Budget Range: Php150-400
Cuisine: Italian/American (Pizza, pasta, steak, etc.)
Phone number: 509-4900
Located in Smallville, Iloilo’s most famous and most, hm, high-end dining district, Afrique’s is often set apart by the number of people that eat there, even at night when everyone is mostly drinking in that huge open space next to the convenience store (If you’ve ever been to Smallville, you’ll know what I’m talking about.) The interiors are modern but homey, and there is a choice between eating al fresco or otherwise.
Afrique’s is a place recommended to me by an Iloilo native. After having been disappointed by the extremely overrated Breakthrough, I was hesitant to try Afriques, but in the end we decided to try something that wasn’t available in Manila, instead of going for restaurants that we were familiar with, even though this particular poster of Freska was tempting:
When I say, “It’s Ilonggo beer,” like it’s something to want, it’s because being the beer-drinker that I am, I never fail to notice how the brew tastes different in Iloilo. It’s more, hmm, hops-y, that flowery kind of beer, you know what I mean? Versus the Red Horse I taste in Manila, which has a metallic tang to it that I don’t know why I used to like so much. I’m talking about the San Miguel range of beers, by the way.
In a trip to La Union with an Ilonggo surfer, I discovered that Iloilo brews its own beer, and yes, the taste really is apparently distinct from the Manila variety, according to her. So the next time you go to Iloilo, buy yourself a beer and check if this rumor is true or if we were simply imagining it, but I doubt. If you know your beer, chances are, you’d love Iloilo’s sweet brew. See, not only their dialect, even their beer is malambing (sweet, affectionate).
Anyway, when the food arrived, we were pleasantly surprised by the huge portions we got for the price of the stuff we paid (well, to be fair, we just came from Boracay, and maybe everything elsewhere seemed a big portion in comparison, but I digress). The food isn’t anything to be crazy about but I never pretend to be a food connoisseuse, but the soup tastes too much like heated milk and the fried chicken too much like home-cooking to be noteworthy. I’m blogging about Afrique’s because I’m a cheapskate bargainer and I’m a sucker for anything that costs significantly less than it looks, a.k.a, a good deal (plus I love sinful, comfort-foody food):
There’s a digital casino beside it (in which we won Php1000, but lost it all in the end.) So if like us, you were bored while trying to spend the last two hours before your flight home, have a hearty meal at Afrique’s and play some digital casino after. Don’t forget to take a jeep to SM where the airport shuttles are about 40 minutes before your flight at the most, to avoid missing it.
Happy comfort-food eating!
PS. Another budget dampa-style eatery (in place of Breakthrough, for the budget-conscious) I’d recommend is Nato & Helen’s Talabahan, in Jalandoni street right across SM Iloilo. It’s pretty well-known so you can always ask for directions.