It must be the seawater. Or maybe the sea breeze and mix of cultures that populate the island, whether for the weekend or a lifetime. Over the past decades, Boracay has produced great restaurants, and a few of them, such as Café Breton and Cyma, even have outposts in Manila.
Nothing beats a beachfront location, of course, but there’s also the thrill of finding hidden gems that even some e-trike drivers don’t know about but locals foodies do.
When you live in Boracay, like I have for almost a year, the dining scene can get repetitive, but then again that’s the mark of a really good restaurant – you go back again and again – often taking visiting friends who want to try something new.
Whenever I’m asked, I always recommend new restos (April saw a handful of openings) and old faves. Here’s a list to satisfy your craving for world cuisines.
1. Little Taj (new)
Patrick and Shria Florencio, the couple behind Nonie’s and Muchos, opened the Indian restaurant Little Taj in April this year, but they had been serving the menu at Nonie’s (Station X) since the pandemic. It was a concept born when Boracay was closed to tourists and their only customers were local residents who would order through a Facebook food page.
Location of Little Taj in Boracay: D’Mall, Station 2
What to order at Little Taj: The cocktails! Patrick and Shria love sunset drinks and you’d often find them on weekends at Diniwid Beach or Angol (where they also DJ at some bars). They love a good cocktail and it shows in Little Taj’s specialty drinks, which include Bombay Bang (Dewars whiskey and calamansi liqueur), Goan Fizz (Bombay gin, lime cordial, cilantro), and Kerala Dream (Jim Beam whiskey, egg white, lime juice).
And, of course, the curry dishes. You can’t go wrong with Tikka Masala and Butter Chicken. Just across the border from India is Pakistan’s traditional Beef Keema Matar, which is ground beef and peas in tomato-based curry. If you want something lighter, go for the Goan Fish Curry. If you want to cure your hangover after a night of partying at Epic next door, try lentil soups Dal Makhani and Dal Tadka, which are quite filling too.
2. Percy Seafood (new)
Located right smack in the middle of Station 1, across Willy’s Rock, is the upmarket seafood place Percy, which is owned by Nowie and Odette Potenciano of Sunny Side Café and Spicebird. Percy is housed in a new building that has three other concepts—Hello, Sailor bar, whose drinks were created by The Curator founder David Ong; Coco Mama ice cream and buko shop; and Seaworthy, a boutique hotel on the second floor.
Location of Percy Seafood in Boracay: Beachfront, Station 1
What to order at Percy Seafood: Percy Seafood Cocktail is a big bowl of fresh prawns, oysters, scallops, mussels, and clams on ice. Drizzle them with lemon and marinara sauce and you’re set to enjoy the fiery sunset just outside. Have a taste of the Belgian tradition Moules Frites (mussels and fries) cooked in white wine and onions. Don’t forget to leave space for dessert—purple heirloom sticky rice with fresh mango, salted coconut sauce and ice cream.
3. Voglia Pizza PH (new)
Located at the Food Hall of Station X, which launched on Easter Sunday, Voglia is a concept also born during the pandemic via Iloilo. Owner Karl Espinosa Maridable got so frustrated at a pizzeria’s refusal to deliver to his subdivision, he decided to make his own pizza, a Naples-style pizza prepared with basic dough, raw tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, fresh basil and olive oil. He opened his own pizzeria in Iloilo and now Boracay. Maridable makes his dough the classic Neapolitana way and has perfected the consistency and texture of the dough, which he bakes for a minute or a minute and a half in a brick oven.
Location of Voglia Pizza PH in Boracay: Station X, Main Road
What to order at Voglia Pizza PH: Voglia offers more than 10 pizza flavors, including its own specialty Voglia pizza, which comes with prosciutto, San Marzano tomatoes and several cheeses. There are also the classic Italian faves such as Cinque Formaggi, Margherita, Marinara, Diavola and Bianca.
4. Chan’s (new)
Before Chan’s, if you were craving for kaya toast on the island, you wouldn’t find one. That was why Ritchie and Arlyn Chan grabbed the opportunity to open at the Food Hall of Station X. Popular in Singapore and Malaysia, kaya is a snack or a meal in itself. Chan’s serves it with two perfectly soft-boiled eggs on the side in which to dip your toast.
Location of Chan’s in Boracay: Station X, Station 3, Main Road
What to order at Chan’s: Apart from the regular kaya, they have durian and salted yema toasts. Pair these with Kopi O (with condensed milk) or Kopi C (with evaporated milk and sugar). Chan’s has rice bowls of Chicken Scallion (a variation of Hainanese chicken) and BBQ Pork Belly. They also serve tea and barley drink.
5. Mosaic Latin American Grill
One of the most beautiful restaurants on the island, Mosaic features glass walls and wooden accents. Its geometric, slatted wood ceiling mimics the waves of the sea, which you get a glimpse of from the adjacent terrace. If it’s not too warm, sit outside where you can stargaze and enjoy views of the private beach and Crimson’s villas with their turf rooftops. One of three restaurants at Crimson, the fine-dining Mosaic is the venue of Art on a Plate, the resort’s special event that combines live painting with stunningly plated (and delicious) dishes and wines.
Location of Mosaic Latin American Grill in Boracay: Crimson Resort and Spa, Yapak
What to order at Mosaic Latin American Grill: Mosaic has several versions of the original Peruvian dish ceviche to start your meal—scallops, salmon, yellow-fin tuna, octopus and oysters. For your mains, indulge in its signature Tomahawk from the US, dry-aged T-bone from Ireland, and Wagyu from Australia. They also have Chilean seabass and Peruvian-style Iberico pork tenderloin. Ask the sommelier for wine recos to pair with your dishes.
Station 1 is inarguably the best part of White Beach, where Discovery Shores Boracay reigns. DSB has a new executive chef, Jason Feeny Cruz, who made a name for himself as pre-opening chef of hotels and his own concept restaurants in Palawan. Apart from the food and its rooms, DSB is famous for its service with its Joy Ambassadors catering to guests’ every need.
Location of Sands in Boracay: Discovery Shores Boracay, Station 1
What to order at Sands: Crispy binagoongan and beef salpicao. The former is that perfect mix of pork bagnet, eggplant and bagoong; the latter is tender beef tips with paprika and garlic. Sands also has a Burger Library with its own Shores Burger, Chori Burger, Kpop Burger (with kimchi slaw), Under the Sea Burger (fish), and the fully loaded Eggy Brekky, which has US Angus patty, egg, bacon and cheese.
7. Dinibeach Bar & Restaurant
Just on the other side of the hill from Station 1, Diniwid Beach is where you’ll find many locals enjoying sunsets, cocktails and beats on weekends. Dinibeach Bar has an extensive menu to accompany your Hibiscus Frozen Margarita or Pandan Bliss (with Bacardi rum).
Location of Dinibeach Bar & Restaurant in Boracay: Beachfront, Diniwid Beach
What to order at Dinibeach Bar & Restaurant: Tuna Kinilaw on Fried Pita, which includes slivers of mango, Laksa, Poached Salmon Pasta, Vietnamese Chicken Salad, and Grilled Pork Chop.
Tucked in a small space on the road leading to Bulabog Beach, Thai restaurant Conga’s has a short menu and everything on it is good! It’s a fave for a quick solo meal or with family. The Angol branch offers Moroccan dishes that the original location doesn’t.
Locations of Conga’s in Boracay: Road 1-A, Station 2; Angol, Station 3
What to order at Conga’s: Lemongrass Chicken, Pomelo Salad with fresh and dried shrimp, Pad Thai, Beef Springrolls. At Angol, you can order Tagine (beef chicken, seafood), and appetizers such as Baba Ghanoush and Hummus with pita bread.
9. Aplaya Beach Bar
Although more known as a bar (Friday nights can get crazy!), Aplaya has good Italian food that are more memorable than their drinks. But if you come often enough and see the couple who runs the bar, Davide Franchi and Kate Sukhova, they will likely offer you a free glass of prosecco. Check their promos as they usually have a buy-one, take-one pizza from brunch to early afternoon; and ladies’ night on Wednesdays.
Location of Aplaya Beach Bar in Boracay: Beachfront, Station 2
What to order at Aplaya Beach Bar: Carbonara with crunchy bacon; Risotto Nero with squid, clams and shrimps; any of their 13 pizzas (house specialties Bulabog and Aplaya come with parma ham; and Napoli pizza).
10. The Pig Out Bistro
Pig Out Bistro is one of those places that should be packed every hour, every day because the food is delicious, the plating is artsy, and the space is cozy. It specializes in seafood, dry-aged steaks, craft beer and wine.
Location of The Pig Out Bistro in Boracay: Jony’s Boutique Hotel, Station 1
What to order at The Pig Out Bistro: Fish and Chips, Kitayama Wagyu beef that’s sourced from Bukidnon, Smoked Ceviche, Aklan Oysters, Lechon Belly that’s smoked 40 hours, Gnocchi with Smoked Salmon.