I call this my Baguio Real Food post because you won’t find the chic or chill dining options that Baguio has become famous for in the past few years. In the 6 days since arriving last Tuesday morning at this cold city, I purposely shied away from the Instagrammable places as I was scrimping a bit for my European trip coming-up in two weeks. The 3-day conference I attended also came with lunch and snacks so I didn’t really go out much to eat. If you’re the “I just wanna eat good real food” this is for you. Of course, I only went to local places (always always patronize locally-grown businesses).
Back in those days when there was a toss-up between Luisa’s and Star Cafe, I’ve always been partial to the latter mainly because of their delicious curry pies. Unfortunately, Star shut its doors some years ago.
Nothing’s better than a bowl of very tasty broth with the signature chewy home made noodles.
The dumplings, however, were the tiniest I’ve ever seen. Quite good, though. The bola-bola siopao was forgettable. It arrived lukewarm and had more dough than meat.
Though, the soup and siopao combo satisfied my appetite, I’m not quite sure it was good value as the servings were small. Perhaps, consider it a snack rather than a meal when you come here.
Luisa’s is old-school Baguio and amidst the city’s culinary gentrification, I hope it doesn’t suffer the same fate as Star Cafe’s.
Another Baguio old-timer. The double pork-chop (Php 219) was chunky and sizzled perfectly. The signature gravy was thick and savory. It’s the kind of meal that made one feel so manly. They could have used better quality rice for their Java rice, though.
Nevertheless, it was a dinner that hit all the right notes— filling to the tummy, satisfying to the taste buds.
Jack’s Baguio Restaurant
The lechon on fried rice (Php 80) was cheap and filling. Amidst the tourist-oriented prices in Session Road, Jack’s is a haven for the budget-conscious.
Unfortunately, the sorry-looking fried pork and the bland fried rice makes me think that’s all Jack has going for itself– cheap and filling. Maybe, I’m being too harsh. Jack’s, however, always has a steady stream of patrons everytime I pass by so I guess it’s not so bad.
Central Park Restaurant
The cool evening weather brought Chinese noodle soup cravings again and since Good Taste was full, I crossed to the other side of the road to this restaurant that always had a good number of diners inside everytime I passed by. Surprise! There was a dimsum cart. Unfortunately, only the “snowball” (meatballs with chorizo and egg white, Php 80) seemed tasty. The rest of the dumplings looked like they came from some dumplings factory. True enough, when my dumpling noodle soup (Php 110) arrived, the siomai was a mashup of flour and extenders wrapped in thick sickly yellowish wrapper. I’d take Master Siomai over it anytime.
Good soup and noodles though but not as tasty as Luisa’s. The taipao (Php 90) was hefty and chock-full of meats. Good points on this one.
The price is good value considering the big bowl of noodle soup and large taipao. Glancing around at the other tables, the plates of a la carte orders held generous servings. Perhaps next time, I should have some rice meals and just skip the dumplings. This place deserves another chance especially since the service was quick.
So I went back for dinner and had the lechon rice. 2 slabs of pork belly and a big cup of rice.
It’s just okay. The meat was tender but the skin wasn’t crisp. Also, by the look of the dark-colored meat, it didn’t seem to be too fresh. The service, however, was excellent again.
I finally snagged a table here even if it meant having lunch at 10am on a Sunday. Good decision as the place was brimming with people and by 10:30, large groups were arriving. Of all the rice meals I’ve had, the lechon chopsuey rice (added Php 30 to upgrade to fried rice) was the best value. It only cost Php 140 and the serving was huge. I’m not a chopsuey fan but I wanted some vegetables with my pork so I ordered the combo. Wise choice.
The vegetables were cooked just right– still crisp. It was tasty and mixed well with the large cuts of crispy skinned lechon kawali. It made me regret why I only ate lunch here just when I was taking the bus home to Manila. Now I know why people are willing to line-up here.
Pinares Pagkaing Pilipino
Such a pleasant surprise! This was just at the ground floor of my hotel and I headed here as the reviews on FB promised good Pinoy food. Promise fulfilled! The place had satisfied diners digging on heaping plates of food. My bagnet express was delicious. The pork belly was tender and fried perfectly and served over a heaping mound of Bicol Express.
You know that feeling when you’re happy putting spoonfulls of food in your mouth? Plus points too for the professional and super attentive service staff.
A Little Indulgence
I needed to work so cafes with strong coffee and even stronger wifi was my go to.
Cafe By the Ruins
It’s back and it’s just across my hotel. After dropping my luggage at 8 in the morning, I needed to stay awake. The cafe’s unique take on coffee (cardamom and cinnamon) did just that. For Php 80, you get heaven in a cup. I didn’t like the kamote bread, though. Store-bought dinner rolls were better.
So I rewarded myself with its decadent chocolate cake (Php 150) and good Cordillera brew (Php 80).
Because, I wanted to stay forever, I had the spinach and cheese dip an hour later. I came in around 4pm and had the place almost to myself. Bonus points for the electric outlet by my corner table by the window. Hill Station is still impeccable. Made me feel truly rich and handsome.
Il Padrino Cafe
I came here mainly because I needed to work. It turned out to be a pleasant surprise. The club sandwhich was hefty and had bacon!
Coffee was also good and strong. I especially liked the outstanding service. Smiley faces and staff refilling your glass with water without you needing to ask for it. Oh, and some of the tables have sockets.