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Reef coolers at the Hyatt’s Splash Bar

???     TUCKED away behind the poolside waterfall of Hyatt Regency in Garapan is a nook that not everyone knows about, especially if you don’t venture beyond the swimming pool. The Splash Bar is located in between artistically carved boulders with superb views of the swimming pool and the waterfall.

I have been to this nook several times but last Saturday was the first time that I stayed and decided to try something from the menu.

I decided on the Reef Cooler from the cocktail list, a non-alcoholic cocktail made of fresh banana, orange, apple and pineapple juice which was served in a tall glass. I would have preferred coffee but despite the cold rainy day, the Reef Cooler was so refreshingly tempting. I sipped on it while waiting for my cheese burger which was served shortly, a grilled burger with melted Swiss cheese, a platter of French fries, pickles, tomatoes and onion. The burger was so big for me that I knew from the start I was only going to finish half of it. I took t??he other half home.

The bartenders at the Splash had their hands full with the constant stream of hungry customers, most of them dripping wet from a swim.

The Splash Menu includes a selection of salads, starters and sides, burgers from the grill, sandwiches, pizzas and desserts. Must-try items are the Thai chicken salad wrap, Splash burger, any of the pizzas and more. Burgers and sandwiches are served with fries, sweet potato chips or a side salad, and all below the $15 mark.???

Alcohol and non-alcoholic cocktails are also available for $8 to $10. Try the Mai Tai, Golden Margarita, Blue Pacific, Banana Rama, Pina Colada, Long Island Iced tea, Strawberry Peach Daiquiri, Blueberry Bliss, Citrus Cooler, Tropical Iceberg, and Strawberry Jubilee.

A selection of snacks are available for kids include grilled cheese, grilled ham and cheese, chicken nuggets, kid’s burger, chopped salad and peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

The food selections at the Splash Bar include just your regular favorites but the ambiance is priceless. You can relax at the bar counter with a cold beer or a refreshing tropical cocktail as you watch a basketball game on the flat screen TV mounted on the wall, listen to the soothing sounds of the waterfall, or soak up the sun in one of the loungers at the poolside with your drink.

You can also have your o??rders delivered at any of the tables near the poolside. It’s one bar where no dress code exists, where the chairs are designed for wet diners. Although majority of their customers are hotel guests or pool users, anyone can walk in and order anything from the Splash Bar.

The Splash Bar is open from 10 a.m. to 5 .pm. everyday. Cards are accepted, and hotel guests can add orders to their room tabs. For more information please call the Hyatt at 234-1234 or visit


American-Mexican lunch at the World Café


An impromptu lunch on Saturday led me and a buddy to the World Café at the Fiesta Resort & Spa on Saturday noon. The plan has always been there to try out the theme lunches at the World Café but somehow each time we plan to go it always never materializes.

It was just past 12 noo??n and a friendly wait staff took us to only available table at the center of the dining room. Not a very ideal spot for one who wants to observe the general lunch atmosphere but there was no choice.

We headed to the buffet section to check on what the American-Mexican theme has to offer. A chef was busy flipping burgers and rolling burritos with Mexican-inspired stuffing. I skipped the burritos and made myself a cheeseburger before heading to the section for main entrées. I skipped the noodles and the soup section for later, inhaling in the tantalizing aromas rising from the pots.

My buddy tried the Mexican favorites before loading a plate from the hot entrée section. Available were chafers of fried chicken, short-ribs in gravy, and a seafood medley with calamari, mussels, shrimp, and more. I only picked out a few items to sample since I was saving space in my stomach for something more.??

The salad bar is one of the can’t-be-missed sections at the Café World. It is in a small enclosure with mirrors on the wall reflecting the simple yet appetizing items like chicken kelaguen, mixed greens with different seasonings, tomatoes, corn, cucumber slices, kimchi, pickles, salad, and fruits like watermelon, papaya and more.

The dessert section groans with a delectable array of cheesecake, fruit, pastries, a bread basket, fresh-baked desserts and more.??

My buddy was not surprised when I lit up upon seeing the Halo-Halo section at the dessert bar. He knew at least more than half of my lunch will be from there, or more likely crushed ice and he was right. I made several trips to fill my glass with crushed ice and ate until my throat started sending signals to stop. World Café offers several choices of beverages like bottomless coffee, soda and more.

Lunch everyday is a different theme at the Café World but you can check out the ala carte menu to order your favorite food if you don’t fancy the theme lunches.


If you want to splurge, pick out any of the live lobster swimming in a cold aquarium just beside the salad bar and prepare for a real lobster treat.

The World Café offers diners a contemporary casual ambiance, with its rattan tables and seats adding to the comfortable aura. For some privacy, a section with glass walls facing the small pond is available but be sure to make reservations if you want to secure that spot.?

If you are going to have the American-Mexican theme lunch on Saturday, or any of thelunch themes on any day, go on a hungry stomach to do justice to all the food. Stumbling in there in a half-asleep state will make you miss much, take it from me. The theme lunch costs $22 for each person, $18 for locals.

??The World Café is open for breakfast from 7 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and dinner is from 6 p.m. to 9:30 pm. For reservations and inquiries please call 234-7171 extension 1585 or call direct line 233-6414.















A feast of grilled delights at Gekka Teppanyaki & Bar


Chef Jay Adarve ‘plays with fire’ at the Gekka Teppanyaki

YOU can see the Gekka Teppanyaki Bar right across from the main restaurant near the poolside when you step into the lobby of the Mariana Resort & Spa in Marpi, its polished counter tops and comfortable chairs around the bar enticing one to come and explore the mouthwatering temptations in its menu. The Gekka Bar is dead in the daytime, but at 6 p.m. the lights go on and the bar springs to life. It was my first time to be at the Gekka on Saturday night, and my companion was convincing me to go for the BBQ Buffet.

Baked Prawns

I convinced him that we try the Gekka Teppanyaki & Bar when Marianas Resort & Spa when Executive Chef and 2013 Taste of the Marianas Chef’s Competition grand champion William C. Retardo stepped in with a brand new menu and it was not hard to give in.

On William’s recommendation, we started off with a hot appetizer—tofu steak mixed with mushroom and I got my fill taking photos and video clips as our appetizer was being prepared by Chef Jay Adarve.

Ceviche ala Mariana


I am not a big fan of tofu or mushrooms but it tasted so good the plate was clean after a few minutes. Chef Jay next prepared fresh prawns called Kuruma Eb Ougon Yaki on the grill— three large prawns which he grilled and glazed until they turned golden orange, and served with vegetable salad and half a slice of lemon. My companion almost finished all the prawns, while I dug into the salad. It was our second dish and I was already getting full. The best was yet to come. Our Sirloin Steak salad medium rare was next and again gloried in watching how it was prepared before it was all ready to eat.

1- main photo Mariana Resort & Spa executive chef William Retardo is flanked by chefs Jay Adarve and Arnel Patio.

Halfway into our steak, our seafood feast on a plate was served. Sumptuously arranged on a white platter was a colorful mix of fish slices, octopus, shrimps, prawn, mussels, and scallop with tomatoes, mushrooms and greens. This, too, we cleared off in a short time.

Try the other items in the hot appetizer section like the mixed sausage Sauerkraut, grilled duck sushi roll, scallop with mixed mushroom, spicy garlic shrimp and chicken wings teriyaki from $10 to $14 per order.

The cold appetizers menu includes new style salmon sashimi, beef carpaccio, prosciutto with fruits from $15 to $18 bracket.

Noodles and rice are also available like Yaki Udon, eel fried rice, garlic rice and steamed rice. Certified Angus Beef sirloin steak and tenderloin steaks are available in different sizes.

The highlight of the Gekka Teppanyaki Bar are the items in the Gekka Special Combo menu which includes the Chicken Wings Teriyaki and Baked Shrimp Combo, Angus Beef Sirloin Steak and Baked Shrimp combo, Scallop and Angus Beef Tenderloin combo, and the lobster tail and Angus Beef Sirloin Combo, all served with pickled vegetable, soup and rice.

Complete your Teppanyaki experience with the salmon steak with shoyu butter sauce, mussels with shoyu butter sauce and garlic, lobster tail Shoyu butter sauce, and live lobsters Shoyu butter sauce.Live Lobster Shoyu Butter Sauce

The couple beside us ordered a live lobster and it was grilled fresh and live and served right out of the grill. It was stunning to watch chef Jay preparing eel fried rice like he was just playing, and before you know it, everything was ready and set.

Tofu Steak wit Mixed Mushroom

Dig into the delights of homemade cake, sherbet and ice cream for $4 and fried

ice cream for $9 for dessert at the Gekka Teppanyaki Bar.

Cap your dinner with beer, whisky, wines, cocktail, no alcohol cocktail and soft drinks and juices from the beverage menu. Watching the chefs at the Gekka Teppanyaki and Bar expertly flipping, juggling, tossing and slicing ingredients mid-air with samurai-style knives is a feast to the senses. You smell the heavenly aroma wafting from the griddle making you anticipate your meal all the more. Everything at the Teppanyaki happens so fast but the memory of the food and the taste will linger not only in your mouth but in your memory, teasing your salivary glands and make you come back for more.

You can have dinner at any of the tables around the Teppanyaki if you want but the thrill of watching everything is at the counter. You can also bring your drinks and have it leisurely at the pool side as you watch island dancers and fire dancers perform during the weekends.


Gekka Teppanyaki Bar opens at 6 p.m. until 10 p.m. everyday. Credit cards are accepted. For inquiries or reservations please call 322-0770 or visit

First published at the Marianas Variety

Kinpachi Seafood: Dining under the sea

Crab with coconut milk. Photo by Kinpachi Restaurant
A NEW dining destination has opened in Garapan and it not only offers the best seafood dishes you can think of, but will also make you experience dining “under the sea” without the inconveniences that involves.
Kinpachi Restaurant has transformed its souvenir and grocery store into new blue world with a giant dolphin as a centerpiece on a round table at the center of the room.Geraldine Cordero, who manages Kinpachi Seafood, said they opened last week and are already getting a fair share of diners, not only tourists but locals as well.3 LOCAK FISH w SOUCE

Local fish with sauce. Photo by Kinpachi Restaurant

Try out Kinpachi’s Seafood specialties such as Dungeness Crab with coconut milk, local reef fish with oyster sauce and lobster roll.

There’s also sashimi, salmon sashimi boat, sashimi mix special, surf clam, live lobster sashimi, teppanyaki seafood deluxe, seafood kelagen, shrimp tempura, fried shrimp, scallops, oysters, seafood barbeque, grilled turban shell, grilled prawns, king crab, unaju or broiled eel, and more.

Diners can also order food from Kinpachi Restaurant’s main menu and have it delivered to Kinpachi Seafood.

A small cubicle that seats up to four people offers some sort of privacy for couples who would want to dine in private.1 ROBSTER ROLL

Lobster Roll. Photo by Kinpachi Restaurant

Kinpachi Seafood provides a very relaxing ambiance. Fish and other marine life are painted on the blue walls and ceilings. It’s like being inside a huge aquarium.IMG_6411

The Kinpachi Seafood main entrance is on the Paseo de Marianas across from the Saipan Store, but you can also use Kinpachi Restaurant’s main door on Coral Tree Avenue across from the Fiesta Resort & Spa parking lot.

Kinpachi Seafood can seat up to 90 persons and is open from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. for lunch and from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Credit cards are accepted. For inquiries or reservations, call 234-6900.

First published at the Marianas Variety

Finger-licking BBQ goodness at Booya’s

IMG_9294TRYING out the popular Booya’s Local BBQ has always been in the plan since the restaurant opened its doors last April but the chance never came as they only open for lunch and I rarely eat lunch.

A week ago I learned that Booya’s is already open for dinner and my chance came on Friday. I had skipped breakfast and lunch and it was already past 5 p.m. and I had nothing but a cup of coffee for the whole day and was growing hungrier by the minute when I and my companion entered Booya’s. The tables were still empty as they just opened but already the mouthwatering smells of barbeque wafted to our nostrils, making us hungrier.

pork sukiyakiThe dinner menu for that night was only the Booya’s Slam BBQ set and Booya’s BBQ dish with one choice of meat. I decided on the $7 BBQ set and chose chicken. Other options are pork or beef. My companion decided to try the $15 Slam BBQ set. We didn’t have to wait long. My order was served first after a few minutes, two pieces of grilled chicken thighs with two scoops of red rice, macaroni salad, and dips. I know I can never finish the chicken slices and was planning to share it with my companion when his order arrived—huge slices of BBQ beef and pork ribs, and chicken thighs arranged neatly on a huge platter and came with two scoops of red rice. On a separate plate were slices of titiyas and chicken kelaguen, dips and vegetable salad. If we only knew the Slam BBQ set was already more than enough for the two of us, we would have just ordered an additional serving of rice.DSC07254

 We dug into our food and did not talk for the first few minutes, but after one scoop of rice and the smaller piece of chicken, I had enough. I would have wanted to eat with my hands if I was going home right after and savor the full flavors of the BBQ from my fingers but I had another appointment.

A couple of people came in but just to pick up their orders. Booya’s Local Barbeque is Saipan’s first local style Chamorro barbeque destination that gives you the chance to hold an ‘indoor picnic.’ The restaurant uses long wooden tables and benches to give diners the feeling of being at a real picnic. You can also check out Booya’s daily specials like kelaguen Satdinas served with titiyas, katdun patas, beef pot roast or pork sukiyaki, pork bisteak, Chamorro bistek, golai mongus with ham hock, crispy fried chicken and more local favorites any day of the week.DSC09883

They also serve Bud Light as well as Coca-Cola products and iced tea.

Booya’s Local BBQ is open open for lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and for dinner from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Saturday. They offer delivery for your food orders. Booya’s Local Barbeque is located across from Mobil Gas Station on Middle Road and beside American Nails. Cash is accepted.

For orders, deliveries or reservations please call 233-0227 visit their website at or check their page on Facebook at

First published at the Marianas Variety

I HAVE wanted to check out the ever popular Booya’s Local BBQ since it opened in April, but I rarely ate lunch. – See more at:

Coffee Care: Your food on the hill


Fried eggs in the Hole

A DRIVE up to Coffee Care on Capital Hill last Saturday took me and a lunch buddy to try the new lunch specials. We headed straight to a table for two right by the glass windows and browsed the menu a waitstaff handed us, only to find out the lunch specials was offered only on the weekdays.

I decided to try one dish from the weekend breakfast menu and satisfy my curiosity about what “fried eggs in the hole” looks like. My lunch buddy chose one of the day’s special—grilled chicken with shrimps and baked potatoes.

DSC_6686While waiting for our orders, our waitstaff served us a roll of freshly baked bread, still hot from the oven with two packets of butter, and a small bowl each of corn and vegetable soup. I pushed my soup aside after one spoonful, knowing I’d be full if I finish it.

My Fried Eggs in the Hole was served a few minutes after, and I got the answer to my question. A couple of slice toast with a hole in the center and well done fried eggs filled the hole, served on a  bed of baked potatoes, and topped with a thin slab of smoked salmon and chickpea pesto.

DSC09671Although under a new management, most of the menu at the Coffee Care remains the same, but in celebration of the restaurant’s 25th anniversary, Coffee Care is offering lunch specials for $8.99. Check out the special lunch on the weekdays.

My buddy’s order followed a couple of minutes after, tender and juicy slabs of grilled chicken bathed in a golden sauce, and served with broccoli and coated fried shrimps. I ate about one third of my buddy’s meal and left half of mine untouched.

The Coffee Care is operating under new business hours. Lunch is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and dinner from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday to Friday. Breakfast and lunch on Saturdays and Sundays is from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and dinner is from 6-10 p.m.

This means you can order breakfast items even if its lunchtime, or stretch it and have a leisurely breakfast all the way till 2 p.m. I was tempted to have coffee but time was running out as I still had many errands to do.

DSC09683 - Copy

The Coffee Care remains a favorite hangout on the hill for many. Albeit the food prices could be a bit steep for a regular budget, the superb view of the Saipan lagoon is a steal.

Coffee Care is the best destination to have a leisurely cup of your favorite coffee. That’s what they’re known for—the best coffee in the island. You see jars and jars of various coffee beans just inside the door, and it is more than enough to tempt your palates for a hot mug or a tall iced glass of rich espresso beverages.DSC09666

Check out Coffee Care’s extensive menu that includes a wide selection of salads, pasta, sandwiches, pancakes and a wide array of mouthwatering breakfast items, seafood and meat entrees. The restaurant serves Italian dinner specials, Japanese dinner specials and Mexican dinners. They also serve a selection of pizza, steaks, as well as beverages like cocktails and tropical cocktails, Daquiris, special Margaritas, fruit smoothies, fresh fruits and others.

Major credit cards are accepted. For reservations, call 323-5282.

Salty’s Grill & Café: Your Chamorro cuisine dining destination


  SALTY’S Grill & Café in Garapan is the only dining spot on island that has purely local cuisine on their menu.It’s also a spacious, open dining place with wooden floors and big plastic white tables and matching chairs.

A companion and I were there recently, and I decided to try a local appetizer I was familiar with — beef kelaguen — while my companion ordered the poki bowl. My kelaguen was served after a few minutes —?? beef strips with pickles and bits of sliced onions served on a round plate lined with banana leaf and adorned with a white plumeria and half a slice of lemon.

The beef kelaguen was good, the beef strips tender and well-marinated. It was kind of spicy but not too much.

My compan??ion’s poki bowl came next — fresh tuna sashimi slices sprinkled with bits of onion and served on a bed of lettuce on top of a serving of steamed rice. It was a full dinner by itself.

Salty’s Grill & Café is a Japanese-owned restaurant with an extensive Chamorro menu that includes shrimp kelaguen, red rice, Spam kelaguen with titiyas (flatbread), sardine kelaguen with titiyas, tamales gisu and Spam onigiri.

You can order shrimp with taro leaf or garlic butter, fish with taro leaf, fresh tuna poki or sashimi, clam with garlic butter, Lau Lau, kadun pika, seafood soup, sweet potato croquettes, Spam fry, or cold tofu with finadene sauce.


Four dishes from the menu are dinner for $8: Chamorro bowl, Spam bowl, poki bowl and locomoco bowl.

You can grill your food at the table when you order the seafood BBQ set. You can also get raw beef fingers, short rib or ribs eye and have the freedom to grill them to your preference.??

Salty’s Grill & Café’s seafood selections also include lobster, salmon, scallops, squid and mussels from $8 to $25.

For dessert, try the banana lumpia (roll) with coconut milk, apigigi or tapioca with coconut and ube (purple yam) ice cream?

Salty’s Grill & Café is an ideal place to hang out for a drink if you want fresh, open spaces without the humming of air-conditioning units and confining walls.

The bar is open from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. and has a wide selection of wines, cocktails, beer and other beverages. Chasers include fried chicken, French fries, endamame, Chamorro sausage, raisin, peanuts and potato chips.

Salty’s Grill & Café is located in Garapan beside Panda Store (formerly Chicago) and is open every day from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Credit cards are accepted. For inquiries or reservations call 888-9451, email or visit

First published at the Marianas Variety here

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