Food in Review: The Alternative, El Nido, Palawan

Posted on by Ashley Fruno

Update: The Alternative is now permanently closed.

It was our first trip to Palawan. We had made it to the sleepy little town of El Nido, and now we were hungry. Thankfully, since we read about The Alternative, a family-run inn and restaurant, before traveling to El Nido, we found it easily, right on the waterfront of this peaceful town. It’s the perfect setting for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, so we embarked on a five-day love affair with The Alternative during our time in El Nido.

The Alternative restaurant

The restaurant has a great menu—one that’s perfect for vegans and meat-eaters alike. A whole page is devoted to delicious salads, including spicy eggplant salad, okra salad, and a classic avocado salad. It also offers two soups—pumpkin and mixed vegetable—as well as hummus dip with homemade bread. And these are just the starters! The hummus was a particular favorite among our group. It is delicious and flavorful, and we highly recommend it.

The Alternative’s star meal is the famous banana-heart curry. All three of us loved this dish, and we recommended it to anyone who would listen. The braised green papaya simmered in coconut milk, herbs, and green vegetables was also a winner—it’s a delicious vegan option that we ordered frequently. On our first visit to The Alternative, we had no idea what to expect, so we decided to share a portion of the spicy Turkish eggplant dish (after already having had the hummus dip with homemade bread). Quickly realizing that this was a mistake since the meal is so delicious, we promptly ordered a second and polished it off within minutes, too. Other vegan offerings on the menu include spicy okra cooked in homemade tomato sauce; chili and herbs; mixed organic vegetables lightly stir-fried in onion, garlic, and coconut cream; simmered pumpkin wedges; and Buddhist dumplings.

The Alternative banana heart curry

The famous banana-heart curry includes shredded banana-heart blossoms, tomatoes, onions, and bell peppers simmered in spicy coconut cream with curry and is served with steamed rice.

The Alternative green papaya

The braised green papaya includes thinly sliced green papaya simmered in coconut milk, herbs, and green vegetables and is served with steamed rice.

The Alternative also offers a wide range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. We highly recommend the delicious fruit shakes! You can also select from a variety of fresh juices, herbal teas, beers, wines, and long drinks. You’ll find a perfect choice for any time of day. If by this stage, you are still not full, there are some delicious desserts waiting for you, such as banana and young coconut flambé with cinnamon or a fresh fruit salad.

If you visit El Nido, The Alternative should be a destination on your list. In addition to all the great food, the “nests” above the ocean are just perfect for relaxing, which is exactly what we did!

The Alternative
Serena Street
Barangay Buena Suerte
El Nido
+63 917 595 5952

Posted by intern Milena Konig