“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”-Jonathan Gold.
A world-class and popular destination all over the globe, it is inevitable for El Nido, Palawan, to take its share of the spotlight when it comes to enviable places.
With scenic limestone cliffs and crystal clear beaches with waves crashing into its fine powdery shores, it should come as no surprise that this destination gets heavily featured in various local and international travel blogs and magazines. Dubbed as one of the best islands in the world, the beaches in El Nido are stunning, to say the least. They are known for their powdery white sand, azure waters, bountiful coral reefs, and rich marine ecosystem.
While there is much to write home about El Nido’s beautiful and captivating seascape, the island also has a well-earned spot as a top and must-visit food destination in the Philippines. Some of the best restaurants on the island are just alongside the popular hotels and resorts located right on the beach. Most of these restaurants, eateries, and cafes are known to serve quality food and a wide range of local and international cuisines. Many of them come with stunning views, giving you a premier seat to witness some of the island’s most breathtaking sunsets. So, if you have been thinking of visiting El Nido anytime soon, here are the restaurants that are worth the visit after spending a day at the beach:
a.) Scape Skydeck El Nido
If you are looking for something a little fancy and are hoping to have an intimate dining experience, visit Scape Skydeck El Nido. This rooftop bar and restaurant is located at the top of Cuna Hotel, which is situated in the heart of El Nido town proper. Here, you can witness some of El Nido’s picturesque sunset views and limestone formations—all from the comforts of balcony-side tables and chairs. Should you ever get the chance to visit, do not miss ordering their famous specialty dish, the Peppered Chops, a massive chunk of sweet and tender pork with sweet corn mash. Alternatively, you can also try their Surf and Turf, which is a wonderful medley of steak, grilled prawns, mixed greens, and marble potatoes. To finish off your meal, cap it off with their sweet Chocolate dome, a cheesecake with strawberry flambe, blueberry, and ganache sauce that melts wonderfully in your mouth.
b.) Republica Sunset Bar
A mere four kilometers away from El Nido’s town proper, Republica Sunset Bar is perched on the highway over Lugadia Beach. It is the perfect place to unwind with a cold bottle of beer after a long day at the beach. The restaurant is known for its unbeatable unobstructed views of the sunset and its traditional Spanish tapas and paellas. At nighttime, guests can enjoy sangrias and cocktails by the side of the beach. Spanish cuisines such as their patatas bravas, tomato salted bread, and omelets are definitely worth the try. Vegans are also not left out, as the restaurant offers vegan-friendly options at a reasonable price.
c.) El-Nido Boutique Artcafe
A restaurant and art shop overlooking Bacuit Bay, El Nido Boutique Artcafe is a restaurant that specializes in farm-to-table meals. The restaurant doubles as an art shop where they showcase beautiful paintings and local handicrafts. By nightfall, however, this restaurant and art cafe transforms into an eclectic and vibrant place with live acoustic music. El Nido Boutique Artcafe features a menu filled with Filipino and international cuisines. They have all of your favorites covered with their curated menu of European, Indian, Green, Italian, and American-style dishes. Some of the dishes you should definitely try are French Toast, Seafood Basket, Chicken Tikka Masala, Pizza Pancetta, Fish Fillet, and Arugula Tomato Mozarella. Pair it off with their healthy fruit shakes and cap off your meal with sinful and indulgent desserts such as their chocolate and mango tarts.
d.) Big Bad Thai
Fans of Thai food, rejoice! At Big Bad Thai El Nido, you can satisfy your Thai food cravings! This rustic-themed restaurant in El Nido is known for its panoramic sunset views over Bacuit Bay and its famous Pad Thai. Featuring an extensive menu of Thai food from Pad Thai to Pad Krapow, Big Bad Thai has expertly curated their dishes based on original Thai recipes. The restaurant’s ingredients are locally sourced from Palawan, but a select few are imported from Thailand to ensure they can give their dishes genuinely authentic flavors. Some of their must-try dishes are their famous Satay Chicken and Chicken and Pork Pad Krapow. Apart from being one of the best Thai restaurants on the island, Big Bad Thai has remained a crowd favorite among locals and visitors because of their homemade sauces with varying levels of spiciness. Like most restaurants in El Nido, vegans are not left out as their menu also features a wide range of vegan options, such as Som Tum and Thai Morning Glory.
e.) The Nesting Table
The Nesting Table is a bayside restaurant in El Nido that features a fusion of Filipino and Western Dishes. This bayside restaurant also offers coffee and refreshments best paired with your choice of breakfast, lunch, and dinner meals. One of the restaurant’s best-sellers and crowd favorites is their local version of ceviche (fresh raw salmon cured with citrus juices) which makes an excellent appetizer. They are also known for their superb breakfast menu, which features dishes like Ube Champorado, Pancakes, Eggplant Bistek, and Breakfast Burger.