There is a real cosmopolitan dining scene in Puerto Galera, especially in the tourist hotspots of Sabang and La Laguna. You can expect a typically vast array of fresh seafood with beachfront barbecues the order of the day. There is also plenty of choice for homesick Westerners with beach cafés and restaurants serving up Italian, Mexican, healthy sandwiches and huge Aussie meat pies.
For authentic no-holds-barred Filipino cuisine a better option is to head over to quieter White Beach or better still in Puerto Galera Town. The latter has the best variety and lowest prices in the area, including a raft of tiny hole-in-the wall street stalls offering tasty bites for just a few pesos.
Nights in Puerta Galera revolve around the friendly expat bars of neon lit Sabang Beach where you can have a ball listening to live rock bands, watch TV sports or simply chill out with diving buddies. There is a gaggle of go go bars for curious travelers looking for some company, but is a far cry from the hectic goings on of downtown Manila or Angeles. The girly bar scene is strictly policed and in general quite discreet for Philippines’ standards.
One place not to be missed is the famous Anaconda floating bar bobbing 50 metres out from the shore. It is an open air watering hole with the usual fixtures and a well stocked cocktail bar. Unsurprisingly beers are a little more pricey but where else can you chill with a San Miguel and see hundreds of colourful reef fish inches away?
Puerto Galera restaurants
This American owned place offers cheap and authentic Mexican fare in a lively social atmosphere. A popular expat favourite, you get large portions of enchiladas, chimichangas, grilled steaks and more at honest prices. There is a separate cocktail bar with a great selection of exotic juices and cocktails too. (website: www.badladz.com). $$
Standing head and shoulders above the competition, this famous joint is always packed. There is a superb menu of Spanish tapas, seafood and Caribbean soul food such as authentic jerk chicken and blue marlin creole.
Set back from the action in tranquil West Sabang, there is a lovely open air deck offering breezy views and the ideal sundowner spot. There is plenty of memorabilia on the walls and lunch specials too. (website: www.hemingways-bistrot.com).
Italian born Luca plays mine host here at this ever popular pasta house that attracts foodies from miles around. More expensive than most, it is a worthwhile splurge and one of Puerto Galera’s gastronomic highlights. It offers traditional recipes of penne, linguine, cannelloni and risotto, great pizzas and lots of succulent grilled seafood. (website: www.lucaphilippines.com).
Nightly seafood barbecues are the big thing here and you can expect a lively ambience due to its regular expat diving crowd. There are good value Filipino buffets, grilled steaks, pasta and the infamous 50 cm pizzas for the really ravenous. Noted for its hearty American breakfasts.website: www.captngreggs.com).
Puerto Galera bars
Big Apple Bar
Located in the beach resort of the same name, this place has all the hallmarks of a lively expat friendly haunt.
Filled with boating memorabilia and dark wood paneling, it resembles a traditional pub and features table football, large screen TV sports and two huge pool tables. Best of all it is open 24/7 and even has early morning happy hours! (website: www.divebigapple.com).
A continental style lounge bar with funky décor, cheap beer and hearty burgers and pasta. It attracts a good crowd of diners for early evening Hollywood movie screenings followed by late night live rock and reggae. A popular spot for young divers and the ideal place to exchange travel tales over an ice cold beer.