Kalui is a Filipino native themed restaurant located in Puerto Princesa, Palawan (Philippines). You do need to reserve a table here because it gets full easily every night, so make sure to ask your hotel’s concierge, to do you that favour. Fifteen minutes from the airport by tricycle, hale a tricycle that is coming from the road, not parked haling for your attention. The parked tricycles nearby add an extra charge for the convenience.
Kalui is the most famous restaurant in Puerto Princesa, Palawan rating as #1 in Tripadvisor. Their menu is uncomplicated, focusing mainly on seafood and vegetables, cooked in different ways. They practise the Asian tradition of leaving your shoes at the door in native baskets, giving you a ticket in return for your footwear. Some of the tables are lowered where you would sit cross-legged or the other tables are at your standard height, their toilets are immaculately decored with Filipiniana paintings and tidbits, there is also a native seating to lengthen your stay in the adorn space.
The ambience of Kalui is like entering a well furnished, large native Bahay Kubo (native hut) that’s been well maintained and loved. It may appear the restaurant is small at the front, but if you make your way to the toilet (which is right at the back) you will see how large it expands to, having trinkets of Filipino culture dotted on the walls and shelves of the restaurant.
In truth, I have been wanting to come to Kalui since 2010, when Palawan tourism had just hit its peak and I had read that Kalui is one of the new exciting places to visit. Their menu is simple, focusing on seafood and vegetables. Though mostly fried and served in a typical manner, the dishes we ordered were pedestrian and had wished they had more of a fresh approach to presenting Filipino seafood not doused too much in coconut cream.
The food we ordered were:
1. Palawan produce, Crabs
2. Fish Cordon Bleu
3. Sinigang ni Kaka
5. Eel in coco-cream
If you’re really hungry and have booked this place, try it for yourself. My experience will differ to yours I’m sure. Caters to large families or groups. The atmosphere too is suitable for couples.
One thing I noticed about restaurants in the Philippines, is that they are discriminating, the waiters especially. Instead of focusing on doing their jobs properly and to attend to all their customers all in the same approach, they choose who they will serve well (because of the tips, I’m assuming) and who they will ignore and give non-existing service to. You may as well have your restaurant become partially self-service if that’s the case. Kalui was no different in this matter, from our arrival we felt unwelcomed and second class citizens. Our waiter was not helpful with the menu and had become short during his time with us. To add to the island experience, there was also a blackout (very popular in the Philippines) where we were eating in the dark for a couple of minutes, before they turned on their generator.
Oh and please note, they give you complimentary fruits served with muscovado sugar, to tame those dessert cravings.
For 5 adults and 1 child, we spent approximately Php1,500, not bad for the number of people it fed. But personally, I left feeling hungry and ho-hum about the whole Kalui experience.
Address: 369 Rizal Avenue, Puerto Princesa, Puerto Princesa, Palawan Island 5300, Philippines
Telephone: ++63 48 433 2580
11:00 am – 2:00 pm
6:00 pm – 10:30 pm
Kalui restaurant is large, extending to the back
Eel in coconut cream
Fish Cordon Bleu
Sinigang ni Kaka
Crabs cooked in anyway you want
Blackout dining (a must dining experience)