Davao, the largest city in Mindanao, is flocked by travelers looking to swim its breathtaking beaches and trek its excellent mountain trails. If you aren’t a fan of either activity, you’ll still get your money’s worth if you fly in just to eat your way through the durian capital.
During my recent visit, I did exactly this taking in every delicious morsel the foodie destination delivered. It was a glorious food frenzy that took a day devoted solely to eating. I loved every bit Davao had to offer, but if I were pressed for time in the city and forced to choose just one restaurant to visit, I would go see Tiny Kitchen.
Run by husband-and-wife team Vincent and Donna Rodriguez, this little nook in Torres Street is famous for scrumptious gourmet meals and sinful desserts. There’s plenty to choose from their extensive dessert menu, but I would recommend the Choco Brazo and Red Velvet cake.
The Choco Brazo is a hometown favorite and has claimed honors in Inquirer Lifestyle’s Philippine’s Best Desserts. It’s an ice cream cake that’s as curious as it is deliciously good. Imagine biting into rich chocolate ice cream and then finding moist Brazo de Mercedes, oozing its sweet custard filling. It was pure cake bliss dining on what was probably one of the best ice cream cakes I ever had.
The Red Velvet Cake was just as great. The not-too-sweet powdery confection is even worth taking on a perilous trip home.
Tiny Kitchen also offers gourmet Spanish fusion meals like their best-selling paella negra, and their delicious Maya Maya à la basque—a red snapper fillet stewed in roasted bell pepper sauce, potatoes, shrimps and shells. If you’re looking to take something home, try the homemade tuyo which is dried fish bottled in olive oil and garlic.
There’s a lot of food to love in Davao. From the puzzling durian candy and ice cream, to the ridiculously cheap seasonal fruits, and finally Tiny Kitchen’s tasty, gourmet fare, Davao is a treasure trove for both the discriminating food critic and the comfort food fanatic.
Tiny Kitchen is located at Torres Street, Davao City.