After a whole day of spectacular island-hopping in the lagoons and beaches of El Nido, Palawan, one develops a ravenous appetite. Thankfully there are so many different restaurants serving various types of cuisine in the main town, ranging from Greek, Turkish, Mexican, Thai, Chinese, Middle Eastern, Indian, French, Italian, even Yugoslavian. Of course there are the popular North American and Continental-type eateries and diners as well.
But for tourists eager to sample the local cuisine in the country, as well as Filipinos hungry for the comforting taste of dishes they enjoy back home, you can’t go wrong with Amos Bar and Restaurant.
Conveniently located right at the heart of downtown El Nido within sight of the beach, in the corners of Real and Rizal Street, the restaurant occupies three floors at a well-lit and attractive concrete building. It opened without much fanfare in March 2018 yet quietly and quickly gained a loyal following. The staff at nearby hotels usually recommend it to their guests. Amos has simply become synonymous with quality. According to the service staff of Amos, it is not uncommon for them to see guests that choose to have their dinners almost exclusively over there, like foreigners who want to eat a different Filpino dish every night.
When I ate here last June 2019, I found out what the fuss is all about. The foods are excellent, filling and well-priced. The servings for each dish are also good enough for two.
Amos’ most popular dish is the creamy seafood but since I am lactose-intolerant I had to skip this.
Another surprising fact is that they usually serve crocodile sisig, which people often try right off the bat. They source their cultured crocodiles from Puerto Princesa. Unfortunate they have run out of stock on the day we were there but I made a mental note to try it as soon as I come back to El Nido.
The “spring rolls” (fried rolls with minced pork and vegetables inside) is hands down our favorite because of the tasty flavors and crunchy texture. This is basically ‘lumpiang shanghai’. Paired with their sweet and sour sauce it really is good. This dish is a must-try!
Their version of shrimp gambas is based on tomato sauce and sweet and sour sauce rather than the usual garlic and oil. Although I found the taste unusual as I am used to the oil-based gambas, I appreciate the novel mixing of flavors. The lack of oil and rich tomato flavor makes it an ideal accompaniment to rice as well. Take note of how large the shrimps are. They are quite proud of their seafood and their buttered garlic prawns are super popular as well.
Kare-kare is “a uniquely Filipino dish made with simmered oxtail, vegetables and peanut-based sauce” (according to Kawaling Pinoy) . Amos’ take on this dish is to make it very rich and flavorful with plenty of fresh, crunchy vegetables. See how green the vegies are? I love that they didn’t over cook it. The meat is quite tender as well.
Finally, we tried one of their bestsellers, a dish called “sisig” which is made from parts of pig head (such as pig face and ears) and chicken liver, seasoned with calamansi , onions and chili peppers. This is really the perfect bar chow, best paired with beer and cocktails. This dish originated from Pampanga in Luzon and a really strong-tasting, piquant dish that one must try while in the Philippines. Amos’ sisig is excellent.
My companions and I also chit-chatted with the manager and one of the owners, made possible by our tour operator whom we befriended the previous day. Amos is apparently a Cuyonin word that means “You’re welcome here”. The business started as Amos Hostel in Corong-corong (which now has a new management) before turning into a travel tour company and then a souvenir shop. Because of their humble beginnings as a small T-shirt printing press (that one can still see at the building’s ground floor) they have retained their simple, no-fuss, hands-on approach to business. The business owners are all young people and it is quite evident in the energetic and modern vibe of their restaurant. They are very knowledgeable about cocktails and the “young crowd” and can truly relate with millenials, backpackers and young tourists.
Here is our group picture with Joey, the manager of Amos (the one in the middle wearing black). He is super friendly and accommodating and will gladly address your concerns and questions if you have any.
The interiors of the main floor of the restaurant (at the second floor of the building) is usually full of diners, though the crowd hasn’t arrived yet when we visited there at dusk. That is why they had to expand and add two more floors after only one year of operation!
The building is located at Real Street, one of the busiest places in El Nido and where many major business establishments are located. Tarao Travelodge, Ipil Suites,El Nido Shell Hotel and Our Melting Pot Hostel are located just a few steps away. Guests in those hostels keep coming back to eat in Amos.
I was not able to take pictures at the rooftop bar, in fact we didn’t sit there because it was drizzling a bit, so I just got this from their website. It affords an amazing view of the towering dark cliffs and blue waters of El Nido’s beach, and with the sea breeze blowing in your face it really is a fantastic place to chillax after a day of island-hopping.
Here are pictures of their menu and the affordable prices:
Over all, for the tasty and flavorful dishes (all cooked and prepared properly, without taking any short cuts), the affordable price points, the adequate serving (good for two), the friendly and well-trained staff, the cheerful ambiance and the ideal location close to the beach, I would rate this restaurant five stars. No wonder most of the people crowding up the place are repeat customers.
I really can’t wait to come back and try their other dishes, especially the seafood ones.
Amos Bar and Restaurant
Address: Real cor Rizal st. Bgy. Buena Suerte
Budget: P700 for two people
Website: Facebook page Amos Restaurant El Nido