Three years ago, we had the opportunity to feature gourmet and buffet food being served in two upscale resorts and a boutique hotel in Bohol.
This time around, we were given the opportunity to feature four innovative dining establishments dotting the landscape of Tagbilaran City. All quite new and unique to match the breadth and scope of their tourism arrivals.
The Buzzz Café of Bohol Bee Farm
Distinctively the product of Bohol Bee Farm which has been around since 2000, it has three branches in Bohol and one in Cebu. Their menu boasts of fresh garden salads, succulent seafood, organic fruits and veggies, and lean meat recipes.
We were able to have lunch at their branch in Galleria Luisa Mall. The interiors were a pleasant mix of off-white and apple green colors, with homey shabby chic accents and several references to eating healthy food, staying positive and of course, the wonders of honey.
Service was efficient and the staff were courteous and prompt.
The front part of the café served as a retail store for their honey products, organic bread, cosmetics and personal care products, and their home-made ice cream served in their trademark cassava cones which boasted of fruits in season flavors as well as eccentric flavors such as spicy ginger, tomato and malunggay.
Signature organic salad with edible flowers and honey dressing
Fresh herb pasta
Grilled Fish in herbs
Organic red rice topped with sweetened cassava bits
Too Nice to Slice Cake Gallery
Barely less than a year old, this family enterprise started when the young Ms. Lapura was working in a BPO company in Cebu. During her free time, she would bake cakes and sell to officemates and friends. The consensus was that these creations were “too nice to slice” which gave her an inkling for a company name. When her mother Mrs. Alegria Lapura retired from government work as an accountant, the daughter packed her bags, went home to Bohol and opened the cake gallery. Soon, a brother who was a chef in one of the resorts in Panglao joined in, hence the business came full circle with them having both desserts and main courses in their menu. Another brother and in-laws lent a helping hand. They are looking forward to their first summer as a food establishment.
Intimate and cozy, the shop interiors are awash in pink-purple color coordinates with white accent. The chairs, we were told, are old but salvaged, repainted and re-upholstered to give that distinct look of modern elegance.
Boodle Feast of grilled seafood (shrimps, skewered squid slices, clams), fish ceviche, and grilled pork ribs, all sprinkled with fresh seaweed salad
A sampling of the sumptuous Chocolate Addiction, Mango Wacko Walnut Cheesecake and Chocolate Blackout Cheesecake
Massimo Pizzeria Ristorante Italiano
Meet Chef Massimo, the brains behind the menu, who may be seen in action supervising the kitchen staff of this authentic Italian Restaurant day in and day out, and all doubts fall away.
A self-confessed resident of Panglao who has been living in the province for some time now, the Pizzeria is a recent endeavor with only five months of operations.
Filipino business partner Shobe Uy who has a certificate in Culinary Arts manages the daily operations leaving Chef Massimo with much needed time to focus on the ingredients and the cooking.
Bruschetta Pomodoro (homemade bread, fresh tomato, olive oil, garlic)
Taglier Salume e Formaggi or cold cuts and cheese (served with complimentary focaccia)
Insalte or salad of lettuce, green apple slices, tomatoes and shrimps
Spaghetti Carbonara (eggs, bacon, parmesan, black pepper)
4 Formaggi (mozzarella cheese, blue cheese, parmesan, pecorino) Pizza
The wine list isn’t shabby either, and wine by the glass is readily available for those who want to go sampling through the entire wine menu of reds and whites.
Housed in a white Victorian-inspired pre-World War II residential structure, the ambiance is uncluttered and the trademark in keeping with guidelines on the preservation of Heritage Houses. Distinctly Italian with a Filipino soul.
Joyce Valerie Mascarinas-Astilla is proud of her new restaurant which they opened to the public in September 2016. What was once an empty lot is now converted into one of the most happening tambayans for Boholanos and foreigners alike.
On an ordinary night, the tables are full and the place is abuzz with happy chatter as customers line up at the food counter to order their food and pay for it. Clean, shiny casseroles line up homemade cooking in a no fuss arrangement.
According to Joyce, they started out with a barbecue grill place which is still in operations until today. The empty lot owned by her family had her brainstorming for a business venture that would surely appeal to the Boholano’s craving for good food but at affordable prices. Rather than fine dining which often raised the prices of the menu due to the expensive interiors needed to create the ambiance, she thought of home cooked meals and specialties served on wooden tables with sturdy benches, in honor of her mother Socorro who enjoyed cooking.
Her gamble has paid off. Not only locals patronize Socorro’s but tourists of all nationalities who come into the place wanting to try Filipino food whose names they sometimes do not even know!
Best selling Crispy Pata
Grilled Tuna Panga
Sincere gratitude to Ms. Josephine Remolador-Cabarrus, Ms. Gina Peluchi Kapirig and Mr. Neil Gerard P. Reyes of Bohol Tourism Office, and all the food establishment owners for their hospitality and for sharing with us their passion for cuisine.
Banner photo, all photos on Too Nice to Slice Cake Gallery and Socorro’s by Mike Manlapid Apostol.