Not a real great way to start off my first actual "food" post but I really have to enlighten people on this topic. Bare-bones? Well, yes...let's call all those nipa hut places as "bare-bones". Perhaps you've heard about these familiar names:
-restaurants located along coastal road: Piad's, Joyjoy, etc.
-some restaurants at Villa beach: Ernings, Adrings, etc.
What could we consider as bare-bones? These places don't have solid flooring such as cement or tiles. They usually have soil, bamboo slats, etc. They usually cook with basic burners and always do grill with charcoal (of course!). Service is usually basic...let's say "as needed".
Alan's Talabahan is located in Oton along the main road, just a few minutes after the main road going to Villa. It is currently one of the most popular bare-bones places in Iloilo City, and in my opinion, the best bare-bones place in Iloilo. You have to see the sizes of their oysters. This is a real must-go for oyster fanatics. Do try the steamed and baked oysters. Other notables are the grilled pork chops, grilled squid, and their surprisingly excellent chicken. Each chicken is cooked to order, and you would not believe the juiciness of that stuff! This place is usually very full during lunchtime, so plan your trip well. And remember, it's bare-bones, and this place is as bare-bones as they get!
Eric's Talabahan is located in the Mandurriao district of Iloilo City. This place is one of the most popular places in the city to have your fill of oysters. Other specialties include the pantat sa dahon (catfish in banana leaves) and grilled squid. Faciliies wise, this place is a little bit better constructed than Alan's Talabahan. A word of warning, they usually take an hour to cook your food.
The restaurants located along Coastal Road (Dumangas, Iloilo) have been getting their share of diners recently. Go to Piad's for their popular shrimps, and Joyjoy for their famous squid. In my humble opinion, there really is no point in going to these places just for the food. Everything is about the journey, the slighly long drive, and the privacy that these places offer.
Bare-bones places along Villa Beach are also quite popular. Ernings Manokan has been the hands-down winner for best-tasting Lechon Manok for a very very long time. Though existing for ages, this place still does have a bare-bones ambience to it. Perhaps, the only place left behind by the humongous success of Villa Beach restaurants such as Tatoy's and Breakthrough (both are definitely not bare-bones). Adring's Lechon, also along Villa Beach is also one of the most popular lechon suppliers in the city.
Though bare-bones places usually offer excellent cuisine at very reasonable prices, they are not for the weak of stomach. No HACCP or Servsafe knowledge here, bros. Definitely not for the weak of stomach, nor for Iloilo newbies. These places are mainly just for locals with accustomed stomachs and real foodie visitors who've been around.Kaon ta!