Identified as the economical and commercial hub in the southernmost part of Mindanao, Davao is also home to hundreds of delicious restaurants. From classic Pinoy, to upscale European, there’s no common style to categorize the cuisine in this City. One thing’s for sure though — they’re all worth the visit.
They say you you haven’t really been to Davao if you haven’t eaten in Dencia’s. This old time favorite has been serving its well-loved dishes since the ‘50’s. Originally from Metro Manila, the owner-couple decided to move to Davao and take their business with them. Today, the restaurant’s Chinese-Filipino dishes are on top of any Davaoeños cravings. Ask almost anyone and they would recommend the Lugaw and Tokwa’t Baboy but make sure to leave some space for their Pancit Canton Special and Smoky Chargrilled Pork Chop as well.
Some food just taste better served in nothing fancy and eaten with your hands, “it’s fun to be messy,” as they say in the Blue Post Boiling Crabs & Shrimps. The Louisiana inspired restaurant brings international flavors and local ingredients under one roof. Diners simply follow the 3-step ordering process; choose your seafood, cooking preference, and spice indulgence. Then, a steaming hot bag is dropped on your table, how you choose to devour it is up to you. For first timers, the Blue Posts Boil and the Garlic Fried with extras of sausage and corn on the cob never fail.
When in Davao, you must make time for Luz Kinilaw. This 48 year old icon is one of the city’s longest standing restaurants, and is considered to have the best seafood. It’s most famous for their Grilled Tuna Panga (Jaw,) cooked right in front of you, and of course, anything Kinilaw (ceviche). Don’t expect anything fancy, eating with your hands is encouraged.
Tiny Kitchen is a homey restaurant owned by a husband and wife baker-chef duo. Famous for its iberian-style dishes, the Tiny Kitchen is perfect for family dinners and celebrations. Like in any Spanish restaurant most tables would have the Paella which is best paired with their main dishes like the Mechado con Patatas and the Callos con Chorizo. After eating, don’t forget to order and take home some artisanal pastries freshly baked by the owner herself.
The name speaks for itself — the menu is all about saging. Because Davao is one of the biggest producers of bananas in the country, it’s no surprise for restaurants like this to exist in the city.
Surprisingly, this is the first of its kind. The trendy restaurant features food and drinks with a little (or a lot) of the fruit as part of its ingredients. Interesting dishes include Spareribs with Banana Barbeque Sauce and Pochero Con Saba, but the crowd favorite is their Create Your Own Banana Cue Station. Here, customers get to upgrade the already-delicious dessert with dips (chocolate, caramel, etc.) and up to three toppings.
If you’re feeling fancy in Davao City this would probably be everyone’s number one suggestion. Claude’s Le Cafe de Ville is a charming French restaurant aptly located in the beautiful Oboza Heritage House. The house turned restaurant is a favorite choice for those looking for a romantic night out. Candlelit tables will always have an order of steak such as the Beef Tenderloin with Pepper Sauce paired with a glass of wine from their extensive collection. But what keeps the business running for over 20 years now, is Claude himself. While you’re there, it’s hard to miss the friendly restaurateur who’s always ready with a smile and a promise of excellent service.
Similar to the customize your own frozen yogurt stands we’re all familiar with, Aling Foping allows customers to personalize their orders of halo-halo. Each order has a staple of shaved ice and evaporated milk while the rest of the ingredients are up to you. For an authentic Davao experience, order yours with a scoop of durian ice-cream!
For those looking for a healthy meal, Sea Green Cafe and Lifestyle Shop is worth the travel. The quaint little restaurant is first noticeable for its Instagram-worthy interiors, but it wouldn’t be on this list if not for its delicious food. There’s no short-cuts here because each dish is made from scratch with only the freshest ingredients. Order the Fish Cakes with Cilantro Rice with a side of Roasted Pumpkin Soup, and say goodbye to all things unhealthy from then on.
Bulcachong is a carabao meat bulalo concoction which you can only find in Davao. To many, this one particular place downtown is the holy grail. The 24-hour eatery is a favorite stopover after a night of drinking. The rich broth, and tender, meticulously cooked meat is known to cure even the worst hangover.
After trying out all the different restaurants, it’s always a good idea to cap it off with coffee. Whether you’re opposed to it or not, you can’t think of Davao without thinking of Durian. Bluegre Cafe pays homage to the city’s famous exotic fruit through their innovative desserts and drinks. Order a cup of Durian Arctic Blast or the Durian Coffeeccino and pair it with their Durian Dulce de Leche Cheesecake for that uniquely Davao experience. If you’re not the adventurous type, regular but delicious items are always available.
Enjoy a fun experience and check out other tourist spots to visit, things to do and more in Davao. Discover cheap hotel deals and cheap flights from carriers like Philippine Airlines, AirAsia, and more with Traveloka!
Date nights don’t have to be expensive!
Hakaw, dim sum, noodles, and more.