YOU can’t miss it. Its signage jumps out at you and there are streamers announcing “We’re Open” all around it.
It’s the Davao Dampa along Tionko Avenue where stream of restaurants were before (starting from Fiesta Dabaw to Ranchero Grille to Maxcey’s better known as Ayang’s, the humba specialist).
As its name connotes, it’s a seafood grille house (but they have chicken and pork as well, so the carnivorous need not despair).
We met up one rainy day of the many rainy days last week, Miggy, Deng, Carlos, and it’s a surprisingly big group considering Dabawenyos’ utter aversion to going out when it’s raining.
Miggy and I arrived first, at around 7:20 p.m. and as we checked out their fresh seafood stall, we were told that cooking time will take around 20 minutes.
That’s very good because Deng said she’ll be available at around 8 p.m.
So we placed our orders: imbao soup, pinaputok na tilapia (because the foil pillow it is cooked in looked really interesting), and seafood guisado because it was recommended by the one at the grille area and we were not familiar with it.
Deng texted that she would like pusit, whether adobo or grilled because it’s rainy and it’s nice to eat pusit on a rainy night. Honestly, I never associated rain and pusit. Maybe lugaw and a rainy night, or imbao soup and a rainy night. But then, sige, ibigay ang hilig.
There were two other tables occupied when we arrived. One with two women and one big group of women with one male companion.
Ten minutes… the imbao soup arrived. Ooops! That was fast. Soon after, all the other orders arrived. Yeah, very fast… except that Deng and Carlos have not yet arrived. Too fast. We were looking forward to waiting for 20 minutes. But then, fast service is a plus, so we attacked the soup while it was very hot.
At the other table, the waiter brought in guso salad and it looked good, and so I ordered one too.
The imbao soup was perfect for a rainy night. Hot, seafood-y, and tasted like how imbao soup should taste like. Fresh.
The seafood guisado is what we all would know as “sepo”, the chop suey with seafood as sahog instead of pork or chicken.
The tilapia didn’t have that mud taste, and therefore, kudos to the one buying their stuff, they know their tilapia (I hope this is not a lucky pick just for the day). The guso salad can do with a little bit more ginger just for more zing and a tad bit less blanching. The pusit was done just right and thus was not rubbery. Over-all, everything was how you expected it to be. We were hoping we could say something that could have set it apart and make us rave about the place...
It’s seafood and your regular dose of chicken and pork in all its familiar taste and the place provides the basics. A roof above your head, lots of tables, and the food. If you’re looking for ambience, look for it somewhere else. This one is all about eating familiar food. Its biggest star (and we hope it can maintain that) is that the food is fresh and on that dark rainy night, service was very fast.