Beyond Bicol Express: A Foodie’s Guide to the Must-Try Restaurants in Albay

After a 12 hour drive from Manila to The Oriental Hotel Albay, nobody would throw blame if one decides to just stay in and order room service. But can you really say that you have been to Bicol without snapping a selfie with the famous Mayon Volcano in the background as well as trying out the local flavors? Contrary to popular belief, there is more to the Bicolano food scene than the usual bicol express and laing. Your chosen accommodation probably has the best F&B selection, but it wouldn’t hurt to go on a culinary adventure. Ladies and gentlemen, ready your pens and palettes, here are the must-visit restaurants in Albay:

Bob Marlin Restaurant & Grill
Rizal St, Barangay 17 Old Albay, Legazpi City, 4500 Albay

Image grabbed from Bob Marlin’s FB Page

Don’t worry about a thing ’cause every little thing is gonna be alright once you taste the food here at Bob Marlin Restaurant & Grill. It provides a laid back, friendly atmosphere in which families and friends can comfortably enjoy tasty local cuisine.

1st Colonial Grill
Villa Amada Building, Rizal St. Sagpon, Daraga, Albay

Image grabbed from 1st Colonial Grill’s FB Page

With branches in Daraga, Pacific Mall Gaisano Legazpi, Ayala Mall Legazpi, SM Naga, Centro Naga, and in Sorsogon, it is safe to say that 1st Colonial Grill is one of the more famous food destinations in Albay. Try their tinapa rice, pinangat, and tinutungang manok (chicken cooked with smoked coconut milk). Don’t dare leave without first trying the sili ice cream!

Bigg’s Diner
Ground Floor, Pacific Mall, Legazpi City 4500

Image grabbed from Bigg’s Diner’s FB Page

Bigg’s has been around since 1983 and has grown to 16 branches in the Bicol area alone. They have that distinct and nostalgic early Americana vibe and a home-style fried chicken and milkshake recipe that Bicolanos love. Metro Manila is slowly catching up with the the opening of first branch in SM Fairview, QC.

Sitti’s Kitchen
Rizal Street Cabangan, 4500 Legazpi, Albay

Image grabbed from Sitti’s Kitchen’s FB Page

Musician and Legazpi native Ahmad Tanji has this to say about Sitti’s Kitchen:

“One of my dreams is to put up an authentic Mediterranean cuisine resto in Bicol because man, my beloved hometown is missing a lot in terms of taste (considering Turks as the quintessential shawarma makes me cringe). So thank heavens that a family friend opened one in the heart of Legazpi – Sitti’s Kitchen! All ingredients are sourced from the middle east with recipes born out of tradition. Tried the special chelo kebab. Totally tasty and heavy. Would have preferred the garlic sauce to be more garlic-ky or yoghurt-y (2 diff concoctions – either way is good), but they provided chili garlic for additional flavoring. Surprisingly it worked!

Their hummus is up there with Hummus Elijah’s offering. You can even taste bits of fresh garbanzos (not from those processed cans, I was informed), highlighted by citrus goodness. Pita bread are served hot. Tasty too that my youngest kept nibbling til there’s not enough left. My daughter loved the fresh arab soda – forgot the name. And ended my meal with the traditional hot arab tea.

Compared to other fast food in Legazpi, price is obviously higher. But we are talking about good food, folks. Obviously this is an incomplete review but I rather call this a rave. I am already planning what to order on my next visit home.”

Image grabbed from Kim Bowl’s FB Page

Kim’s Bowl Food Garden
Benny Imperial Rd, Barangay 17, Legazpi City, 4500 Albay

Compared to the other restaurants above, Kim’s Bowl offers no frills nor fancy—just great-tasting food cooked home style! It has also been said that Kim’s is the home to the best crispy pata in all of Bicolandia. Judge it for yourself.

BONUS TIP:

Where to stay in Albay? Get the perfect balance of metropolitan and natural wonders at The Oriental Albay Hotel in Legazpi, Albay, Philippines. Marvel at the sight of the world’s most perfect cone without having to stay away from the urban comforts of modern life. Be delighted by the warmth of Bicolano hospitality reflected in our staff’s attentiveness to your concerns.

Located in a strategic address in Legazpi City, our hotel in Albay puts you in the middle of a lively environment that would satisfy your urban fix. With its proximity to key establishments and scenic attractions, you will definitely experience the best of both provincial and city living.An exhilarating 45-minute ATV ride will take you to the Mayon Lava Rocks where you can enjoy hiking and ziplining, perfect for capping off your ATV adventure. 

For more information, visit The Oriental Hotel Albay’s website at www.albay.theorientalhotels.com