The Crusty Old Expat and his lovely asawa have been dining every Friday night at the hotspot for Guimaras expats: Oliva’s Kitchen. On our tiny island province of about 163,000 residents, Oliva’s Kitchen is the best restaurant on the island. Here’s why:
- Good food reasonably priced
- Cold beer reasonably priced
- An attentive staff
- Excellent accommodations with aircon and ambiance
The Old Shirven
Now I’ve opined about various eateries in Guimaras the past eight years I’ve lived in the Philippines. We’ve dined at the “The Shervin” and its various transformations over the years.
“The Shirven,” located in San Miguel, Jordan, Guimaras, the capital, used to be the premier hangout for expats and their Filipina wives or girlfriends. However, Joy and her partner David sold the hotel/restaurant after leasing it for a year. During the lease period the establishment was called “The Mango Terrace.”
Lenlen and Captain Tom, the Shirven’s “glory days.”
The first few months of operation for the “Terrace” saw an occasional gathering of expats and their spouses on Friday night, but the foreigner crowd eventually stopped dining there.
Spotty service, average cuisine and a lack of cold beer drove the expat crowd away. The lease wasn’t renewed for another year and was eventually sold to an older Filipino gentleman with “deep pockets.”
The Filipino owner is an affable chap and the Wednesday 3:00 pm “alien” crew still hang out there to quaff a “few” beers. The bar was removed and the inside dining area expanded. The outside fan rooms have been eliminated.
A new coffee shop is being built on the site of the former fan rooms. It will be a second story structure with a videoke machine on the top floor. Construction will be completed this June or July.
I rarely frequent the Wednesday afternoon congregations anymore since I limit my socialization to the Friday night gigs at Oliva’s.
Casa de San Miguel
The Casa de San Miguel is the “Shirven’s” new moniker. However, since I’m a Crusty Old Expat, I still refer to it as the “Old Shirven.” When the “Old Shirven” opened last year some expats split their Friday nights outings between the “Casa de San Miguel” and the Mountain Resort in Buenavista, Guimaras.
The Mountain Resort has now been abandoned by many foreigners. The food was average and featured only a few Western dishes. It was too long a drive back home for us and the establishment closed at 9:00 pm. Many expats like to hang out and hoist another pint or two and engage in more “B.S.” sessions.
Guimaras Expats Hotspot: Oliva’s Kitchen
After the opening of “Oliva’s Kitchen” several months ago, the expat crowd would frequent the “Old Shriven” or “Oliva’s.” Eventually, Oliva’s Kitchen won out as the favorite hangout for many expats.
On some Friday nights as many as 30 or so foreigners along with their wives or girlfriends can be found at “Oliva’s.” The management at “Oliva’s Kitchen” is very accommodating and allows the expats to sit outside and drink beer until 11:00 pm or so. This despite the official closing time for “Oliva’s” is 10:00 pm.
We usually leave around 10 pm which is past my bedtime anyway. However, the eatery is less than 15 minutes from our home and my spouse is always the designated driver. I rarely drink more than two cold bottles of Heineken which cost 99.50 pesos for two, two US dollars.
My wife and I have ordered Fish and Chips (fries) for 179 pesos, $3.58, the Island Burger and fries for 249 pesos, about $5.00, or the Hungarian Sausage Sandwich and fries for 199 pesos, around $4.00. Oliva’s Kitchen has the best chef on the island of Guimaras. The food is delicious and the plating rivals anything I’ve seen at fancy restaurants in the States.
“Oliva’s” adjoining beer house and coffee shop offers first class coffee and a few beers not found at the usual establishments on the island. Many expats will close the evening with a cup of coffee and a slice of cheesecake.
I pass on the coffee. It would keep me awake all evening. However, some of the elderly geezers that frequent the joint are even older than me and the coffee doesn’t keep them from their evening snooze.
Oliva’s Kitchen in San Miguel, Jordan, Guimaras, is located down the road from “The Crossing,” or “roundabout.” It’s not too far across the street from the “Old Shirven.”
If you’re in Guimaras or planning to visit sometime, make sure you drop into “Oliva’s Kitchen” and meet some of the expats. Aside from the Crusty Old Expat from the States, we have an eclectic bunch of chaps from Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, Scotland, Canada and Switzerland. Visitors from different countries will occasionally pop in.
This is an unsolicited review for “Oliva’s Kitchen.” I just like the joint.