What To Eat + Where To Go In Davao City

You have to try Davao's famous barbecue, brazo de mercedes, and mangosteen ice cream!

The bounty of food in Davao City is what draws people here. Spend a few days in town and you’ll notice how Davaoeños share a love for simple yet delicious food and flock to cozy holes-in-the-wall that remind them of home. Roam around our bustling city for the little gems that define our take on Southern hospitality.

No one loves barbecue as much as we do. If you find yourself visiting landmarks in the heart of town, swing by legendary Colasa’s Bar-B-Que. The chicken barbecue and grilled innards glazed with a sweet sauce aren’t to be missed.

The restaurant scene here is all about family, and this even applies behind the scenes at Tiny Kitchen, which is run by the Rodriguez family. This homey eatery boasts of some of the best paella and gambas al ajillo you will ever try. Their chillers are always stocked with cake, so make sure to grab a slice of their coveted ube cake and brazo de mercedes.

Belito's Vineyard, owned by Richie Ferrazzini, offers a quiet al fresco dining experience
Photo by Nikki Tan

Day trips to nearby beaches and nature resorts are worthwhile ways to explore Davao’s scenery, and you can’t beat dinner at Belito’s Vineyard after a long day of touring. Tucked away in an unassuming compound, this blip on the foodie radar is known for its flavorful cooking and quaint outdoor setting. You’ll find their trademark paella negra atop almost every dining table. Also look out for their seasonal homemade caviar and Tornos, their take on classic tapas, inspired by the owner’s roots.

Bistro Selera offers traditional and modernized Davao cuisine
Photo by Bistro Selera

If you have space for one more meal, sample the rich Filipino fare at Bistro Selera. The Bacon-wrapped Bagaybay alone is worth the trip here. Dive into their Seafood Durian Curry and Mangosteen Ice Cream with Biko for a taste of some of Davao’s most prized produce.

You can buy durian, marang, and mangosteen at the Bankerohan Market
Photo by Nikki Tan

Davao is a land of plenty, which is perfect when it’s time for pasalubong. Visit the fruit stalls at Bankerohan Market for boxes heaving with durian, marang, and mangosteen, or grab some of Wency Cornejo’s pillowy-soft Enzayms at Carmela’s.

A myriad of chocolate products from Cacao de Davao.
Photo by Mimi Tan

Better yet, before you head off after your trip, drop by the Malagos Farmhouse and book a cheese-tasting session with owner Olive Puentespina for your fair share of their award-winning cheeses and chocolates. The chocolate-coated morsels from Cacao de Davao will also prove enough bittersweet evidence of a visit here worth looking back on.


This feature was published in the September 2016 issue of Yummy magazine. Minor edits have been made by the Yummy.ph editors.

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