I have been to Tagbilaran several times in my life but I never really explored the food options in the only city in the island of Bohol. A couple of weeks ago, I went to Tagbilaran with some of my friends from the Cebu Blogging Community. We tried this new All-You-Can-Eat Restaurant place called Abi’s Seafood and Grill. I have eaten in a lot of buffets and this Tagbilaran restaurant ranks well among buffets under 300 pesos.
Eat All You Can at Abi's Seafood and Grill
I am a fan of Eat All you can or All-You-Can-Eat restaurants. My usual strategy in eating at these places is to just pick a few dishes to binge on. There is no use of tasting everything because most likely you will end up overwhelmed. The nice thing with Abi's Seafood and Grill is that their selection is not too big. For 250 pesos, you can feast on Balbacua, Beef Menudo, Pork Adobo, Chopsuey, Buttered Chicken, Sinugbang Isda, Talaba, Kinilaw, Lato, fruits and desserts. The selection might be limited, but it did not stop me from having a delightfully filling dinner.
My 5 favorites at Abi's Buffet
We arrived late. I think we had dinner past 8:30 PM. I was really hungry and I was looking forward to this dinner. I thought Abi's Seafood and Grill was just a typical seafood restaurant. I was actually surprised that it was a buffet restaurant. The first thing I did was to check out the buffet table. I thought that they will not refill the dishes anymore since it was late but they did which was so nice of them. Some of the easy picks were the dishes that I have not eaten for quite a while like Balbacua, Lato, Binangkal, and Talaba. Here are my top dishes at Abi's Seafood and Grill buffet:
The fat was as soft as butter and the soup was mild. If not for its fat content I would have eaten 5 servings of this in one sitting. They really know how to cook their balbacua. With a sili or two, their balbacua would be the perfect pulutan. This dish is rarely found in buffets since this takes a long time to cook. I was fortunate that I was able to enjoy their specialty on a late dinner.
This unassuming seaweed is an awesome appetizer. The lato at Abi's was fresh and crunchy. It goes so well with some vinegar and kalamansi. I usually take this seaweed for granted since I grew up in the coastal town of Jagna where seafood is a daily thing. When I moved to Cebu, I missed eating the fresh seafood that was easily available in Bohol. I am glad that I somehow got "reunited" with lato because to be honest, it has been a while since I ate kinilaw na lato.
Talaba or Oysters
In Cebu, I usually go to Tong's when I crave for oysters. Diamond Tong's now has a Boholana cousin, as Abi's Seafood and Grill offers unlimited oysters on their buffet. If you love grilled fresh oysters then you can have your fill at Abi's. People with a mammoth appetite for this seafood would really find the 250-peso price of this buffet a big bargain. All-You-Can-Eat oysters at 250 pesos ($5.30), you now know where to go if you crave for this "aphrodisiac" in Bohol.
I love beef. It is probably my favorite among red meats because back when I was a kid, I could only eat beef during tabo (which was Saturdays in Jagna). Beef for me was a luxury. Well, the Beef Menudo was excellent. Menudo is the type of dish that you usually find in fiestas because it makes people eat lots of rice. The sauce is good enough to be a viand for some. As they say in Tagalog, "Sarsa pa lang, ulam na!". I had at least 2 servings of menudo that night.
When I was a kid, I always like eating this fried brown bread that has a sesame seed coating. It was kind of surprising to see binangkal among the buffet offerings. I grabbed a couple and ate it like a kid on a lazy summer afternoon.
For the price, Kalami Cebu would give Abi's Seafood and Grill a strong recommendation. The buffet may not have the usual stars like lechon, crispy pata, and shrimps, but it gave me a pleasant gastronomic trip down to memory lane. The dishes I feasted on were really worth it and I would want to come back to this place. I am giving Abi's Seafood and Grill the first ever Kalami Cebu seal of approval!
Abi's Seafood and Grill is located at CPG North Avenue, Tagbilaran City, Bohol. The restaurant is open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Abi's also operates a grilling station at Dumaluan Beach Resort. For inquiries and reservations, you may text or call 0922-844-2799.
I would like to offer my special thanks to tour guide extraordinaire Hannah Dumaluan and blogger Lyza Ares for making this dinner possible. The buffet dinner at Abi's Seafood and Grill was the first stop of the Seas the Day Bohol Tour.