When Monette Prieto and her husband Sonny acquired their beachfront property in San Fernando, La Union, it signaled a new beginning for the long-time restaurateurs. The promising eatery they started in a bahay kubo was about to find a much bigger, yet still cozy home overlooking the surf town’s pristine shoreline.
The restaurant in question: Natalna Grille. For 13 years, through the resto, the couple has delighted locals and visitors alike with their warm Ilocano hospitality and selection of affordable, home-cooked meals.
Natalna Grille ("natalna" in Ilocano means "peaceful") was ahead of its time when they started in 2006. The idea was to serve unique dishes using ingredients were uncommon in their hometown. “Back then, no restaurants served quality tuna. There was also a shop that sold good Australian and local steaks for reasonable prices. So we decided to start our menu with tuna and affordable steaks,” Monette explains.
Monette and Sonny are especially proud of these ingredients. Natalna Grille, for instance, is the only restaurant in San Fernando that sources tuna directly from General Santos City. This same tuna is so fresh that is exported in both the United States and Japan.
Naturally, the couple has mastered the fish and highly recommend it. “We serve almost all parts of the fish,” Monette beams. For first-timers, she suggests trying the pulpog, dinengdeng, grilled bagaybay, and of course steaks.
Natalna Grille specializes in Ilocos cuisine—so much that its variety would impress even the discerning Ilocano palette. “We have a wide range of local menu items, especially salads and soups,” she reveals.
Servings and hospitality will always be top priority for the couple. Nevertheless, they want customers to feel at ease while relishing on top-tier dishes that the whole family can enjoy.
Change in location is just the first among their development plans. “We intend to add regional and international cuisines to our menu. Maybe a coffee or wine bar too,” she reveals.
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Photographs taken by Vyn Radovan