Food and travel go hand-in-hand.
We hadn’t been all that blown away with the food in the Philippines so El Nido was a welcome surprise with its abundance of quality restaurants. The price tag is slightly higher than the rest of the country due to its touristy location, but we found all of these below restaurants to have character, fun vibes, friendly staff and most importantly, delicious food.
Forget the research, we’ve done it for you and here are a few of El Nido’s best places to eat and drink.
1/ The Best Falafel Wrap: Falafel
This 24/7 roadside falafel store is incredible and definitely one of the best value meals in El Nido! The falafel wraps were no joke and for only 200 PHP ($4 USD), you will leave one happy customer every time. For each order they scoop fresh falafel mix into a ball & deep fry it, so you’re guaranteed to bite into a crunchy, fresh, hot spicy creation. We had waaaaay too many of these in the 10 days we were in El Nido, but I don’t believe there’s anything wrong with this 😉 Recommended sauces? A combo of Garlic and Tzatziki. Look out for the green sign opposite Sava Bar.
2/ The Best Greek Food: Agape
It had been quite some time since we had eaten delicious Greek food and although it can’t compare to the authentic Greek food in Crete, it wasn’t too far off. Agape has a great spot right on the beach and is one of the few restaurants that are open for lunch (the rest usually open at 4). Their popular souvlaki wraps are quite filling but were a bit dry for our liking. Our favourite dish was the seafood orzo pasta and the huge classic Greek salad. For a little bit of fun, try their melt-in-your-mouth flaming saganaki cheese. Opa!
3/ The Best Mediterranean: Happiness
“But wait, you said the best falafels were at the take away stand?” I know, I know, BUT Happiness Beach Bar, a Mediterranean restaurant had more than just falafels! Breakfast, lunch and dinner were consistently good and they had fantastic hummus. Handmade from scratch, this restaurant uses only local fresh ingredients AND you can eat them whilst you swing at the bar. They also have happy hour 2 for 1 margaritas and daiquiris (they’re strong!)
Note: According to Trip Advisor, this bar is still located on Corong Corong Beach but we’re here to tell you, it isn’t. It is in El Nido town on the same street the popular Art Cafe is on. Look for the swings out the front!
4/ The Best Pizza: Altrove + (Altrove Express)
Everyone needs a good pizza every now and then and thanks to Altrove, you can have your Italian fix. Every evening from 5:00 pm, Altrove attracts a line of people for the best pizza in town. If the line is too long, go around the corner to Altrove Express and you’ll get an equally as delicious pizza there, without the wait time.
5/ The Best Breakfasts (& WiFi): Art Cafe
Art Cafe is visited by everyone at least once and has some of the best WiFi in town. It was quite entertaining to see everyone frantically on their phones/tablets and computers trying to book their next hotel/form of transport.
The menu at Art Cafe is extensive and includes seafood, pizzas, pasta and salads. This can be both good and bad as the quality of your meal depends entirely on what you order. In other words, we don’t feel the meals are consistently good. Breakfast at Art Cafe was our go-to and we found this to be consistent. One of the few restaurants you can pay by credit card too.
6/ The Best Chill Out Rooftop: Rooftop
Rooftop (literally called Rooftop) is a colourful bar/restaurant on top of a clothes store on the main street of El Nido. They have happy hour from 4-7pm and a relaxed communal atmosphere with beanbags, couches, fairy lights and an assortment of colourful cushions. A bit pricier but a nice vibe.
7/ The Best Coffee: Gusto’s
It had been some time since poor Jacob had experienced a decent coffee. Instant coffee was becoming a regular occurrence until we discovered Gusto. Still not up to Australian standards, Gusto was the best coffee experience in the Philippines (second to Matibu in Port Barton). They also do waffles, crepes, pancakes. Skip on their gelato which we wouldn’t recommend and head to L’Assiette Gelato instead.
8/ The Best Cocktails: Sava Beach Bar
In need of a seriously delicious cocktail? Sava Beach Bar is the place to spend your money! Located in the centre of El Nido Town (and opposite the best falafel joint), Sava is a chic, modern beachfront bar with the best-handcrafted cocktails on the island. There is a relaxed atmosphere in the afternoon for the happy hour (4-6, 2 for 1) and on certain nights a DJ. Try the Gin Fizz and Strawberry Cake!
9/ The Best Seafood: Angel Wish
Is this really “the best”? To be honest, we can’t be certain but we can tell you it is one of the cheapest seafood restaurants in El Nido with great value for money. Choose your seafood from the front of the restaurant and they’ll grill it up for you. Apart from Angel Wish, many other restaurants along the beach front do the same thing with a higher price tag.
10/ The Best Ice-cream: L’Assiette Icecream
I’m sorry Gusto but L’Assiette takes the crown for the best ice-cream. They sell their gelato at their French restaurant, however, they also have an ice-cream only store which is conveniently placed next to the falafel takeaway stand. With a range of yummy flavours, we found ourselves here a little more frequently than we perhaps should have been! The best flavours were pistachio and peanut butter.
11/ The Best Sandwiches: Mezzanine Restaurant
After a while in the Philippines, you start to crave fresh, unsugary bread again. Thankfully Mezzanine has got just that. During lunch, they produce a small selection of sandwiches with fresh, filling ingredients. The restaurant itself is relaxed but has a fancier feel than some of the others in El Nido and the presentation of the food was always on point. But the bread! Ahh, glorious fresh bread.
12/ The Best Bagels: V and V Bagel
We have a love-hate relationship with V and V Bagel. If you’re missing bagels then grab your fix here. They can’t be compared to NYC bagels, but it will be the closest thing to it in the Philippines. Just a little tip, when the power is down, perhaps give this place a skip or they try and toast your bagel with the fan (no, I am not joking). The bagels are very dense and are much nicer when they are toasted.
13/ The Best Frozen Yoghurt: Coco Lush
Is it possible to have so much goodness in one coconut bowl? Yep! At Coco Lush. A tiny little store in one of the main alleys. Perfect for after a day out island hopping or simply just because! Stack it up with a variety of fruits, toppings and sauces.
14/ The Best Sunset Bar: Republica Sunset Bar
Republica Sunset Bar is on the other side of town near Corong Corong Beach, about 5 mins away by tricycle. Sitting high on the hill you will find yourself in the perfect spot for an epic sunset (providing you have a clear day!). The bar is really small so to get the best seat we recommend getting there as early as 4:30 pm to sit right up against the front. They serve great cocktails, Spanish tapas and jugs of sangria!
Have you been to El Nido? Are there any other restaurants you think take the cut as the “best”. Let us know!
Married Days Survived: 802