Dining in Iloilo – our favorites

Dining in Iloilo – our favorites

Chicken Tinola - a classic Filipino dish

Chicken Tinola – a vintage Filipino dish

It’s challenging for us to be objective in reviewing dining establishments for the reason that Carol and I are each good cooks.  We have a tendency to be dissatisfied unless the cafe is serving food stuff than what we could cook for ourselves.  For case in point, Carol likes the Kare-kare at the Cafe Laguna for the reason that it is a really complex dish to cook dinner at house.  On the other hand Carol will make a great Sinigang, a sour soup which is pretty effortless to make at household.  If we have Sinigang in a restaurant, we can be quite vital of  what truly is proficient but uninspired cooking.

Typically speaking, the very best food in Iloilo is Filipino delicacies.  There are those people who denigrate Filipino cooking as beneath observe when in contrast to the world’s excellent cuisines. We disagree.  There is excellent Filipino cooking and, when very well carried out, it generally outshines neighborhood attempts to imitate European cuisine.

Obviously,  Filipino delicacies has incredibly powerful Chinese and Spanish influences.  This can be noticed in a list of some of my favorite dishes:  lumpia (egg rolls), arroz caldo (rooster rice stew), apritada, (a stew with tomatoes and pimentos), sinigang (a pork or seafood sour soup flavored with contemporary tamarind), the lots of variations of pancit noodles these types of as mami, kalderetta (beef or goat stew), lengua (tongue stew), empanadas (pastry crammed with vegetables and meat), bibingka (a coconut baked-great), guisadong mongo (a stew centered on mung beans) and so forth. All of these can be excellent if cooked by a excellent cook.  Some of my most effective foods have been in area eateries called carenderias — and some of my worst.

Then there’s the fantastic grilled dishes.  Native rooster stuffed with lemongrass and tamarind and then roasted in excess of charcoal.  Marinated and grilled marlin, tuna and area fish these types of as managat. Squid stuffed with tomato, onion and herbs and then grilled.  There are numerous restaurants which provide great grilled Filipino dishes.

Be absolutely sure to examine the complete Iloilo food and dining information: Flavors of Iloilo  They also have a Facebook web site at https://www.fb.com/internet pages/Flavours-of-Iloilo/176936592390

Rappler not long ago printed a nice photograph essay on Iloilo foodstuff and eating.

I normally depend on the Vacation Advisor web site for suggestions, and frequently contribute my very own reviews, but their suggestions for Iloilo Town are not useful.   For illustration the JD Cafe, a small priced eatery which I like for what it is, is rated considerably bigger than some of Iloilo’s famed seafood areas these kinds of as Tatoy’s and Allan’s. Aspect of the issue is that the number of reviewers is so tiny.

Here are a couple of our tips.

Cafe Laguna, SM City, Iloilo

Cafe Laguna, SM Town, Iloilo

The Cafe Laguna at the SM Metropolis shopping mall is a top select for us.  It offers gourmet Filipino cooking in an sophisticated placing with reasonable costs, provided the meals and ambiance.

We tried using a couple of buffet restaurants not too long ago, Freska in the Smallville area Emillion on General Luna Avenue.  We loved our meal at Emillion, Freska, not so a great deal.

Mang Inasal at Robinson's Place, Iloilo City

Mang Inasal at Robinson’s Place, Iloilo Town

Talking of Mang Inasal, this wildly well known chain is definitely at the best of the heap for true spending plan dining — an with fantastic reason.  For P105 you get seriously outstanding BBQ hen and unrestricted rice.  Mang Inasal has been bought out by JollyBee so we’ll have to see what this necessarily mean for continuing good quality.  So considerably no issues observed.  Mang Inasal to so common that getting a desk can be quite tricky at lunch time.  It’s finest to occur right before 11:30 or right after 1:30.  Our favourite branch is the 1 in the Robinson’s Mall parking garage.

Tatoy's Restaurant, Villa Beach, Iloilo City, Philippines

Tatoy’s Restaurant, Villa Beach front, Iloilo City, Philippines

Tatoy’s  Restaurant on Villa Beach is likely the most well-known cafe in Iloilo Town.  The Ilonggo who returns to Iloilo frequently tends to make Tatoy’s his or her initially end.  Reportedly, it’s a beloved of former Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo when she’s in Iloilo.  Specialties consist of grilled refreshing seafood of all types, marinated and grilled local chicken, if you like lechon baboy (full roast pig) you’ll order it right here.  You have a choice of dining on the seaside in a bamboo hut or in an air conditioned eating corridor. Prices are moderate. Tatoy’s is quick to get to.  Take any Villa jeepney.  Each individual taxi driver should really know where Tatoy’s is.

You can also get a stroll on the extensive sandy Villa seashore.  It’s quick to get to from Tatoy’s.  I do not recommend night time time beach going for walks at Villa.


VILLA Beach front IN Front OF TATOY’S Restaurant, ILOILO Town

Come a little early and catch a Villa Beach sunset

Come a very little early and capture a Villa Beach front sunset

Breakthrough Cafe, also on Villa seashore, prior to Tatoy’s if coming from Iloilo City.  People today argue irrespective of whether the food stuff is superior at Tatoy’s or Breakthrough. One particular thing is for specific, Breakthrough is a fantastic position to invest a lazy afternoon. Breakthrough feels much more “on the beach” than does Tatoy’s. A Villa jeepney will consider you there.  Even my spouse and I argue about which is improved.  I choose Breakthrough, Carol prefers Tatoy’s.

Breakthrough Restaurant, Villa Beach, Iloilo City, Philippines

Breakthrough Restaurant, Villa Beach front, Iloilo Town, Philippines

Talong (eggplant) salad

Ponsyon – a Breakthrough outlet in the Plazuela de Iloilo

Ponsyon is an additional upscale restaurant serving seafood and Filipino dishes.  See our evaluate Below

Roberto’s is a prolonged-proven neighborhood beloved. It is in Iloilo’s “Calle Real” historic district in a stunning aged developing on J.M. Basa Avenue, proper following to a Jolibee cafe.  Roberto’s, established in the 1960s, offers Filipino fare at modest rates plus the finest siopao (steamed buns filled with hen, pork or other fillings) you will obtain any where, as nicely as hamburgers, cheeseburgers, double cheeseburgers and so forth.  I’m not certain they are 100% beef, but they are superior – in our watch, greater and more affordable than at the chain subsequent doorway.  Roberto’s  quite occupied at lunchtime.

Roberto's Restaurant, Iloilo City


Joy Joy’s Cafe is on the Coastal Highway main from Iloilo Metropolis to Dumangas. It is a indigenous seafood restaurant with excellent seafood at quite realistic prices. It is busy on weekends.

Joy-Joy's Restaurant, Iloilo

Joy-Joy’s Restaurant, Iloilo

Smallville Entertainment Complicated. This newly sprouted elaborate of inns, dining places, and golf equipment is on a suburban-like strip accessed from Diversion Street in Iloilo Town, in close proximity to the SM Metropolis mall.  It’s possible the hippest nightlife desired destination in the city. Eating places contain Krua Thai, Bourbon Avenue, Regatta and several other folks.

Smallville - the hottest entertainment district in Iloilo

Smallville – the hottest leisure district in Iloilo

A pleasant downtown substitute to the somewhat made ambiance of Smallville, is Buto’t Balat Restaurant on Solis Street in downtown Iloilo Town.  Just wander Solis road from SM Delgado towards the river and you will see it on the right.  Its elegant-indigenous out of doors dining is pleasurable.  I’ve experienced the BBQ pork ribs there twice and they are excellent (but not as excellent as people offered by the Mooon Cafe or Bourbon Road), as is the seafood.  We also experimented with the bouillabaisse, a seafood soup.  It was yet another illustration that it’s constantly improved to stick with good Filipino cooking alternatively than endeavours at European cuisine. But these types of tips is normally subject matter to contradiction.  Peppy Thai is an example, at the very least with regards to Thai cooking.

The Mango Tree Cafe in Mandurriao on Guzman Jesena Road in close proximity to Mandurriao Plaza provides a delightful outdoor dining surroundings and good food stuff. You’ll dine underneath a Mango tree in a huge landscaped personal compound.  You can also dine within if you want. Costs are average.

The Mango Tree Restaurant in Mandurriao, Iloilo City

Pepe Thai Restaurant, Diversion Road, Iloilo City

Old Peppy Thai Cafe, Diversion Highway, Iloilo Town

new Peppy Thai at the Plazuela de Iloilo

new Peppy Thai at the Plazuela de Iloilo

Peppy Thai Cafe is a leading decide on Iloilo restaurant for us.  Hunting at the images under, I hope you will get a perception of why.  Peppy Thai made use of to be on Diversion Street,  but it has moved to the new Plazuela De Iloilo following to SM City.

Good efforts at Pepe Thai Restaurant, Crispy chicken, tofu, beef curry and the very spicy cold pork salad -- my favorite.

Very good initiatives at Peppy Thai Restaurant, Crispy chicken, tofu, beef curry and the incredibly spicy chilly pork salad — my favourite.


Cilantro Vietnamese Restaurant

See our review of Cilantro https://myphilippinelife.com/cilantro-vietnamese-restaurant-in-iloilo-city-a-review/

Chinese restaurants in Iloilo Metropolis.

It surprises us that it is so challenging to locate fantastic Chinese cooking in Iloilo.  You can give Kusina Tsina on the east aspect of Quezon Avenue in close proximity to the Payless Plaza, not significantly from Gen. Luna.  The restaurant has been remodeled and is now pretty beautiful.   Examine the day by day specials.  The seafood normally appears pretty refreshing. Consider the dim sum platter for P168 (far more than more than enough for two), steamed broccoli with exclusive sauce and steamed fish, each considerably less that P90. The seafood with noodles which serves two is also a beloved. Kunsina Tsina offers shipping and delivery.

Beef. If you want a great steak, give Bourbon Road in Smallville a try out.  Bob attempts the hamburgers almost everywhere he goes and is usually dissatisfied.  MacDonald’s is the most effective of a disappointing  field.

Alan’s Talabaon Restaurant on the Nationwide Freeway in Oton, just as you are leaving city heading towards Tigbauan.  This is an economical, extremely common local eatery specializing in oysters.  My spouse is an oyster aficionado and says Alan’s are the most effective.  There are other decisions, full BBQ native rooster stuffed with lemon grass and numerous varieties of grilled fish.  The Pantat is primarily very good.