Best Eats + Restaurants

New Generation, Off-the-Beaten-Track Restaurants to Try Out in Bacolod

Try dining outside the usual restaurant row to get the full experience!

By: Paul T. Lizares | October 14, 2016
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There has definitely been a great infusion of new restaurants in Bacolod lately. Like mushrooms growing in the wild after a good rain, these new places to dine in seem to pop up in various neighborhoods throughout town. Away from the usual restaurant row of main street Lacson, which stretches from the 6th to the 23rd Streets, new establishments off the beaten track are certainly worth exploring for their creative ambiance and delightful cuisine.

1. Merkado

Merkado is located in the Art District of Mandalagan. For the early birds who seek a decent place for coffee and breakfast, it’s good to know this restaurant offers more than just good coffee.

newly opened restaurants in Bacolod

You can start a healthy morning at Merkado as early as 6:30 AM.

The owners started this restaurant firstly to showcase locally grown, organically farmed produce. From the farm-to-table concept of bringing the freshest ingredients on the menu, Merkado was born. And that’s what the restaurant still is about—serving healthy, organic food. Pan Kick, for example, is organic whole wheat pancakes topped with fruit and pure maple syrup. For drinks, they have Kanlaon coffee brew and Guyabano juice.

2. East Bite

East Bite has pad Thai, with choices of chicken, seafood, and vegetable. Their beef satay, green chicken curry, gado-gado (Indonesian vegetable dish with peanut sauce), and tom yum (Thai soup typically cooked with shrimp) are true to form. The Hainanese chicken with the varied sauces is a must-try. Even after repeated returns, there is always something on the menu yet to be tried.

newly opened restaurants in Bacolod

East Bite boasts of Asian street food.

The list of delectable dishes goes on. Testament to the goodness of East Bite’s cooking, service, and atmosphere is shown by the number of guests who frequent the restaurant every day. The place is always full! The affordable prices of the food seem to come just as a bonus.

3. Polski Bistro

Polski Bistro may sound Polish, but it is actually derived from the name of the owner, Paul. Nevertheless, the Polski Bistro will not disappoint with its wide selection of dishes to fill the stomach as well as alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.

newly opened restaurants in Bacolod

Polski Bistro is among the new establishments in the expanding restaurant scene of High-Strip 3 mall in Bacolod.

A very attractive bar will greet you at Polski Bistro as soon as you walk in. And because of that, it would be easy to forget that lunch is served here. But browsing the menu you’ll find all types of comfort food, starting from their appetizers and salads. They have Buffalo wings, mozzarella sticks, and Caesar salad, just to name a few of the favorites in the house. There are so many other entrées on the menu—steaks, seafood, pork ribs—that a return visit may be called for.

4. Tippy’s Bistro

Talking about bars, cocktail hours in Bacolod usually start earlier than normal. Have you ever heard of “five-thirsty”? That’s right, you can have your first drink at 5:30 PM.

newly opened restaurants in Bacolod

Tippy’s Bistro is not your ordinary bistro

Tippy’s Bistro serves good food here—but also good music and art pieces to satisfy the ears and eyes of diners. Interesting artworks adorn every corner and wall of the restaurant. Outdoor seating and meeting rooms also offer themselves up to patrons.

Live music is regularly played in the bistro’s outdoor area with table and seats arranged in a manner that gives privacy to the customers, as if they’re in a beachside hideaway. Paintings of whale sharks and mermaids on the wall add to the beach vibe.

5. Sitting Duck

Young entrepreneurs in Bacolod still seeking out their own identities, pondering on the path to take in life, reckon themselves as sitting ducks. And that’s where the name of this last restaurant on our list comes from.

newly opened restaurants in Bacolod

Sitting Duck was born of the owners’ desire to share the food and drinks they personally enjoy and to earn money at the same time. And the result is some of the best artichoke cheese dips offered in town, plus great wine and whiskey.

Their fried kesong puti (soft, white cheese made from carabao’s milk), sprinkled with olive oil and pesto sauce, on top of toasted French bread is not to be missed. For the daring and brave of heart, Sitting Duck’s spicy meatballs called "Great Balls of Fire" paired with garlic sauce and fried basil leaves are a must try. (Warning: This is really, really spicy!) Meanwhile, their chicken confit is very tender and made exciting by the hint of rosemary. For dessert, the restaurant’s signature Fried Oreos—the chocolate cookie sandwiches deep fried in batter served atop vanilla ice cream—gives a blissful ending to a meal.

These places are obviously not the only ones worth checking out in the once, so to speak, sleepy dining scene of Bacolod City. Reflective of the vibrant economy of the region, the new restaurant entrepreneurs of the present generation will continue to offer varied menu options for all to experience and enjoy. Burgeoning are inventive restaurants specializing in fusion cuisines. The emergence of such restaurants is perhaps an awakening of a mindset that is not so "provincial" anymore. That is, an attitude that’s more open to experimentation with food and the overall experience restaurants owners are willing to provide their customers.

Click the store names to see their exact addresses and contact numbers.

All photos are owned by the writer.
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About Paul T. Lizares
Paul T. Lizares was born and raised in the island of Negros (Bacolod). He studied high school and college in University of California Santa Barbara, California, USA and has lived and traveled abroad for 17 years. Returning to Negros in the year 2000 to raise a family, he worked in the family real estate business and in power distribution. An advocate of environmental conservation, he is also a trustee of Philippine Reef and Rainforests Conservation Foundation Inc. and Negros Forests. Paul continues to travel and raising his children in Bacolod. He hopes to one day open a resort that caters to wellness and outdoor activities.
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