With every new travel experience, you also have the opportunity to learn about the culture of a place. One exciting way to do this is by embarking on a gastronomic adventure. I believe that food can say so much about the places and people behind them. This is why I make sure to try as many dishes as I can whenever I’m away from home.
My recent trip to Dumaguete proved to be a treat to the taste buds, just as much as the eyes and heart. Here are my ultimate must-try restaurants in the city.
This is a popular coffee shop and dessert place found right at the heart of the city. This is one of those places you can visit any time of day, but most locals prefer to have breakfast or afternoon snacks here. Their cheesecakes are to die for, and perfect with a cup of coffee. Try the Blueberry Cheesecake paired with a Café Latte, and I guarantee you won’t regret it.
A visit to Gabby’s Bistro can easily feel like a trip around the world. They serve a variety of dishes from European to Mexican, and American to Filipino. They have two branches, their main branch along E. Rovira Drive, and another at Paseo Perdices, on Rizal Ave. Gabby’s Bistro is well-known for its Ribs Barbie Q’, a huge serving of grilled hickory smoked pork spare ribs served with java rice, mashed potatoes or fries.
Creative and interesting are the best words to describe the menu of KRI Restaurant. The cuisine is fusion, and each dish is presented intricately and creatively. The place is chic and modern, similar to restaurants you would find in Manila. While there, I got to try the Genghis Khan Beef, which had a mildly spiced sauce to it. It took a while for me to get a table, though, so come early as the place can get really crowded.
Filipino food lovers are sure to have an amazing time at Lab-as Seafood. This restaurant has been around since the ‘80s, and continues to be a go-to place for locals and tourists alike. It really takes advantage of its location in a coastal city, and you see that right away with the catch-of-the-day board right as you enter. Who doesn’t love fresh seafood, right? I sure do. I particularly enjoyed their Escabecheng Maya Maya.
This restaurant serves Italian cuisine with a Filipino flair. I visited in the afternoon, so there weren’t a lot of people, but I can imagine pizza and pasta lovers flocking here for lunch or dinner. I chose a regular serving of Linguine Aglio Olio as a snack when I was there, and it wasn’t just tasty, it was really filling, too. It’s definitely a must-try.
One simply cannot visit Dumaguete without coming to Sans Rival Cafe. Apart from being a great place to eat, it’s also one of the best places to buy take-home treats in the city. As the name suggests, this place is best known for its buttery, crispy Sans Rival, as well as their irresistible Silvanas. Right next door is Sans Rival Bistro where you can go for breakfast, lunch or dinner before indulging in dessert and coffee at the café.
This is the in-house restaurant of Tierra Alta residential resort in Valencia. Matching the Santorini-theme of the place, the restaurant serves Mediterranean fare with a touch of Asian and American influence. Some things to try there are their freshly baked bread and house made ice cream. I ordered their best-seller, Crocodile Sisig, which may sound exotic but is actually pretty good. Another great reason to come here is to unwind over wine and music in the evening.
Blue Monkey Grill is a nice after dinner hang-out. It’s a great place to chill out with a cocktail while listening to live bands perform. This is one of those places that you go to mainly for the ambiance and experience. Sizzling dishes and the usual bar chow are served here. I got to try one of their signature cocktails during my visit, the Boracay Latte.
Another place to go for drinks and live music is Honeycomb. You can come here any night of the week, and there will be a band performing. There are a lot of drinks and dishes to choose from, but I have to say that their cocktails are pretty strong. The place fills up quickly, too, so a bit of patience is required if they are unable to seat you right away. Great music with a hint of a sea breeze is certainly worth the wait.
A full day and night of eating, drinking and being merry is sure to leave you feeling weary. Be sure to choose a nice place to stay in the city to up your satisfaction and relaxation while in Dumaguete. Here are some places that I recommend.
Hotel Nicanor along San Jose Street is great because of its amazing location. It’s just a 2 minute walk from Lee Super Plaza, and has four ATMs, one bank, and money remittance centers located on the same street. There are also restaurants and fast food chains nearby. Plus, they provide parking for their guests.
Bethel Guest House is easy on the budget, and offers a picture-perfect view of Rizal Boulevard and the sea beyond it. Guests have space to park here as well, and it’s also within a few meters from restaurants. It’s about 8-minutes away from the city mall, Robinson’s Place Dumaguete, and 10-15 minutes from the airport. I’ve stayed here often, and I always book the Family Standard room where I get an awesome view of the sea for only P2,300 per night. They have board rooms, a function room that fits 150 persons, and a restaurant, making this a great place for business trips. They also have vans for hire if you need assistance touring the city.
Gabby’s Bed and Breakfast is a good choice if you want a quiet accommodation that is still near the city center. It is located at Daro, Dumaguete City approximately 5-10 minutes from downtown Dumaguete by tricycle, depending on the traffic, and 5-minutes away from the airport by car or van. The area is surrounded by trees, has good parking space, and its own restaurant that serves all-day breakfast. There is also a nearby dessert place called Chantilly, and just 3-minutes away is Silliman University Medical Center.
Other places you could try are:
- Hotel Essencia
- Sierra Hotel
- Hotel La Casona
And, in case you want to learn more about what Dumaguete City has to offer, please check out my other posts here:
- Discovering Dumaguete: 12 Interesting Facts About This Fantastic City
- 8 Wonderful Places You Must Make Time To See When In Dumaguete
Always remember, travel enriches life. It teaches us to enjoy moments, to say goodbye to stress and embrace joy instead. Experience has taught me this, and I’m happy that I get to share my journeys with you now, too. Anytime you need help and tips finding worry-free, budget-friendly places to see, I’m here to help!