Longing for bits of heaven from the ocean but do not have the budget to go to a fancy seafood restaurant? Well, there is one place that will solve your tummy problem but will not add more damage to your wallet issues. Get in an Oton jeepney for only Php 12.00 and head to Allan’s Original Talabahan in Oton, Iloilo.
The original Allan’s Talabahan, not far from its new location was smaller, but there was not a day that it was not packed out. With their growing popularity, and increasing patrons, they moved into a bigger space just a few steps from Gaisano Capital in Oton. Despite having a larger venue now, they still manage to keep all the tables occupied.
Of course, it was named Allan’s Original Talabahan mainly because of their top of the line talaba, local term for oysters. Their steamed oyster which hailed from the seafood capital of the Philippines, Roxas City, is the reason why customers keep coming back for more.
Aside from the steamed oysters, a to-die-for dish is their baked oyster – freshly baked and topped with a perfect blend of fried garlic and creamy butter.
Other must try’s are their grilled fish, there’s grilled Tangigue, grilled Managat, and grilled pantat (catfish), but if you were to ask me, Boneless Bangus (Milkfish) is still my first love. If you are not a fan of fishes, there are baked scallops and they have squid. The Grilled Stuffed Squid with Tomato and Onions which is soft and juicy – not like other stuffed squid which makes you feel like you are chewing a bubble gum. Theirs is just the type you would love.
If you want to go for non seafood dishes, they have grilled pork belly and lechon manok. For dessert, they serve ripe mangoes. All of these are mouth-watering and more than anything else- very affordable! During my last visit, my friend Kevin and I spent a little more than Php 400.00 for 4 cups of rice, 2 plates of baked talaba and a 300-gram boneless bangus with buko and mango shake.
When I first saw Allan’s, I was reminded of the barrio (rural area) restaurants -the place is mainly made from indigenous materials like wood, bamboo, and nipa leaves for the roofing. The interior has a lot of colourful lights dangling from the ceiling and it has wide windows providing fresh cool air to the customers. To top its down to earth structure is its sand flooring.
Allan’s Original Talabahan. Very simple, yes, but who cares about the structure’s sophistication? Their food has said it all.