Though Dumaguete City’s been referred to as a “low-key” travel destination. The gastronomical adventures that await its visitors will surely leave a mark and will make you come back for more.
Known as a “University Town,” students who prefer alternative solutions for their tight budget, Dumaguete has given birth to restaurants and cafes that suit the need of a college student. Add to that are foreign visitors (usually backpackers) who seek cheaper options but don’t want to compromise quality, which is pretty much hard to find.
Good thing Dumaguete City has everything what a foodie/backpacker looks for: affordability, great service and good food!
Here are some of the restaurants and cafes I’ve been to during my 3-day stay in Dumaguete City last June 16-18, 2014:
Jo’s Chicken Inato
If Bacolod’s pride is their Chicken Inasal, Dumaguete is known for their Chicken Inato.
Found near Silliman Anthropology Museum, Jo’s Chicken Inato is the leading restaurant to satisfy your grilled chicken cravings. For only 120 Php, it includes a chicken part of your choice and the Pinoy favorite unli-rice.
If you’re wondering about the difference, Inasal is on the salty side while Inato is sweeter.
Address: Silliman Avenue, Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental
Price Range: Php 120-200
Hayahay Treehouse Bar and Viewdeck
A few meters away from Rizal Boulevard, you will find the Hayahay Treehouse Bar and Viewdeck.
This restaurant specializes in seafood dishes–from oysters to lobsters and prawns. Live bands play every night, and if I remembered it right, they have reggae bands every Wednesday. It’s a great place to relax and cap the night off with a few drinks and some chill-out beats.
Address: Flores Ave. Piapi, Escano Beach, Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental
Price Range: Php 200-500
Pasta King Cafe di Roma
It’s quite common that when you’re invited to have dinner or lunch at an Italian restaurant, your initial response is to back out due to worries of it being expensive.
Well, let Pasta King break that stereotype. Meals at Pasta King could go as low as Php 99.
It’s a complete Italian dining experience for a lower price. I most certainly would come back for a second time, if only Dumaguete was close by.
Address: 5 Dr. V. Locsin St., Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental
Price Range: Php 99-300
2 Storey Kitchen
Several steps away from Pasta King is the cute and cozy Korean owned cafe, 2 Storey Kitchen. The interior design of the cafe is a live representation of a girl’s scrapbook. The bright green wallpapers and artwork inside are easy on the eyes, making 2 Storey a popular spot for students.
On the 2nd level are bunk-bed types of stalls for privacy, hence the name.
Dishes are mostly Korean or Filipino, but the stand-out was their frappuccino. Using full cream instead of the usual whipped cream, this adds another level of experience to the palate, especially for coffee persons, like me.
Address: Sta. Catalina Street, Dumaguete, Negros Oriental
Price Range: Php 120-300
From The Kitchen of Mel’s Cafe
This is probably one of the restaurants I personally liked in Dumaguete. The owner is absolutely nice. She’s hands-on in entertaining her customers and even goes out of her way to take everyone’s pictures.
It has a small interior, probably capable of 20 people max. Yet the menu has tons of food to choose from and, surprisingly, affordable. Php 100 for a plate of cheezy dory with rice made my day and I wanted to lick the plate clean.
Another thing I enjoyed was their own take of Harry Potter’s famous Butterbeer. As a fan myself, this scratches off one on my bucket list.
Calling out all Pinoy Harry Potter fans there. They got Butterbeer in Dumaguete City.
Address: 2nd floor, UTH Bldg, Sta. Catalina St., Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental
Price Range: Php 100-250
The name says it all! Banana, Pineapple, Melon, Apple and other fruits I couldn’t name anymore in cold and creamy evaporated milk is a favorite afternoon merienda here in Dumaguete City.
Who says fruit salad is only applicable for the yuletide season? In Dumaguete they have it year-round.
Address: Found near Quezon Park
Price Range: Php 10-20
Erase whatever you have in mind, cause Dumaguete’s Tempura is not the deep-fried shrimp dish of the Japanese.
Tempura is very similar to Kikiam. Major difference is its lenth and taste. It’s the most popular street food in Dumaguete City.
Bossing’s Tempura inside Silliman University is the one mostly visited. Why? Because of their special dip numbered 0-5.
The number corresponds to the level of spiciness. 0 being the sweetest and 5 the flaming hot one.
Tempura is also available every afternoon at Rizal Boulevard.
Address: Inside Silliman University near Silliman Hospital
Price Range: Php 4 per piece
Painit sa Palengke
Visiting a province in the Philippines wouldn’t be complete if you don’t get to try and eat like a local. Each place has its own delicacy or cuisine that missing out on it is almost the same as never even stepping foot.
Every morning here in Dumaguete City, locals gather at the market to kick start their day with a helping of Budbod.
Budbod is Negors Oriental’s version of Suman. Paired with a cup of hot chocolate, Budbod becomes the star in every Negrense’s breakfast table.
Puto is also available, which is sticky rice scooped in a cup.
Address: Dumaguete City’s Dry or Wet Market
Price Range: Php 12-20
Kuripot is the best word to describe Neva’s Pizza in Dumaguete. Not that the owner’s a cheapskate, but their pizzas could go as low as Php 99.
They also have regular prized pizzas for Php 140 which is also still affordable. The distinction of their kuripot version is that they use cheddar cheese instead of mozarella. Best of all it’s pugon baked and they deliver within Dumaguete City — or should that be a bummer since they don’t deliver in Manila.
Address: Hibbard Avenue corner Amigo Subdivision, Piapi, Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental
Price Range: Php 99-140
Sans Rival Cakes & Pastries
Last but definitely not the least, is Sans Rival Cakes and Pastries. This is my number 1 choice. I’m not so much into sweets, but the moment my lips touched the golden-disc shaped sylvanas, I was sent to heaven.
Every bite was oozing with creamy butter goodness. A piece of their heavenly-sent sylvanas is only Php 15 (Php 125 for a box of 10).
They also serve rice meals and short orders. I highly recommend that you try their spaghetti; it’s divine.
Address: San Jose St., Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental
Price Range: Php 15-200
Now you have an idea on the best eats in Dumaguete City. I bet you’re wondering on what to do or where to stay.
Check out our previous article here: Gentle, Beautiful, and Friendly Dumaguete City Is Highly Recommended for First-time Travelers