NIGHT SHIFT IN DAVAO CITY
We spent a total of 4 nights in Davao City from October 6-9, 2010 and all of them were simply amazing. Mainly because all of our night escapades were devoted entirely to food tripping. At first, we really didn’t know where to go to but we kind of got the hang of it on our first night when Janyl and I decided to drop by at Matina Town Square hoping to find a good restaurant to satisfy our gastronomic desires. Much to our dismay we were greeted with bars and hang-outs instead. It was disappointing at that time because we were looking for a restaurant and found bars instead. It was however lucky because we knew, on our first night where to go to after hours.
Night 1 Ahfat Restaurant, BBQ Boss & Dimsum Diner
We did found Ahfat Restaurant on our first night. The restaurant is located inside the Victoria Plaza Mall compound and there are actually 3 seperate Ahfat’s on this compound. Menu is entirely Chinese cuisine and the price range from affordable to splurge, depending on your appetite of course. Janyl and I while waiting for Sheila’s arrival took a shot of their pork spare ribs, vegetables in white sauce and rice. We paid only around P500 for the entire set which already included our iced tea and sago’t gulaman drinks. We devoured the entire meal in no less than 20 minutes after being served in front of us. I guess you can tell how hungry we were at that time. Too bad nothing was left for Sheila so when she arrived we decided to try something different on our first rainy night.
We then realized that there’s BBQ Boss just beside Tower Inn, our hotel. So we rode a cab and headed straight to Quirino Street and hailed off at BBQ Boss. We were surprised because rice is served unlimited for P15 only! Moreover, the menu is comprised of mostly bbq entities such pork and chicken entrails. We ordered different kinds of bbq, desserts and some beer to go with it. It was actually a disappointment because the waiter was not able to take our orders properly. We were actually waiting for our melas that are not coming at all. What’s worse was when we decided to pay for our beers and some stuff, we were charged for food that were not served at our dinner table! The entire staff did not showed any remorse for us at all! Not even a hint of apology can be traced on their faces. It was one of our nightmares! We paid for the 3 bottle of beers we consumed and hurriedly left the restaurant.
Sadly Sheila was pretty much hungry still. Luckily we saw Dimsum Diner still open when we were just about to step inside our hotel. All of us agreed to drop by. The menu was mainly Chinese cuisine as well and dropping by at this restaurant gave us this home-away-from-home feel. We ordered for a dimsum platter and shakes to go along with it. It cost us around P150 each for our midnight snack. I highly recommend this restaurant budget and menu wise. Dimsum Diner is unique in the sense that this was the only restaurant in the entire Philippines to serve calamansi covered in net. The net’s purpose is for you to extract calamansi juice without the seeds. Very clever idea!
Night 2 Penong’s @ People’s Park
Since we had buffet lunch at Pearl Farm, we had a very late dinner which was a stone’s throw away from People’s Park. It was a P35 cab ride from our hotel to the restaurant, we didn’t realized that it would be very near our place actually. The place was jampacked even at 10PM. But ordering our food was a breeze. The waiters took our orders while waiting for a table. We ordered sinigang na baboy (which was heavenly sour, promise!), chicken and pork inihaw and calamares. Rice was also unlimited and we were very open to that idea, I had 2 servings honestly. Food is very affordable considering we had one of the best sinigang na baboy in the entire Philippines. In short, we were satisfied with Penong’s menu and price range that all three of us highly recommend this restaurant to Davao City travelers. Pardon me dear readers, we were not able to take photos of the rest of our meal because we were so eager to eat than taking photos.
After we engulfed the entire meal, we decided to take a hike back to our hotel since we realized how near Penong’s was. All around us were restaurant signs: buffet meals as low as P128/person, unlimited servings of rice, crab-all-you-can, inasal-all-you-can, BBQ. Wow! Davaoeñes surely know how to eat, unlimited servings that is!
Night 3 Let’s Crab Eat & Evibe
On our third night, Janyl and Sheila were very eager to take a plunge of unlimited crab servings. Davao City as you may know, is I gues the only city in the entire Philippines to offer crab-all-you-can buffets at very minimal charges. So what better way to find that out?
We were actually looking for the crab-all-you-can restaurant that charges less than P300 for the buffet. But we were not able to find it, probably because the cab driver does not know where either. Our road led us to Torres Street where most of the night actions can be found. Luckily we found Let’s Crab Eat. Their signboard says unlimited crab and dinner buffet @ P395/person. We took a shot. The restaurant is not bad at all, in fact it was superb. The interiors were painted in white and orange, mimicking the colors of the crab when cooked. There were several others still when we came in. But the buffet table was almost empty of dishes. That however was not a problem to them. The waiters halted us to stop when we were about to leave the restaurant, they told us that they still can cook crabs and the main entrees for us for as long as we still want them to. What an amazing customer service they have! We were left with no choice but to stay and try their dishes. Taking the waiters’ advice was not a bad decision after all.
Janyl and Sheila really had the crab-all-you-can experience and enjoyed every bit of it. According to the two, the crabs were all so fresh, meaty and tasty. We had a chance to interview one of the waiters who told us that the crabs came from a nearby province called Marinduque and they cook about 50-100 kilos of crabs everyday. That’s amazing! True to their word, the staff cooked crabs, pork and fish to our delight. It was a satisfying experience for all three of us. Not to mention that P395/person already included the buffet and bottomless iced tea or lemonade. Very affordable as well!
We were all smiles from the beginning until the end of our dinner. We came in around 930PM and ended at 12AM. We want to thank the staff of Let’s Crab Eat for patiently cooking crabs and waiting for us until our dinner was commenced. We had a great time at this restaurant. It was a very wonderful experience that can only be in Davao City. So to my dear readers, never miss Let’s Crab Eat while in Davao City and you’re sure to enjoy every crabby minute of it!
Just across Let’s Crab Eat Restaurant was Evibe, the so-called super club in Davao City. We were in the mood for a night out and we thought that Evibe was the answer. But it was not. We were charged P50 each as entrance fee, not consumable. Once inside, we were approached by the waiter who asked us if we wanted to get a couch or just a table with chairs. We asked if there were any extra charge for taking the couch, and we were told that there’s no charge for the VIP couch. So we immediately took the couch near the entrance. After our orders were served (Sheila had San Mig Light and margarita for Janyl and I), the waiter again approached us and told us of a different story this time. He said that the VIP couch has an upfront charge of P1500 consumable, and that we had to pay right away since we were already seated on the couch. What? A minute ago there was no charge and all of a sudden they decided that there is? It was a big disappointment. Considering how the place looks like, the crowd and everything. Not to mention that it was no smoking inside. We said that we’re no longer interested in staying, paid for our tab, and ran off right away! That commenced our third night in Davao City.
Night 4 Pomelo Festival & Taklobo Restaurant @ Jack’s Ridge
After our wakeboarding at DECA we decided to make the most out of our Davao City food experience by dropping by at Jack’s Ridge. The cab driver who brought us to Lachi’s told us that he’ll pick us up at DECA and take us wherever we wanted to go. True to his word, he came back for us 30 minutes after 5PM. We told him that we wanted to try food served at Jack’s Ridge and he followed suit. We took an off-beat road named Cataluna Grande going to Jack’s Ridge. That was a good decision we made because along the way we found a pomelo vendor selling P20 for each pomelo. What a relief! Pomelo’s are usually sold at P50 for 2 pieces when bought at the city. It was even cheaper than the ones sold at Bangkerohan Market. We sure had fun choosing our pomelos from heaps and heaps of them inside the stall. The owners were also kind enough to choose the best ones for us when they realized that we don’t have any idea which ones to choose. Our cab driver, John Guevarra, did not hesitated and bought some for his family as well. I was supposed to buy at least P400 worth of pomelos if not only for our baggage limit. We settled on purchaing P200 each for Janyl and I, while Sheila bought P100 worth, which the vendors lovingly arranged the pomelos inside the boxes. Note that the pomelos bought at this stall were all good up to the last pulp bit!
After gate crashing the pomelo festival, John the driver took the road going to Jack’s Ridge. It was like traversing through the hills of Antipolo and Tagaytay. The breeze was somewhat lower than usual, it was a chilly night I should say. What made Jack’s Ridge distinct among the other restaurants in the city is the owner’s love for the arts. Art pieces are everywhere and I must say that the place a masterpiece. Nestled among the slopes of a certain hill, the restaurant found itself amongst the less traversed and privately owned properties in Davao City. They said the views during daytime are amazing however we don’t have the luxury for such considering the 2 hours remaining of our Davao trip. But the place is just amazing during night time. Art pieces are everywhere. The restaurant is not at all fancy, in fact one can even have a drinking spree at the place. The food however was not that memorable I should say. We ordered the specialty of the month which was sinigang na baboy, chicken morcon and 4 cups of rice. All these for a whopping P800 already. The sinigang at Penong’s is way better than the one we had at Jack’s Ridge. So it is pretty obvious that we didn’t enjoyed the food at Jack’s Ridge. Aside from being pricey, the food served was bland, including the staff. What was left of the hours we had at Davao City was spent here. Although we were glad to have given the chance to visit the place, the food is something that the management should work hard on reinventing.
Excess: The photo of the cab above was the only reminiscent we had of our driver on October 9, 2010. Our flight back to Manila that night was an hour and a half delayed due to technical difficulties experienced at NAIA.