If you ask the loyal patrons of one of the oldest restaurants in Davao city, then the answer is a resounding yes. When I was still a young kid, Harana Native Restaurant was the in place to celebrate your birthday because apart from good food for both kids and adults, it also has a spacious playground for kids. As the years passed, I would not frequent the place much as before, because of the influx of malls and coffee shops. However, Harana will always be consistently one of the top places to go to during the times when we have balikbayan relatives.
Since I’ve been coming home more frequently recently, I decided to re-visit one of my childhood favorites. To test if they still have that family feel alive, I brought along my niece who was more than willing to tag along because she is on her last days of summer vacation and would like to make the most out of it. I know though she will be not much help in picking out items from the menu because that is Tita’s job to do.
Thankfully an old friend from high school who is now in charge of running the food business of their family, which includes Harana, was very helpful in helping us pick out what to order. Let me just say that there is nothing fancy about the menu, so choosing what to order should be easy. But the thing is, there are too many best sellers to choose from.
Anyway, we settled with some Lato (P85) to start with. This one reminded me how good seaweeds taste, but the catch is that they only taste this good if they are fresh. The one we ate was certainly as fresh as seaweeds can get, because all of it was gone as soon as it was served.
Barbecued dishes are also a Harana specialty, so we also had the Barbecued Spareribs (P95) and it was satisfyingly delicious because of the yummy sauce and the tenderness of the meat. I can assure you same goes for the rest in the list of barbecued dishes.
For seafood, we had another popular favorite, the Grilled Pusit (P85/100 grams). We requested for a small one, because we felt like we ordered so much already. Yet it was so easy to gobble off all of the tender and fresh (as always in Davao), tasteful squid!
The Pompano (P77/100 grams) is reminiscent of my favorite Binukadkad na Plapla of LJC restaurants in Manila, but definitely not a copycat. It did not disappoint, but I still prefer my usual plapla.
For the kid and the kid in me, we were served the Fried Chicken (P95) and Longganisa (P90). I like the crunchy feel in every bite of the chicken, combined with the sweet-soft feel of the huge longganisa.
It was a very hearty lunch, so we decided to just come back some other time to try the sweet temptations of nearby sister restaurant, Bistro Rosario.
Desserts from Bistro Rosario
Places like Harana are enjoyable in its own unique way because they bring back so much good memories. And being a foodie, it certainly helped that the food tastes so much the same like all those times I have been there before, or maybe even better.
I did not realize that my seven-year-old nephew went out of the car to personally pick us up from the restaurant until I heard him scream through the doors. Being the child friendly place they are known to be, no one seemed to mind. He was also very excited that he missed the inviting playground leading to the eating area. Otherwise, I imagine myself ordering some merienda while I watch them play all afternoon.
Harana has a spacious playground for kids
The restaurant's Mongolian stir-fry station
It is a different kind of joy and pride to discover something new, but it is strangely even more delightful to re-discover something so familiar as this. And so come Father’s Day, all sixteen of us with the kids in tow celebrated there. I missed out on taking photos of the food we ordered (Grilled Tuna Belly, Pinakbet, Chop Suey, BBQ, among others) because of all the crazy fun going on.
For so many reasons, Harana will surely never go out of style!