As you may know by now if you read many of the blogs on this site, my life in my adopted hometown of Dumaguete, The Philippines, revolves around food! In fact, I’m always on the lookout for a restaurant here that is:
1) Clean and hygienic enough that it won’t send you to the hospital,
2) Healthy enough that it won’t give you insta-diabetes and obesity,
3) Tastes decent
4) Is semi-affordable.
While that list may seem like it’s setting the bar pretty low, remember that the Philippines has some of the worst food on earth (to my Filipino friends who are angrily protesting right now, where else do they eat fried chicken with sugar-infused spaghetti for breakfast and call it a healthy meal)? Thailand, this is not.
So, when I find a good new café, restaurant, or eatery that fits all four of those criteria, it’s pure gold, and I tend to eat there four times a day until I get completely sick of it (or, they get sick of me) and I have to move on.
While I have found some diamonds in the rough like the healthy Alima Café, Café Rival, and one or two other alternatives, my favorite restraint here, Finbar, is all the way in Dauin a 30-minute drive away.
Therefore, you can imagine my unbridled joy (and gastrointestinal relief) when I got turned on to Adamo. In fact, it’s completely my own fault I haven’t been there before, as it’s right near my neighborhood—probably a 15 minute walk away or a casual 5-minute bike ride!
Tucked on an unassuming side street in a residential neighborhood, Adamo also doesn’t look like an elite establishment from the outside, as its located in a small glass and bare concrete building with a charming but small deck out back. Inside, it’s even more spartan, with only seven tables and a small bar where the hostess stands, in front of the in-view kitchen.
But that’s all by design with Adamo, and its motif is indicative of its food – high quality, fresh, but also not signing its own praises. In fact, Adamo does very little advertising and isn’t consciously focused on building a larger audience. Still, they are so busy every night of the week that you need reservations (three days in advance usually) just to get a seat!
Keeping with their less-is-more theme, Adamo is serving dinner only, but they are open seven nights a week (a lot of places close on Sundays), and you can probably score a table out on the deck without a reservation.
The menu, too, has only a few items, which is fine because you’re assured those are fresh, amazing, and made with 100% of the accomplished head chef’s attention. Last night when I ate there, I started with a mango and prawn salad over lettuce with crunchy homemade croutons, a cow Lengua (tongue) stew that didn’t skimp on the meat – or the flavor – at all, and also tried my friend’s prawn fettuccini. For dessert, we split a tiramisu that was way too rich and creamy to eat alone.
Believe it or not, a fully gratifying, belt-busting main course at Adamo will only run you about $4-$6, and you can have a full feast with apps, dessert, and drinks for well under $20. Amazing!
I’ll definitely hit Adamo more and more as one of my favorite options here in Dumaguete!