A couple of weeks before super typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan hit the Philippines, we were on the lovely island paradise of Coron. Though it was one of the areas directly in the typhoon’s path, I’m glad to hear that tourism is back in business, with most of the popular destinations, hotels and restaurants, already cleared and opened to the public according to the latest travel advisory. The town relies primarily on tourism, so I’m encouraging people who are wary about traveling to the area to continue with their trips to help the community recover somehow. If you’re planning to spend the holidays in Coron, here’s a rough guide on the best places to eat around the Coron town proper. For things to do, see my previous posts on Coron. #BangonCoron!
Type of cuisine: seafood, pizza, pasta
Price range: P300-400 per person
To get to La Sirenetta Restaurant, you have to cross a short wooden walkway over the water. You’re welcomed by a cozy little white restaurant that resembles a boat, flanked by several mermaid statues. If you eat here during the day, you can have a great view of the bay and the boats entering the port. There’s even a billiard table in the space. We tried their Calamares, which came with a salsa dip and Mika’s Pizza, which was served with a really potent spice paste. I hear their shakes are great, though we decided to have beers instead. It’s a nice, relaxing place to grab some good food and have a drink or two.
Type of cuisine: seafood platters, barbecue, exotic fare
Price range: P250-500 per person
Kawayanan Grill serves mostly Pinoy food, seafood specialties and a few exotic dishes including crocodile sisig. Their dining space is all in outdoor kubo-style huts, with some tables with really low tables and cushions you can sit on. You can walk to it from the town proper, but it’s a also a bit further away from the main strip of restos, so most people opt to take a tricycle. It’s an ideal resto for big groups, families and barkadas. We shared a Kawayanan Platter (which came with grilled crab, fish, squid, shrimps, lato (seaweed) and grilled kibiao (clams), which is a local specialty.
SEAHORSE / SEADIVE RESTAURANT
Type of cuisine: seafood, steaks, rice meals
Price range: P300-500 per person
Seahorse Restaurant is Seadive resort’s in-house resto. Like Sirenetta, its location is over the water so it has a nice view. The choices on the menu seemed to cater to Western tastes. I ordered Lobster with Lemon Butter Sauce, while Art had Grilled prawns. Presentation-wise, the food looked really good, but we found the flavors a bit on the bland side. The dishes came with a side of vegetables. Unfortunately, they were out of stock of the Native Tuba shake we wanted to try. The fruit shakes were decent..
LOLO NONOY’S FOOD STATION
Type of cuisine: Grilled specialties, Pinoy rice meals, carinderia-type food
Price range: P60-200 per person
Lolo Nonoy’s Grill is frequented by locals, so you know that they serve pretty affordable and good food. There’s a large dining space for groups and a couple of small native huts for smaller groups. They have a turo-turo style section for those on a budget. The serving of the liempo I ordered was pretty satisfying for the price and the Lumpiang Shanghai Art got was pretty good. They also had good fruits shakes and dessert like leche flan here. This is one of the more budget-friendly options.
CENTRO CORON LODGE & RESTAURANT
Type of cuisine: rice meals, seafood
Price range: P80-150 per person
Located right across the street from our inn (we were staying in Zurich Pension House), Centro Coron looks like an ordinary eatery and pretty unassuming compared to some of the other restaurants. However, they do serve pretty big servings for the price of the meals. For about P100, their rice meals come with a drink already, so it’s a good option if you’re on a budget. The Tuna Steak could actually be good for 2 people and came with a really delicious sauce. They also serve Pink Salmon dishes here like Pink Salmon sa Miso.
BIG MAMA’S PINOY HOT POT & GRILL
Type of cuisine: hot pot & grill, fruit shakes
Price range: P150-200/per person
Big Mama’s specializes in soup dishes (bulalo, papaitan, sinigang) and grilled specialties. We shared a bowl of sinigang here, which had pretty tender meat and savory broth. If you’re hungry, the order is probably only good for one. They also serve fresh fruit shakes.
Type of cuisine: seafood, burgers, rice meals
Price range: P80-300 per person
This small diner on the main street serves pretty decent sandwiches, breakfast meals and main meals. I really liked the burger and fries I ordered (which they claim to be the best in town). For only P85 , it was a pretty good snack. They have a wide beer selection here including some foreign brands like Corona and Asahi. They also serve the cheapest beer in town. San Mig beer here costs P33/bottle during our visit, compared to other restos where it costs P50-60.
CORON VILLAGE LODGE
We didn’t get a chance to eat at Coron Village Lodge, but we saw the place while biking around town and liked the vibe, so decided to have a few drinks after dinner. The place has very cool interiors with lots of wood details. There’s a wide wall display of various collections like thimbles, shotglasses, Russian Matroshka dolls and plates. Aside from regular San Mig, they also serve Cerveza Negra here and play laid-back reggae music, so it’s a nice place for a drink or two.
Other restaurants that friends recommended that I wasn’t able to try include: Bistro Coron (they didn’t have fresh seafood when we inquired so we didn’t eat there), Santino’s Grill (which specializes in ribs) and Coron Edge Restobar on the way to Mt. Tapyas.