Davao: Food TripLocation: Davao
This is part one of a series of specials on Davao restaurants and cafes (ok, one cafe). The first two places are not documented too much since there aren't much pictures because my companions have managed to devour the food before I had a chance to whip out my camera (fiesty, I tell you.). They are, however, recommended to us by people who live in/have been to Davao.
Price Range: php 99
Location: DCI Bldg, A. Pichon street Davao City
This was our first stop. With the very low price of php 99, you can afford to eat anything you want on their buffet table. No kidding. Well, there is a hidden charge on the drinks which costs around php 35 (php 36 for bottomless iced tea) but even then, it's still reasonably priced. There isn't much to say about the buffet line since the food is pretty much unpredictable. Every time a dish empties out, an entirely different dish replaces it. If you have a limited choice of food for a particular diet, you'll eventually find food that you will be able to eat.
The service, however, is horrendous. There isn't much service to begin with since it's a buffet. You basically have to stand up to get the food yourselves. You do have to grab the waiters' attention in order to get some drinks unless you managed to bring your own and this is where the trouble begins. There aren't enough waiters for every table. I reckon that this is the reason why the food is so cheap. I recommend getting there earlier or later than lunch time to get the most out of your stay. Bring your own tissues/napkins/toothpicks unless you are willing to wait forever.
Price Range: php 195 - 220
Location: Jack's Ridge, Shrine hills, Matina, Davao City
Location is key. Jack's Ridge is located on a high piece of land that formed part of the headquarters of the retreating Japanese during World War II. Several caves line the place and it overlooks the city of Davao. As for the food, It's not that spectacular although it's not bad either. They do have the usual Filipino favorites like kare-kare, lechon kawali, spicy pork ribs, sweet and sour lapu-lapu and camaron rebosado. They also have something like "Jack's Fried Chicken" which is deep fried chicken seasoned with spices. Didn't try that though. I have developed a certain dislike for Davao's famed native chicken. It's just too small and too lanky. It's like eating coat hangers.
Price: php 188
A medley of native vegetables stewed in tomatoes and shrimp paste. This one is good. Although it's tiny bowl hardly serves 3-4 persons as indicated in the menu.
Filipinos have always confused squid with cuttlefish and this one is no different. This may also have something to do with the fact that the local translation pusit does not differentiate from the two. I'm no biologist but I can safely say that this is probably cuttlefish. Despite what I think is a misnomer, this dish has nothing to hide in terms of flavor. Flavor bursts in your mouth after every bite. The fish is not tough but soft and squishy. This is one of those instances where my companions managed to devour the food before a picture was taken. I apologize for the lack of photographic evidence.
Cubes of raw fish pickled with vinegar alongside garlic, onions, ginger and cucumber slices. Nice combo right there. For something served raw, it certainly whets this author's appetite. The lighting was bad but I somehow managed to take a picture while my companions weren't paying too much attention to it.
Sinigang na Isda
Ordinary to say the least. Although I did manage to take a dark blurry picture.
Oily and spicy pork spare parts served on a sizzling plate. Flavorful but not at all that special.
It's a great place to visit if you are new in Davao. The view is awesome. You feel like royalty having lunch (or dinner) wherein your table is overlooking your kingdom while being serenaded by guitar playing amigos. The food is not that spectacular though but the location does make up for the mediocre food. They also serve wines (php 700 a pop) for those special occasions. Combine not-so-spectacular food with excellent location and you get yourself and nice solid 4 stars (+1 for the location).