DINING with loved ones at restaurants never goes out of style. It’s always an exciting idea to dine outside, enjoy a sumptuous meal, and share stories of your day’s highlights.

For couples who plan to set up their next date perfectly and make it one for the books, here’s a checklist you may want to consider before booking that date night.

Al fresco dining

There’s a wide selection of restaurants where you can date and dine but only a few offer al fresco dining. Dining al fresco under the night sky always has an added magic. Most restaurants that offer this experience are located beyond the city proper but surprisingly there are a few that make the experience possible within the city. The only downside of this is when the sky decides to pour down some blessings, it may ruin the setup. But I’m sure al fresco restaurants offer alternative dining spots whenever uncontrolled circumstances, like rain, happen.


Always consider your location, especially with the worsening traffic in the city. Dinners are usually during peak hours on the main roads so you better put into consideration the travel time going to the area. Some may want to get that city vibe when dining; others opt to dine in a quiet and calm place away from the city buzz. But why choose between the two when you can actually marry these two vibes into one perfect spot?


Customer service is a staple in the list, of course, for an obvious reason. Who would want to dine and stay anywhere with bad customer relations? Excellent customer service means being attentive, approachable, considerate, and respectful to guests no matter what the circumstance is.


To make it a date to remember, food should be satisfying and worth the money. Recently, many restaurants are drowned in the idea of making their place aesthetically pleasing and Instagram-ready that they forgot in the process to ensure the quality of the food. Since you’re out there for a dining experience, it is but just for these restaurants to give a lot of effort and time for the food to be served as it can make or break the whole experience.


To complete the whole experience, the ambiance or the overall atmosphere of the place plays a big part. It sets the mood and tone of the experience. To fully enjoy the date night, I prefer the ambiance to be relaxing, calming, and refreshing. A nature-themed setup is one of the common feels diners would want to experience during dates like what Malagos Homegrown Matina and Seaside Dampa Grill offer.

I had a chance to revisit the complex last month with my partner for a date night and we’ve been planning to have another visit soon. The complex is spacious, has excellent customer service, the food is nothing short of delicious, ideal for al fresco dining, and it’s located just within the city proper. From pizzas, pasta, and desserts to fresh catch seafood and quality meats, this food hub got you covered.

What I love about this place is the overall ambiance, it's a perfect place to dine for dates with loved ones and gatherings with friends and family. Honestly, I now prefer less-crowded, quiet, and peaceful spots. If you are looking for a place to dine that offers sumptuous food and a relaxing ambiance that is only located within the city center, try checking Malagos Homegrown and Seaside Dampa Grill. These are located in one complex in Shanghai Street, Matina Aplaya, Davao City, and open daily from 10AM - 9PM. For reservations, call 0945 826 3924.

For suggestions, comments, and questions, email me at aceperez.manlalakbay@gmail.com. Follow me on social media @acejunerell. ASP