R E S T A U R A N T
B Y - T H E -
B E A C H
I've been a food and dining reviewer since I was in my college days at the University of Santo Tomas. Commissioned many times by a weekly magazine to dine at highly specialized restaurants like Swiss Inn, Schwarzwalder (German), and the now-defunct Venezia (Italian), I lived a double life as a student. By day I was on Fine Arts-related duties but in between classes, I scheduled visits to restaurants to test various delicacies. Among those that I secretly didn't like but was obligated to try were seafood specialties.
"I Love Capiz!" Blog Series Tour
For my recently-concluded 4-day "I Love Capiz!" Blog Series Tour, I was on a secret mission again. It was inevitable for me to sample some of it here. Everyone's got a terrible weakness... the kind that disarms one in a bad way. Seafood's mine. I had to confront this fishy sentiment where it really mattered -- at Coco Veranda in Roxas City, the seafood capital of the Philippines.
Open-air Dining Concept
Locals would always point to Baybay Beach for tourists to try the best of dining on seafood with a panoramic view of the ocean. I would have loved to try the ordinary-looking food joints in the area but I was after an optimum experience for lunch and cleanliness, plus a good ambiance were important to me. Coco Veranda happens to have both qualities via its open-air dining concept. My spot at the restaurant let me have a good view of the distant Mantalinga Island and an expansive view of the ocean. My space also allowed for the refreshing sea breeze to touch my bronzed skin (from having infinity pool time at the nearby San Antonio Resort). For those dining in the late afternoon or early dinner, I was told, customers are treated to a view of a romantic sunset at the beach front.
I was informed that the elusive diwal (angel wings clam) was available. Its English name was aptly coined for its shell that open like an angel's wings. In Hiligaynon or Ilonggo (prevailing dialect in the province), the word means "to stick out like a tongue."
Owner Shella Asis talked about it like she was talking about a newborn baby -- with great excitement. It turned out that the seafood delicacy is a seasonal catch in the area which makes it a rare treat even to residents of the city and neighboring municipalities.
When it was served, I looked at it with intimidation which showed in my eyes. I couldn't stare at it because its so-called tongue which was actually its feet stuck out rather oddly. Shella insisted that the longer that particular body part was, the better. If perceived to be short, they were not at all harvested. And there's a season (month of July) when it has become illegal to do so in Roxas City.
Soon, I was sampling it with full caution until I disarmed myself of my bias for seafood. It tasted quite succulent which was a good massage for the palate.
Seafood Feast and More
Coco Veranda has made a convert out of me. My contributing photographer, however, was on a different experience. Since he's into seafood, our lunch at the restaurant was one big fiesta for him one delicacy after another. We had more than diwal, that's a fact. My favorites include the filling Coco Veranda Special Fried Rice, the interesting Adobong Takway or taro root tendrils (which was as good as a massage for the palate and a great alternative to the usual vegetable selections in other restaurants), the almost-intoxicating (in taste, that is, especially complemented by the sea breeze) Baked Oyster, the Steamed Crab (talaba), the Coco Loco Prawn (which was cooked in coconut cream and tasted a bit spicy), the tasty Mangagat (also known as Maya-maya), the Baked Scallop and a clam shell delicacy called Cagaycay. We also had the best-seller called Seafood Platter which is a combo plate of squid, diwal, kinilaw na oyster, shrimp balls and calamares.
Drinks and Desserts For Taste Distinction
To have a distinctive taste of each seafood delight, we had expertly crafted flavored drinks from the restaurant's bar. Mine was a delicious order of a glass of the Veggie Protein Shake which was a healthy mix of cucumber, strawberry, mango, banana and carrot. My companion had the tourist-favorite Buko Shake (coconut).
When I thought that the feasting was over, I was advised to drown everything in desserts. I was told that it would help to have something sweet remaining in the taste as we left the restaurant. I tend to heed good advice so we had Black Sambo, Mango Per Layered (the most memorable in taste for me for its layers of nothing but sweetness), and the local favorite, Buko Pandan.
Accessible Dining Spot
What's amazing with Coco Veranda is that it's just five minutes from the Roxas City Airport and a good distance from the city plaza. I was booked at the nearby Roxas President's Inn and came from the latter to dine at the restaurant so my short 15-minute tricycle commute was convenient. It's also near Urban Manor Hotel in Pueblo De Panay where I was to check in after lunch to continue with my tour of the city.
Catering and Delivery
Locals can make arrangements for catering and delivery with Coco Veranda because it has a cute vehicle to transport the goodies anywhere in the city.
As with all my other food review milestones, this was another fulfilling day... pun intended. Coco Veranda is a must-visit in Roxas City.
Photography by Josua Chan
and Karl Ace
Address: Lawis Baybay ,Capiz, Roxas City 5800
Phone: (036) 621-6185 or (036) 666-0308
Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday, 10:00 am-11:00 pm
Check out my "I Love Capiz!" Blog Series Tour posts:
+ Timelessness of Nature In Capiz Bay Resort
+ Expertly Crafted Blends At ACC Coffee & Crepe
+ My Refreshing Morning At San Antonio Resort
+ My Ferdinand Marcos Sr. Suite At Roxas President's Inn
+ Urban Manor: Pueblo De Panay's Emerging Modern Accommodation
+ Tasty Treats At Mamaita's House of Sweets In Roxas City
+ Roxas City's Charming Islet and Vanishing Sandbar
|Coco Veranda owner Shella Asis|
|A great view of Mantalinga Island with the couple at the helm|