Start with local comfort foods at Dencia’s. Go for the arroz caldo (congee with chicken bits) and tokwa’t baboy (tofu and pork). Then head to Marina Tuna Restaurant, which offers the Ten Way Tuna Menu Experience: 10 delicious and healthy courses that use every part of the tuna, from tail to jaw. If you can’t get enough seafood, try Blue Posts Boiling Crabs and Shrimps or RD Crab Shack for a messy buffet of savoury crabs and shrimps.
Hipster fare can be found at the Fat Cow and Asian Cow, both owned by a 21-year-old entrepreneur and chef, who experiments with pan-Asian flavours to create dishes like Angus beef spring rolls and Sichuan glazed squid. Japanese restaurant Kaizen Davao is outstanding for a casual experience of sushi platters and beer at street-side tables.
There are also plenty of healthy, vegetarian options, such as Soul Kitchen Co. and Balik Bukid, which have fresh salads or detox drinks made from local vegetables. Take a break at a trendy coffee shop and taste Davao’s popular durian at the same time: Bluegre Cafe serves durian-flavoured coffee, while Lachi’s Sans Rival makes durian cheesecake.
Up on a hill and overlooking the city’s lights, Jack’s Ridge Restaurant stands amid historic dugouts and caves used by Japanese soldiers during World War II. Today, customers enjoy the commanding view of Davao Gulf while dining on grilled meats.