he best place to start when exploring the tastes and flavors of Dumaguete is the home of its most famous Silvanas pasalubong, Sans Rival Cafe. It is owned by the family of the former mayor of Dumaguete, Manuel Teves “Chiquiting” Sagarbarria, and has two branches in the city. One is inside Robinson’s Place Dumaguete, and the other is found at the corner of San Jose St. and Rizal Ave. adjacent to the Rizal Boulevard.
People often come here to buy boxes of silvanas to take home to their loved ones. Silvanas are sweet, round frozen merengue cookies that sandwich a layer of buttercream. There’s also a chocolate flavor for those who enjoy chocolatey treats. Each box of original butter silvanas costs PHP150 and a box of the chocolate ones goes for PHP180 each.
While there, I ordered a piece of each type of silvanas. I prefer the original to the chocolate type, as I feel the buttercream complements the cookie better than chocolate does. Chocoholics would probably disagree with me on this, though.
A bit of friendly advice to diners – Have a glass of water ready to combat the sweetness, lest you end up with a sore throat. However sweet these treats may be, I now understand how they have become the most sought-after desserts in Dumaguete City. Their price and taste are definitely worth the calories.
Another dessert offered here, which is similar to silvanas is the famous sans rival. This is sold by the slice at PHP30, or by the loaf at PHP325 each. It’s made of the same merengue cookies as the silavanas but instead of just two cookies sandwiching some buttercream, this dessert is made up of several alternating layers of cookie and butter.
The coffee served at Sans Rival Café goes perfectly with the sweet desserts they offer. I personally prefer to have my coffee with milk, so I chose a Café Latte as my drink on that rainy afternoon. One cup is very affordable at only PHP35.
Since I was already in the area, I decided to check out Sans Rival Bistro as well. Here I ordered the Pesto Lasagna, which I found to be a flavorful, healthier version of the traditional pasta dish. The serving size was just right, and reasonably priced. Also, among the dishes they offer, another popular choice is the Callos.
The bistro feels very inviting, probably due to the fact that it is situated in what used to be the ancestral home of the family who owns the place. It literally feels like you are having a meal in the comfort of your own home. The staff members here are accommodating and polite, and didn’t fail to inform me how long the waiting time would be before my meal arrived. It’s no wonder people choose to come here for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Sans Rival Bistro opens at 6:00 AM for breakfast, and stays open until 11:00 PM. Sans Rival Café opens from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM. Their Robinson’s branch opens at 10:00 AM and closes at 8:00 PM. For inquiries, you can reach them at (035) 225-4440, (035) 422-9482 or (0918)943-5989.
Want to read up on more delicious eats in Dumaguete? Then check out my post here.
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!