Island eats: Where to eat in Romblon

Kara Santos

Posted at Feb 23 2020 06:22 AM

Romblon is the smallest of the three main islands that make up the province of the same name in the MIMAROPA Region.
Formerly a trading post during the Spanish period, this small but picturesque port town is known more for its pristine beaches and marble industry rather than its food scene. 

There aren’t any big name restaurants or fast food joints in town. But there are a handful of homegrown restaurants serving fresh seafood and local specialties and a few notable foreign-owned cafes worth sampling.

If you’re traveling to Romblon Island any time soon, here are some of the places where you can grab a bite to eat.

1. Seaport Bar & Grill

Seaport Bar & Grill, Romblon. Kara Santos

Seaport Bar & Grill is a festive local restaurant that serves hearty comfort food and Filipino favorites. Located along the main street of the town proper near the port area and plaza, this cozy café is ideal for couples, families and barkadas.

Solo rice bowl options including Goodbye Nemo (Grilled Tuna/Tanigue with Sauteed Mushrooms), Health Char (Pork Liempo and Salsa), and Salty Chicken Chicken Teriyaki with Salted Egg are budget-friendly costing only P95 to P110 each.

Tuna with Rosemary at Seaport Bar & Grill. Kara Santos
Shrimps at Seaport Bar & Grill. Kara Santos

For groups, must-tries include the Tuna with Rosemary, Garlic shrimps, Chicken Wings, Pesto Pasta and chicharon bulaklak. Cool down with their fresh fruit shakes and smoothies.

2. Dream Paradise Mountain Resort

Dream Paradise Mountain Resort. Kara Santos

Dream Paradise Mountain Resort is a tranquil getaway that offers villas with a view of the natural surroundings of coconut groves, rice fields, and mountains. This homey family-run resort serves classic Pinoy staples like sinigang na hipon, pork chops, ensaladang talong, fresh seafood, crabs and more. 

Crabs at Dream Paradise Mountain Resort. Kara Santos

Dishes are served family-style and ideal for groups. The poolside restaurant in native hut cottages also serves locals beers and has karaoke, for those post island-hopping bonding sessions.

3. Must-Try: Balitsaw

Teresing's Balitsaw is sold at Dream Paradise Mountain Resort. Kara Santos

While in Romblon, look out for jars of Balitsaw, the local version of bagoong, a condiment of salted and fermented fish or alamang (krill). In Romblon, the fermented krill is sauteed with coconut milk which adds a slightly sweet and creamy flavor to the typical bagoong.

Balitsaw goes great with fruits like green mango and langka (jackfruit) or as side dish to fried viands like fish and meat. You can also use it as a topping on rice for extra flavoring. 

4. International cafes

For a small island, Romblon has a number of foreign-owned cafes owned and catering to the expat community and international tourists all located next to each other. It’s a bit surprising to find places that serve quality cuisine using imported ingredients in such a laid-back island.

Romblon Deli boasts of being the first international restaurant in the main island of Romblon. Prominently located in the corner of the main street with a second floor providing a nice seaside view, this homegrown café serves mostly international food, pizzas, pasta, and fresh fruit shakes.

JD & G Italian Foods' pizza. Kara Santos
Pizza from JD & G Italian Foods. Kara Santos

JD & G Italian Foods and Real Italian Pizza serves handmade pizza, pasta, antipasti and more along with wine and cheese. Aside from pizza, pasta and Italian dishes, they also offer a few Filipino, Asian and vegetarian-friendly options on their menu. 

Must-tries include the pizza, Putanesca and Tuna and zucchini with fresh pesto and homemade pasta. For desserts, try a slice of chocolate cake paired with brewed coffee or their homemade gelato.

Right next door is Old Sailor, a German-owned bar that serves dishes like Beef Goulash, German Meatloaf, Hungarian Sausage with French fries, Schnitzel, and a few German beers like Erdinger and Will-bräu Hefeweizen.

For pastries and coffee, check out Coffee Time, which serves Kalinga and Sagada blends, cinnamon rolls and muffins. 

Monaco Ice Cream. Kara Santos

Monaco Ice Cream sells delicious homemade ice cream (P50 per scoop) with Italian ingredients and flavors like Straciatella, Cherry and Tiramisu. 

For more things to do in Romblon, check out the author’s travel guide.