FROM an abandoned structure sitting idle for some time rose the island’s homegrown volcano right in the Garapan, nestled between the DFS Galleria and I Love Saipan malls.
A buddy and I hurried to the Volcano Bar on Wednesday past 1 p.m. for a late lunch, hoping we could still catch up with the lunch hour. It was scorching hot outside but when you push open the heavy wooden door of Volcano Bar, you will be greeted with a relaxing coolness that makes you want to stay forever, or at least until it gets cooler outside.
We headed to one of the bamboo sofa sets inside and browsed through the two laminated menus the food staffer handed us. There were no more diners as it was almost closing time but we were still accommodated.
From the Volcano Bar specials menu I decided to try the Volcano’s version of Fillet of Fish while my lunch buddy ordered the beef curry.
Shortly after, the food staffer served a rectangular plateful of fresh green salad, followed by a bowl of mushroom soup topped with croutons. I pushed the salad to my lunch buddy and started on the soup, stopping when the bowl was half-empty. I had to wait for my fish fillet, or else I’d be too full.
The fish fillet—three flaky succulent slices of fish in classic crunchy coating it, was served on a bed of sautéed tomatoes and vegetables and sprinkled with chopped greens for added flavors. The sauce was a perfect dip for the fillet, and I found myself scraping my fish on the sides of the plate to get all the flavors. I ordered at serving of rice to go with my fish fillet. My order also came with a glass of iced tea, not bad for $9.
Served on a round platter, my buddy’s beef curry includes crispy beef cutlets on top of a serving of steamed rice and the curry filling up over a third of the plate. I am not much of a curry lover but I took a spoonful of it to taste, then another and another. It was good, without the usually strong flavors and aroma of curry that I always associate curry with.
Other must-try dishes in the Specials menu are seafood fry, seafood curry, spinach-bacon carbonara, clam spaghetti with toast, pasta Mentaiko with salad, Caesar salad and chili mushroom spaghetti with toast, all from $8 to $12 per order.
Volcano Bar’s appetizers range from $6 to $9 including chicken wings, chili beef, potato wedge, tortilla chip, onion rings, squid rings, tuna poke, galic octopus and seared diced tuna with tomato.
One best feature when you dine and drink at the Volcano Bar is airy, comfortable ambiance it provides. You can sink in the deep cushions of the bamboo sofas and enjoy happy hours drinking. The Volcano Bar is like an indoor garden, with a mix of native decorations including bamboo seats and tables, thatched ceiling giving you the feel of being inside a native hut. The French windows give diners a view of what’s going on in the busy street outside.
For those who just want to stop by for a quick coffee or a drink or two, the bar is the best place to hang out, or in one of the two tables shaped like beer barrels and stools near the door.
As an option, you can also occupy the tables outside the bar if you want to be in the open-air.
Volcano Bar serves lunch from Monday to Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and happy hours are from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. everyday. Cards are accepted. For inquiries or reservations please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call K Family LLC at 989-6242.
First published at the Marianas Variety Out to Eat Section.