The culinary scene in my hometown of Bohol is expanding. It seems every month or so, a new cafe or restaurant is being launched. This is thanks to the ever booming tourism of Bohol, making it the new perfect hub of businesses.
But before the tourists started exploring our paradise and before non-local food businesses entered my humble hometown, there exists the original and classic favorites of the locals’ tastebuds. In no particular order, here are the best cafes and restaurants that has served good food to our tummy over the years and still are, one order at a time:
1. Garden Cafe
Before there were McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, or Jollibee, there was Garden Cafe serving the locals with yummy burgers, pizza, and french fries. In every special occasion like birthdays or even just a normal Sunday lunch, Garden Cafe is the go-to place.
What’s another special thing about this place? They give back to the local community. And it is by hiring SPED graduates with job opportunities like cooking, waitressing, and managing.
2. Payag Restaurant
If Bacolod has Mang Inasal, then Bohol has Payag as its frontliner in the grilled chicken craze. Payag restaurant is another favorite go-to place of the locals. On Sundays, the place is always jampacked that you have to wait for an hour or so to get seats. It is believed this is because of their “secret sauce” that no one can easily imitate.
This famous resto started from humble beginnings. It started as a food business in the first level of the owner’s house. Years later, the second level of the house was transformed into an extension.
3. Cafe Atanasio
Cafe Atanasio is the restaurant inside the Bohol Tropics Resort, a locally-owned resort. The restaurant features local bands. And while eating in this outdoor resto, guests are treated with a wide view of the sea as the resto sits on a low cliff.
4. Jj’s Seafood Village
When I was in high school, JJ’s Seafood Village is our school’s favorite venue of our annual acquaintance parties. Heck, our graduation was even held there. This is because aside from good food, they have a function hall that can accomodate up to 300 persons.
Now, the place has changed a lot as it went renovation and expansion. But i’m pretty sure that locals forever hold great memories of their birthdays, weddings, and special events in this place.
5. Saya’s Restaurant
Have you heard stories of food businesses that skyrocketed to fame because of a certain dish? Saya’s is one of them. And that dish is their pancit canton!
Strangely, I have a vivid memory of my mom and the ten-year-old me patiently waiting for our order in their small eatery. And when it finally arrived, its fresh hot temperature, flavory scent, and mouth-watering sauce had me begging for a taste!
6. Buzzz Cafe of Bohol Bee Farm
It was around the year 2000’s when Bohol Bee Farm entered the local culinary scene. At that time, Bohol tourism’s popularity was still on its infancy. I can safely assume and say that Bohol Bee Farm helped boost the local tourism because of its unique branding, which is a wholesome place of locally-growned organic food and in-house honey production.
Their food is a tourist’s bucket list checker, especially their garden salad with edible flowers and the uniquely-flavored ice cream that is served on thin, crispy cassave cones that is locally called kab-kab. And on their farm, the personnel can take you on a tour and show their produce, and who knows you might catch a glimpse of the bees there!
7. Loboc Floating Restaurant
This is the only restaurant in this list that is outside the capital city of Bohol, which is Tagbilaran. What makes this as a popular eating destination for tourists and locals alike is that diners are taken to a river cruise while eating. It is a flat platform that is operated by an engine at one end.
If i remember correctly, only 50 persons are allowed to hop onto the restaurant at a time. Then the personnel would start the engine to take the diners on a river cruise. Halfway through the cruise, the floating restaurant would drop by a stage where locals would entertain by dancing or singing. And if you’re lucky enough, you could be serenaded by the Loboc Children’s Choir, an internationally-acclaimed singing group of Loboc children.
At the end of the river is a “busay”, where there is strong downstream pour of the river water. Here, the floating restaurant would stay the longest before heading back again.
If you happen to be in Bohol, make sure to check out these places. If you happen to be a Boholano, what other local restaurants are your favorite?
Note: Photos that appear in this blogpost but not owned by me are given the caption “photo credit”. They are taken from the respective website of the restaurants whose owners kindly gave this blogger the permission to use them.