Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Iloilo: Where To Eat & What Pasalubong To Buy

lloilo sits on the southern shores of Panay Island; and the city itself is just across the Guimaras Island,  so naturally, fresh seafood is in abundance.  I've been to Iloilo before, a very long time ago; but I still remember those seaside restaurants serving fresh seafoods with fondness. Coming to Iloilo this time around, I was expectedly looking forward to reliving those memories.  And this trip had a lot of those deja vu moments of food glory.

Just a few hours after our plane landed, a swimming co-parent who hails from Iloilo whisked us off for an early lunch at Tatoy's Manokan.  It is an unassuming and rustic-looking restaurant, but is one of Iloilo's best seafood restaurant.
 

Ordering is easy, just point to whatever is on the display stand.

We had our lunch in one of the nipa huts across the street, which offered us a wonderful view of the sea and Guimaras Island further across.


At Tatoy's, I simply can't get enough of the fresh oysters dipped in spiced vinegar, the baked scallops, lechon baboy, lechon manok (house specialty... it's Tatoy's Manokan, after all), and the best grilled Managat.  The Grilled Managat is one of the best tasting dish I have ever come across during my visit to Iloilo.  The fish is very meaty and sweet.  Their Baked Scallops is among the best I've ever tasted.  A lot of restaurants have these on the menu, but the seasoning of Tatoy's is different; the mixture of calamansi, butter, garlic and cheese is just so yummy my plate was full of scallop shells when the meal was over.

The kids were amazed that fresh buko juice is served with the husk, and so a flurry to take instagram photos ensued.

Still, another seaside restaurant that is one every visitor's must-visit list is BreakthroughThis restuarant is similar to Tatoy's, but the seashore is more conducive to walking around and the view  more scenic.
 I had another taste of my favorite, Grilled Managat.
 
Another dinner was hosted for us at Bauhinia, located within the complex of Smallville.  The family of one of our swim co-parents own the strip of restaurants located at The Avenue, within the lively Smallville complex.  We were able to sample an array of specialty dishes in the buffet dinner prepared for us that night.  We got to taste the ribs that Mojave Grill & Steak House is known for.   Dessert that night was from Tinapayan BakeshopThe Banana Cream Pie and Mango Pavlova was a worthy excuse to pile on extra calories. 

The Smallville complex also has a hotel within the vicinity, the Smallville 21 HotelSome of the swimmers who stayed in this hotel liked the accomodation.  While I haven't seen the interiors, the hotel is relatively new so I am sure the rooms are very comfortable.  It is located in an area that is known for being the premier entertainment and dining center in the city.   I can safely assume that because of its proximity to the dance clubs and KTV family bars, hotel guest can expect some noise especially on weekends. 
 

Of course, no visit to Iloilo will be complete without having the Lapaz Batchoy.  We ate at Deco's Lapaz Batchoy because it was also conveniently beside the pasalubong store.  Just to be honest, I did not find anything spectacular to rave about, but maybe it's just me.

I did all of my pasalubong shopping at Deco's Pasalubong Shop.  After the group had lunch at Deco's Lapaz Batchoy, we went next door to buy our pasalubongs.  It made shopping for pasalubongs so convenient since all of Iloilo's most famous delicacies are now housed in one store.  

The products include the famous butterscotch, barquillos, biscocho, crispy squid rings, preserved foods and pinasugbo from Biscocho Haus, Panaderia de Molo, and Trappist Monastery Food Products, Wewins, JD Bakeshop, Rosy's Delicacies, PJ Delicacies, Deocampo Barquillos Mama's Kitchen and Mrs. Fudge. 
They can even put it all in a box for you to make sure that all the yummy treats stay in its original condition and can withstand the airplane transport.

Tatoy's Manokan and Seafood Restaurant
Villa Beach, Sto. Niño Sur, Arevalo, Iloilo City
BREAKTHROUGH Iloilo
Villa Beach, Barangay Sto. Niño Sur, Arevalo, Iloilo, Philippines

Bauhinia Filipino Cuisine and Mojave Grill and Steak House
Smallville Complex, Diversion Road, Mandurriao District, Iloilo City

DECO'S Lapaz Batchoy
La Sallette Bldg. Valeria St. Iloilo City

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