Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Sankai Japanese Restaurant

Japanese cuisine restaurants are not scarce in Davao. In fact, I have a long list of favorites that I go back to over and over again, namely Tsuru, Tadakuma, Nonki, and mid-priced restaurants like Sushi Dito and Teriyaki Boy. There is also a new addition to that long list in Yakimix, which is a dream for Japanese food lovers because they have a buffet of dishes from this cuisine. Then there are also those long standing restaurants that do not get all the hype but the lack of it speak nothing of the restaurant's quality. In fact, it is like a hidden gem tucked away in a quiet part of the city that those who are unaware that the restaurant even existed would not dare stop by. I feel that way about Sankai Japanese restaurant. Even though I had been eyeing a visit for a very long time, the opportunity did not arrive until I decided to have an intimate dinner with friends.

the sushi bar

This restaurant was the perfect venue for that. As I said, it is not located inside a mall or the central part of the metro so it is quieter and more laid back. The restaurant in itself is warm, cozy, and quiet. There were plenty of empty tables and so we had the liberty to choose the table we want. It is also staffed by friendly waiters and waitresses that were quick to accommodate us upon entrance.

However, people come to Sankai mainly for the food. And that is what I was most excited about. Check out below to see what dishes we've sampled:

Vegetable Salad

A very light salad that consists mainly of shredded cabbage. It is also served with a Japanese soy sauce to add richness to the flavor of the vegetables. A great way to start off the meal, especially for vegetable lovers.

California Maki

I don't know where to start so I am going to say it outright - this is the best California Maki I've had so far. The Japanese rice is of premium quality. The sweetness from the mango and cucumber when combined by the savory taste of the crabsticks delivers an indescribable feeling inside your mouth. Take my word for it - you have to try it when you visit Sankai!

Shoyu Seafood Ramen

This is the perfect choice for the rainy night. I almost always find myself ordering ramen whenever I go to a Japanese restaurant. Sankai's seafood ramen fits my idea of how a Japanese ramen should be. And check out those huge pieces of shrimps, too!


According to my friend, Okonumiyaki is like a Japanese version of pizza. The term literally translates to "grilled as you like it", which implies that this particular recipe can be prepared however you want and using any ingredients you might have in mind. But for this recipe, the dish is made with shredded cabbage and batter to hold them together. There is also a soft interior, which seems like egg mixture (sort of like an omelette), to bring another layer of flavor into this dish. I wasn't such a big fan, although it could just be that I was too full at that time as this dish was served last.


Gyoza is another famous Japanese cuisine dish and is something that you have to try, especially when dining in a Japanese restaurant for the first time. Basically, a gyoza is like the Japanese version of Chinese dumplings. These savory parcels are dainty looking but they are quite the delectable treat. The filling can either be made of pork or seafood (minced, of course) so you can get a flavorful bite every single time. Meanwhile, it is also served with its own dipping sauce to add more flavor.

Our dinner at Sankai was no less than satisfying. Authentic Japanese food coupled with excellent service and a good company is my idea of a perfect date night. If you did not know about Sankai yet, or knew about it but hasn't paid the restaurant a visit, now is the chance to.

Sankai Japanese Restaurant is located at Emilio Jacinto Extension, Davao City. You can call them for inquiries or reservations at (082) 222-1799.

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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Cafe Mediterranean: Flavors of the Sun

Cafe Mediterranean, or Cafe Med as it is casually referred to by some foodies, has been around the scene for some time. The original location of this restaurant was in Chimes and I honestly do not know if that branch is still open because I haven't been there in a long while. Nonetheless, the opening of a new branch at Abreeza made them more accessible to those who would like to enjoy authentic Mediterranean dishes that I still consider to be rare in Davao. But if you are a big fan of this cuisine, like I am, this will hopefully make do while we wait for an authentic Greek or Mediterranean restaurant to do business in the city. Hello Cyma, I'm talking to you!

Cafe Mediterranean was known for their Buy 1, Take 1 Pizza Promo available from 2-5PM on weekdays (there was a point when this was the craze in Davao and almost every pizza shop had this offer!). Although I never got the chance to take advantage of that promo offer, I remembered ordering mostly their pizzas during my few trips to their Chimes branch.

The ambiance of Cafe Mediterranean in Abreeza is nearly an exact replica of their original branch. It does help to reinforce the experience of being in a Mediterranean restaurant wherein you are enjoying some pasta, cheese, and wine. But ambiance is just one step into the experience - food is what it will all come down to.

It starts with Mediterranean Pasta (P 265) that has all the goodness you would expect from a pasta that bears that name. The penne pasta comes with sun-dried tomatoes, black olives, grilled eggplants and zucchini, and anchovies. The flavor of this pasta is rather subtle, but you cannot help but notice the lovely aroma coming from the olives, olive oil, and grilled vegetables. Simply enticing!

Another dish that we've tried is the Cafe Mediterranean Kofta (P 140), simply out of curiosity because it was listed as one of their must-try dishes. There are two options for the pita bread used for preparing this dish - regular or whole wheat pita. We opted for the latter, which I believe is a bit more expensive. The meat is a combination of ground beef and lamb that is savored with various herbs and grilled on skewers. We were slightly disappointed with the choice to go with the whole wheat pita bread because the aroma is slightly too overwhelming that it clashed with the aroma of the meat. There was simply too much going on. We both agreed there and then that the pasta dish was our favorite.

Have you tried dining at Cafe Mediterranean?

Cafe Med: Flavors of the Sun is located at G/F of Abreeza Ayala Mall (the side fronting the fountain).

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Friday, October 18, 2013

Dinner at Annipie Malvar

Annipie is a homegrown restaurant that has expanded to more than just a place where people go to for their famous cinnamon rolls. There are a few items on the menu for those wanting to have their lunch or dinner, too. However, the promise of delicious desserts (with their famous cinnamon rolls, revel bars, cheese bars, butterscotch, and other pastries beckoning at you from a nearby glass shelf) is what makes every dine something to look forward to.

The Oriental Cream Dory (P 95) is a light dish that is perfect for fish lovers. The aroma coming from the ginger and onion helped to liven up the flavor of the fish. I can definitely taste the oriental flavors coming through and it was a delight to the taste buds.

This Bolognese Spaghetti (P 69) is just good. I expected nothing better, though. Or, it could be simply a matter of preference because Annipie's version is Filipino-style wherein the marinara sauce is slightly sweet whereas I prefer the Italian version that comes with a slightly tangy and savory sauce.

Oh, this Pistachio Sans Rival (P 85) came as a huge surprise for me. I was never a fan of pistachio before but now, I might reconsider. In fact, I prefer this one over the original buttery sans rival wherein I find the scent and flavor of the butter too overwhelming.

This cappuccino cinnamon roll (P 35) is notably one of the best desserts I have had in a long while. It is sweet, but not too sweet. Love the drizzle of cinnamon syrup to top it off, too. The aroma makes it all the more enticing.

Also Read: Annipie's Delicious Cinnamon Rolls

What is your favorite item at Annipie?

Annipie - Your Cinnamon Destination
Contact Nos.: 295-3022 (Malvar Branch), 295-3799 (Ecoland Branch)
Annipie - Your Cinnamon Destination @ Facebook

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Sunday, October 13, 2013

Experience the Best of Paris in Davao at The French Baker

The French Baker opens its newest concept store in SM Lanang Premier, which also marks the 51st branch for the franchise and their first in Mindanao. With the new concept store, The French Baker promises to offer nothing short of fancy as they give Davaoenos the opportunity to experience the "good life" through their authentic French pastries and menu items available in-store. Hence, you don't have to travel to Paris in order to experience the best of French cuisine first-hand as The French Baker brings it to Davao.

The French Baker CEO, and the French baker himself, Johnlu Koa, is proud of his latest innovation and cannot wait for Davao folks to experience the sum of inspirations he had gathered from his trips to Paris and Europe. According to Koa, he contemplated on introducing The French Baker brand to Davao several years ago when the first SM mall opened its doors in Davao. However, he wanted to polish his culinary craft first so that he can deliver unique baked pastries and treats that will overwhelm the competition. With the new SM supermall and a thriving tourist and economic industry in Davao, he felt that now is the most opportune moment to introduce the brand to Davao.


It starts with the location and interior design of The French Baker concept store. It is strategically located in front of the SM Lanang Fountain Court so that diners can marvel at the famous dancing fountain show while enjoying their French treats. Meanwhile, the interior design looks and feels like a true Parisian patisserie or bakery-cafe. Stepping into this store literally feels like being in Paris with its spacious and elegant interiors and an indoor al fresco area. The store is also divided into two main sections: the Patisserie and the Tea Salon or Salon de The.

You will have plenty of options to marvel your time with - be awed by the largest dancing fountain show in the country, stay connected with their WiFi, or you can get a sample of the Parisian taste that helped catapult The French Baker to the fore of the country's gastronomic landscape.

In order to drum up publicity for the opening of their new, larger concept store at SM Lanang Premier, The French Baker held a media day to officially introduce the new restaurant location. In the said event, media folks were also given the opportunity to sample the best treats from The French Baker to give everyone a glimpse of what is in store for them.

Here are a few of the treats we were able to sample at the said event:

Bread Basket with a tray of dips (chicken liver pate, chutney and relish)

Tuna Salad

Sweet Corn Chowder

Entrees (Squid Ink Pasta, Ravioli, Cochinillo, Salt Crusted Baked Bass, Fried Chicken, and Beef Burgundy)

The Patisserie section is what really caught my eye. The French Baker has truly expanded beyond what they had been known for - baking breads - and had excelled at cake and pastry making. I cannot decipher the right words to describe how heavenly each dessert tasted - guess you need to find out for yourself!

Swan Puffs - Swan shaped puffs that are baked using a cream puff dough and filled with traditional pasty cream and finished off with a sprinkling of powdered sugar.

Charlotte - A sponge cake made from lady fingers in a mini cake shape then filled with cream, strawberry coulis, and a variety of fruits.

Chocolate Concorde - Chocolate meringue wafers that is filled with concorde cream out of chocolate ganache. 

French Macaroons - When talking about The French Baker, there is one thing you shouldn't miss out on - their famous French Macaroons.

More desserts and pastries are available at The French Baker's patisserie so be sure to indulge!


The French Baker is located at G/F Fountain Court area of SM Lanang Premier.

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