Davao promises a gastronomical adventure for all sorts of food lovers.
You’ll find the selection as wide as the city itself, and as bold and colorful as the Dabawenyos and their culture. The region is rich in the freshest finds, especially when it comes to seafood. Exotic bites abound, too, so prepare yourself because a food trip in Davao is not for the faint of heart.
1. Marina Tuna
Fresh seafood is practically a culinary institution in Davao, but this is especially true for their tuna. If there’s only one place you can stop by for an epic meal, it has to be Marina Tuna, where you can try their tuna 10 ways using every part of the fish. You’ll also get to sample grilled panga (tuna jaw), eye sinigang (sour tuna eye stew), sperm sac, roe, and kinilaw (ceviche).
Davao Marina Tuna
Km. 9 Jp Laurel, Buhangin
(082) 233 2666
Open daily, 9:00 AM - 9:45 PM
2. FROG Kaffee
Although FROG (Fresh Roast of Great) Kaffee opened only two years ago, it’s already become Davao’s favorite place to get a cup of coffee. This is mostly thanks to its gourmet coffee recipes. The stylish cafe also supports local Mount Apo coffee farmers and their products. FROG Kaffee is also known for having skilled baristas, several of whom won the largest latte art competition in Davao.
FROG Kaffee and Roastery
Prime Square, F. Torres St.
(082) 224 4044
Open daily, 11:00 AM - 1:00 AM
3. Asian Cow
Putting their own spin on traditional Asian cuisine is the hip diner Asian Cow. The cuisine here is a mix of familiar but inspiring Southeast and East Asian flavors with dishes like Salted Egg Batter-Fried Salmon with Garlic Aioli, Angus Beef and Basil Spring Rolls, and Chicken Satay with Pickles and Spiced Coconut Cream. Even the ambiance of the place veers from your traditional restaurant with its communal tables set up for a shared culinary experience.
Mabini Place, Corner Quirino and Mabini St.
(082) 327 8306
Open daily, 11:30 AM - 2:00 PM; 5:30 PM - 10:00 PM
Deemed one of the finest bars in Davao City, Huckleberry stands out mainly due to its top-notch selection of liquor, from rare tequilas to whiskies to Japanese single malts to bourbons and ryes. However, you’ll probably want to try one of their craft cocktails, the signature Huckleberry Hound: a mix of sili-infused rum, cinnamon syrup, lemon juice, grapefruit juice, and orange bitters. Their beer list also comprises draft beers and local brews.
Huckleberry Southern Kitchen and Bar
Oboza Compound, Rizal St. corner Bangoy St.
Open daily, 11:30 AM - 2:00 PM; 5:30 PM - 2:00 AM
What was once a quiet hole-in-the-wall has become one of Davao City’s most beloved restaurants and considered the best source for your Persian food cravings. Iranian Majid Jadali Sabet opened his first store in 2001, and while it's become such a Dabawenyo favorite, the kababs remain as tasty and their prices as affordable as ever.
Rizal Street, Poblacion District
(082) 225 8488
Open daily except Sundays, 11:30 AM - 10:00 PM
6. Tess BBQ
Dabawenyos love their sinugba (barbecue), and Tess is the perfect spot to truly feel like a local. What you want to try at this unassuming restaurant is their barbecue (of course) and puso or rice wrapped and boiled in a heart-shaped case of woven coconut leaves. You must eat kinamot (with your hands!) as well. For a chill evening of cold beers, there’s no better place in Davao.
Sta. Ana, Agdao
This cozy restaurant has a bright and cheery ambiance, perfect for your mid-afternoon snacks and some cute Instagram moments. The food at Sea Green Cafe is just as worth getting excited for. They’re known for their locally sourced healthy dishes, especially their tofu and tablea cheesecakes.
Sea Green Cafe
15 Jacinto Extension, Dona Vicenta Subdivision
(082) 327 4572
Open daily, 8:00 AM - 10:00 PM
8. Tiny Kitchen
Another dessert spot is Tiny Kitchen, known for their frozen brazo, sans rival, silvanas, and cheesecakes. This charming and super affordable restaurant also serves up Spanish and Filipino fusion dishes, and their paella comes highly recommended. Since they started out as a bakery, you’ll surely be tempted to bring home some of their pastries and baked goods.
F. Torres Street, Poblacion District
(082) 305 9232
Open daily except Sundays, 9:30 AM - 9:30 PM
If your sweet tooth cravings are not yet satisfied, you’ll want to head over to Lachi’s. Durian is a true emblem of Davao, and Lachi’s has incorporated the iconic fruit into their cheesecake. This cozy little bakery and restaurant is also one of the best places to try sans rival.
Door 1-H, Values School Bldg, Ruby Street, Marfori Heights
(082) 224 5552
Open daily except Sundays, 11:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Simple but tasty comfort food is what you'll find at Dencia's. Their lugaw (rice porridge) is what's made them famous, but their tokwa't baboy (pork ears, pork belly and deep-fried tofu), pancit and satemi are other dishes that keep Dabawenyos coming back for more. For a welcoming gastronomical experience that is truly Davao, there’s no place like Dencia’s.
Davao Dencia’s Restaurant
General Luna St, Poblacion District
(082) 226 4336
Open daily, 7:00 AM - 9:00 PM
More and more, Davao has become known as the best place in the Philippines for the finest local cheeses. At Malagos Garden Resort, you can sample and bring home locally-made cheeses. And, what pairs well with cheese? Wine and some dark chocolate, of course. Malagos also happens to be home of the country’s first chocolate museum, where you can fully experience the making of Malagos’ award-winning confectionery by creating your own chocolate.
Malagos Garden Resort
Malagos, Baguio District
12. West Empire Chinese Restaurant and Seafood Garden
For a truly grand and indulgent meal, you can count on West Empire Chinese Restaurant and Seafood Garden for some of the best Chinese cuisine and freshest seafood in town. This fine dining experience includes their specialty dishes, like their Eight Treasure Soup, Fried Crabs with Salted Egg, Steamed Lapu-Lapu, Xiao Long Bao, Two-Way Bamboo Lobster, and Warm Prawn Salad.
West Empire Chinese Restaurant and Seafood Garden
Phase 2, West JBT Plaza, J.P. Laurel Avenue,
Insular Village, Lanang, Buhangin District
(082) 282 0519
Open daily, 9:00 AM - 2:00 PM; 5:00 - 10:00 PM
13. Bankerohan Public Market
If you want to get into the nitty gritty of the food of any place, the public market is your best bet. Davao’s largest wet market, the Bankerohan Public Market, is teeming with local fare and interesting treats. For cold rainy mornings, try the puto maya (rice cake with ginger and sweetened milk) and tsokolate (hot chocolate drink). You can also pick up your pasalubong of marang, durian, pomelo and mangosteen here.
Bankerohan Public Market
Building No: 2, Marfori Street, Barangay 5-A
(0922) 949 2270
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