Friday, March 13, 2015

Palawan: An Evening of Red Horse, Pizza and Live Band Music at El Nido's Artcafe

It was our last night in El Nido when Malou and I decided to splurge a little bit. As we had budget meals for breakfast and dinner and lunch was included in our island hopping tour, we thought it wouldn’t bust our wallets that much if we would have something a little pricier that evening. I also feel that eating out in one of El Nido’s more popular restaurants, even just for once, would also make our brief stay in this paradise complete. And so we chose Artcafe' Restaurant and Bar. Why? I have read good reviews about this place, I saw it featured on the TV show Byahe ni Drew and it is only a few steps away from our accommodation.

It was raining on and off in El Nido that evening. When the rain came to a temporary halt at around 8 PM, we stepped out of Northern Hope Pension House and walked for about 50 meters to Artcafe.

The resto bar occupies the second floor of a 2-storey building along Sirena Street in Barangay Buena Suerte, just a block away from El Nido Beach.  At the ground floor is El Nido Boutique where you can buy various souvenir items and book your island hopping tour. On the boutique’s right side is Artcafe’s entrance, with a pair of beautiful wooden panel doors opening up to a flight of concrete steps.  To my surprise, various pairs of flip flops were left at the bottom of the stairs. I would later learn that it is customary for most foreign tourists to leave their footwear at the door and go barefoot inside the restaurant.  Just an indication that Artcafe’ provides a homey and relaxing atmosphere to its guests.

Wooden tables and a mix of rattan and wooden chairs were spread all over the restaurant. Artworks adorned the walls while guitars hanged at the left side of the band stage tucked in a corner.  The restaurant was half-full that evening and except for the two young Pinays in the company of foreigners at one table,  Malou and I were the only Filipino customers that night. We seated ourselves at the breezy veranda but when it started to rain again we settled inside the main dining area.

Artcafe has an extensive menu consists of appetizers, salads, soups, pizza, pasta and seafood, pork, chicken, beef and vegetable dishes.  They also serve desserts, fruit shakes, cocktails, wines, liquors and beers.  As I am curious to try their specialty featured on Byahe ni Drew, we ordered Artcafe’ Pizza and paired it with ice cold Red Horse beer.

It did not take long for our order to be served. The pizza was layered with tuna, mushroom, onion, mozzarella, garlic, tomato, olives, basil and egg and looked so appetizing. It was my first time to eat a pizza with egg, but when I took my first bite I actually liked it. Malou loved its taste too though she have to take off the tomato as she’s not fond of eating it. 

As we’re enjoying our pizza and beer, a local band is playing some classic folk rock, pop and alternative songs. It was good that the speakers' volume were subdued as the music did not came out too loud and customers can still talk to each other. There was an audience participation just before the band ended its set and despite the extra strong effects of Red Horse Beer, I could not summon the courage to sing at the stage. And with Artcafe’s relaxed vibe, I don’t think the band would let me sing Metallica’s Wherever I May Roam, anyway. Hahaha! 

Total bill for the Artcafe Pizza and four 500-ml Red Horse Beer was 600 pesos. It was the most we paid for food and drinks in a single sitting during the 5 days that we are in Palawan. But with Artcafes’ good food, good music and good ambiance I still feel that we got our money’s worth.  So if you’re a budget traveler like me who would want to try just one expensive restaurant in El Nido, then I could highly recommend this place.

Location Map of El Nido Boutique & Artcafe:

  (image from Google Maps)

El Nido Boutique & Artcafé
Sirena St., Buena Suerte
El Nido, 5313 Palawan
Telephone:  Office hours: 7:00-20:00h
Office:  +63-9209026317

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