Dining around Siquijor
Even before I have set foot in Siquijor, I have been warned by those who have gone there that food in the island can be expensive. They were right on that account because most of the restaurants, are owned or partly owned by foreigners who most probably settled in the island.
I have listed down the restaurants that we tried while we were there for a few days.
The Big Belly Burgers and Breakfast
We arrived at the island in time for a late lunch. The one that we saw as we went out of the port and walked towards the “Welcome to Siquijor” sign fronting the St. Francis of Assisi Church was the Big Belly. It’s beside the Sr. Pedro Lechon Manok stall. They were at a great location, near the port and some tourist destinations in the town of Siquijor, the capital of the province of Siquijor (so as not to confuse you there).
We climbed a few steps where the Big Belly’s al fresco dining place is ready for us. Since their specialties are burgers and breakfast, we opted for the burger. We got the Combo 2, which as a classic cheese burger, French fries, and iced tea for P 93.00 (app. USD 2.00). Not bad given that the size and taste of the burger were quite satisfactory.
Get Wrecked Beach and Sports Bar
We would always pass by Get Wrecked on our way to and from our lodgings, the San Juan Community Development Cooperative (SJCDC). It’s located at the heart of the town of San Juan, which is the Poblacion, and right across the town’s gym and Capilay Spring Park.
Get Wrecked has a rustic feel to it, as it uses wood and local materials for its structure. There’s a big billiards table inside, where the bar is located, while there are tables in front and behind the restaurant, giving a beautiful view of the beach and the sunset.
On our first night, we had dinner there and ordered the Sweet and Sour Fish, since it was a holy week. I asked the server how large one serving is because it costs P185 (around USD 4.00). She said it’s good for one, so I thought it was like the other fixed meal servings that most restaurants have. My sister got one and I also ordered another for myself. But when they arrived, lo and behold, the serving could feed at least three people! But it was tasty, complete with pineapple bits and carrots. We paid about P470 (around USD 10.00) for all our orders, including drinks.
The day after, we wanted to try their Halo-Halo, an ice dessert with various stuff and milk in it, as I liked the Mango shake I got the night before. We stopped by after our tour for a snack. Sadly, they ran out of Halo-Halo. It must be good, or maybe because it only cost P65 (app. USD 1.40), or it was just plain hot that day, because every time somebody enters the place, he or she would ask for the Halo-Halo. We saw a family ordered onion rings and they looked tempting, so we got one as well, for only P60 (USD 1.30).
El Monte Café and Restaurant
For our lunch during our second day, our driver took us to El Monte Café and Restaurant, near the San Isidro Labrador Church in Lazi, towards the small port in that town.
The restaurant is designed with varnished bamboo and cogon woods and woven leaves. It has a mini-bar inside, which also served as the cashier. The signage says that wi-fi is available in the restaurant.
We ordered for a Sutokil, which meant there were three dishes, namely Sugba (grilled), Tola (soup), and Kilaw (usually raw fish soaked in vinegar, often with coconut milk). We just got an extra rice since one order could probably serve two people, learning from our Get Wrecked experience. I would say that of all the restaurants we tried in the island, El Monte served the best tasting food, wherein the fishes (the grilled one, the soup, and the one soak in vinegar) really melt in our mouths. And we only paid about P280+ (about USD 6.00), including the extra rice and our drinks.
I really don’t know the name of the restaurant since I only saw the signage Grilled Seafood on its tarpaulin, displayed along the road. Whether it is the name of the place or it only pertains to the food they offered, we tried this one on a Good Friday evening for dinner.
It was walking distance from SJCDC, located along the highway, after the town hall of San Juan and the Capilay Spring Park. When we got there, we were the only customers. We ordered grilled squid and chili garlic shrimps. They went about grilling our squid, which produced a sweet-smelling whiff. People gradually arrived and, before we knew it, the place was already filled.
We also dined al fresco, which seemed to be a usual occurrence in Siquijor, with just a canopy above us to protect us from the night mist. Then, our orders arrived. The grilled squid was quite small and there were only six shrimps (although they said one serving has seven shrimps). Nevertheless, despite not satisfied by the size of our order (Get Wrecked must have set our standards too high when it comes to that), the taste was quite good and we still enjoyed our dinner. Our dinner amounted to around P450+ (app. USD 10.00).
Marco Polo Italian Restaurant
Across the Grilled Seafood, just a few steps away is the Marco Polo Italian Restaurant which serves Pizza and Pasta. It is owned by an Italian named Guilio, we learned. We decided to have dinner during our last night there and Guilio was there attending to his restaurants’ needs.
The kitchen can be seen and you can see the chef prepare your orders. It is by the beach front, creating a good ambiance. The place is also well-lit and, again, since it is al fresco, you can see that a lot of people come here to dine.
We got a Pizza Marinara, Arrabiata, and Bruschetta. As we were waiting, the waitress placed two pieces of bread that were topped with a tomato sauce. I thought it was our Bruschetta and I was about to ask, since what I know is that the toppings are minced tomatoes, the waitress immediately informed us that these were complimentary breads for us, so I kept silent.
Eventually, our orders came. One thing I have to say, they sure tasted authentic. Our orders totaled to a little less than P500 (over USD 10.00), so it was fine with us.
We’ve seen Dagsa several times, on our way to the main town of San Juan (if you’re coming from the town of Siquijor). Dagsa is still within San Juan and it is located along the highway, where rows of restaurants and resorts could be found). The one thing why Dagsa stands out is its elaborate design, mostly of native wooden materials. There were huge balls of wood interwoven together, that marked the façade of the restaurant.
We decided to have our lunch here for our third day. As we entered, a small souvenir bar could be found, with a board of its specialties for the day. A waiter instantly greeted us and ushered us to the inner portions of the restaurant.
The restaurant has no walls, so that the breeze can be felt while dining. A bar could be found inside. We were given a choice if we wanted to take the tables and chairs or if we wanted the elevated portion where we can squat or lounge on its bean bag chairs. One lady was seated in the corner, reading a book, looking relaxed. But we opted for the high tables so we could better enjoy our meals.
We ordered Kinilaw na Tuna (raw tuna soaked in vinegar), which is my favorite, and steak, my sister’s choice. We also got an ice cream dessert. The presentation of the food truly looked expensive and we paid about P920 (about P20.00) overall, not surprisingly. Still, when it comes to kinilaw, I still go for El Monte.
There were still more restaurants around Siquijor to try. Most resorts also have their own restaurants. It would be good to see more local eateries, like El Monte, in the island. But because there are more travelers from around the world finding their way to Siquijor, there is also demand for international cuisines.