Where to Eat in Mintal, Davao City

I live in Mintal, Davao City, a small barangay  of the Tugbok District about 14 km away from downtown Davao City. Without traffic, it will take you roughly 30 minutes to get to Mintal but, during rush hour an hour and half if you are lucky. Mintal is known to be a Japanese Heritage Site. It was dubbed as "Little Tokyo", once upon a time, home to almost 11000 Japanese and was very progressive during the early 1900's. This was made possible by a Japanese businessman, Ohta Kyozaburo, who made Mintal into a sprawling abaca farming area until chaos assumed during WWII. Since then, the history of what the Japanese had created for Mintal has long been forgotten and many monuments that links to that progressive era in history of the Japanese are now either worn or dusty.

Historical Marker for Ohta Kyozaburo Monument by the National  Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) is licensed under Public Domain.

Mintal may not be remembered by its Japanese occupation but, it is known today as the home of 1. the UP Mindanao Campus, and 2. the National Police Training Institute of Davao. Near Mintal, at neighboring barangays, one may visit Sul's Orchid Garden and the numerous catfish fishponds with highway restos whose specialty is, of course, the catfish. There may not be a lot to see compared to its neighboring district Calinan (home to the Philippine Eagle Conservatory and Malagos Chocolate Museum), but developments are under way to promote Mintal as the Japanese Heritage Site that it is.

Administration Building and the UP Mindanao Oblation by Rene Estremera is licensed under CC BY 4.0

Currently, Barangay Mintal is celebrating their annual Barangay Fiesta (December 8). You can find the festivities situated at the newly built Mintal Sports Complex, right beside the Mintal Barangay Hall, along the Davao-Bukidnon Highway.

Barangay Hall of Mintal Image credit: Owner

Since it is a bit far from Davao City Proper and Calinan, I would suggest a quick bite to eat. It's not fun traveling on an empty stomach unless you suffer from motion sickness. So, where to eat?

Where to Eat in Mintal, Davao City

Aside from the numerous catfish restaurants lined up along the highway in  neighboring Barangay Los Amigos, here is a list of places that I can recommend and all these are located at Barangay Mintal Proper.

1. YUKISS Cafe and Diner

Yuri, my son, loves this place because of their sour cream flavored french fries and because it is nice, cozy, and air-conditioned. The owner named her cafe after her granddaughter, Miyuki. Such a nice lady...she loves to chit chat with her customers.

You can have a full meal with dessert or a snack with coffee. This place offers free wifi and has a large smart tv. Serves Japanese dishes, some popular Filipino dishes, sandwiches, pastas, cakes and desserts, and coffee.

What do I recommend?

  • Yakitori with rice (109 Php) or with unlimited rice (149 Php)
  • Baby back ribs with rice
  • Humba with rice (69 Php)
  • Sisig with unlimited rice (128 Php)
  • Sandwiches with side dish (150 Php)
  • Spaghetti Carbonara
  • French fries (50 Php)
  • Buy 1 Take 1 Milk Shake- choose between Cookies n' Cream or Chocolate (110 Php)
  • Chocolate Moist Cake (85 Php)
  • Halo-halo
  • Coffee
  • Bihon Guisado (150 Php and good for 3)

As you can see, I eat here a lot. My son has become choosy of the places we dine. He doesn't like dining at little "hole in the wall" diners or restos anymore.

Child friendly? 5 stars. This establishment is child-friendly. The staff are courteous and treat children very well. Yuri likes finger painting with the ketchup and mayo that comes with his fries. One time, he went to one of their servers to ask for more. I told them not to give him any because it's a waste of good condiments. But, they gave him some (nice of them). And Miyuki, of course, is about Yuri's age so, he tries to talk to her when she's there with her grandma.

Yuri waving at one of their staff.

Yukiss Cafe and Diner is located at Azucena St., Mintal near NCCC Department Store of Mintal Public Market. Operating hours 10am-9pm, daily.

2. Penong's

Although Penong's is mostly al fresco dining, they do have a small closed off air- conditioned section. How big is small? Well, only about 8 tables can fit in that section and when it is night time, the airconditioner is usually turned off. So, if you are going to eat at Penong's for lunch, it may be a bit warm. Serves popular Filipino dishes.

What do I recommend?

  • Pinakbet (165 Php)
  • Any of their  "inato" (ihaw-ihaw/ baebecue) meals. Prices range from 110- 145 Php. Comes with unlimited rice and you can add 20 Pesos for Iced Tea or Soda.
  • Laing (165 Php)

Child friendly? 3.5 stars. Since this establishment gets really busy, the staff doesn't appreciate rowdy kids.

Penong's is located along the Davao-Bukidnon highway near 7-11. Operating hours 10am- 2pm; 5pm- 10pm

3. Esparteros Grill

This resto is basically a "turo-turo" (carenderia) style restaurant. Turo in english means point. Customers point what they want and they serve it to you. One thing about this place is that it has modern facilities, is clean and also has a nice LED TV so customers can watch their favorite shows. One serving of any soup-based entreè can fit 2. Serves Filipino homecooked dishes.

What do I recommend?

  • Sinigang na Baboy (55 Php)
  • Barbecue (10 Php each)
  • Sinigang na Isda/Hipon (55 Php)
  • Bulalo when available (60 Php)

Child friendly? 5 stars. My son seems to always cry at this place. The owner always tries to soothe him.

Esparteros, formerly known as Dos Maria's Barbecuehan, is located at 715 Gumamela St., Brgy. Mintal, Tugbok District, Davao City

4. Tatay Ben Prad's Eatery

This restaurant is a "hole in the wall" and caters to the students. Why mostly students? Their bestseller is the "chicken with rice" combo which is priced at 39 Php. The chicken is always freshly cooked and a serving is quite big which gives students a bang for their buck. So, if you are on a budget and want good food this is the place to go. There is also a large LED TV so, students can watch while they eat. Serves Filipino homecooked meals.

This resto is set up like you are eating at someone's backyard. The floor may not be quite clean and the tables may be a little oily or may have traces of soy sauce on it because of the influx of customers but, their food is good. I sometimes have to wait for a table. And since the majority of customers are students, it can get really loud. Teenagers...what can I say?

What do I recommend?

  • Chicken with rice (39 Php)- popular among the students
  • Porkchop with rice (45 Php)
  • Gulam soup- their version of beef stew (70 Php)
  • Any "silog" dish ( 45- 60 Php)
  • Chopseuy with rice (60 Php)
  • Sinigang na Bangus (70 Php; do ask if the fish is fresh)
  • Sisig (70 Php)
  • Grouted Pork with rice (70 Php)
  • Mango Float (25 Ph)
  • Lomi (60 Php) - I can say this is their bestseller. It is a huge bowl of noodles in thick soup and can serve 5. I see this being ordered with a whole loaf of bread among students and yuppies alike. 

Child friendly? 5 stars. My son is friends with the staff and they allow him to run around even if the place gets really busy. They also cater to him- he asked for a green plate once and they went out of their way to get him a green plate.

Tatay Ben Prad's Eatery is located at Gumamela St. Brgy. Mintal, Tugbok District, Davao City Operating Hours: 7am-2am, Daily

5. Jao Kiks

Halo-halo sa Buko (coconut) of Jao Kiks.

This restaurant is set up similar to Tatay Ben Prad's Eatery and the menu is almost the same. Unlike Tatay Ben Prad's Eatery, this place is easily accessible although, I only like a few of their dishes.

What do I recommend?

  • Halo-halo sa Buko ( 65 Php)- their bestseller
  • Tapsilog (65 Php)

Child friendly? 5 stars. The owner also has young children so, my son and her kids run around playing.

Jao Kiks is located at San Francisco St. near the cockfighting arena.

6.  Balolong Hot Pan de Sal

This simple bakery specializes in the humble Filipino Pan de Sal (Filipino bread roll). They guarantee freshly cooked pan de sal in 3 flavors: original, buttered, and garlic for 2 Pesos each. It is made only with organic ingredients and no preservatives so without refrigeration, the "rolls" will only last for 24 hours; refrigerated for 3 days. I love the smell of fresh bread, so I frequent this place. For travellers who just want a quick fix, Balolong's Pan de Sal is right for you. They also sell homemade ice cream. I have tried their mango, chocolate, cookies and cream, and durian flavor. A small pint costs 56 Php.

Garlic Pan de Sal of Balolong's.

Child friendly? 5 stars. A kid was in front of me in line and they were very courteous to him.

Balolong Hot Pan de Sal is located at Lantana St., Brgy. Mintal, Tugbok District, Davao City and is open 24 hours daily.

7. Pizza Treat

Maybe you have a hankering for Filipino-style pizza or a foreigner who may want to try it out. Pizza Treat is the place to go. Newly renovated, it is clean and is styled as a modern pizzeria.

What do I recommend?
Overload Pizza with sizes S-M-L ( prices start at 100 Php)

Child friendly? 5 stars. The staff are very nice to children.

Pizza Treat is located along Davao-Bukidnon Highway near the Davao Convenience Store.

8. Yamashita Diner

I have eaten here once. My son didn't like it much because the ground floor dining area is covered with gravel (rocks). He found it difficult to run around plus it was just too dark for customers. I guess if we ate at the second floor dining area, my son would have enjoyed staying there for a bit. But, I won't be able to go back unless they put french fries on their menu. Not likely.

By its name alone, Yamashita Diner is a Japanese restaurant. It serves many of the popular Japanese dishes and I must say, the dishes we ordered were really good and when a dish is really good, it calls for more rice. We felt the amount of rice was small; too little for such tasty dishes (this coming from a person who doesn't eat a lot of rice). With the price of the dishes, you can go to another place that offers unlimited rice at the same price. We did vow to come back again but, for take out.

What do I recommend?

Yakiniku Don and Chicken Teriyaki Don. These dishes were really good.

Child friendly? 3 stars. The server gave me a mean eye when Yuri started making a fit because of the gravel. LOL!

Yamashita Diner is located near Mintal Sports Complex at Kumintang St., Brgy. Mintal, Tugbok District, Davao City. Operating hours is 5pm-1am, daily.

Worthy of Mentioning:

I have not tried eating at these places but, I have read positive reviews. I will try when given the chance. Right now, since my son has a penchant for ordering french fries, his father and I have to always go to one place.

I've been eyeing this place for some time now since it is next door to Goldilock's. I have read a positive review on Sun Star (a local publication) and am curious of their version of some popular Filipino dishes. I once passed by and saw that they were having a buffet of pasta dishes. Will definitely give this restaurant a try. Hopefully, soon.

Located along the Davao-Bukidnon Highway right beside Goldilock's Bake Shop.

I live close by and will be trying this place soon. Owned by a Filipino and a French man, their cuisine is said to have a French twist. I am also curious about their blue rice. Yes, BLUE! I wish they were open at night for dinner, but they close early since they have to wake up early to tend to their farm and to milk the cows. They use this milk to make their own dairy products. So, everything is definitely organic.

Located near the gate of Phase 10 Deca Homes Mintal.

I hope this post is helpful for those of you who so happen to drop by. I definitely know  the feeling when you are in unfamiliar territory and looking for a good place to eat.  Although there's a 7-11 nearby, I would rather have a proper meal or snack than an overpriced bag of chips. If you know any more places to dine in the Mintal area that I did not mention, do make sure to leave a comment.

It's December once again...it's time for me to prepare for Yuri's birthday and Christmas. Time goes by so quickly. This I think will be my last post for the year. So, as early as now I would like to greet everyone a very Merry Christmas! And thank you for the support!

Happy Holidays!

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