El Marino’s Haven Restaurant: A new destination in Garapan

THE brightly lit red and white façade illuminating the sign “El Marino’s Haven Restaurant” caught my attention when I and a buddy crossed the road from Mobil in Garapan on Saturday afternoon. The name was not familiar so we decided to check it out.

Pushing open the glass door, we were greeted by the familiar and mouthwatering smell of chicken barbeque from the counters.

Opened just two days ago, El Marino’s Haven Restaurant didn’t have printed menus yet but supervisor Marie Ramos presented us several choices from the counter, including all-time favorites — dinuguan  (pork blood stew), papaitan (stewed beef innards) kare-kare (beef or ox tail in peanut sauce) and more choices.

I decided to try a medium sized grilled tilapia topped with tomatoes and sauce. With two scoops of steamed rice and soup it came to $5. My friend chose an order of steamed banana heart with coconut cream and strips of pork, which also included two scoops of rice and soup, for $3.50. I was only able to finish half of my food. With the generous serving, left with a take-out box.

El Marino’s Haven Restaurant serves food on plates matted with fresh banana leaves, a feature that makes dining something to look forward to.

They offer a homey ambiance with its high ceilings, intricate burnt-and-varnished designed woodworks, huge decorative shelves with candles and hanging lanterns which adds to the comfy atmosphere. It is a small place but they have tables outside where diners can eat at night.

grilled tilapia with sauce

Ramos said  they would soon offer ala carte dinner. Depending on how the business would turn out, Ramos said they may open earlier and start to offer breakfast favorites to their clients, and add more tables to serve more diners.

Ramos said the restaurant’s name honor Marines who are serving the nation, including her eldest son.

ginataang puso ng saging with pork strips

El Marino’s Haven Restaurant also accepts food orders and deliveries. Check out the dishes offered for lunch and dinner that vary often to give clients something new.

For now, they accept only cash. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. El Marino’s Haven Restaurant is located a few meters across from Mobil Garapan. For orders and reservations, call 989-6743.

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