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Where to Eat in El Nido: 12 Best Restaurants & Must-Try Food

Where to Eat in El Nido: 12 Best Restaurants & Must-Try Food

Verified Expert

Big Bad Thai and El Nido Boutique Artcafé

Photos by Big Bad Thai and El Nido Boutique Artcafé

With its scenic limestone cliffs and sparkling beaches, it’s no surprise El Nido, Palawan, always gets featured in various international travel magazines as one of the best islands in the world. The beaches in El Nido are stunning and idyllic because of their powdery white sand, turquoise waters, rich marine ecosystem, and bountiful coral reefs. 

With around 45 islands and islets dotting the Bacuit Archipelago, there are so many famed destinations to explore, and you will never run out of the things to do in El Nido.

Apart from its captivating seascape, El Nido has earned its spot as a must-visit foodie destination in the Philippines. Most of its top restaurants are alongside the best El Nido hotels and resorts right on the beach. Not only do these restaurants serve mouthwatering dishes, but they also make your dining experience more special because of breathtaking sunset views.

Here are the best restaurants in El Nido that are worth a visit after fun-filled El Nido tours:

12. Gandhi’s Revenge

Jalfrezi by Gandhi’s Revenge

Photo by Gandhi's Revenge

Hailed for its spicy Indian dishes, Gandhi’s Revenge is a British-Indian restaurant in Brgy. Corong Corong, which serves an array of affordable curry dishes. The restaurant’s name is inspired by famous nationalist Mahatma Gandhi's tale against India’s rebellion over the British forces. Accordingly, the spicy dishes they serve are Gandhi’s Revenge.

If you're new to Indian cuisines, you can first try their best-sellers. The classic favorite is Tikka Masala, packed with coconut milk and mango chutney. Chickpea Korma has almonds and peanuts, while Gandhi’s Samosa is their famous vegan dish with potato, chickpeas, and lentils.

The curry dishes are deliciously paired with your choice of sides, whether Gandhi’s rice, biryani, or naan. Each dish depends on your preferred level of spiciness. You may also opt to choose from chicken, paneer, chickpeas, lentils, and vegetables as the main ingredient of your dish.

11. Republica Sunset Bar

Republica Sunset Bar's paella

Photo by Republica Sunset Bar

Overlooking panoramic sunset views amid the beautiful seascape of Bacuit Bay, the Republica Sunset Bar is a romantic and intimate resto-bar that serves traditional Spanish tapas and paellas. Come nighttime, guests can enjoy cocktails and sangrias by the side of the beach with matching cozy music in the background. 

Their famous Spanish cuisines such as omelet, patatas bravas, and tomato salted bread are also worth tasting. They even offer vegan-friendly options at an affordable price. Among their best-selling Spanish drinks are Piña Colada and Tinto de Verano, a wine-based drink similar to sangria.

Republica Sunset Bar

Photo by Republica Sunset Bar

Republica Sunset Bar is perched on the highway over the Lugadia Beach, only 4km away from El Nido town proper. If you want to chill with your favorite beer, Republica Sunset Bar should be on top of your list because it offers an unobstructed view of the sunset.

10. Scape Skydeck El Nido 

Dishes served at Scape Skydeck El Nido

Photo by Scape Skydeck

For those who prefer to have an intimate dining experience, visit Scape Skydeck El Nido, a rooftop bar and restaurant on top of Cuna Hotel at the heart of El Nido town proper. It has cool balcony-side tables and chairs overlooking El Nido’s majestic sunset views and limestone formations.

Scape Skydeck El Nido's alfresco dining area

Photo by Scape Skydeck

Their specialty dish is the Peppered Chops, a huge chunk of sweet and tender pork topped with sweet corn mash. Another must-try here is the Surf and Turf, which is composed of steak, grilled pawns, marble potatoes, and mixed greens. They also offer signature Skydeck Royal pizza and Truffle Carbonara for the vegan option.

Capping off your mouthwatering meal is their sweet Chocolate Dome, a cheesecake with strawberry flambe, blueberry, and ganache sauce that melts in your mouth. During the happy hour, Scape Skydeck El Nido serves a wide range of vodka, whiskey, tequilas, and cocktails.

9. No Mames

No Mames' Mexican hot dog

Photo by No Mames

If you’re falling completely head over heels for Mexican-style cuisine, try visiting No Mames in Baranggay Corong Corong, El Nido. It is situated just 1.5km away from Corong Corong Beach, a less-crowded shore featuring great sunset views west of El Nido. 

No Mames proudly serves their own take of popular Mexican dishes such as Burrito, Chili con Carne, Quesadilla, Fried Jalapeños, Tacos, Nachos, and Guacamole. Apart from Mexican dishes, No Mames also serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner options with a hint of Spanish and Latin flavors. For drinks, feel free to choose from their coffee, fruit shakes, and beers.

Surrounding the walls of the resto are vibrant posters and artistic murals that add to its laid-back ambiance and playful vibe. At night, its rustic charm captures tourists as it transforms into a lively Mexican-style bar.

8. Taste El Nido - The Vegan Cafe PH

Dishes served at Taste El Nido - The Vegan Cafe PH

Photo by Taste El Nido

Most El Nido restaurants offer vegan options with a twist. Among them is Taste El Nido - The Vegan Cafe PH, one of the best vegan-friendly restaurants located within the town proper. Taste El Nido is widely known for serving plant-based dishes and nutritious fruit shakes. 

They have a well-curated menu of breakfast options, including a wide selection of eye-catching and flavorful smoothie bowls. One of their best-sellers is the Antioxidant Orange, which contains mango, banana, soy milk, turmeric, cinnamon, coconut shavings, granola, chia seeds, and pine nuts. Their vegan smoothies also come in authentic fruit flavors.

It is also highly recommended to try their specialty coffee, tea, chia-infused juice, and other vegan snacks like banana nut bread. For their main entrees, they have eggplant lasagna, Mexican chipotle rice bowl, mac and cheese, and pesto tomato cream cheese bagel. 

7. El Nido Boutique Artcafé

Pizza by El Nido Boutique Artcafé

Photo by El Nido Boutique Artcafé

Up next is El Nido Boutique Artcafé, a restaurant and art shop overlooking Bacuit Bay. Not only do they serve farm-to-table meals, but they also showcase local handicrafts and beautiful paintings. At night, this art cafe in El Nido transforms into a vibrant and cozy place with live acoustic music.

Whether you’re craving Filipino dishes or international cuisines, El Nido Boutique Artcafe got you covered with their perfected menu full of European, Italian, Indian, Greek, and American-style dishes. 

View from El Nido Boutique Artcafé

Photo by 

Some of their best-sellers are Chicken Tikka Masala, Arugula Tomato Mozzarella, Pizza Pancetta, Fish Fillet, French Toast, and Seafood Basket. You may also try their healthy fruit shakes and indulgent desserts such as chocolate and mango tarts.

El Nido Boutique Artcafé only sources their organic greens and local produce from the community. Since the restaurant is a plastic-free environment, they also encourage customers to use eco-bottles and bamboo-made straws.

6. Bella Vita El Nido 

Two pizzas by Bella Vita El Nido

Photo by Bella Vita El Nido

Majestically situated against the stunning backdrop of Corong Corong Beach, Bella Vita El Nido is an Italian beachfront resto-bar that serves authentic Italian pasta and pizza dishes. Since the restaurant is nestled on the beach, you can enjoy your pizza favorites and cocktails amid the warm sea breeze and great sunset views.

Bella Vita proudly serves brick-oven and hand-tossed pizzas, including their best-selling Margherita, topped with Italian tomato sauce, fresh basil leaves, and Mozzarella. A good slice of pizza is best paired with a creamy plate of Carbonara. But, if you prefer healthier dishes, you can choose from their flavorful green salads.

Bella Vita El Nido also offers a wide selection of drinks and signature cocktails that are best to indulge when you’re on the beach watching the sunset. Some of their must-try drinks are Green Apple Mojito, French Wine by the Glass, and their special milkshakes.

5. Big Bad Thai

Dishes served at Big Bad Thai

Photo by Big Bad Thai

Serving the most authentic Thai dishes in town, Big Bad Thai is a rustic-themed restaurant where you can see panoramic sunset views over Bacuit Bay. From the famed Pad Thai to Pad Krapow, Big Bad Thai perfectly curates their dishes based on the original Thai recipes. 

Big Bad Thai's interior

Photo by Big Bad Thai

While their ingredients are locally sourced from Palawan, some are imported from Thailand to give you true authentic flavors. For those new to Thai cuisine, Big Bad Thai recommends you to try their famous Satay Chicken, perfectly grilled chicken skewers with peanut sauce. Then, pair it with a staple street dish in Thailand called the Chicken and Pork Pad Krapow.

What sets this El Nido Thai restaurant apart from the rest is its homemade sauces with varying levels of spiciness. They also serve vegan options such as Som Tum (spicy green papaya salad) and Thai Morning Glory (fried spinach with garlic and oyster sauce).

4. Happiness Beach Bar 

Happiness Beach Bar's malabi

Photo by Happiness Beach Bar

Set amid a house garden by the beach, Happiness Beach Bar is a fun and hip restaurant along the tourist-crowded Serena street in front of El Nido Beach. Most of their dishes are vegan-friendly, but they also cater to non-vegetarians.

Their dishes range from skillets, salads, sandwiches, desserts, and breakfast meals. Hummus and falafel variants are under the Pick a Plate menu, while shakshuka dishes (poached eggs in tomato sauce) are classified under the skillets.

Happiness Beach Bar's interior

Photo by Happiness Beach Bar

If you’re looking for a breakfast meal to get you energized through the day, you should try their Green Power Bowl. It comes with a variety of toppings such as bananas, goji berries, chia seeds, granola, mango, pineapple, and ginger. For drinks, it is impossible to miss their mildly spirited Yot Yot Cocktail.

3. The Nesting Table

The Nesting Table's Filipino breakfast

Photo by The Nesting Table

Featuring a fusion of Filipino and Western dishes, The Nesting Table is a bayside restaurant that boasts the best hilltop views of Bacuit Bay. It is the in-house restaurant of The Birdhouse El Nido, a tranquil glamping hotel in Marimegmeg Beach. Getting there would require you to take 200 steps on a bamboo stairway, where you’ll be rewarded with stunning views on top.

The Nesting Table alfresco dining area

Photo by The Nesting Table

This hillside jungle restaurant has a rustic charm and serene ambiance, perfect for those who want to read a book and indulge in good food. Nothing beats the view you’ll get when lounging on the cushioned seats and hammocks by the oceanfront balcony.

The Nesting Table offers coffee and refreshments paired with your choice of breakfast, lunch, and dinner meals. One of their best-sellers is their local version of ceviche (fresh raw salmon fish cured with citrus juices). Their breakfast menu is also highly recommended, including their Ube Champorado, Breakfast Burger, Pancakes, and Eggplant Bistek.

2. Mad Monkey Kitchen & Bar - Nacpan Beach 

Burger by Mad Monkey Kitchen & Bar - Nacpan Beach

Photo by Mad Monkey Nacpan Beach

One of the most pristine and secluded coastlines in El Nido is Nacpan Beach. There are many resto-bars here where you can have a drink while enjoying panoramic sunset views. Among the popular ones is Mad Monkey Kitchen & Bar, a beachfront restaurant that serves Western and Thai options.

Aerial view of Mad Monkey Kitchen & Bar - Nacpan Beach

Photo by Mad Monkey Nacpan Beach

It nestles inside Mad Monkey Hostel, where backpackers usually stay in El Nido. They offer affordable food and service without sacrificing value, quality, and comfort. You can eat under the cool shade of sun umbrellas on the beach while sitting on comfortable couches. Their shrimp tacos, mozzarella sticks, and chicken sandwiches make up for a truly satisfying post-swim meal.

Mad Monkey Kitchen & Bar is the place to be if you want to chill out and let loose in Nacpan Beach. And to kick off the beach party at the resto, the DJ turns up lively and hip music as soon as the evening kicks in. The open bar starts at 9PM and lasts for 30 minutes. 

1.Trattoria Altrov’é El Nido

Trattoria Altrov’é El Nido's Margherita Pizza

Photo by Trattoria Altrov’é El Nido

Among the most crowded and best Italian restaurants in Palawan, Trattoria Altrov’é El Nido is a Slovenian-owned resto with rustic interiors located in Baranggay Buena Suerte, El Nido. Adding to its warm and cozy ambiance is the barefoot-only policy to make guests feel at home.

What draws long queues outside this famous restaurant are their special brick-oven pizzas. One of their specialties is their freshly prepared and hand-tossed Neopolitan pizza, which is crafted based on the tradition of Naples, Italy. For first-timers, they recommend you to try their Pancetta con Tartufo pizza with sauce directly made from crushed tomatoes and topped with bacon, mozzarella, and Italian truffle cream.

The perfect pasta dish to pair with their pizzas is the Fettucine Gamberi Olio D’oliva with sautéed shrimps tossed with sundried tomatoes. Their Altrov’é’s lasagna is also a hit among their customers. For desserts, their homemade gelato is definitely a must-try. 

Discover Where to Eat in El Nido

Couple walks on shore in El Nido

While El Nido's paradise-like scenery has been internationally making rounds, it is also considered one of the country’s great food destinations. Having an array of vegan-friendly and international dishes, no one can deny that Palawan restaurants deserve the hype it is now getting.

For your next food trip to this island paradise, make sure to visit the top El Nido restaurants so you can have a chance to try some of the famous food in Palawan. Start looking for El Nido hotels and resorts where you can stay, and don’t forget to sign up for the popular El Nido island hopping tours to make the most of your trip.