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Saturday, August 16, 2014
YOU’RE in the middle of all the celebration that is just hitting its highest note today. Now what do you do with your visitors?
Actually, you shouldn’t even worry. Just bring them to the nearest ‘kanto’ and fill them up with all the fruits displayed there. That’s a cheap treat too. Let’s see who among your visitors can eat P150 worth of fruits, which can be a kilo of lanzones, another kilos of rambutan, a kilo of mangosteen, and one whole durian, with one marang thrown in or… six kilos of mangosteen.
Do it the ‘masa’ way, and sit right on the sidewalk. Teach them how to choose mangosteens that will last for several days and how not to end up with fruits that are harder than stone. Show them the swag through which you can get the best native durian ever, and then laugh at them if they start eating their marang with forks, and explain why it’s more fun eating durian with ten fingers instead of just three.
You can do the malls, but then, if you really want to show off Davao City, then go the way of stand-alone restaurants. That’s where real Davao thrives. There are the classics: Harana, Bistro Rosario, and Coco’s Grill along F. Torres Street. Then there’s Dencia’s along General Luna Street across the basement parking entrance of JS GaisanoCitimall, and of course, Merco, either at the corner of Rizal and Bolton Streets or Quirino Avenue and Mt. Apo across Davao Doctors Hospital. Then, Cecil’s. Although Cecil’s is all over, the best will always be where it has been since we were kids, along Anda Street. Regale your visitors with your own story about this “snack-inn”. Or, go to the old reliables – Yellow Fin Tuna Restaurant and Marinatuna. Yellow Fin now has a lot of branches: the original along Quimpo Boulevard, then the on along Torres, the one in front of SM Lanang, and still another one farther down the road still in Lanang. Marinatuna still has its original joint at Barrio Pampanga and a branch at SM Lanang. For Chinese cuisine, there will always be Ahfat and dimsum will be Mandarin.
If you want to rough it out, then nothing beats Liza’s along Times Beach.
Now, for the newer hits: Café Tavera at the corner of Tavera Street and F. Torres Street right behind the Phoenix gas station for all your Dabawenyo treats like sinugba, imbao soup, and just about everything you may want, including guyabano shake. Try their dragonballs. It’s their bestseller.
Have a quiet night at my fave, Belito’s Vineyard along Palm Drive in Bajada the road across Rivera Village. Or throw all diet thoughts to the wind at Tiny Kitchen, start with their appetizers to their tummy-bursting viands, and then end that with pastries, lots of pastries. Just the thought of red velvet cake and cheesecake is already driving me nuts.
Or, if you’re out there at SM Lanang, then make sure to try Bistro Selera’s crispy pata, seafood fiesta (like paella with lots of seafood), and lechon roll. They’re on the second floor of the Fountain Court.
For the shrimps and crab lovers, there is Bucket Shrimps at the corner of F. Torres St. and Jacinto Extension is for you. The fun way of eating, however, can be had at Boiling Crabs and Shrimps at the old BluPosts Bar in Lanang; bare fingers, flat on the table.
Now the cakes… arrrrggghhh! Lachi’s. Don’t ever, ever, ever forget Lachi’s along Ruby Street in Marfori Heights, but they close early so hie on off way before 9 p.m. Food there is just as good.
If you’re feeling adventurous then go to Crocodile Park for some Croc burger or steak.
For the healthy eaters, there’s BalikBukid along Quimpo Boulevard in the same area as Yellow Fin, and then there’s Echostore Café along the Diversion Road.
For international cuisine, French will be Claude’s Café d’Ville along Rizal Street and Swiss Deli for European fusion in Lanang and Matina; then there’s Tsuru for Japanese and Hanoi for Vietnamese along Camus Street and at SM Lanang. Or hang out at Legaspi Suites and try everything they have there – Thai, Mediterranean, Pinoy, and more pastries to die for.
The most unique experience can only be had at Leon’s Lounge of the Puentespina Garden along Bolcan Street in Agdao (near Assumption School), where you can have a night of cheese-tasting of all Malagos cheeses and top this with wine.
There’s a lot more, all-Davao, no franchise. But we’re running out of space here.
Just remember, Dabawenyos love to eat, thus expect only the best when you’re eating in a Dabawenyo restaurant.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on August 17, 2014.