I first knew about the opening of Cilantro, a newly opened Vietnamese restaurant, while I was out of Iloilo, traveling around mainland South East Asia. Incidentally, one of the countries I visited was Vietnam. During my trip, I explored a bit of Ho Chi Minh / Saigon, mostly around the main tourist attractions.

With my limited time, I wasn’t able to indulge in Vietnamese food as much as I would’ve wanted. So, I was really looking forward to dine at Cilantro when I came back home as a sort of “extension” of my Vietnam experience.

Cilantro, flavors of Vietnam

Cilantro was situated in a quiet spot along Jalandoni Street, Iloilo City Proper (beside Fine Rock Hotel). The small shop had an unassuming feel to it, which I liked. It seemed like a promising place to spend relaxed afternoons or evenings with friends and family.

Cilantro was the first and only Vietnamese restaurant I’ve heard of in Iloilo. A welcome addition to growing diversity of dining options in the city.

Cilantro, Vietnamese-cuisine restaurant in Iloilo

My little corner at Cilantro

The Food

Here are some pictures of the delicious and very filling meal I enjoyed at Cilantro:

Goi Cuon (Vietnamese Fresh Spring Roll) – P68, 3 pcs.

The Goi Cuon looked and tasted exactly how it would at the typical side street shops in Saigon. The serving I ordered tasted fresh and presented well. I also couldn’t get enough of the delicious sauce.

Pho Bo (Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup) – P55, small; P88, big.

Pho Bo, the classic Vietnamese street food, was also served at Cilantro. It was, noticeably, not overloaded with too much seasoning. One of the owners told me they wanted to offer a healthier version of Pho Bo.

Tiger Lobster cooked in Butter and Garlic sauce – priced depend on serving size

The lobster was heavenly, cooked to perfection in thick butter and garlic sauce. The price was affordable compared to popular seafood restaurants in Iloilo at P90 per 100 grams for 200 to 300 gm servings and P140 per 100 gms for 400 to 450 gm servings. Diners can also have lobster cooked sisig-style for an additional P70.

Goi Cuon (Fresh Spring Roll), Lobster cooked in Butter and Garlic sauce, and Pho Bo (Beef Noodle Soup)

Pad Thai (Fried Noodles with shrimp) – P128

Cilantro also served favorites from other Asian cuisines like Pad Thai.

Vietnamese Coffee

In typical Vietnamese side-street fashion, Ca Phe Sua Da at Cilantro was prepared by pouring hot water over ground coffee pressed in a drip filter. Then, allowed to trickle down to a generous layer of condensed milk. The mixed coffee was then poured over a glass full of ice cubes, perfect for hot sunny days.

I ordered two cups of coffee that afternoon. I love Vietnamese coffee!

Ca Phe Sua Da (Vietnamese iced coffee) prepared using a French drip filter

Vietnamese coffee ready to be stirred and poured over a glass full of ice cubes

Cilantro served many kinds of Vietnamese dishes apart from the ones featured here. You can learn more about Cilantro and connect with them at their Facebook page.


  • Address: Barangay Hipodromo, Jalandoni St, City Proper, Iloilo City, Philippines
  • Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/CilantroIloilo
  • Phone: (63)(033) 337 1812
  • Opening hours:
    • Tuesday to Thursday: 11AM to 8PM
    • Friday to Saturday: 11AM to 9PM
    • Sunday: 11:30AM to 8PM

About the Author

Marcos is an off-beat travel blogger from Iloilo City. Discover his adventures around the Philippines and Asia at Ambot-ah Travel Blog or connect with him on FacebookTwitter, or Google+.