El Nido is a slice of heaven. Still brimming with culture, a piece of the Philippines that isn’t overdeveloped (yet). You can spend your days taking in the pristine beauty, sipping bukos on the beach, chasing waterfalls or hopping from one island to the next by boat.
You will find Happiness Beach Bar on one of the main roads of this little beach town, its impossible to miss. Complete with swings at the bar instead of boring stools, the ambiance has a fun and playful vibe that keeps people coming back for more.
There’s an awesome community aspect at Happiness- everyone here is incredibly welcoming and personable, and you’re bound to meet some new friends at the next table over or across the bar.
Happiness is a vision that was started by a man from Israel who gave up the city grind in Manila for the laid back island life in Palawan. The menu is full of authentic Middle Eastern dishes with a Mediterranean twist. Made with fresh, local ingredients, this restaurant is a great choice for vegetarians and health conscious humans, and most of the items can easily be veganized.
We decided to try the Shakshuka for our first visit, a concoction of rich tomato sauce cooked with okra, garlic and two poached eggs (we subbed for it without). Served with a pita pocket and side veggies, I really enjoyed creating my own masterpiece pocket. The tomato sauce and veggies was a unique and yummy meal to start the day.
We ended up coming back in multiple times during our stay in El Nido, getting hooked on the pita falafel pockets. Patrick also loved the fish kebab pita pocket, made with local, fresh caught barracuda and jack fish. They also have a few different and delicious plates like the hummus eggplant and moringa feta spinach shakshuka. If you’re in the mood for something lighter, you could opt for chopped salad or the traditional middle eastern salad called Fattoush.
So what next for Happiness Beach Bar? They’re currently working on opening up another location on the beautiful island of Siargao. We also got to see the work being done on their soon to be open hostel, located right upstairs from the restaurant! The view from the hostel is epic, along with being right across the street from the beach, we’re sure this will be a highly desirable place to stay in El Nido.
A big thank you to the whole crew at Happiness Beach Bar for the hospitality, we wish you all nothing but the best for the future.
Patrick and Kahala