Food Tripping in Dumaguete

In a previous post we mentioned Dumaguete as having one of the densest concentrations of cafes and restaurants in the country. This ranges from hole-in the-wall types and small food stalls to diners, local cafes, restaurant chains and fancy dining places. Our only problem was choosing which place to go with our limited time in the city. Among the first we tried were those specializing in local and sea food dishes.

Foodies have been raving about the Lab-as Seafood Restaurant along Flores Avenue and near Dumaguete’s port. So if you’re looking for sea food and local dishes a visit here is in order. One of their signature dishes is the Dumaguete Express dish – a local version of Bicol Express that includes a mixture of sea food topped with crispy pork in coconut milk.

dishes at Lab-as Seafood Restaurant
The fare at Lab-as includes their signature Dumaguete Express (top left and bottom right), pinakbet with shrimps and grilled yellowfin tuna jaw (panga ng tuna).

Adjacent to Lab-as is the Hayahay Treehouse Bar and Viewdeck which specializes in sea food dishes and has a live band playing every night. One of the newest dining establishments in Dumaguete is Lantaw Native Restaurant a branch of the original resto in Cebu and located close to Lab-as and Hayahay.

We’ve read so much about Gabby’s Bistro so we decided to give it a try during our latest Dumaguete jaunt. Gabby’s original home is at Florentina Homes but they recently opened a second branch at Paseo Perdices along Rizal Boulevard. Compared to other establishments in Dumaguete, Gabby’s is not that inexpensive (although the P200-400 price range is not expensive by Metro Manila standards), but the European and Filipino-style dishes are served in reasonably generous portions.

Gabby's Bristro
Gabby’s Bistro now has a branch along Rizal Boulevard.

If you’re looking for inexpensive dining places there is a host of choices here including From the Kitchen of Mel’s Café. Not only are their dishes very affordable and tasty, the place is also cozy – definitely an ideal spot for chilling out after a whole day of travel outside Dumaguete.

From the Kitchen of Mel's Cafe Dishes
From the Kitchen of Mel’s Café has a cozy setting and very affordable dishes

Sans Rival Cakes and Pastries is the best and most famous of its kind in Dumaguete because of its silvanas (a frozen cookie made from a layer of buttercream sandwiched between two cashew-meringue wafers) – probably the most popular pasalubong from Dumaguete. You can enjoy their desserts along with coffee and other beverages while waiting for your order (which can sometimes take several minutes due to the long lines). Sans rival indeed!

Sans Rival Bistro and some of their dessert items
Sans Rival Cakes and Pastries became famous for its desserts, especially its silvanas, a famous pasalubong item. It has also opened Sans Rival Bistro – a full blown restaurant – a few years ago.

A few years ago Sans Rival opened Sans Rival Bistro, a restaurant beside the original café. It included an al fresco dining area facing Rizal Boulevard and the sea. When we first dined here in 2013 while on the way back from Siquijor, we were delighted by the affordable prices on the menu.

Sans Rival Bistro dishes
Some of the dishes at Sans Rival Bistro
dishes at the Sans Rival Bistro Restaurant
More Sans Rival Bistro fare

There are dozens of other excellent eating places here worth sampling – which makes us look forward to another visit to this city.

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8 thoughts on “Food Tripping in Dumaguete”

    1. Thanks for visiting our blog Deborah. There’s actually a lot more dining establishments in the city – we only featured those that we visited. We’re sure you’ll enjoy your forthcoming visit!

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