CORON TOWN, Palawan (Philippines)
This is Palawan, and scuba diving is king. However, for those of us who prefer to stay above sea level, luckily dining out is a close second. For a small town, Coron has a multitude of restaurants to choose from. As it's a seaside town, seafood fanatics will have a field day here, spoiled for choice by Palawan's many fishermen. Vegetarian options are also abound, but one must look a little harder to find them.
La Sirenetta has an ideal location. It is perhaps the most perfect restaurant setting I have encountered anywhere in the world, in fact, if I ever meet the right girl - it will be here that I propose to her. That's a promise. Surrounded by the jagged Palawan landscape, and a calm tranquil bay of crystal clear water - how could she say no?
Finding it can be a little tricky though, as you must follow a jetty to reach it, as it floats above the water - like a halo on an angel's head. It is adjacent to Coron Public Market, which is the first landmark many people stepping off from a banca will see upon arrival.
Sitting down to the first of many meals I enjoy here during my stay, I glance over my shoulder and spy a shoal of shimmering fish, their scales glinting in the streaks of early evening sunshine. Being by the water's edge has more than just visual benefits too, as a wafting sea breeze on a hot sunny day will tell you more than words can.
La Sirenetta serves both Filipino and Western delicacies, with a focus on Italian cuisine. The pizza and pasta here is to die for, with fresh tomato sauce prepared daily (banana ketchup is banished from the premises). The bruschetta is amazing, with the tang of fresh tomatoes, and the bite of sweet basil, perfectly complimented by two thick slices of crusty bread. The pasta is prepared al dente, and the spicy arrabbiata sauce is definitely one for chili lovers.
Those with a sweet tooth will not be disappointed either, as the desserts on the menu are much more than just an afterthought. The sweet crepes here rival those of a cafe on the Seine river in Paris, and are stuffed with local produce. Think pineapples, mangoes and bananas, all prepared with a delicate chocolate rum sauce. It's a match made in heaven, having both a sweet taste and warming touch.
On every post there is a mermaid looking out to sea, with the rest of the interior decor being both tasteful and maritime themed. Canoes hang upside down from above, and plaques of giant crabs and other trophies fished from the sea dot the walls. The staff are friendly and welcoming, and although the prices are a little steep by local standards, it's without a doubt value for money.
FACTS & FIGURES
Appetizers - 100 - 200 PHP
Mains - 250 - 500 PHP
Specials - 500+ PHP
STAR RATING (4.5/5)
Food - 4.5
Location - 5
Prices - 4
Staff - 4.5
Atmosphere - 5
(Address: Near Central Market, Reef Pier)