A tale of two meals

A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to be invited to the opening of two dining establishments in the city. Which coincidentally were owned by friends. A sumptuous dinner at Barrio Bistro Damosa and a Mexican feast at Izubo.

Barrio Bistro Damosa

Barrio Bistro's popular Three Cheese Pizza

Perhaps our choice tambayan for the ultimate comfort food. Barrio Bistro in Lacson Street, Barrio Obrero was our hang-out for our photography group when we have our monthly meetings.

Among their popular choices include the iconic three Cheese pizza with its rich cheesy variety of cheddar, parmesan and mozzarella- An SOP order during our visits of course the other popular dishes are  their crispy pork belly and BB back ribs.

We later found out that the bistro branched out in downtown Davao at the former Dunkin Donuts outlet along Duterte street, which once held the historic record of selling the most number of donuts among the dunkin donut outlets when it first opened in the late 80s or 90s.

Then another branch opened in the north along Damosa Gateway, a franchise owned by friends Carlo Altavas, Van Uyking and siblings Milou, Manuel III and Christopher Tan.

Along with fellow lifestyle writer Kenneth we visited Barrio Bistro Damosa upon the invitation of good friend Milou Tan-Babol.

According to Carlo, the friends had secured a space at Damosa Gateway, which used to be a former bar and grill, they had hoped to open another bar but they decided that opening a new entity would be a complicated process, so they decided to franchise an established restaurant or bar.

While roaming around the city looking for that establishment they came across Barrio Bistro and fell in love with the place, the food and the concept. And the group arrived in a decision to woo the owners into franchising the outlet which was not difficult as the owner was the godmother of one of the barkada.

After negotiations, the owners decided to entrust the franchise to them and Barrio Bistro Damosa was born.

“We want a resto that is friendly with  an atmosphere of a happy place.” Says Carlo.

Another favorite crispy dinuguan

To suit the market of Damosa Gateway whose nearby IT park  hosts a big call center company, Barrio Bistro Damosa is the only BB branch to open past 12 midnight. By 9 p.m. the ambiance of the bistro changes becoming more of a nightspot, for the nighttime crowd the place offers beer in buckets and pulutan.

The bistro also offers margarita drinks which is a perfect combination alongside its best sellers crispy pork belly, spicy pork ribs, bb back ribs, crispy dinuguan and of course its buy one take one pizzas.

House specialty, BB Back Ribs

Barrio Bistro Damosa on evenings caters to people who would want to chill, enjoy the fresh air of a suburban neighbourhood, listen to live bands within the safe and secure comforts of Damosa Gateway.


Upon the invitation of good friend Dimples Vasquez the following morning I hopped on to a new dining establishment in the southern suburb of Matina.

Izubo owned by Dimple’s husband Chris and Sam Ngujo, is a play of the Filipino word Isubo or to feed.

According to Chris Izubo’s concept is where the flavors of the east meets with the west. The place offers authentic dishes from Singapore (Hainanese Chicken), Malaysia (beef reddang), Chinese and western cuisine along with rich varieties of American and Mexican comfort food.

Chris who is a nurse by profession met Sam while the two were working in Lotus Court in Marco Polo Davao. Together they develop Izubo’s cuisine with Sam in-charge of Asian presentations and Chris inputting western concepts to their dishes.

Chris says Izubo delves more on Asian food in fact one of their signature dishes is the Hainanese Chicken which has earned them a steady clientele. The place offers semi-buffet style or plate-in orders.

But the best part of discovering Izubo was realizing that Chris was one of the owners of the now-defunct Mexican resto Bullfrogs then located at the Matina Town Square, the resto closed in 2001 and it left a huge void among many Dabawenyos including myself who missed their mouthwatering chimichangas, enchiladas and  signature grilled cheeseburgers. And these dishes were concocted by no less-than Chris.

“I was too young then.” Says Chris explaining the demise of their former venture at that time was the only Mexican food outlet in the city. 

But now Bullfrog returns with Izubo and I was fortunate enough to rekindle my passion with their iconic enchiladas and chimichangas.  Also waiting in the wings is the relaunch of the famed cheeseburgers which pioneered the concept of offering grilled burgers in this city.

Izubo's Beef Burritos with Spanish Rice

Izubo is located at KTM business center, McArthur Highway, Matina, in front of Buffet Palace.

Izubo's Chicken Enchilada


  1. will try crispy dinuguan pag naligaw ng davao. nagsusulat ka rin pala

  2. yep masarap dinuguan nila. yep I write regularly work ko kasi sa davao media


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