Whether it’s the blistering heat crawling on your skin or that biting chill on a rainy day, the weather in the mundane city of Puerto Princesa is nothing but pretty much unpredictable.
The life in the city is slow and sometimes weary, many businesses have closed down, and those that are still there struggle to maintain their hold. I, for one, am open to advocating in supporting our local enterprises. Especially food services where they constantly give us some twists and reminders about the colorful culture we have in the city.
Nothing gives your day a perfect meaning other than a comforting delicacy or an interesting food fusion choice we usually see on social media. And with the recent lockdown, we are stuck in our homes, trying to cook our way (failingly) around some interesting recipes we have found on the internet.
Those videos look mouthwatering and scrumptious. And so, as we lounge around and scroll over those food thirst videos, why not stick close to home and try to treat yourself to a well-deserved food experience that will give your palate a jump for joy?
Here are the top five restaurants I have visited and tested within the city premises that can guarantee you a day well spent and leave you begging for more!
This resto-bar is a local and highlighted gem. Whether you are eager to discover international tastes or trying to stick close to home, this restaurant has all of it to offer.
Located just on the street of Manalo Extension, the chic and rustic vibe of their hanging plants and calm ambiance reminds you of a beachfront diner in El Nido, which we all know we irrepressibly miss.
Their Instagrammable food posts on their page reach up to their customers’ expectations. The experience is truly a foodie’s haven, with their mouth watering brick oven pizzas, a surprisingly appetizing Mexican cuisine, some local delicacies, and mixed cocktails to wash off the variety of flavors. Their burgers are simply to die for with their raving reviews and delectable taste.
Don’t forget to record as they have a hot stone grill for a sizzling steak to put in your IG stories! To end the note, a simple but comforting Brownie a La Mode fresh from the oven is served, with a scoop of ice cream on top. Truly a mind-blowing experience.
An added bonus, GUNI GUNI Restobar supports our fellow local artists. By presenting an art exhibit and fundraising, it will remind you of the culture we have here in Palawan.
The overall pricing of the menu matches its authenticity. The dishes and drinks mainly served don’t pass the 500 peso mark, a price that usual restaurants with these standards go high for.
Smooth and approachable service is continually reviewed on their page. Each employer strictly follows the health protocols with minimal difficulty. So what are you waiting for?
The local restaurant accommodates up to 30 people with their excellent food and great ambiance. Check-in or order out with their delivery section. Check out their Facebook page @gunigunipps for more details and reviews.
Ask every Palaweño out there for a place to celebrate or hang out in, and I swear to you that Ka Inato will always show up as one of the suggestions. This local and standard restaurant just on the main highway side in San Jose is a significant cultural experience.
With the colorful sculptures welcoming you around the way and the intricate and abstract paintings on the walls, it’s a museum to look at, even in the bathrooms! All of these artworks come from the local artists and students around the province. So if you are looking for a native restaurant that reflects the city, you have come to the right place.
Sitting at one of the wooden tables in a well-ventilated area, the staff immediately offers you a complimentary soup to start with as you browse for food options. Have I mentioned that some of their servers belong to the deaf and mute community?
Here in this restaurant, they employ handicapped people as a support for awareness and inclusivity. It wouldn’t hurt when you can try to learn sign language on their poster as you wait for the food to arrive.
Speaking of food, every bite that comes into my mouth brings a sense of homesickness I can never get used to. The dishes are made fresh and live in their open kitchen, and you can literally see the chicken grilling.
From their hearty stews of Bulalong Yamang Dagat and Seafood Kare-kare to their grilled options of Pork Barbeque and Baby Back Ribs, each meal is filling and perfect to partner with an aromatic cup of rice. If you’re looking for new experiences, try the Seafood Sisig delicacy that can change your mind to your standard choice of meat! The food here truly nourishes not just your body but your soul as well.
As one of the native restaurants here in Puerto Princesa, the quality food served is always at an affordable price. The fruit shakes always come from fresh fruits shown on their shelf, and the appetizers are simply addicting.
If you are feeling a little down, nothing like a good bite of their bestseller Original Chicken Inasal can lift your spirits up! So drop by and hang out at their restaurant. I have a feeling they have redecorated and upgraded their interior.
Ka Joel’s Restaurant
Feeling a little homesick? Check out this traditional Filipino Restaurant just around the corner of Abanico Road and Puerto Princesa South Road. Challenge your inner Maria Clara as you go barefoot along the polished wooden floors that will remind you of Filipino ancestral homes.
Here at Ka Joel’s, a family restaurant surrounding a calming garden and greeneries, you will never feel more at home. Especially during sunset, the glow of the purple sky matches the warm lighting of the scenery, a perfect atmosphere to unwind, relax, and mingle with your loved ones.
The food here is simply exquisite. Each dish can be perfectly partnered with the iconic Ka Joel’s fried rice, where each bite makes you want to order more. Their Kare-kare, both seafood, and beef are shown with great plating.
Each seafood and meat dish, such as their Grilled Liempo, Garlic Butter Shrimp, and the classic Chicken Inasal reflects the authentic taste of Filipino cuisine. Don’t forget the Crocodile Sisig delicacy! Topped with a crack of an egg, it is one of the main Palaweño dishes that you should never forget.
The service in this restaurant is smooth and efficient. Every staff observes the standard health protocols for every customer entering the premises.
Wander a bit as you wait for the food in their garden that is perfect for a cultural Instagrammable shot. The artistic interior and bright paintings surrounding the area livens up your spirit as each minute passes by.
Even their bathrooms are cozy enough with their native rattan couches and great artworks!
Overall the pricing of each plate is standard in every Filipino restaurant. Their area is invigorating, vibrant, and, most significantly, homey in every way possible.
As you finish your meal, bid farewell to the different flavors in your mouth with a refreshing sip of their colorful fruit shakes in cute, minimalistic bottles.
You can even order takeout or deliveries of some of their dishes in accessible bilaos! Visit their Facebook page @kajoelsrestaurant for more information.
Tiya Ising’s Restaurant
Take a trip down memory lane with food and atmosphere here at Tiya Ising’s Restaurant. I swear, as you stepped foot on this place, it would feel like you transferred to a period before the metro had descended on the rural town of Puerto Princesa.
Learn about the history of the city with each framed picture on the wall. Each photo showcases the old Puerto Princesa City with its gallery of events, places, and people. It’s like there is a story in every frame.
Feast upon some pica-pica before waiting for your order. Each table is spacious and simple enough for a small gathering of people. Located in Roxas Street corner Rizal Avenue, the view is enthralling as you lounge in an outdoor chair with a fresh cup of coffee.
You can even watch some old black and white films and commercials on their television! It feels like this restaurant is a timeless, vintage piece of art even though it’s a recent enterprise within the 2010s.
Each serving of their food is placed on traditional Filipino plating that sometimes reminds you of your grandmother’s floral plates. Check out their sizable and flavorful servings of your favorite authentic Filipino dishes such as the Dinuguan, Bicol Express Laing, Pancit, and the mouthwatering Tanigue with Lemon Butter sauce.
Get your portion of their Kare-kare straight from a clay pot where the heat is generally preserved. The knowledge of each generation is truly guided in each food they serve us.
Many customers review this place as an area where you can relax amidst the hot weather, and it is true. Tiya Ising’s restaurant is an easygoing and hassle-free place you can go to if you feel weary of the bustling crowd in the city.
Their dishes are reasonably priced and familiar to our taste, so you can never get lost in their menus. Nonetheless, my general experience in this local restaurant is a feeling I will always get back to. Tiya Ising’s Restaurant always leaves a bit of my heart inside whenever I go.
Ke Nikko Bar & Restaurant is the standard city hangout during those weekend nights. With it being conveniently located in the SJD Building beside the national highway, there’s a reason why it’s listed as one of the top-rated places in Puerto Princesa.
Take a break and mingle with the locals as you watch the traffic noise slowly minimize. Choose the indoor seating area with its wooden tables and air-conditioned bar counter when the sun is high and the open-air patio of large umbrellas during late-night conversations. The ambiance here is calming, and it’s the perfect mood to catch up with your friends and families.
Established in early 2009, Ke Nikko is a shortened form of “Kila Nikko”, a colloquial term popular in the streets. Even in mid-quarantine, the orders are still ongoing as delivery apps soon became the bridge between the COVID-19 restrictions and hungry families.
The reason why they are so popular with the crowd is because of their family values. The owner, along with his mother, experimented on what the public seeks in their palate. With almost becoming a disco club, the setup became a restaurant to restore the spirit of coming together in food.
The restaurant is famously known for its smoking Baby Back Ribs, well seasoned with a hint of spiciness, and the meat is very tender. It’s perfect to partner with a local beer. But since there’s an ongoing liquor ban in the city, the family-managed resto-bar instead focuses its attention on serving food.
Make sure to order their freshly grilled Chicken Inasal, the mouthwatering sizzling plates of Tofu and Sisig, and the Buttered Chicken that is crispy on the exterior and juicy in every bite. Top it all off with your typical pulutan of Chicharon Bulaklak, Steamed Siomai, and your standard cup of rice.
Pandemic restrictions are, of course, still observed in the area. The service is smooth and attentive. Both foreign and local visitors are welcome in their friendly environment and are guaranteed to return again. Complimentary peanuts, free WiFi, and a variety of appetizers, what more can you ask for? It’s just worth every penny you spend.
The experience I would review this place is that it’s very laid back and relaxing. The all-family recipe variety of dishes are unforgettable and exquisite in taste, and their price is affordable enough for the locals. The spice and seasons of their food are what truly make them a crowd-favorite.
Catch their updates on their Facebook page, Ke Nikko Bar & Resto. They are open from 5 to 10 pm, and dine-in orders are available since city restrictions have lessened. You can also order takeaways in food delivery apps such as PpaliPpali, Deliverya, and Road Runner.