have originated in Davao, but it became a famous landmark when it comes to favorite Chinese cuisines. Tokwa’t baboy (tofu and pork), fresh lumpia (spring rolls) and their lugaw (porridge) are the most requested food in their menu.
Located at the downtown area, it’s just a few blocks away from People’s Park. Having served the residents of Davao for two decades, they are considered a part of Davao City.
If you are not from Davao, your experience won’t be complete if you haven’t eaten your breakfast here in Probinsya. Their breakfast buffet is a destination not just to the locals but to the visitors of the city as well. For 17 years, they have been consistent in serving fine and wide variations of Filipino cuisines.
For the amount of P245 ($5), a sumptuous breakfast buffet is guaranteed. You can always enjoy their salads, chorizo, dried fish and their wide choices of Filipino kakanin (delicacies). They also offer buffet during lunch and dinner which were equally good and worth the price at P388 ($8).
Harana is one the oldest restaurants in Davao City. Half of a century of running the food business is quite a feat! Being the pioneers in Davao City, they have become a part of tons of momentous celebration. Aside from their famous playground, Harana is known to offer delicious food such as lechon kawali (deep-fried pork) and kare-kare (stew in peanut sauce).
- Davao Famous
Any kid who lives in Davao in the 80’s surely know this place. They are known for their siopao (meat bun), sateme (stir-fried noodles) and fried rice. They recently have renovated in order for today’s generation to enjoy their famous Chinese dishes.
They now have bigger function rooms and a café on the ground floor. Physical look may have transpired, but they have kept the food that people liked.
For many Davaoeños, lomi (noodle soup) and siopao (meat bun) are the first things that come to mind when we say KusinaDabaw. The siopao’s dough is so soft that blends well with the taste of the meat and the salted egg inside. The siopao is a good pair for a hot bowl of lomi. In fact, that combination become a tacit standard for the complete Kusina Dabaw experience. After more than 30 years in the business, a lot of locals and visitors are still ordering the same perfect meal.
For Davao’s Chinese community, Ahfat is one of the preferred choices for celebration and events. They always try their best to serve authentic Chinese dishes.
There are known for their wide variety of seafood dishes. They serve fresh lobsters, prawns, shells, squid and fish. Aside from the seafood dishes, their vegetable choices like stir-fried French beans and spinach are really good too. If you are a Chinese food lover, Ahfat is the place to be.
- Davao Shanghai
Davao Shanghai is also one of the pioneers when it comes to Chinese Restaurants. Along with Davao Famous and KusinaDabaw, Davao Shanghai also made a name in the 80’s. They may offer the same thing with those two restaurants but they remain in the market for more than 30 years. Their lumpia shanghai (spring rolls) and pansit guisado (stir-fried noodles) are the meals that made many Davaoeños tag this restaurant unforgettable.
Davao has its own version of grilled chicken. Penong’s Inato (value) meals ranging P90-P124 ($1-2) are already worth the price. The meals come with a side dish, soup, unlimited rice and chicken or pork barbecues. They also offer excellent selection from appetizers to desserts. Penong’s specialties aside from their barbecues are Seafood Mandaragat (seafood platter), Sizzling Gambas (shrimps), Baby Back Ribs and Penong’s Express (Vegetables in coconut milk). Every time you need the waiters’ attention just clap twice.
- Luz Kinilaw
Luz Kinilaw started their food business in 1960s from a small nipa hut. They might have been razed by fire 2 years ago but it did not stop them from serving the Dabawenyos and tourists alike. Their Kinilaw (raw fish in vinegar) is still a hit until today after 48 years of existence. Aside from the kinilaw, they also serve grilled tuna, chicken, fish gonad, and squid.
- Colasas Bar-B-Q
Aside from the Bonifacio Monument in Magallanes street, Colasa’s Bar-B-Q also became a landmark in this area. Before Penong’s, Colosa’s was the favorite barbecue place in the downtown area in the 90’s. They are known of their Chicken Barbecue before they evolve to anything barbecue. Their sauce has a distinct taste that makes their barbecues tastier from other barbecue houses. Their atchara (papaya salad) makes eating more delightful. Colasa’s Bar-B-Q is now celebrating its silver year of existence.
Eat local and experience Davao like a local. Do you have any more to add? Comment below.