Saturday, September 15, 2012

Harana: Davao's Best Homegrown Restaurant

Kare-Kare with Bagoong - a classic Filipino dish!

Harana would surely ring a bell to Davaoeños, whether the old or the new generation. Harana has been part of every Davaoeño's lives. It is famous for its delicious Mongolian Barbecues, mouthwatering Filipino dishes such as Kare-kare and Binagoongang Baboy. When I was younger, this restaurant is always the number one recommended place for parties, conventions and receptions. Well, until today it continues to become the most sought restaurant in Davao.

Harana started in a little garden at the back of Atty. & Mrs. Fermin Abella's residence at Juna Subdivision, Matina, Davao City in 1966. A small affair made up of few open nipa huts sheltering bamboo tables and rattan chairs. And under the branch of a young mango tree stood the small barbecue pit. In the evenings the place was lit with little gas lamps. Its specialty then, and now, were fried chicken and spare ribs, the original recipe of Mrs. Rosario Abella Lizada. Its original staff consisted of six (6) personnel, most of whom are still with Harana today.

Melo and Ma'am Rosario Abella Lizada

Ma'am Rosario shares the humble beginnings of Harana

In 1970 the Abella's needed the little garden and Harana had to move out. Its new home was the site of Harana 1 along McArthur Highway, Matina. The place was spacious and the owners thought of a new approach in the restaurant business, thus the playground concept - complete with swings, slides, bars - was implemented.

On June 29, 1979, a second Harana was opened along Florentino Street (now F. Torres Street) to serve the growing demands of a fast, developing city. At that time, F. Torres was dark and avoided by motorists at night. There was not a single building alongside Harana. There were only "kangkong" fields, wild reeds and clusters of unkempt banana shrubs. When Harana at Torres opened, F. Torres was no longer the same. Instead of darkness, the place was festooned with bright lights and the sound of music and children's laughter echoed. Now, F. Torres has become the number one food street in Davao City.

Many of the "once-upon-a-time" children, Harana-customers of the 1960s are now either professionals, businessmen, politicians or civic or religious leaders. Now, it is the sound of there children's laughter that you hear.

Ma'am Rosario's story was really inspiring! And yes, among the Filipino dishes that were served, these are my favorites:

Kinilaw with Black Beans

Binagoongang Baboy

Grilled Squid

Spare Ribs

Harana is open daily from 11:00 AM - 2:00 PM (lunch) and 5:00 PM - 10:00 PM (dinner). For catering services, please call (082) 221-9022.


  1. hahaha grbe ilang post na na halos food .. kakatakam nmn :)

  2. This place had been there from my generation to your generation and my nieces =) and still their dishes had never failed to satisfy us. Everytime I have visitors I bring them to Harana and when I like to eat something Filipino, I and my family go to Harana. Indeed one of the best homegrown restaurant =)

    1. Trueeeee! My dad also has a photo of him at Harana! And that was in the early 70s :)

  3. Please write something about the PANCIT satemi which I think you can only buy in Davao.

    1. hi,,im also from davao city,, about pancit satemi,, i guess i can recommend davao famous restaurant, shanghai restaurant along uyanguren now r. magsaysay ave. and kusina davao restaurant in san pedro st..pati siopao nla try mo.. i miss them so much cause only in davao lang yan,,,hehe..

  4. A very Filipino food.So delicious.Soon, I would taste this food here in your restaurants. Thanks for sharing this.

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