Tulip Drive: Davao City’s food boulevard

For a Southside Dabawenyo, Tulip Drive is the most favorable excuse to head out and indulge on food.

Whether alone or with a bunch of like-minded foodies, the food strip basically offers comfort and convenience without having to spend more time on the road.

True, the once vacant strip of land has slowly morphed into a mekkah of delectable food finds. Its portfolio of gastronomic places ranges from savoury to sweet without having to break the bank.

Restos are closely located thus making it easier to hop from one place to another.

Here’s a guide to finding a place to dine in Tulip Drive.

UMAMI GOODNESS

Tadakuma will take you to the streets of Japan minus the long lines at the immigration. From a once limited seater resto to a full-on sit-down dining place, Tadakuma offers a plethora of clean tasting dishes that has since become a favourite among Dabawenyos. With its delicate umami filling flavor, you cannot go wrong with anything from the menu.

Must try: Beef ramen (made from beef broth), kakeage, chicken karaage, gyudon.

CHILL OUT DINING.

The Dugout restaurant and café serves fusion dishes of Western and familiar Asian influences. This quaint dining place is a great chill out rendezvous for people trying to get away from the hassle and bustle of the noisy city life. Its menu is packed with dishes that are simple yet familiar to the palate. Must try: Tinolang Pompano, Pinapaitan, Salisbury Steak.

OLD FLAME

Coco’s South Bistro sits on the cornermost of Tulip drive. Together with its sister company, Buffet Palace, Coco’s offer a festive yet relaxing California-Mexican inspired menu that plays a plethora of textures and flavours in every bite. For years, Coco’s has become synonymous to Sunday-family-dining. Most often, this quaint restaurant is filled with groups of family and friends sharing and creating moments at the dining table. With dishes served generously, Coco’s will not want you leaving without all your cravings satisfied.

Must try: Seafood chowder, pasta, steak, nachos.

TASTE OF HOME.

Another homegrown dining establishment, Patok sa Manok is truly one of the most favourable and loved dining places in the city. Its menu is a list of classic Pinoy faves that we’ve all grown to love, crave and yearn for. Its choices of freshly baked breads will have you saying goodbye to your diet.

Must try: Lechon manok, cakes, pastries, freshly baked pan de sal.

BOWL OF GOODNESS

Not your typical dining place, Cuenco’s Rice & Noodle Bar invites you to a continental food trip with its selection of creamy, saucy and curried rice bowl dishes. A rice and noodle bar, it highlights Pan Asian dishes that’s always a welcome treat to our craving palates. A casual dining concept, Cuenco’s offer traditional dishes cooked with fresh and local ingredients. Its menu is downright specific – detailed, picturesque and yes, foretells of what you might expect into your bowl.

Must try: Palabok negra, batil patung, cold Soba Kani, kimchi rice and egg.

CRUNCHY EATS

What was once considered a Filipino centerpiece can now be ordered, by the kilo or serving, at restaurants all over the city. Xantino’s Lechon, Tuna and Kambingan has slowly become the king of south side lechon places. Though limited in dining space, this restaurant makes do with a generous serving of its savoury lechon every single time. And the best part? Everything on their menu is affordable.

Must try: Lechon belly.

BOWL OF GOODNESS

Not your typical dining place, Cuenco’s Rice & Noodle Bar invites you to a continental food trip with its selection of creamy, saucy and curried rice bowl dishes. A rice and noodle bar, it highlights Pan Asian dishes that’s always a welcome treat to our craving palates. A casual dining concept, Cuenco’s offer traditional dishes cooked with fresh and local ingredients. Its menu is downright specific – detailed, picturesque and yes, foretells of what you might expect into your bowl.

Must try: Palabok negra, batil patung, cold Soba Kani, kimchi rice and egg.

CLASSIC DAVAO TASTE

Dessert in Davao either means a piece of fresh fruit or a slice of cake from Lachi’s. An institution in the Davao dining scene, Lachi’s has been the city’s go-to dessert shop. Its smorgasbord of sugar pleasing treats is enough to urge you to a sweet feast in a snap. Compared to its Marfori branch, the Tulip drive branch does not operate with a full kitchen hence it’s a sweet haven all the way. Don’t fail to take some goodies home.

Must try: Sans rival, carrot cake, crème brulee cake, apple pie.

ORGANIC GEM

An organic and a specialty store in one, Minkah’s Kitchen started as a bagsakan for their farm produce. Adapting a farm to table concept, its menu is mostly local Filipino dishes cooked using locally produced organic ingredients from their farm. Yup, they have organic beef and pork and an abundance of organically grown vegetables. Indulging on its menu will have you craving for more.

Must try: Vegetable Salad, Sikwate.

MEATY PUNCH

With the abundance of burger joints in the city, Red Corner remains a favourite amongst foodies. With several meaty choices named after the great boxers of the world, each burger is packed with a multi-layer of taste, texture and depth in every bite. Its menu is nothing but a treasure chest of flavor combinations that will surely have you craving in an instant.

Must try: steak, buffalo wings.

COFFEE LOVE

Coffee shops abound in the city. Nonetheless, only a handful of coffee shops are able to deliver a cup of pure coffee goodness and Purge Coffee Roaster is one of them. Using local and imported beans, this charming coffee shop has a relaxing and homey ambiance.

Must try: Mt. Apo coffee, red velvet waffle.

REGIONAL FAVES

A gem for someone who cannot get enough traditional and regional dishes, Haya’s Place serves Middle Eastern, Malaysian and Tausug inspired dishes. Though not everyone is familiar with the taste, many have fallen in love with the taste, texture and delectable impression the dishes leave on the palate.

Must try: Satti, Tiyula Itum, Mee Goreng

UNLIMITED EVERYTHING

Relocating in Tulip Drive proved to be a most conventional move for Hilltop Crabs Buffet. Their repertoire includes unlimited serving of crabs, shrimps, squid and a selection of local and international dishes cooked specially for the Pinoy palate. Aside from its seafood selection, Hilltop Crabs Buffet also offers unlimited samgyupsal (beef, pork, chicken) at a very affordable price.

Must try: unlimited seafood

HAPPY PLACE

Specialising in fusion dishes of Spanish and Filipino flavours, Sarsa de Ambrose is known as a chill out go-to place. A kitchen and wine bar under one roof, Sarsa offers familiar dishes that complement well with either a bottle of beer or a glass of wine. Mostly frequented by groups, Sarsa rids away the stress of deadlines and replaces it with a happy tummy.

Must try: Pancit Palabok, Beef Caldereta

GOOD CHEATS

Home of unlimited greaseless chicken, chEATday is cheatday on any given day. It has a familiar menu that will remind you to say goodbye to your calorie counting ways. As a restobar, it’s a good place to relax and just imbibe the calories without any guilt feeling.

Must try: greaseless chicken, porkchop, pinakupsan

CAKE OVERLOAD

Tucked in a luscious green neighborhood along Tulip drive is one of Davao’s sweetest secret — Cake Galerie. Home to a wide array of delicate sweet treats prepared and baked by chef owner Charise, this intimate food place exudes positivity and vibrancy in all corners. And as such is prevalent on the pastries and cakes it has on display. Cake Galerie also accepts customised cakes for all occasions.

Must try: Crepe, chocolate mousse, chocolate chip cookies

FAMILIAR INDULGENCE

Cafe Julieta serves a profusion of dishes that boasts of unique flavours. On its menu are Pinoy favourites prepared and cooked with a twist. At its helm is Chef Noel (Buenaventura) whose love for good food is greatly showcased in every dish. Not to mention, his love for exploring the depths of his kitchen and the use of locally grown produce as the star of his dishes.

Must try: Honey glazed chicken, spring rolls, crispy pork belly with spicy miso, ensaymada