Welcome to the 26th edition of Kim's Taste! I can't believe I reached this far. I hope can continue doing restaurant reviews. I also hope I can help anyone through these reviews.
There are cases when the restaurant or place to eat becomes the destination itself. It happens when the place offers a unique experience, freshest ingredients, and/or cultural identity.
This happened to us when we went to Cagayan de Oro City. Now, this might not be Michelin star level, but I know we were there for the freshest seafoods available in the area. I can guarantee this because our friends, who lived in the area, recommended the restaurant and even included that in our itinerary.
The restaurant in review is Panagatan. It's located in Zone 3, Butuan - Cagayan de Oro - Iligan Road, Opol, Misamis Oriental, Philippines.
Let's start the review proper!
[Reminder: I will try to be objective in my reviews, but there are cases when I tend to get biased, so please consider that. Our views and ratings might not be exactly the same or it might even be polar opposites. Since we have different preferences and experiences, I think it's to be expected. My review can serve as a guide, but you should keep your expectations in check before visiting any restaurant in my reviews.]
Part of any trip is to find a place to eat where the best in a certain region is offered. Foreign and local tourists alike will really want to find a restaurant where the identity of the region could be showcased.
Northern Mindanao is known for its freshest supply of marine resources and seafood restaurants there offer the freshest catch of the day. Cagayan de Oro is known for its fresh seafood dishes that are cooked in both Filipino and Western style.
Almost all of Cagayanons know about Panagatan even though its outside the city limits. If you want to talk about authentic seafood restaurants, let's start by talking about the place.
Panagatan is located along the National Highway and it's just 20 minutes drive from the city center of Cagayan de Oro. They have enough parking space so you don't have to worry about parking. It can be an indicator that they are expecting a huge number of customers during peak hours.
It's in the bay area so the sea breeze provides the comfort needed after a long trip or exhausting city tour. Dining is in al fresco style, but it's really comfortable and the seaside view is really breathtaking, both during the day and at night.
At the entrance, you will be greeted with aquariums filled with different kinds of live crabs, oysters, groupers, and other seafood selections that ready to be cooked according to your order.
It's huge and spacious inside, with lots of available tables and chairs. There are hallways leading to tables intended for small groups of people. The main hallway leads to the main hall which could cater big events like birthdays and can handle a large number of diners.
Panagatan offers Seafood at its Finest. They offer Live Catch of the Day in which crabs, catfishes, lobsters, and lapu-lapu are available depending on the catch of that day. These live catch can be cooked to your liking.
They also have Seafood at its Freshest category where your favorite seafood dishes are available. Cooked mostly in Filipino style, but other styles of cooking are also preferred. They also offer Soups, Salads, Breakfast, and Appetizers at a very affordable prices.
They have Chicken, Steaks, Beef, Vegetable Platters, Sisig Favorites, Pork, and one of their bestsellers, Bilao Specials. Bilao Specials are seafood selections that are good for groups of 3-4 people. Grilled squid, crispy and/or juicy shrimps, calamares, grilled tuna belly, and seafood kebabs are among the selections.
If you want refreshments, Coolers in Pitcher, Beverages, and Fruits & Desserts are also available.
We were a large group (about 12 people) when we visit Panagatan, so we ordered two sets of Bilao Specials containining crispy shrimp, grilled tuna belly, buttered shrimp, calamares, grilled tuna panga, kinilaw, grilled bangus, and spicy shrimp. It was a seafood feast! It was so good and fresh. Although Cagayan de Oro is a city, it's in a province so I know they're generous with their food and its taste.
We also ordered a live crab that was cooked in butter and garlic. It tastes so good that I eat more than one cup of rice! The crab is so fatty and goes well with rice.
Sinigang na hipon or shrimp in sour broth with vegetables goes well with other seafood dishes. It's more of a palate cleanser before tasting other dishes that we ordered.
Their dishes are intended for groups of 3 or 4. Make sure that you bring your friends along once you visit. I'm sure you cannot finish a certain dish alone. Also, it's best enjoyed with a company.
The reputation really precedes itself. I really enjoyed the experience. It was another testament that you should believe the locals when they bring you to the best places in their town. They know their place more than anyone and they want to showcase what's best.
If you happen to visit Cagayan de Oro City here in the Philippines, I highly recommend that you try Panagatan. If you're allergic to certain seafoods, you should bring anti-histamines because you might eat more than you should. Seafoods are best fresh and you can get it almost anywhere in Cagayan de Oro, but the locals almost always recommend Panagatan and they have the reason for doing so.
I guess that's all for my review. Please don't hesitate to comment anything that you want to express! Comments, suggestions, and violent reactions are always welcome. Also, thank you in advance for showing some love by upvoting this post!
Note: All photos are mine unless otherwise stated.
See you in my next review!
This post participated in the Tasteem contest Seafood Restaurant