best places to eat in El Nido

10 Best places to eat in El Nido, Palawan

El Nido is a great destination for food lovers. Read all about the best places to eat in El Nido and tips on how to avoid food poisoning.

El Nido: a foodies paradise

El Nido, located on the island of Palawan the Philippines, is known worldwide for breathtaking beaches, crystal clear waters, and spectacular limestone cliffs. But in addition to its natural beauty, this tropical destination also has much to offer in terms of culinary delights.

In this article, I take you on a tasteful journey through El Nido. Sample the authentic flavors of Filipino cuisine, with dishes such as adobo, kinilaw, sinigang, and sisig. Enjoy the freshness of local ingredients and the unique spice combinations that make Filipino cuisine so beloved. Whether you are a foodie or just love good food, El Nido will certainly not disappoint.

Be careful in El Nido, though, as food poisoning is (unfortunately) a regular occurrence. Fortunately, you can avoid this. Therefore, in this article, I will not only share the best places to eat in El Nido but I’ll also give some tips to avoid food poisoning.

The best places to eat in El Nido

What are the best places to eat in El Nido? These are my tips.

Big Mama’s

You can find Big Mama’s on the Calle Hama and it’s right on the beach. They serve typical Filipino street food for a great price. Don’t expect anything fancy (you sit on a plastic chair on the beach), but the food is good, cheap and the location is great. The staff is very friendly and will answer all of your questions. I highly recommend ordering the sisig and the adobo at this place.

Taste El Nido

As a vegan, you will definitely get by in El Nido. Taste is a 100% vegan restaurant. You can eat tasty vegan dishes here with a special twist! They also have delicious fresh smoothies and juices. By the way, if you like to start your day early, this is the place to go. They open at 6:30 in the morning.

Maa’s Grill

A fine spot for an inexpensive Filipino meal is Maa’s Grill, on the west side of Calle Hama. They grill meat and fish in front of you on the sidewalk, and it tastes very good! It is a very basic joint, but if you just want something quick and cheap to eat, this is the place to be.

Trattoria Altrove

Italian food in El Nido? Why not! This Italian trattoria is a favorite among locals and tourists alike. They serve delicious pizzas and pasta with fresh ingredients. The relaxed atmosphere and friendly service make it a great place to enjoy a tasty meal.

Big Bad Thai

Fancy some delicious Thai food? Then Big Bad Thai is the place to be. The menu features authentic Thai recipes and one dish is more delicious than the other. What more could you want?

Angel Wish

My personal favorite in El Nido is the restaurant Angel Wish (and maybe even my favorite place to eat in all of Palawan!) I was a little skeptical when I first walked in here, since it’s quite dark. But at the very back, you have a long table overlooking the sea (you’re sort of hanging above the water) and the beautiful limestone cliffs of El Nido. I could sit here for hours and enjoy the view. In terms of food, it is especially recommended for fish lovers, it is brought fresh every day and you can point out what you want on the spot. It’s so good!

Angel Wish in El Nido

El Nido Boutique Artcafe

El Nido Boutique Artcafe is one of the most popular restaurants in El Nido among tourists. You can eat really great food here (breakfast, lunch, dinner) and the cocktails here are also very good. It’s a nice place to hang around for a while. It is spacious, with beautiful furniture and a very large terrace on the second floor. They serve a variety of international and local dishes and also have vegetarian and vegan options. This is one of the few places where it is safe to order fruits and salads.

It’s one of the priciest places to eat and drink in El Nido, though, so I wouldn’t go here every day if you’re on a small budget. But it is definitely recommended if you are looking for something comfortable and delicious. In addition, they also offer artwork and handmade products for sale.

Republica Sunset Bar

The Republica Sunset Bar is south of downtown, in a beautiful beachfront location. This is a great place to enjoy a beautiful sunset combined with good food and drinks. The menu offers a mix of Western dishes and local specialties, such as grilled fish and seafood. The lively atmosphere and live music make it a popular place for a fun evening.

Bella vita

Italian food with breathtaking views. Then you’re in the right place at Bella Vita at Corong Corong Beach. Snuggle up on the terrace among the palm trees with a pizza and a good glass of wine. By the way, this place does very well for a romantic date; while eating, you can watch the sun sink into the sea. What more could you want?

Happiness Beach Bar

An incredibly cozy restaurant that totally fits the atmosphere in El Nido. The dishes are internationally oriented and mostly vegan, but as a non-vegan, you will definitely get your money’s worth as well. Everything is beautifully presented and very tasty. It’s pretty pricey, but tasty and a nice addition to your Instagram account.

Happiness Beach Bar is temporarily closed for renovations.

Fun for a drink: Rooftop Bar

Fancy a cocktail or other refreshing beverage? Rooftop Bar sits in the center of El Nido and, as the name suggests, has a nice rooftop terrace. It is cozily decorated with colorful pillows, lights, and green plants. In terms of food, they have mostly fried snacks, but for drinks, it is a perfect location.

Drinking cocktails in El Nido

Food poisoning El Nido: how to prevent it

Unfortunately, El Nido is very well known for its many cases of food poisoning. The water in this part of the Philippines is very poor quality, so try to avoid coming into contact with it as much as possible. A few practical tips:

  • Do not drink cocktails or drinks with ice cubes, as these are often made of water from the tap. Preferably order drinks from bottles or cans.
  • Always carry a bottle of mineral water with you
  • Do not eat cold (fruit) salads. No matter how delicious it is, chances are the fruit or vegetables are washed with tap water.
  • Feeling nausious? Drink a glass of Coke; this helps with nausea.

Things to do in El Nido

El Nido is a great place to stay for a while. There is plenty to do! How about for example:

  • A snorkeling tour: many boats leave the harbor daily for a great snorkeling tour along the steep cliffs and beautiful beaches.
  • Nacpan Beach: a beautiful expansive sandy beach
  • Taraw Cliff: climb to the top for great views of El Nido and the Bacuit Archipelago
  • Seven Commandos Beach: a tropical beach in an idyllic location

For more information and tips, check out: 13 Best things to do in El Nido Palawan

Book your trip to El Nido now

El Nido is a must-see when you’re traveling in Palawan. I can highly recommend this Palawan itinerary for 3 weeks, so you’ll have enough time to explore the island and El Nido. These websites are useful for booking your trip.

✈️ Plane tickets

Ninoy Aquino International Airport, also known as Manila International Airport, is the largest international airport in the Philippines. From Manila, you can travel pretty much everywhere in the Philippines. Check WayAway to find the best deals on plane tickets.

💊 Travel insurance

Having good travel insurance will give you peace of mind. Check Insubuy (general) or Safetywing (for nomads) to find the best travel insurance that fits your needs.

🎡 Tours and activities

The island of Palawan is a perfect destination for adventure seekers. There are a lot of fun tours and activities. Check Viator and Get Your Guide to find the best guided tours and activities.

Read more about El Nido and the Philippines

Are you looking for additional tips for a trip to The Philippines? These are some great travel guides that will inspire you:

Lonely Planet Philippines

The Rough Guide to the Philippines (Travel Guide with Free eBook)

On this website, you can also read more about traveling to the Philippines. You might like to check out these posts as well:

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This article was first published in May 2018. Latest update with more tips: July 2023.

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As a girl from a small town in the Netherlands, I always dreamed of traveling. I thought it would always be a dream, but nowadays, I travel 6 to 8 months a year and I hike thousands of miles on the most beautiful hiking trails. On this website you can read all about my favorite destinations.

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