Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Nanay Bebeng Restaurant

Nanay Bebeng Restaurant is one of my favorite places to dine and entertain clients in the city. Their food tastes really great and the staff are very solicitous to the needs of their customers. In fact, in April 28, 2010, along with two other Davao-based restaurants, Nanay Bebeng was given a plaque as recognition for being among the best Filipino restaurants in the Philippines by Unilever Foodsolutions, the Department of Tourism and the Philippine Daily Inquirer. The event was held at the SMX Center, SM Mall of Asia in Manila. Nanay Bebeng was cited best for Kare-Kare - a Filipino delicacy cooked in roasted rice and peanut sauce with a variety of vegetables, stewed oxtail, and is usually eaten with bagoong (shrimp paste). The dish is often served in fiesta and on special occasions.

One thing that makes this restaurant distinct from the others is that the theme and ambiance is very Filipino. From the outside, the restaurant is beautifully covered by a rich, green foliage of somewhat overlapping variety of ornamental plants, palm trees, and bamboo. The facade is quite similar to big roadside houses in the countryside. The interior is spacious and very homey; mostly made of coconut, bamboo, sawali, abaca, and nipa. The furnishings are distinctly native; made of rattan and capiz shells. 

Dining Area

I was actually introduced to the restaurant way back in 2000 by an associate from Davao who readily recommended Nanay Bebeng when I specifically asked him to look for a restaurant that served good Filipino food and a place conducive for business meetings since I had guests coming from Manila and Cebu at that time for a budget planning conference. My requirement was intended not only to impress my guests but more so in letting them experience something totally different from the usual classy and expensive restaurants often confined in posh buildings they were accustomed to in Manila and Cebu where continental cuisines are frequently served. Since Nanay Bebeng is known for its eat-all-you-can smorgasbord, we opted for buffet instead of A La Carte dining. The buffet consisted a wide selection of delectable Filipino dishes, mainly of beef, pork, chicken, fish and some vegetables, and true enough, the food was indeed splendid! Needless to say, my guest and I were very impressed by the food we were served with, particularly the warm reception and assistance extended to us by the restaurant staff in such an important event. My guests left Davao with a note of thanks in my office, happy and satisfied for a successful meeting. My only regret was that I did not have my camera then to capture the event as a remembrance.

The Restaurant was named after Mrs. Isabel Yuvienco Garcia of Naic, Cavite, known to her friends and clients as "Nanay Bebeng." She and her father migrated to Davao in 1937 and was married to the late Delfin Garcia of Iba, Zambales, a former BIR employee and the son of an ex-governor of Zambales. 

Nanay Bebeng was a well-known professional caterer serving authentic Filipino cuisines in Davao. From her humble beginning as a meat vendor selling pork and beef all day after the war in the 1950s, Nanay Bebeng started out food catering service in 1958, and thereafter managed to establish securely a name for herself, gaining a reputation in serving a wide selection of delectable Filipino dishes for over 14 years in Davao, doing all the preparations from personal selection of ingredients in the market, to the tedious task of cooking the dishes herself. Following the death of her husband in 1972, she set-up a bakery called, "Ginger Bread" while she continued her catering business.  Nanay Bebeng came from a long tradition of family bakers. 

The son, Mr. Ramon "Sonny" Garcia, inherited from his mother a 1,800 square meter lot in A. Mabini Street where the restaurant is now situated. Mr. Sonny Garcia had briefly worked for Sarmiento Management Corporation in the Bandag tire retreading business in Cebu from 1980 to 1983, and shortly thereafter, went to the United States where he stayed until 1988 when he came back to Philippines and spent eight years with his family in Bacolod City. In 1996, he saw restaurants flourishing in Bacolod, Cebu, and Davao and decided to move back to Davao to put up his own. After acquiring all the catering recipes of his mother, and with the help of his wife and three children, Mr, Garcia formed a family corporation and named the restaurant after his mother, Nanay Bebeng.

Today, the restaurant has branched out to, at least, three outlets: at the Foodcourt of G-Mall in J. P. Laurel Avenue, Bajada, and NCCC Mall in Maa, Davao City, and the third one is at the 2nd floor of KCC Mall along Jose Catolico Sr. Avenue in Barangay Lagao, General Santos City.

The Restaurant serves a wide selection of truly Filipino dishes

The Restaurant also has a function room that is ideal for any occasion, private parties or business events, and can comfortably seat up to 60 persons. For private catering, the Restaurant requires a minimum of 50 persons, and depending on food combination, the price ranges from 290 to 380 pesos per person.

How to get to Nanay Bebeng Restaurant

The Restaurant is located in an area filled with restaurants on both sides of the road along A. Mabini Street close to the corner of Florentino Torres Street in downtown, Davao City. It is easily accessible by public or private transportation.

For more information, food orders and private catering, please contact

A. Mabini Street, Marfori Heights, Davao City 
Tel +6382 222 3201 
Visit their Facebook page

Images courtesy of the Restaurant

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