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30 June 2008

Restaurant Review | Isdaan: The Floating Resto-Park

Fresh Catch Isdaan: The Halfway to the North Floating Resto-Park
Gerona, Tarlac
Type of Cuisine: Filipino, seafood
Average cost per person: ~Php 300 (US$7.50)
Overall Rating: starstarstarstarnostar

My mum was very excited to bring us here on our trip back from Baguio. She told us about how she and her friends had eaten here on when they had gone on a roadtrip a few weeks back and that we couldn't miss out on dining here. When she had said that the name of the place was Isdaan, I imagined it to be like one of those many, many dampa that have been mushrooming everywhere.

Isdaan is owned and operated by the same entity who holds ownership of many popular, well-known restaurants like Barrio Fiesta, World Topps, Bakahan at Manukan, etc, and you can see quite a bit of similarities between those places and Isdaan. And my mother was right: we couldn't miss out on dining there.

The place was big. Comprised mostly by walkways and huts floating above the very waters where they fish for, well, your fish. Various entertainers go from table to table, performing for the diners. (There are signs around that inform diners to give only Php 20 as tip to the entertainers.) Many Balinese-inspired statues are scattered around the area and, although we had gone there during the day, you can tell the place looks even more amazing at night.

The service wasn't as fast as you'd want it to be, but with an operation so big, I suppose you have to give a little allowance for "travel time." The place is so vast that the waitresses (all of whom are quite pretty) have walkie-talkies.

Beyond the good food to be had here, Isdaan also has several interesting activities for diners who want to make their experience at Isdaan more than just a food excursion. The most popular activity is probably the Tacsiyapo wall, where you hurl crockery at a wall naming various possible sources of frustration.

If you ever happen to pass by Tarlac, Isdaan is a great place to stop over for a good meal and some midtrip rest and entertainment.

Inihaw na PusitInihaw na Pusit (0.5kg: Php 160, US$4; 1kg: Php 320, US$8)
I adore grilled squid! One thing about having grilled squid is that sometimes it can be quite tough. This one, however, was rather soft and chewy and very flavourful.

Pinakbet IlocanoPinakbet Ilocano (Php 211, US$5.23)
I'm a big fan of vegetables, and an even bigger fan of Filipino vegetable dishes. I've never had pinakbet Ilocano before. I expected the vegetables to be a bit crisper, but despite the not as crisp as expected texture, this was delicious.

SinampalukanSinampalukan(Php 254, US$6.35)
Sinampalukang manok, or sinigang na manok, was one of two dishes I looked forward to most when going home to my grandparents' house back when I was much younger (the other was kaldereta). This wasn't the best sinampalukan I've ever had, but after a long trip, it was very much welcome comfort.

Sizzling Tanigue (Php 289, US$7.23)
Tanigue is one of my favourite fish (beginning to see a pattern yet? haha) and this particular tanigue dish made me quite happy. It was a bit crisp on the outside and very tender and moist on the inside.

Marinated Inihaw na Liempo (0.5kg: Php 210, US$5.25; 1kg: Php 420, US$10.50)
This was maybe the best liempo I've had ever (that's inclusive of our inihaw na liempo at home!). The meat was very tender and flavourful.

Buko Pandan
It came to us with actually very little buko in it. We had it sent back and came back just overflowing in buko -- perfect! We've yet to go wrong with buko pandan yet. This was very refreshing.


Joey in \IsdaanJoey in IsdaanJoey in IsdaanJoey in IsdaanJoey in IsdaanJoey in IsdaanJoey in IsdaanJoey in IsdaanJoey in IsdaanJoey in IsdaanJoey in IsdaanJoey in Isdaan

Review and photogaphy by Joey.
See more photos on my flickr.


  1. I tried this place when I was in Tarlac early this year on a business trip. Really nice place and the foods taste great.

    Btw, nice blog.

  2. I'm not sure, but from what my parents told me, Pinakbet is native to Isabela :P so.... it was kinda weird seeing "Pinakbet Ilocano" when pinakbet originated from that region. Then again, the area encompassed by the Ilocanos are much greater than Isabela, I think comprising much of northern Luzon. :)

  3. We went here last summer :D We didn't eat healthy as you did though xD Nice post!

  4. wow you guys are fast haha :P

    in behalf of all the foodistas, thankyou ♥

    the menu said "Pinakbet Ilocano" :9 i actually wondered too. mostly because i thought there was only one sort of pinakbet and there were just minor variations of it, like with most dishes. but my parents told me that it was a little more different if it was specifically pinakbet ilocano.

    in any case, pinakbet is always yummy ♥

    hahah! yes, we eat fairly healthily, i suppose. i'm not really much for lechon, crispy pata, etc. too much oil makes me feel a little lightheaded.

    that doesn't stop me from "enjoying" the occasional oily-food-induced guilty moments tho haha

    and thankyou :)

  5. Nasasarapan ako sa litrato ng pusit haha. At waaaaaw buko pandan. Favourite yan ng ate ko haha :P

  6. We went to eat here on our way back from Pangasinan a year ago, and we enjoyed the place. Even tried the Tacsyapo wall hehe...

  7. Yes..'pinakbet' alone would have been fine; pinakbet ilocano is redundant. We imagine the pakbet as almost authentic since the restaurant is in Tarlac, and therefore could have been prepared just the way ilocanos prepare it due to proximity. We get it. Saying ilocano pinakbet is like saying american hamburgers. Or japanese sushi!

  8. Tinupig na manok is their specialty. Marinated and cooked in coconut milk then charcoal-roasted in banana leaves, it's worth the wait. My family goes to this resto for this dish almost on a regular basis, to think that we live in Antipolo, and our young kids don't mind the long drive for as long as they have tinupig na manok. :)


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