Places to Eat in El Nido
We guess you’re going to spend all of your time frolicking on the beach so we've done the restaurant research for you. Don't expect any street food alley here. Besides the occasional barbecue stands in random corners, we didn't see a lot which we think is for the best.
Instead of street food, we can recommend some really cheap options for the budget travellers because admittedly, El Nido is not exactly backpacker paradise in terms of food prices.
First off is Midtown Bakery (Downtown, El Nido) where we stopped by almost everyday for their freshly baked buns that goes perfectly well with the free instant coffee at our guesthouse, haha. While you won't see any fancy Western pastries here, you can get hot-out-of-the-oven delicious bread for anywhere between 2PHP to 25PHP. Line up one morning too for their banana bread and coconut filled bread.
For the quintessential Pinoy breakfast, saunter your way to Silog Republic (Barangay Maligaya Rizal St.) where you can get a filling meal for less than 100PHP, a rare feat in El Nido. We ate there a couple of times and we really enjoyed their roasted chicken and crispy shrimp. Great news if you're a vegetarian on the verge of starving for lack of vegetarian friendly places in the country, their sizzling tofu at 89PHP is the bomb!
IBR Fast Food (Calle Hamma, El Nido) is another popular stop for budget travellers offering decent local meals at half the price compared to other restaurants. It's open 24/7 and they have an air-conditioned dining room. We've had dinner here a few times and we were satisfied with our fish sinigang, chicken adobo, and sizzling bulalo.
For traditional fare, we absolutely fell in love with Cadlao Resort & Restaurant (Caalan, El Nido) not only for the food but for the dining experience. Guests are asked to take off their footwear before entering and if you arrive before sundown, you will be rewarded with the most sublime sunset over Cadlao Island. We had their Bicol Express and Seafood Curry which is definitely something to write home about.
If you've never taken part in Boodle Fight where a feast of local food is laid on a banana leaf to be eaten with bare hands, now it is your chance. Boodle Fight Restaurant (Corong-Corong, El Nido) is a humble little place serving great food at moderate prices. We had the seafood and meat boodle fight as well as their pinakbet and all were insanely good.
Western and International Food
If you're hankering for some Italian cuisine, look no further than Trattoria Altrove in Calle Hamma, Barangay Buena Suerte. This pizza joint is crazy popular and if you don't come early, expect to queue for an hour. Most people don't mind this since their oven bricked pizza is second to none!
Happiness Beach Bar (Serena St.) is another go-to restaurant if you're yearning for a Mediterranean treat. Their menu consists mostly of hummus and falafel and we were not disappointed with our order of freshly baked pita, tuna salad, and hummus.
Cafes and Coffee Houses
For the best coffee in town, stroll over to Delinido Coffeehouse in Hama Street. We absolutely loved their flat white and latte as well as their frappes. Great coffee, good music, decent WiFi, friendly crew, and some peace and quiet, what's not to like!
CB Cafe in Rizal Street is another great spot for your caffeine fix. We came here several times for their espresso shot and very good WiFi connection which is a bit of a luxury in this town. On top of the hot and cold brew, they also offer sandwiches, rice meals, and desserts at very reasonable prices.