It’s Grandma’s Best, hands down.
In fact, I think it’s the best restaurant in Zamboanga del Norte, and after tasting their Squid Aligue Spaghetti, I’m tempted to say it’s the best restaurant in all of Philippines. Except that I haven’t visited all of Philippines yet.
Grandma’s Best is hidden in a residential part of Dipolog, which makes it a bit hard to find, as coming from Dapitan, Gim and I had to navigate through many roads just to find the elusive little canteen of a restaurant.
There is nothing to boast about the facade of Grandma’s Best, as it looks like an ordinary carenderia. The tables are simple rectangular plastic tables covered with cheaplooking cloth, the chairs are uncomfortable monoblock plastic white chairs, the walls are unadorned except for a few paintings here and there.
Service is nothing special. The waitresses look like that spinster aunt of yours who’s looking after your house while you’re gone (in her pink shirt and jeans). Water is available, but you have to get it yourself in the water dispenser at the back of the room.
But I’m not dissing this wonderful little restaurant. I’m simply amazed that a restaurant that looks so ordinary that it can easily be mistaken for a canteen (unless you happen to glance at the fridge that contains all of their rich-looking desserts) can serve such wonderfully fantastically delicious and divine dishes.
Grandma’s Best dishes I’ve tried and I swear are to die for:
Squid Aligue Spaghetti (Php80)
This scrumptious dish is soooo rich you’ll want to come back everyday to Grandma’s Best for a retaste. It’s filled with squid rings and pasta mixed in a rich and creamy sauce of sinful aligue (crab fat), topped with loads of cheese and freshly cut spring onion. It’s a disservice to call this dish “spaghetti” because it resembles nothing like spaghetti, but more like pasta for the gods, it is that rich.
I have always loved lengua (literally means tongue, but as a dish it means tongue of cow), and when I saw this dish in the menu, I ordered it right away. The dish I was served did not disappoint me in any way (except that it was served in a rectangular plastic container, but ah who cares if the food tastes great, huh?). The lengua was very soft, and swimming in a bowl of richly creamy mushroom sauce, and bursting with the dark, deep taste of beef. It’s definitely one of my favorites.
Beef Stroganoff (Php100)
You can take this with rice, or with pasta. Gim ordered this dish, and he chose pasta. I had only a few bites of this but I can say with all my heart I wish we had ordered two of these so I could have eaten a whole dish on my own! It may look like squid aligue spaghetti, but tastes nothing like it. It’s soft, tender beef mixed with creamy pasta topped with spring onions.
Apple Pie (Php60)
This dessert is definitely one of the best I have ever experienced. My mom bakes the best apple pies I’ve ever tasted, and I was shocked to find out this pie we had just bought was even better! The best part about this pie is the delightfully crumbly upper crust, which tastes faintly of cinammon and confectionary sugar, and the underside covered with lovely apple sauce. Inside of the cake are apple slices which taste heavenly. The normally strong taste of apple is subdued and the apple slices are soft and tender, just the way I like it. The whole minipie is topped with cheese, and the serving is good for two. This dessert is a must-try if you’re ever going to eat at Grandma’s Best.
Lastly, I also recommend their Roast Beef (Php110), however I don’t have pictures of that since I ate it the first time around, when I wasn’t bringing a camera. (It tastes a lot like lengua.)
More pictures of the above dishes:
Grandma’s Best dishes I’m looking forward to sampling in the very very near future:
Cheese Lumpia (Php55)
Chili con Carne (Php75)
Garlic Mushroom (Php65)
Seafood BBQ (Php120)
Seafood Supreme (Php125)
Thai Fried Rice (Php100)
Pistachio Cake Slice (Php55)
Trouffle Supreme Whole (Php380)