With an estimated 5,000 people flying in every day to the island, Boracay is slowly getting back on its feet from the crippling effects of the pandemic. The appeal of white sand, clear water and a dramatic sunset is just too hard to pass up—and so is the crop of restaurants that recently opened. Just months old, these joints come recommended by the locals.
Jammers Beach Shack (@jammersbeachshack)
As a tribute to its former owner, Bianca Araneta and husband Juan Elizalde took over the space of the OG burger joint in D’Mall and gave it a new flavor, while retaining the name, the items it was known for, and the island vibe founder Miguel Waldorf created.
Reopened last Dec. 25, the beachfront restaurant now has more inviting interiors made mostly of natural materials like cogon and raffia, and items that befit Boracay. Think tropical and spiced notes—huli huli wings, jerk chicken tacos, molokai fish and chips, ahi poke, carne asada and Puerto Rican fried shrimps, sharing menu space with gourmet burgers and breakfast items, such as smoothie bowls, horchata french toast and arroz ala cubana. And as a meal ender, don’t forget to get the Pineapple Whip, a refreshing smoothie in the guise of a soft serve.
Hola Chula (@holachulaboracay on IG)
This space is meant to flirt with and tease you, says chef Charles Montañez. And it does, from the design and colors alone. From the beach, it will stop you in your tracks and steal your gaze as it stands out from a sea of monotony. Translating to “hello cutie” or “hello pretty,” Hola Chula is the first beach brand to come from the still-growing Alegria family.
The cuisine is no different from its city counterparts, only with more seafood options and beach grub favorites, such as wood-fired Aklan oysters and fresas con crema popsicles. Not to miss are items from the asaderia that are cooked at the parilla grill.
“I think the notable difference of the Alegria concept in Boracay compared to the ones in Manila is that Hola Chula doubles as a music and art space,” says Montañez. “Apart from events, we host a lot of performances like daily fire dancers, samba and reggae acoustic acts, and then the usual sunset and night time DJs.”
Back Beach Burgers (@backbeachburgers on IG)
Opened last December, this burger shack towers over the island as it’s located on the third floor of a building sitting right across Boracay’s famed grotto (Jonah’s fruit shake is on the lower ground floor).
Apart from a free side order of dramatic sunset views, guests can enjoy a bevy of sandwiches including their bestselling Smashburgers, two smashed beef patties made with Brazilian ground beef topped with thinly sliced onions, double cheddar cheese, pickles, tomatoes and spiced sauce, as well as the Bacon Mushroom Melt. Also on the menu are chicken burgers, vegan burgers and a short list of snacks, such as chicken fingers, chill garlic fries and nachos with buffalo wings.
Island Izakaya (@islandizakaya on IG)
Go for the yakitoris and donburis; stay for the cocktails. It’s the latest brand from Shria and Patrick Florencio, the couple who moved from Singapore to Boracay in 2016 to open a string of eateries, including the feel-good restaurant Nonie’s. Island Izakaya is barely a month old and it’s attracting customers and hype already. Among the strong baits are the salmon don, kombu-cured salmon with salmon roe and nori rice, and the bacon-wrapped cheddar and mozzarella cheese yakitori.
Ube Mama (@ubemamaph on IG)
“As we were emerging from the pandemic, one of the things we wanted to do was to put more effort behind promoting and using local ingredients,” says Nowie Potenciano of the Sunny Side Group. “And that’s why, for example, when we opened Percy, we made sure to use only local seafood.”
So when it came time for them to think of a new concept for the space where Coco Mama used to be, he, along with wife Odette, wanted to champion something local and uniquely Filipino again. Their pick? Ube grown by the Aeta farmers in Pampanga and Zambales. And it comes in different forms.
Vegan ube ice cream is crowned with a swirl of house-made ube pudding, dressed with salted coconut cream, then adorned with crushed cornflakes and palitaw balls, making for a dessert that satisfies in flavor and texture.
At the end of the Bulabog beach, located on the quieter side of Boracay, is a café sitting on top of the Greenyard Kitesurfing School. Just a month old, the coffee joint offers a cool breeze, a sea view often marked by sporty surfers, and local coffee using beans from Atok, Bukidnon, Palawan and Laguna. The space is not just for coffee drinkers, though, as they also offer other beverages such as fruit infusions, matcha latte and table with coconut milk.
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