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Top 10 Best Restaurants in El Nido, Palawan – Foodie Guide

Top 10 Best Restaurants in El Nido, Palawan – Foodie Guide

The cuisine in El Nido has come a long way since our very first visit in 2014, now there’s no shortage of great restaurant options. We’ve put together this list of the best restaurants in El Nido to help you decide where to eat on your next visit. 

Pizza on a wooden board at Altrove Pizza in the Philippines

1. Altrove

Indulge in top-notch Italian cuisine right in the heart of the Philippines at Altrove. You can tell it’s one of the most popular restaurants in El Nido because there’s almost always a line out the door of people waiting for a table. However, if you’re patient enough to wait in line, you’ll be rewarded with some of the best-tasting dishes in El Nido.

The pizza is the star of the menu. The dough is freshly made and perfectly baked in a wood-fired oven until it’s crisp on the outside and fluffy in the center. You can add your favorite toppings, like mushroom, prosciutto, tuna, or pineapple. However, you can also stick with the classic Margherita and still be amazed by the simplicity of flavors.

You can also try one of their pasta dishes. The ingredients are imported straight from Italy, and the sauces are made from scratch daily. Either way, you can’t go wrong with whatever you order at Altrove. One bite, and you’ll see why the long wait is worth it!

2. Artcafe

With panoramic ocean views from every table, the Artcafe is one of the prettiest restaurant spots in El Nido. Sit outside on their second-floor terrace and enjoy delicious tropical dishes with the breeze blowing through your hair.

Come for lunch or dinner, and treat yourself to mouthwatering dishes like seafood pizza, kinilaw (ceviche), and garlic shrimp. They also serve healthy eats for breakfast. They have omelets, eggs, pancakes, muesli, and they even make their own yogurt in-house. Their bread is also baked fresh every day. It’s the perfect spot to fill up before heading off on an El Nido day trip.

The vibe is laid back, but the restaurant is always buzzing with life. They also have live musical performances every Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Artcafe is filled with locals and tourists who come to socialize and listen to some of the best artists in El Nido.

Green Thai Curry in a white bowl served at Big Bad Thai Restaurant in El Nido Palawan Philippines

3. Big Bad Thai Bistro and Bar

Thai restaurants can be found all over the world; however, a good Thai place is hard to come by. Thankfully, Big Bad Thai Bistro in El Nido is one of those places that will make you feel like you’re actually in Thailand!

All the ingredients in their dishes are fresh, local, and, in some cases, even handpicked by the employees themselves. You’ll find traditional Thai staples like pad thai, red curry, tom yum soup, and spicy laab gai.

Your meal isn’t complete without one of their handcrafted cocktails. Try the Vanilla Gorilla – a creamy cocktail made with white rum, banana, milk, and vanilla. Another big hit is the Lola Cola, a cherry liquor cocktail that tastes exactly like a cherry coke!

Since Big Bad Thai Bistro and Bar is located right on the shores of El Nido Beach, you’ll also get to dine with some of the most picturesque views in town. Visit the rooftop bar and dine and drink directly under the stars with the waves crashing in the background.

Come for the amazing food and cocktails, and stay for the fantastic atmosphere and service.

Falafel severed in a bowl of hummus with pitas at Happiness restaurant in El Nido - Top places to eat

4. Happiness Beach Bar

El Nido is home to dozens of fantastic beach bars, and the Happiness Beach Bar is no exception. This place oozes good vibes at all hours of the day. The staff are incredibly friendly, the food is outstanding, and the customers are always happy.

Unlike other beach bars that focus on pub food and snacks, the Happiness Beach Bar serves healthy, homemade Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes. Their pita bread is baked fresh daily, and their menu is suitable for vegetarians, vegans, and gluten-free diners.

They specialize in different types of hummus, so make sure you start the night with one of those. They also have a variety of salads, pita wraps, maza platters, and desserts.

If you’re just looking to chill with a few drinks, then come just for the cocktails. Order a margarita or mojito and grab a seat on one of the swings (yes, they have swing sets at the bar!). You can also sit outside in the evening to watch the world-famous colorful Filipino sunsets.

A plate of traditioanl Filipino food served on a white plate at Maa's Grill in El Nido - Top Restaurants

5. Maa’s Grill

You’re in the Philippines, so why not try some authentic home-cooked Filipino dishes? Maa’s Grill will make you feel that you’re dining in a local’s house with delicious food prepared by their grandmother.

The place is small, which means you might need to wait for a little while to snag a table. Surprisingly, there isn’t an overwhelming number of Filipino restaurants in El Nido, so Maa’s Grill is one of the top places for Filipino comfort foods.

As you pass through the restaurant, you’ll notice they have fresh fish on display. Some of their popular seafood dishes include stuffed squid, garlic butter shrimp, and sweet and sour fish. They also have several classic pork options, like sizzling pork adobo and pork sinigang.

If you’re looking for local food at a very affordable local price, then delight your tastebuds at Maa’s Grill in El Nido.

Terraced seating at Sava Beach Club in El Nido Towm - Best Restaurants

6. Sava Beach Bar

If you’re looking for a relaxed beach bar in El Nido with good music and potent cocktails, then look no further than Sava Beach Bar. It’s packed almost every hour of the day with a young, hip, backpacker crowd.

Located directly on the shores of El Nido Beach, lounge in a beanbag and unwind with a beer or cocktail while you dig your toes into the sand. There’s no better place to watch the sunset in El Nido. Try one of their signature Mai Tais or Pina Coladas to upgrade your tropical experience. We recommend coming for their two-for-one happy hour (4 pm – 6 pm every day), so you can try both! If you’re feeling a bit hungry, you can also order some appetizers or entrees. They serve classic bar food like nachos, chicken strips, and burgers.

At night, the place becomes a little more lively with a live DJ and dancing under the stars. With picturesque views and chill vibes, it’s easy to see why all the tourists want to check off Sava Beach Bar from their bucket list. Check out there Facebook page for specials

Line of people waiting for the best take away food in El Nido Falafel

7. Falafel Restaurant

For a quick and healthy takeaway lunch, make your way to the heart of El Nido town. You’ll find Falafel Restaurant – a bright blue food stall that serves some of the best Middle Eastern food in the Philippines.

Their menu is relatively simple. Choose between chicken or beef and add your favorite toppings and sauces – like eggplant, fried chili, pickles, and cabbage – to your wrap. You can also order meat and veggies in a bowl instead of a wrap. While they also serve a few sandwiches, we recommend sticking with the traditional falafel wrap. It’s the most delicious thing on the menu and what Falafel Restaurant is known for!

In the morning, Falafel Restaurant also has a few breakfast menu items to try. It’s one of the few places in El Nido that are open at 6 am, so it’s a great option if you’re looking for a healthy and satisfying breakfast at the crack of dawn.

8. Republica Sunset Bar

It’s not hard to find a beach-side bar in El Nido, but the Republica Sunset Bar is one of those places you won’t want to miss. It’s a little pricier than other bars, but it has one of the best locations for watching the sunset. You should come early and grab a seat facing the ocean if you’re looking for the best table in the house.

On the menu, Republica Sunset Bar specializes in Asian and Spanish tapas. Sample the chicken croquetas, fried spring rolls, huevos rotos, and tuna tartare. If you need something more filling, they also make fresh Spanish paella.

However, you can still come for cocktails and to enjoy the world-class ocean view. Besides the traditional tropical cocktails like mango daiquiris, pina Coladas, and sex on the beaches, Republica Sunset Bar also serves Spanish cocktails. Try the Tinto de Verano (red wine and sprite), kalimotxo (red wine and coke), or stick to the classic sangria pitcher.

Chicken Cordon Bleu filipino style at an El Nido restaurant

9. Angel Wish

For authentic Filipino seafood dishes, make your way to Angel Wish. This no-frills establishment is very small and often packed during lunch and dinner. However, it’s located right on the water, and if you’re lucky, you might get to have 180-degree views of the ocean from your table.

Besides the outstanding view, Angel Wish is known for its mouthwatering variety of fresh seafood. The menu is quite extensive and includes classic dishes like garlic pepper squid, steamed lapu-lapu, baked mussels and clams, and butter and garlic banana fish. If you’re not a seafood lover, you’ll still find chicken or vegetarian dishes to order.

Best of all, the food is cheap, and the service is extremely fast. If you’re looking for a satisfying meal filled with fresh seafood, don’t forget to visit Angel Fish in El Nido.

10. Gandhi’s Revenge

As soon as you step foot inside Gandhi’s Revenge, your senses will be overloaded with the tantalizing aroma of spices. This small but modern Indian restaurant is one of the best restaurants you’ll dine at in El Nido.

Specializing in curry, Gandhi’s Revenge lets you completely customize your dish. Start with your choice of the main (vegetable, chickpea, chicken, or beef) and level of spiciness (mild to very, very hot). You can also choose the side of either fresh naan or rice. Finally, choose from over a dozen different sauces and curries for flavor. There is everything from coconut korma and sweet and sour patha to onion dopiaza and garlic and tamarind vindaloo.

You might also choose the house specialty – the Madras. This hearty curry sauce is made with over 40 different ingredients, resulting in a burst of flavor in each bite.

11. Bella Vita

Delicious pizza and jaw-dropping views? You couldn’t ask for a better restaurant in El Nido. That’s why Bella Vita is one of our favorite picks for lunch or dinner.

Bella Vita serves a wide range of classic Italian dishes, which is great if you need a break from Asian or Filipino food. Order the Quattro Formaggio, bianca, creamy pesto, or meat lover’s pizza. For something unique, you might also want to try the chicken curry pizza!

Besides the authentic food, Bella Vita is worth visiting for its beautiful setting. This laid-back restaurant looks more like a tiki beach bar than a fine Italian establishment. It’s a great place to watch the sunset while sipping tropical cocktails and eating a slice of pizza.

12. Cadlao Restaurant & Resort

The Cadlao Restaurant is located inside the exclusive Cadlao Resort and is an upscale option where you can enjoy international cuisine. It’s just a short drive from the center of El Nido town; however, it feels like a completely different world.

Some of their best sellers on the menu include pork ribs, squid a la planca, and seafood curry. You can also order their fresh catch of the day and have it baked or grilled to your liking in a banana leaf. End your dinner with a sweet treat like mango crepes or fruit crumbles ala mode, and you’ll be satisfied for the entire evening.