I think it is about time I crafted this blog of Top 10 Restaurants in Bohol, the Philippines.
We’ve been visiting Bohol for the past 11 or so years, and as you’ll likely know we bought a house there 2 years ago. We always eat out and explore the food scene continually.
I have to say that I disagree completely with the TripAdvisors of the World with their Top 10 choices. Maybe they are just out of date with the reviews and perhaps have not been here for a while and so much has changed of late. But here are my Top 10 Restaurants in Bohol, the Philippines. I will just add a caveat that this is view in time. We just came back from a trip in Nov’2019 and so very much has changed, and so many new additions. This is my view as of now with some historic photos and reasons as to why they were and continue to be my Top 10.
TripAdvisor you should pay me and my family a wee management fee and an entertainment license and I will review the bloody lot for you in the blink of an eye. Then you can punt your nearest hotel on your algo. Makes sense right? #itsmorefuninthephilippines
With the new airport opening this year we have floods more tourists in from China, Japan, Korea, Russia and beyond. So you lucky travellers read on and get some insight into our Top 10 Restaurants in Bohol, the Philippines. This covers both Bohol and Panglao Island. So this is also written as a one-link-to-go-to for our guests at the house, as well as anyone else who happens to be frequenting this beautiful place. This Top 10 is likely to continually change as more and more investment kicks into Bohol, and more and more new places open. Watch this space for future additions.
It’s actually been quite sad to complete this blog, as in a great number of the photos is my mate, my father-in-law, Papang. Sadly no longer with us, but his memory lives on with us. He was a massive foodie and he loved having big family dinners with us all. I think some of his favourite times were with us all stuffing our faces and having a few beers. This blog is written in his memory. Bless you, Papang. RIP my friend.
Always with us Papang. Our last dinner together @ Smoque. Wifey and my wedding anniversary June’2019.
Let’s go – and just to state in no specific order. It is not top 10 as in 1-10 rating. My view is that your food choice really depends on how your mood is swinging you at that time. But I will say that the first in the list is there for a bloody good reason – say no more – Smoque rules!!!
Smoque Bistro & Bar
Cpg east avenue, bool district along ACE MEDICAL bldg, 6300 Dauis
Without a doubt, this is the top of the shop in Bohol. Our bestest choice, in fact, one of our favourite restaurants anywhere in the world, let alone just on Bohol.
Get yourself to here. It is a must and the best on the island we reckon. Say hi to Chef Raphael and his crew when you do. You must try the following; Meat Sharing Platter, Crispy Pork Belly, Octopus, Sisig Tacos (AMAZE-BALLS), Wagyu Steaks, Brisket – in fact, EVERYTHING is a must-try. It’s a mix of styles from Western to local and sometimes the menu depends on what produce Chef has been able to source at the markets that day. You have to love a changing specials board right?
We have been about 6 times now, usually 2 times every trip. Live music, great ambience, superb family orientation, incredible staff, the best food on the island, and super value for $$$. It has to be #1 on your list to visit when you are here. We are addicted to it.
How could you resist the Tomahawk? The gravy is insanely good, but all I need is a little sea salt and I am in heaven – and so is my partner in crime, Jude.
Here’s a new dish from the Genius of Chef Raph. Sisig Tacos. This is just bonkers brilliant. Make your own, with even 4 or so special sauces. Absolutely incredible dish. LOVED it and so did lL THE KIDS. Amazing!
This is one we/I ALWAYS order. His crispy pork belly. It is just stupidly seriously good. A little Porchetta like as rolled and stuffed with his secret stuff, slow roast and then blitz-roasted to crackle and puff up the skin. It is so perfect in many ways, and I love it! I love it so very much.
Chef Raph’s seafood sharing platter anyone? Holy shit! Do I even need to ask you a question?
The best location is the original location in my honest opinion. This is just off the main square of Tagbilaran City. Get yourself upstairs, get a cold San Mig in your hand and order the entire menu.
And she looks pretty stunning at night too right?
This used to be a single location just around the corner from where wifey was in her digs whilst at University. It is now a large fairly large chain, but our favourite is still the original location. It is no-frills, family-style, extremely good local Filipina BBQ food at incredibly cheap $$$. Again, we will go here once or twice per trip. The food is addictive.
You must have your food with the ‘native dipping sauce’, which is basically some soy, vinegar, chilli and Calamansi lime. Dip that BBQ chicken in that and you will be in heaven. No need to book, just rock-on-up.
It’s always a family affair at Payag. It’s just great honest grub. No frills, nothing fancy. Just bloody good food. One word of advice. The BBQ chicken tastes better if you use your hands to eat. I kid you not!
I kid you not this is likely to be the best BBQ chicken you will ever eat. Simply served with native dipping sauce. This is BBQ chicken heaven right here.
They ask if you want breast or leg meat. I love that. Are you a breast or leg man? I ordered the best chicken tits on the planet. Yes, I am. breast man haha.
Oh yeah, and they do some really nice deep-fried pig intestines that Jude and Amy both love! I promise you, if you do not eat with your eyes or thoughts, it really is rather delicious. Come on if a 6-year-old can…
Gerarda’s Family Restaurant
As I will advise below, there are actually two of these in Tagbilaran City.
This place has a great deal of history and legacy in Bohol. It is no-nonsense local fare, that absolutely rocks. You’ll be sat with huge groups of families celebrating something or other, or just there to be one as a family brought together by the place and the food.
It’s always time to grab the kids and get us all together here at Gerarda’s. So many great memories here.
The newer site is our preferred site, which is closer to St Jude’s Hospital. I just cannot find the address. It must be a Filipina/Bohol thing for restaurants, but again it just has that feeling of homely and family. We have eaten here when there have been literally families of 40 all eating together – huge long tables of chatting, laughing and chewing. Now that is a bloody good sign in my reckoning. Local fare is on offer here and it is so very damned good. This is another Kennett family frequent haunts when we visit our second home of Bohol. It’s all just so very good from the sweetcorn soup to Kinilaw, to dried beef ribs and so much more. We love it here.
We always over-order and we just graze and graze. One major call out here is the deep-fried beef ribs. OMG. We have these every single time we eat here. With your hands, you peel hunks of beef-jerky-like meat and dip in the native sauce. Absolutely heavenly with an icy cold Pilsen. Oh, my word!
See what I mean – oh yeah baby! Pull and dip, and repeat! Heavenly!
Funny story re Gerarda’s. Wifey booked a table for us all to go for the usual big family meal. I had no mobile roaming this day and was a little out of touch. I took my girls, Amy and Jhea in a tricycle to the restaurant. We arrived, and we took photos of us outside, eager to enter and eat. We waited. We asked which table we were sat at. They had no notification of our booking, from wifey that is. So yep, they then ring up the other Gerarda’s branch. Yes, we were at the wrong location. Another tricycle and 15 minutes later and we were reunited. Funny that the one we were at incorrectly has now become our favourite. Either or, it’s a cracking restaurant with superb local cuisine.
My gorgeous girls outside the incorrect Gerarda’s this night. Just before we jumped in a tricycle to get to the correct location. Classic!
It’s just such a cool space. The young lads have created this deserve a medal. Genius!
OK, this review is very specific for this new concept location in Tagbilaran. The Hideout itself is Uber cool. A quasi-hawker grouping around a large courtyard, with bar, live music (most nights) and even a quiz night. Yeah, we think this place rocks. We stumbled across this as I sat side-saddle one night on a tricycle on the way to Island City Mall. I saw neon, graffiti, containers, and a stage. Yeah, this needs some Google-search. We found The Hideout.
It is no-nonsense local fare. For example, if you ask for cutlery with the Bellychon they will hand you a plastic glove for you to shovel it in, I shit you not. A genius concept from a group of young lads.
The live music usually starts about 2000 and is, so far, absolutely brilliant. This photo is from November’2019 and yes these two young-ones were seriously good. The Hideout is unique in Bohol and is a must-visit.
So I am going to say that The Hideout is a must-visit. BUT, for this review your must-eat whilst you are frequenting this place is Bellychon. Holy shit. A scaled-down version of Lechon. With native dipping sauce and even plastic gloves to encourage you to eat with your hands. This tiny little hawker stand is chopping and serving some of the very best pork bellies EVER in my Philippines visit history. It was a slow roast, succulent, crackling crisped heavenly dish. One of the very best and that is saying something in The Philippines for pork believe me. Stellar!
Here is that perfect pork roll. Isn’t she beautiful? This is almost a Philippines version of Porchetta I suppose? Slow roast and then crackled up. I am in love every time I come to The Hideout.
And here it is plated. I kid you not folks, this is a stunning display of how to cook pork belly. This is just beautiful. Butter like slow-roast, lightly flavoured with herbs and the like with that crisp crunch of the crackling. Dip away. HEAVEN!!! This dip is called native dipping sauce and is a mix of soy sauce, spiced vinegar and evil little bird’s eye chillis. A stunning match made in heaven.
We just arrived for a trip in November 2019 and our first dinner experience was to immediately get to here. Bring on the Bellychon and the music and some ice-cold beverages please The Hideout.
This is a fully-functioning resort so I might suggest a wee phone call prior to rocking up for lunch or dinner. We have never had a problem, but we have been there loads including being a resort guest a few times. But this place is well worth a trip for some food and view. It is a stunner of a place and food is damned fine too. A wide variety of menu as you would expect at a resort from local to Western, Asian and Fusion.
Yeah, I do not mind sitting here at all for a lunch date.
Especially don’t mind sitting here when the lunch date is with this gorgeous chick.
What can I say? This is a stunner of a resort with easy access to things like diving, dolphins and snorkelling too. It’s a lot quieter too than the resorts over the Alona side of the island. I love it here. Apparently it is where a lot of the film and TV stars come to due it being a little more ‘secluded’. Gets my vote! And what/ a view as you dine.
Their version of Sisig is just bonkers as they use whole cuts of roast pork belly. So it is amazingly crunchy and crispy. It is a cracking dish. And this is just one of their vast menu of offerings. As it is a resort they do cater for a lot of multi-country menu options too – see wifey choice one day.
A wee Japanese twist for this one this day. Tuna Tataki with fish roe and pickles. Man did they plate that well or what? It looks stunning and wifey gave it to me on good authority that the flavour was equally incredible.
So, folks, there is the Bellevue Resort. A stunning location for lunch or dinner. Just call ahead to be sure there is no event or guest preference only type thing, as it is a little jaunt to get there. It is more than worth the trip though. We love it here. Heck, dig deep, and stay there and eat to your heart’s content for the duration. That’s my recommendation.
Saffron Restaurant, @ Amorita Resort
1 Ester A. Lim Drive Baragay Tawala, 6340 Panglao, Bohol
The Amorita Resort was the very first place I stayed in the Philippines, and specifically Bohol. nearly 11 years ago now when Amy was still sucking hard on the milk bottle bless her. Amazing amount of change since that 1st trip. No more dive-bum shacks and pizza joints down the beach as now it is all luxury resorts with the foreign cash injection for tourism that is seeing Bohol BOOM! This is also where my brother-in-law YanYan works as life-guard and water-sports aficionado. So whenever we are in Bohol we usually try to pop along to Amorita for memory-sake and YanYan hellos.
Again, this is a full functioning gust resort so I would call and book as you will need to get in past the security and the like. Just in case. A wide variety of menu as you would expect at a resort from local to Western, Asian and Fusion.
Now the other interesting fact re this restaurant is that the Head Chef used to be Chef Raphael. Our mate and Chef/Owner of Smoque, our #1 restaurant choice on the island. He has clearly left his mark at Saffron, as it is bloody good. Nicely done Chef Raphael. We ate there this trip, November 2019, and saw the Chef. Sadly we did not get the chance to say Hi. I tried a few new items on the menu and had my socks blown off – so this review now includes those and they will be getting a separate blog just for the lunch we just had. Absolutely incredible.
Yeah – that is one nice family meal one year with our mates The Rutherford’s. We were all over to celebrate wifey’s 40th Birthday on Alona Beach – and eating our way through Alona literally.
Try their Sinigang Soup with crispy crackling pork. Holy cow, what a dish. One I would absolutely have again if I went back. The soup was sour with the Tamarind and the pork was just exquisite. So soft and moist, with an incredible crackling. Saffron, this is a KNOCK-OUT dish!!!
Their Sisig is also up there in my Sisig God-status. It’s very authentic with pig bits including liver and I do believe blood sausage. Super fragrant, warming, crunchy and super savoury. A killer Sisig.
Yes, I have beautiful kids. But also look beyond the beautiful kids to the stunning views that you get whilst putting on a few pounds here at Saffron. What a view that is.
Oh yes and this. I truly cannot remember the exacts of this dish. But suffice to say it was super slow-braised pork belly topped off with a super-duper crackled piece of pork crackling. Winner, winner chicken dinner. Oh yes. Daddy chose well this lunch.
What I found out today over lunch in November 2019 is that the menu has changed quite substantially. Maybe a new Head Chef, who we did see walking around when we visited here today. Some absolute crackers on the menu now. For example;
Chorizo Fundido – basically a mini cheese fondue with beautiful crispy grilled bread. I cheekily asked and got my own way for a side of bacon jam (the black stuff) which comes with another dish that was not availble. What a combo for a new dish not consumed before at this restaurant. It was stunning. I’ll be doing a lunch review as I mentioned to show off some more like the stuffed squid, fish n chips with mustard tartar sauce and their stunning Pho with home-made meatballs. Yeah it’s good and a must visit if you are around Alona Beach.
Lantaw Native Restaurant
V.P Inting Avenue corner Mansasa-Dampas Road, 6300 Tagbilaran City
This is a place we first visited when we were staying on Mactan Island, Cebu for my 50th. Jude was not so ‘hot’ one day so we ventured off alone to visit Lantaw. Yeah, we had a ball there and then heard it had opened on Bohol, well bugger me. We went once and it was you know, sort of OK. But the 2nd and 3rd times have been bloody brilliant. I sense improvement every time we go back.
It is up there as a place to go visit now, and it really does have some cracking views from Bohol across to Panglao. It is literally half-way between the two causeways between the two islands. Very nice. Lantaw Native, as the name suggests, is all about local-local fare. And shit loads of it.
It is a HUGE restaurant. I don’t think you would really need to book as it really is so very large. I love this photo as they were advertising a Beatles themed night when we were there and Jude was desperate to go haha.
Either his seat is really hot and he sat down in shorts or Jude is actually really happy to be here. I think the latter. See what I mean about that view? It’s stunning. Boats pottering past. Local guys wading out to catch shell-fish and the like and then the lights come down and night kicks in. It is just stunning!
And stunning this is too. I don’t know if you have ever tried Filipino Chorizo? Guys, it is different from the Spanish you have probably tried. From here it is a little warming for sure, but also so savoury and so bloody sweet almost like dripping in homey. It is AMAZING and it comes in these stings that get stuck on a stick and then BBQ’s until chargrilled. I mean fark off really. This is death-row, but with a caveat of hold on with the chair whilst I work out how to get the string out of the sausage please Warden. Worth the death wait. Amazing little savoury sweet bundles!!! I just bought myself a load of this raw, Nov’19, for me to cook when I get back home, likely with a drizzle of honey too. Oh yes!
And then my wifey walks up to the plate and knocks it out of her park with this. Looks like a car crash, a crime scene, something off of Sigorney Weaver’s face? No this is my wifey’s chosen dinner. Fark me! It’s a local shell-fish time. Probably the guys down below us with floating buckets up to their waist in water are collecting. Seriously WTF is it? Don’t be shell-fish Babes tell me. All I can say is YUCKS!!!
Yes, we are happy campers here – it is HUGE Tapas share time and family Kennett love that here. Don’t agree with one plate, awesome, just move on by and try the next. Jude is in an element here – the Prince of trying bless him. He literally will have a go at pretty much everything and anything you put in front of his mouth. Just give a ‘rationale’ and he will be game to try and he is SIX only (JUST!). He amazes me. He is like Ollie. What happened to Strawberry Blonde I have no idea. Skipped a gene-pool clearly.
See what I mean re the views? This is causeway #2 away from the Seaport. Just sit back relax and chill with the view, whilst be served some pretty damned amazing food. Yeah, I like a lot.
Henann Resort, as the name suggests is a resort. As such it clearly has to cater to a wide variety of food tastes and styles. Just sitting at the pool today, 27/11/2019, there are about 20 different languages I am picking up. Yeah, that is tough to ask to please all. The menu is therefore diverse shall we say? But it is damned fine to boot. I highly recommend a stay here, or just pop over to eat. You can use the beach area if eating and drinking with them, or you can even buy a wrist-band and use the lower pools and facilities if not staying with them. Do it.
We love sitting at the pool-bar near the beach. People-watching with toes in the sand listening to the cool chillax tunes pumping out across the beach and waves. The food is quality, and I am going to pick a few favourites for you to see what I mean. It’s a must-try if you are on Bohol or Panglao. Happy Hour is 5-7 pm, get your bum down here and get sandy.
Sisig in a Beggar’s Purse. How cool is that for a name? They describe this as purse-shaped lumpia wrapper filled with pork sisig and served with garlic-vinegar dip. #1 be aware it is bloody filling. #2 for those not used to it the dipping vinegar is spicy. As a seasoned veteran for Filipino food though, and a massive lover of Sisig (see previous blogs) this is an absolute cracker. What a great concept. It is genius. Portable Sisig. I love it!
Strawberry Blonde and I were BFF’s for a day as wifey and Jude scooted off to Mabini. It’s beach-time dining with toes in the sand, cold beer in hand and not a bad backdrop at all.
This dish is another reason they are going into the Top 10 list. This is their sun-dried beef and it is off-the-charts amazing. This is beer-food on bloody steroids believe me. It is just wonderful. Icy cold Pilsen and this are bedfellows like no other. Sitting there chewing on this beefy goodness, cold beer in hand and white sandy beach between my toes. I could die happy right now.
We opted for the beach buffet this day, which is OK. The one thing worth a photo or two on the menu is ‘make-your-own’ Sisig. Now, this I am massively into. What a great concept! As he makes this we are serenaded by live music from a band on the beach, cold beverages galore and sand between those toes. I feel like an angel on earth.
Nicely does it, Chef. In goes the individual sizzling skillet to the wood holder. Yeah that is HOT.
And let’s flame it for show. Nicely done Chef, now that is very cool food-theatre.
You are a beauty. My very own personalised Sisig. Happy Daddy!
Upper Ground Floor, Galleria Luisa, Galleres St. Tagbilaran City, Bohol, 6300 Tagbilaran City
This place is about as local as they get in Tagbilaran City. I believe a one-off, with no chain, involved here. It’s usually the same ladies behind the jump that have been there for the 10+ years we have been coming. I don’t think anything has changed at all, not the music, the furniture, the food – nothing! Even the faded photos of the food, perhaps just a sticker over the top to change the pricing haha. I tell you it is no-frills hawker-style home-cooked food and it is bloody brilliant!
It is sort of part of a load of others in a true hawker-style but all the serving areas are bespoke to each – so not really a shared space hawker. It’s fill your own bench. But always there is this weird sounding-like live acoustic music being piped. Everyone is always looking around for the band (that does not exist). It is chaotic and manic and bumpy and noisy and pushy but BRILLIANT. It’s just a great food venue in this emerging city!
Yeah we, the Bennetton-crazy-mixed up family like it here a lot. We are so at home here, always. No matter who is over, or with us, we come here, we eat, we chat, we relax, we have quiet moments just looking around or at the view. Yeah, it is good folks. It is really good.
We are just always here… Another photo, another year. Do the kids age? I bloody do, perhaps why I am never in the photo???
Seriously check the view. Not bad right? And this is the start of the new bridge from Dauis, Panglao (our house is right there) to Seaport Tagbilaran. It’s topaz seas all around. Such a hardship living here. Did I say living? See there goes that active mind again. I meant visiting.
Sisig and other amazing sizzling dishes here. They go NUTS on this. Even serving at the table and flaming it – show-offs which I love of course. The food is so so cheap. Believe me, it is SO cheap for what you get. It is just wonderful cuisine from a kitchen that is probably a one-burner stove behind that sign you saw. It blows me away what these guys plate and serve. Please go out of your way and at least have a look, buy a beer, say hello – something! It’s just wonderful! Love them!
The Original AA BBQ
Panglao Island Circumferential Rd, Poblacion, Dauis, Bohol
Tel; +63 922 845 2168
No Facebook site I can find.
No previous blogs, as it is so new and our first time to visit.
My Sis recommends this place and therefore it becomes a massive must-try. It is a new place on Panglao that we have never seen let alone been to.
BIG family dinner tonight at a new place on Dauis that Sis and Brother have visited and said is good. I am liking it a lot. Alcoholics Anonymous BBQ. Bring it on. I am hooked already!!!
Like the Philippines version of The Waltons. We go big tonight with Mum, brother and sis, kids galore, and nieces and, and… This restaurant is Uber cool. No frills and all that but it has a really cool atmosphere. Music pumping, it’s busy and vibrant. Staff are great. Prices very good and the menu looks incredible too. Yeah, one big happy family of food campers tonight.
A 1st time EVER in all my years of coming to the Philippines. Native Dipping sauce with raw green tomatoes. Holy crap, best-in-breed. I was eating this on its own at the end of the evening – well vinegar is supposed to be good for you, isn’t it? LOVE THIS!!! AA BBQ you are rocking my friends. So apparently AA BBQ originates from Cebu, and this is #1 branch in Bohol – I suppose we watch this space for more to come as this was jammed!!! And funnily enough, quite a few scooter white faces in the mix too.
Their Crispy Pata was well up there too. The crackling was absolutely to die for. Especially with dipping sauce and some of that green tomato, Double WOW for AA BBQ for this. So very good. Again, do not be fooled by its over-simplistic nature. Deep-fried pork knuckle. This is boiled beforehand in a special array of herbs and spices to cook it, infuse the meat, to tenderize it and also help the skin crackle and puff up when fried. Yeah, baby, this is legendary! Move over Ze Germans, the Philippines has this licked – literallY!
Guso, up next which is a Filipino salad made from fresh seaweed with pickled vegetables. My first time to try this, and yet another WOW moment for me on this trip. This was just so fresh and almost invigorating in a strange way. Love this, and I really thought I was not going to. Big tick in the box for this dish. Really different, so very good. The little balls are bladders to make the seaweed float (if you were wondering).
Here we go. This was one of the very best versions of this dish ever. We ordered two in fact. This is eggplant that they fry with onion, tomato and egg. It forms this quasi-omelette. The eggplant almost melts into this delicious puree. Dip this in native sauce and holy shit, best thing ever. Wow, this is so good. Two times so good! This is Tortang Talong.
I am never a big fan of ‘wet’ Sisig. So when looking at this I was a little ‘not sure’. But I have taught myself not to eat with my eyes. I mixed this up on the sizzling platter and gave it a go. Holy cow, or pig. This is without doubt one of the best tasting Sisig ever, if not for the ‘slime’ it could be up there with the absolute overall best. Remember that Sisig blog? This was superb, truly.
Their Crispy Pata was well up there too. The crackling was absolutely to die for. Especially with dipping sauce and some of that green tomato, Double WOW for AA BBQ for this. So very good. Again, do not be fooled by its over-simplistic nature. Deep-fried pork knuckle. This is boiled beforehand in a special array of herbs and spices to cook it, infuse the meat, to tenderize it and also help the skin crackle and puff up when fried. Yeah, baby, this is legendary! Move over Ze Germans, the Philippines has this licked – literally!
You know, it really has been tough doing this blog as you only see a selection of the ‘goods on offer’ on this beautiful island, and that is what family Kennett throw down their necks frequently. Beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder so please come and explore your own options and delights on Bohol and Panglao. The island is constantly changing now with the tourism flooding that is happening. So who knows? The top 10 of today, may change tomorrow. But for now, I am standing by my choices. These are ROCK-SOLID choices and are absolutely our go-to places every time we visit home #2. My Top 10 Restaurants in Bohol, the Philippines. Go – ENJOY!!!