As I’ve shown you in the first two posts in this series, there’s a lot more to Iloilo’s dining scene than La Paz Batchoy joints, Chicken Inasal spots, and Filipino fare—although all of these are great options, along with the fresh and affordable seafood restaurants you’ll find all over the place.
Ilonggos love to eat out, so new restaurants and concepts pop up every time. You’re bound to discover something new with each visit. Bookmark this page for some of Iloilo City’s must-try restaurants, this time offering Western cuisine. Start with these, and keep coming back to explore everything else Iloilo City has to offer! You can be sure I’ll feature more of them here.
New York-inspired Salt Bistro, located at 22 General Luna Street (in front of University of San Agustin), is one of Iloilo City’s more popular, relatively new restaurants. It serves American comfort food, bar chow, and cocktails in a cozy bar setup bedecked in New York mementos, photos, and murals mounted on its brick walls.
Upstate Style Chicken Wings
Salt Barbecue Ribs
Grilled Tenderloin Steak
Bacon Cheese Casserole
Regulars keep coming back for their variety of hefty chicken wings (Upstate Style, P175; Garlic Parmesan, P215; Chili Rubbed, P215, and more); Bacon Cheese Casserole (P265), their penne version of mac and cheese, smothered in four cheese sauce; Salt Barbecue Ribs (P295), served with steak fries drizzled with parmesan cheese; and Grilled Tenderloin Steak, a generous slice of tender beef cooked medium rare and served with spiced potato fries and au jus for just P335.
You also have to try their Mojito—arguably one of the best you’ll find in the city and a deal at just P120. There’s a band setup in one corner, so you can enjoy your delicious meal while listening to live music on weekends. The place gets packed on Friday and Saturday nights, not to mention parking is always an issue, so it’s best to make reservations.
Z Burger’s Cheezy Bacon Burger with fries
Salt also has a good selection of burgers, but if it’s burger you want, Iloilo has a lot of options for that, too, what with burger joints all over the city. The American Legacy (along Delgado Street in downtown Iloilo City) and Z Burger (in Zatazza Cafe at Robinsons Place Jaro) are just two of them.
Z Burger’s Zignature Burger with fries
The Italian restaurant located at the ground floor of Iloilo’s prominent Sarabia Manor Hotel, Al Dente, is a nice choice for dinner dates and fancier lunches.
Their comprehensive Italian menu boasts of a wide range of Insalate (salads), Antipasti (appetizers), pasta, pizza, and classic Italian entrees, which average between P150 to P350 per plate. We like their Steak Florentine (P285), tenderloin au jus served with garlic rice; Rotollo di Pollo (P285), chicken fillet with creamy cheese filling wrapped in strips of bacon, served with mashed potatoes; and Grilled Fish Primavera (P225), fish fillet with sautéed peppered shrimps and pomodoro sauce, vegetable confit, and garlic rice.
Just look at those 1L beer mugs; they’re P160 each! Prost!
You wouldn’t think you’d find a German pub in a small city like Iloilo, much less in a narrow street far from the large commercial centers—but ironically close to the famous Jaro Cathedral—but surprise, surprise: you will! Bavaria, located along 113 Seminario Street in Jaro, was conceptualized by a German national and his wife (now ex) and is one of Iloilo’s hidden gems. This hole-in-the-wall at the ground floor of Iloilo City Inn looks every bit how you would imagine a typical German pub to be: with dark, almost medieval-inspired interiors, complete with a huge animal’s hide mounted on the wall.
In here, beer lovers can chug Radlermass, Dieselmass, or Bavariamass from 1L beer mugs for just P160 a mug! The beer, of course, will go so well with their mean selection of German specialties like sausages and schnitzels. If you can’t decide what sausage to get, order the Sausage Platter. For P380, you get a variety of authentic European sausages like Bratwurst, Schublig, and Hungarian, served with home-made pickles and home-made German bread. Why not order a side of sauerkraut, too, for just P60?
Spain AND Mexico
Madrid, located at Ayala Malls’ Atria Park District, is great for nights when you just want to kick back with your amigas overs some red wine and tapas. And with Madrid’s tapas at less than P200 per order, you can try as many as you want (especially since, in true tapas fashion, they are tiny portions). Your best bets are the Croquetas (P145), made of potato, cheese, and chorizo, served with garlic aioli; and the Quezo Fundido (P165), which is basically your warm and creamy cheese fondue with bits of chorizo, served with garlic bread. They’re also known for their Salpicao, sautéed in Spanish olive oil with lots of garlic, which come in small portions at also under P200. You’ll love the Camaron or shrimps (P185) and the Solomillo or more commonly known as beef tenderloin (P195). And what’s a Spanish meal without paella? With the choices they offer, you’re sure to find something you like. Just don’t forget to bring mints!
There’s also Ole at the 3rd floor of Robinsons Place Iloilo City, a branch of your favorite hangout in Boracay that offers Spanish, Mexican, and Cuban dishes. They serve the same delicious fajitas, burritos, and paellas.
Enjoying Mexican fare and Margaritas at Mooon Cafe
Speaking of Mexican, Mooon Cafe has a branch here too! The Mexican-inspired restaurant we first loved in Cebu and Dumaguete also serves its delicious quesadillas, nachos, tacos, and margaritas at SM City Iloilo.
Have you checked out the must-try Asian restaurants here in Iloilo? Click and bookmark these links if you haven’t yet: