Balay Suanoy: Feels Like Eating at Home When You Are in Bicol

It was cloudy all week when we were in Albay last September. After going around Daraga, my friend and I looked for this restaurant listed as one of the places to eat when in Albay. Unlike other house-turned-into-restaurants that are highly commercialized, Balay Suanoy maintains a low profile. It is a two-storey restaurant that offers Filipino food with a very homey service. A narrow street leads to its peaceful and almost hidden location.

Balay Suanoy Entrance

Posted on its wooden gate is a big sign that says "Abierto, Dagos Tabi" that literally means "Open, please come in." The Bicolano words might sound foreign to out-of-town visitors. But the place is surely very inviting.

Balay Suanoy
Receiving Area

The reception area looks like it was previously used as a garage. It has been renovated to look like a living room. The antique narra table and sofas add a vintage look to the restaurant while the tiled floor accentuates the old look of the house, which is actually owned by a retired overseas foreign worker (OFW).

Balay Suanoy
Second Floor

Balay Suanoy houses the owner's personal collection of rare dinnerware that she had accumulated through the years and some very old interesting pieces that belongs to their family. These can be seen all over the restaurant that can make good conversation topics.

Nested near the window are two wooden chairs and a big sungka. Maybe diners can have a game while waiting for their food.

Balay Suanoy
Still on the second floor.

My friend and I opted to dine in the veranda located at the second floor. It turned out to be the best seats in the house! I loved the breeze of fresh air as we dined and how a hanging dream catcher would at times break the silence when the wind hits it. Ahhhh, this is the life that every retiree dreams of - peaceful and serene.

Calamares | Php 160.00

The Calamares was served hot and crunchy. I can savor how fresh the squid was before it was coated with breadcrumbs.

Tinolang Manok
Tinolang Manok | Php 200.00

Balay Suanoy is famous for their Tinolang Manok or chicken stew in ginger. I initially didn't see anything special when the tinola was served. But it really tasted different, in a good way. We all know that using a native chicken for this dish is better and that was what we got. More importantly, the Tinola did not have a overpowering taste of ginger! Turned out that the flavor of the ginger was negated by the sauteed garlic. Genius! Now I now why Balay Suanoy is famous for this dish. This is a must-try dish and I highly recommend it.

House Blend Iced Tea
House Blend Iced Tea | Php 45.00

I also tried their House Blend Iced Tea. Nothing really spectacular about it but it was good as a complement to the dishes we ordered. We enjoyed our dinner and had a little chit chat with the owner. She told us she would be glad to show us around when we come back. We accepted her invitation and promised to come back the following day.

Balay Suanoy
Balay Suanoy

And so we came back past 1:30PM the next day for lunch. It really looked bright inside compared to our visit the previous night. Most of the diners are just about to finish their lunch when we got in.

Pumpkin Soup
Pumpkin Soup

We ordered Pumpkin Soup for starters. It was served with bits of breadcrumbs. The soup was really thick and creamy. Yummy is all I can say.

Ensaladang Talong
Ensaladang Talong

Baby Back Ribs
Baby Back Ribs

We also ordered Ensaladang Talong or "Eggplant Salad" and paired it with Baby Back Ribs. The steamed veggies accentuated the flavor of the ribs that had a little sweetness. The homemade bagoong served with the ensalada was really mouth-watering.

Private Collection
Private Collection

The owner toured us inside her humble abode after we finished our lunch. She told us that every item displayed or hanged all came from her travel. Every single piece had a story. She even had a display of a Pakistani pink Himalayan salt that was formed in the Precambrian era, about 600 million years ago.

Balay SuanoyBalay Suanoy
Balay SuanoyBalay Suanoy
Different Table Set-ups

Every table at Balay Suanoy has a different setup. Different tableware, different table runners, different size table sizes. The owner designed the restaurant with her personal touch. The longest table including its legs was carved out of a big narra tree. There was no hinge or joint. I can just imagine how long it took for the carver to etch out the design and shape of the legs.

We stayed in Balay Suanoy for more than two hours. It was like staying in our old house in the province where my cousins and I would catch up after a sumptuous meal.

Chef's Suggestion
Chef's Suggestion

We enjoyed our gastronomic adventure at Balay Suanoy and looking forward to dining here again to try the other dishes.

Balay Suanoy
1446 Pag-asa St.
Daraga, Albay
Philippines 4501
Tel: +63.52.742.0029
Mobile: +63.939.949.8827
Visit them at:
Like their FB Page: facebook/BalaySuanoy

Restaurant Hours:
Open Daily
10:00am to 2:00pm
5:00pm to 10:00pm

Related Links:

Balay Cena Una: Flavorful Cuisine in an Bicolano Ancestral Setting

Small Talk Cafe: Albay's Fusion of Bicolano Cuisine

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