A Glutton’s Guide to Eating Your Way Through Boracay

A Guide to the Best Restaurants in Boracay - Travel Lush

My big trip to Boracay didn’t exactly go according to plan.  Instead of having a week filled with sun and sand, the weather didn’t cooperate.  Like, at all.  Because we were battling the brutal winds brought on by Habagat and sporadic downpours, moments of sunshine were few and far between.

A Guide to the Best Restaurants in Boracay - Travel Lush
The sun poked through the clouds for a few glorious minutes!

So what do you do when you’re at the beach but can’t really go to the beach?  We’ll, if you’re like me you eat.  And eat and eat.

I pretty much feel like all I did was stuff my face with delicious food during my week-long trip to Boracay.  I had originally planned on compiling a guide to Boracay’s beaches.  However considering how little beach time I had, and the sheer amount of eating I did on this trip, I thought a food guide to Boracay would be much more appropriate.

My Guide to the Best Restaurants in Boracay:

FYI, these restaurants range from downright cheap to fairly expensive.  The exchange rate when I visited Boracay in July 2015 was 1 USD to 45 Philippine Pesos.

Breakfast & Lunch:

928 Café & Grill

Location: Station 2
Price: Cheap

A Guide to the Best Restaurants in Boracay - Travel Lush

If you’re on a budget 928 Café & Grill is the place to go for breakfast.  This unassuming eatery is located right smack in the middle of White Beach yet it is still one of the best budget-friendly restaurants in Boracay.

928 Café has a great selection of Filipino staples, western sandwiches and fruit shakes.  Because I’m a budget traveler this is by far my favorite place for breakfast.  For just 95 pesos I was able to get eggs, homemade bread with mango jam, and a half mango.  This is an extremely good deal for an expensive destination like Boracay.  They also have some pretty amazing fruit shakes for around 95 pesos.

The Sunny Side Café

Location: Station 3
Price: Moderate

A Guide to the Best Restaurants in Boracay - Travel Lush

The Sunny Side Cafe prides itself as one of the best breakfast places in Boracay for a reason.  I kind of fell in love with their menu.  Because I’m a vegetarian I couldn’t eat half of the items on it, but I appreciated their creativity.  Things like brioche French toast, salmon eggs Benedict and Wonuts (banana walnut waffle donuts) made me swoon.  All in all, the Sunny Side Cafe is a refreshing change from your average breakfast.

I opted for the vegetable omelet (P170) which was stuffed with creamed spinach, onions and tomatoes.  It was delicious.  I highly recommend heading here at least once during your trip.  It’s definitely one of the best restaurants in Boracay for either breakfast or lunch.

Nigi Nigi Nu Noos

Location: Station 2
Price: Moderate

Nigi Nigi Nu Noos has all sorts of food from Filipino to Italian (they also serve dinner).   And it also happens to be a great drinking spot.  But for some reason I always tend to gravitate toward Nigi Nigi Nu Noos during breakfast.

This humble beachfront joint offers French presses of coffee (a touch that I loved).  And their omelets have gained infamy on the island due to the fact that they actually allow you to choose how many eggs you want in your omelet.  If you’re feeling really crazy you can even try to break the record of 39 eggs.  You get a t-shirt and everything!

Real Coffee & Tea Café

Location: Station 2 (above Sea World Diving)
Price: Moderate

A Guide to the Best Restaurants in Boracay - Travel Lush

Real Coffee & Tea Café is another one of the most popular breakfast spots on the island.  The restaurant is located on the second story of a rustic beach front building.  It’s a fairly down home breakfast joint but it definitely has one of the best views in town.  All the food is cooked right in front of you at the bar/kitchen.

The menu is fairly standard with a variety of omelets, pancakes and French toast to choose from (the mango French toast sounded particularly appealing).  I went for the onion, tomato and cheese omelet with coffee (P200) and a calamansi muffin for (P60).

A Guide to the Best Restaurants in Boracay - Travel Lush

If you’re headed to Real Coffee & Tea Café you must try their famous calamansi muffins.  Calamansi is a type of citrus (almost a cross between a lime and tangerine).  The restaurant claims to have invented this delicious little treat, which tastes like a tart cupcake.  I have no idea if this is true, but that muffin was amazing!

Lunch & Dinner

Army Navy Burger + Burrito

Location: Station 1
Price: Cheap to Moderate

A Guide to the Best Restaurants in Boracay - Travel Lush
A cheese quesadilla for a little more than $2? Not bad!

I’m not usually a big fan of chains, but I cannot get enough of this place.  As a San Diego native I love me some Mexican food.  I honestly can’t resist sampling every Mexican food restaurant I come across when I’m traveling (even in Southeast Asia).

No, it’s not the same as the real thing, but Army Navy was so good I ate there twice during my week in Boracay.  The quesadillas have real cheese (a rarity in the Philippines, a country that loves their quick melt cheeses!), the guacamole is fresh, the burritos are big.  And they even have their own super good hot sauces.  The whole pro-America theme is a bit hilarious.  You might laugh but try the freedom fries because they are seasoned to perfection and really, really good. (Mains cost between P145-265).

Golden Cowrie

Location: Station 2
Price: Cheap to Moderate

A Guide to the Best Restaurants in Boracay - Travel Lush

I think Golden Cowrie might have ended up being my favorite restaurant in Boracay.  On an island that’s filled with international restaurants, I loved that this place offered some truly excellent traditional Filipino food at a really reasonable price.

They have everything under the sun from pinakbet (steamed veggies in shrimp sauce) to bicol express (a stew made from long chilies, pork and coconut milk) to crispy pork kare kare.  Because I’m a vegetarian it’s always hard to find veggie options of local Filipino staples but Golden Cowrie had an extensive vegetarian section, which I appreciated. 

A Guide to the Best Restaurants in Boracay - Travel Lush

The adobo kangkong (P120) and pinakbet (P120) were both excellent and I’m still kicking myself for not going back there to try the vegetarian bicol express, which happens to be my favorite Filipino dish.  Next time for sure!

Vegetarians beware:  There is a generous “vegetarian” section, but they do put shrimp paste in many of their vegetarian dishes.  I simply asked for no shrimp paste and they were very accommodating.  

Subo

Location: Station 2
Price: Expensive

I typically don’t eat out at expensive restaurants but given that the weather was so uncooperative during my trip to Boracay, I figured indulging in one fancy dinner was okay.  Subo gives traditional Filipino food a modern twist, and they do it really well.  They have everything from chicken and pork adobo to fried pork belly with stir fried pumpkin and okra to pancit noodle with squid and clams.

A Guide to the Best Restaurants in Boracay - Travel Lush

They have some great offerings but the reason Subo piqued my interest is because they had an ample vegetarian menu.  The buko puso salad (coconut and banana heart salad; P320) and adobo tofu (P350) were both divine, and it’s no wonder why Subo is one of the best new restaurants in Boracay.

Vegetarians beware:  There is a big vegetarian section, though they do put shrimp paste in many of their dishes.  I was a little bummed that two of my expensive dishes had shrimp paste, even though we were assured that they were pure vegetarian.  It kind of put a damper on what otherwise was a pretty amazing restaurant.  

Budget Eating, Snacking & Self-Catering

Halo Halo Hut

Location: D’Mall
Price: Cheap 

I’m not really a dessert person, but given that halo halo is pretty much a national pastime I had to give it a try.  Halo halo (which translates to “mixed together”) is traditionally made with shave ice, beans, jello and fruit.  It sounds bizarre but it is kind of amazing.

A Guide to the Best Restaurants in Boracay - Travel Lush

Halo Halo Hut puts a modern twist to this traditional dessert and offers some really fun versions.  The Mais con Yelo (P80) has flan, caramel cream and cheese ice cream, and the Happy Banana Saba con Yelo (P80) features saba (an exotic type of banana).  I opted for the All-Fruit Halo Halo (P100) which had rose-syrup-drenched shave ice and fruit pieces all topped with sherbet and a slice of flan.  And yes, it was as good as it sounds.

Talipapa Market

Location: Station 2 (on the main road) 
Price: Cheap

This outdoor market is the place to go for budget travelers and anyone who’s looking for a freshly cooked seafood meal.  Clearly my vegetarian self didn’t indulge but it seemed super popular!

Crafts

Located at the far end of D’Mall (on the main road up from White Beach), Crafts is one of Boracay’s few supermarkets.  It has an extensive selection of foodstuffs and household goods and offers pretty much everything you need to self-cater.  There is also a great deli directly across the way, which has a wonderful selection of cheeses.

Street Food

I’m a big fan of street food and Boracay has some really great options from meat on a stick to corn on the cob.  My favorite vendor was a lady who makes candied sweet potatos, plantains and ube lumpia (like a sweet egg roll filled with purple rice).  They cost P15 and are all great beach-time snacks.

A Guide to the Best Restaurants in Boracay - Travel Lush
Ube lumpia…yum!

 

Do you have anything to add to this list? What are some of your favorite restaurants in Boracay?

About Justine

Justine Lopez is a California native who always seems to take the unconventional route in life. She also suffers from a serious case of wanderlust. In 2013, she set out on a yearlong round-the-world journey and never looked back. Since then she's lived the expat life in both Jakarta and Phnom Penh. She's now living and working as a freelance writer in Beijing. As she meanders her way through Asia she's always seeking out great vegetarian food, budget travel deals and amazing new travel destinations.

12 thoughts on “A Glutton’s Guide to Eating Your Way Through Boracay

  1. Ok, eating your way around an island seems like a good trade-off to crummy weather. And I also always find it hilarious (and horrible? annoying?) when restaurants 100% assure you about allergens or preferences but then sneak it in. Reminds me of My Big Fat Greek Wedding – you don’t eat meat? Fine, you get lamb!
    Julie recently posted…My 24 Hours Eating and Drinking in Paris

    1. I was so bummed that two of our amazing-looking dishes had shrimp paste. And when we asked our waiter they assured us that there was none. But it was pretty pungent! Haha, I have that My Big Fat Greek Wedding moment all the time!!

    1. Glad I’m not the only one Ashley 😉 Oh my gosh, both the halo halo and ube lumpia were amazing!! Man, that snack you described sounds so good. I hope they have that in Cambodia!

  2. I wonder… how do you write a review of a restaurant? It seems like you sampled one dish from each place you ate at (Admittedly, I am not a foodie).

    Now that I think of it, when I was in Leeds, I should have composed a blog article about five great places to get a milkshake.
    Rashaad recently posted…Home Sweet Home – Graduation

    1. Well, I just review restaurants based on my experience. Usually Aaron and I order separate things so I’ll sample a couple dishes. But no, I don’t eat everything on the menu. Although sometimes I’d like to 😉 I would love to read a milkshake blog post!!

  3. Calamansi muffins! That there is a reason enough to visit Boracay, I’d wager! I had kind of forgotten about calamansi, but now that you’ve reminded me about it, I’m feeling the loss of it in my life all over again…

    Also, shrimp paste is disgusting even if you aren’t a vegetarian and a sure way to ruin any dish. When we were in the Philippines, we did a dive trip where lunch was included. One of the dishes was simply fresh tomatoes covered in shrimp paste… it smelled like chum you might throw in the water to attract fish to the boat and I wanted nothing to do with it!
    Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) recently posted…Why Morelia is The Most Beautiful City in Mexico…that Nobody Visits

    1. I am obsessed with calamansis! I’m really hoping they have them in Cambodia because I really, really want to grow a little calamansi tree in my new apartment (that is, when I find an apartment). I’m obsessed with anything calamansi and that muffin did not disappoint 🙂

      Haha, I always wonder if people like shrimp paste. I cannot stand the taste or smell. And it’s not just because I’m a vegetarian. For me, there is just nothing appetizing about it! So interesting to hear that you’re not a fan either.

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