Places to Eat in Donsol
Despite the popularity of Donsol among domestic and foreign visitors, it remains largely an idyllic little town with coastal strips and rice fields. Locals cook their own food so few restaurants in the area just cater for transient visitors.
Don't expect a proliferation of street food stalls or food trucks here nor are there any buffet extravaganza. Few of those that you can find are located mostly in the town centre where you can have rice and viand for about 50PHP. Some makeshift stalls offer the usual street food fare and sandwiches for 10PHP to 30PHP.
For this reason, most hotels in the village double as restaurants in order to accommodate the needs of their guests. Most people who are on a day trip or are only in town for a couple of days also bring in supplies with them from Legazpi. Nevertheless, we managed to scrape together a list of recommendations should you find yourself in this part of the region.
Kawnkita Restaurant which is a part of Amor Farm Beach Resort (Dancalan) is a play on local words which means "Let's eat!" and serves both traditional and continental dishes. We enjoyed dining there as the food is flavourful but reasonably priced. Expect to pay around 300PHP on average. Make sure to order in advance if possible as they cook everything as you order. WiFi is ok so perhaps you can catch up on your social network as you wait. Or grab an ice-cold beer and have a relaxing stroll along the beach. The waiting time is well worth it though. Their take on local dishes is really something else and we loved their chicken adobo and Bicol Express (pork, coconut milk, lots of chillies). Their bestsellers also include kinunot (stingray flakes with coconut, malunggay, and chilis), sinigang (sour soup with pork or fish), and laing (taro leaves with coconut milk). Their Filipino breakfasts are really good, too, and don't forget to try their mango pancakes!
Another restaurant we frequented was the Elysia restaurant in Pangpang for their seafood menu and tropical fruit shakes. We loved having dinner while enjoying the sunset and sipping mango margarita or strawberry daiquiri. Their food portions are also quite generous and the price reasonable compared to other resort-owned restaurants in the area. We especially liked their pancit guisado, seafood barbecue and burgers.
Western and International Food
After days of seafood and other local dishes, we started craving for some Italian and Japanese menu so we headed down to Dos Orio Cafe Bar & Resto (Dancalan). Their sushi and pasta selection is not bad at all but we opted for a filling plate of burger steak and a bowl of chicken teriyaki. If you're feeling sluggish you might want to get a massage in their spa next door before sitting down for your meal.
The Butanding Bar and Restaurant (54 Clemente Street) also came highly recommended by both locals and fellow travellers for their Filipino and Western food. They're particularly known for their ice-cold beer and live music during the weekends. We heard it's the only place in town that serves crispy pata (deep fried pork knuckles). They offer a variety of pasta and pizza as well as local cuisine. The servings are huge by the way which may explain why it's quite pricy – if you consider its location away from the other resorts. As is common with restaurants in remote places, orders are freshly cooked so expect to wait a bit for your food. We liked their puttanesca and vegan pizza as well as their pancakes and grilled prawn in mango sauce.
Cafes and Coffee Houses
We didn't find any coffee chains in Donsol but we did stumble on a coffee shack that served really good coffee somewhere in Dancalan. This makeshift coffee stand is located by the road side so tricycle drivers should be able to point you in the rights direction. The coffee lady has a surprisingly varied hot and cold coffee selection from cafe mocha to macchiato priced between 50PHP to 90PHP.