Dumaguete City is a known gateway to many fascinating places in the Philippines: Apo Island, Siquijor, South Cebu, Sipalay, and many more. People often deem of it as that quaint little town with a laidback lifestyle that’s well worth a side trip… and it is. But there is more to it than “worth a side trip”, and I plan to show you one particular factor that could make you want to stay longer: the Dumaguete food scene.
Fair warning: This is a long post but trust me, it’s going to be worth it.
What to eat in Dumaguete? What food should we try when in Duma? How much is the food in Dumaguete? These are common tourist questions that I am ready to give answers. FYI, I studied in Silliman University and having spent my entire college life in Dumaguete, I have come to know the local delights in this town. Yes, there is a whole heap of new restaurants popping out but I have a sister who recently moved in and a niece who just graduated in SU. This means I have “local intel”. LOL!!! The whole family also stayed in Dumaguete for 7 days after our tropical excursion in Siquijor. During those 7 days, we did nothing but eat! Here’s a list of Dumaguete food you should NOT miss (and those you CAN just skip)! I’m numbering them for proper labeling but this is not in order of which is top 1 and so on…
⭐️ : Food you SHOULD NOT, COULD NOT, WOULD NOT WANT TO MISS (Somewhat like a Dumaguete tourist thing to do)
💛 : Our favorites — highly recommended!
🔸 : Delicious but frankly skippable (You can probably get more delish ones in other places)
Cakes & Pastries
#1 Silliman University Cafeteria ⭐️
Where is it?: Hibbard Avenue, Dumaguete City
You can never miss this! Our personal favorite is the cheese bread which we binge-ate every single day. It’s a luscious piece of pastry that’s ready to be devoured as early as 6:30am. The great thing about it is, even when it’s already a few days old, it’s still so fvcking good!!!!! Simply the BEST. CHEESE BREAD. EVER.
❥ Cheese bread 💛⭐️
Price: Php 10 ($0.20 )
Pro Tip: They only bake cheese bread once a day and that’s during early in the morning. So, if you want freshly baked cheese bread, they’re ready by 6:30 am. They can still be available after lunch, though, and you don’t have to worry because even when it’s not fresh from the oven, it’s still soooo heavenly!!! I mean, the moment you take a bite, the creaminess and cheesiness plays around inside your mouth and brings you to a totally gastronomic utopia. I’ve never eaten a cheesebread quite like this my whole life. I know “cheese bread” doesn’t sound like something anyone could be excited about but this is different. This is THE cheese bread of your dreams.
Fun fact: When I was in college, I always run to the cafeteria at 3PM before my 4PM class so I could get my daily dose of happiness. Cheese bread then were baked twice a day: early morning and around 2:30 PM. One day, I left the dormitory at 3 when it started to drizzle so I scampered from one building to the next. When I got to the Science Complex, it started to rain really really hard I had to stop for shelter. I got stuck inside the SC building, anxious because I was really craving for cheese bread. It was almost 4PM when the rain stopped. I didn’t care if I’d be a little late for Math class. LOL. So I rushed to the Caf. When I got there, panting, there was no cheese bread available anymore. Not a single one. I was so heartbroken I cried. Two of my classmates who were there saw me and laughed at me for crying over food. Hahaha! Well, that’s me. Food is life. 😂 So that’s that. Silliman’s cheese bread is the type of food you’d cry over. It’s that yummy and crave-worthy so please don’t give it a miss!
❥ Pork humba 💛
Description: Pork humba is Filipino braised pork and Silliman University’s version is just so irresistably appetizing! I’m not exaggerating. When I lived in the campus dorm (Edith Carson Hallers, hello!), this used to be my favorite and my “big sisters” knew it so they try to snag more of this for me! Hahaha! Foreigners and health enthusiasts may not like this very much, though, but if you’re someone with a “super Pinoy palate” like mine, this might be the humba of your dreams!!! So I don’t know, I’d still say foreign tourists SHOULD at least try this.
#2 Sans Rival Bistro ⭐️
Where is it?: Rizal Boulevard, Dumaguete City
Sans Rival is one of the most popular restos in town. In fact, most tourists flock to this iconic restaurant for their incredibly tasty silvanas and sans rival cake among others. They also extended their food options and now offer meals and pastas. This is one place you cannot miss!
Chocolate = Php 23/piece ($0.44), Php 195/bos of 10pcs. ($3.45)
Remarks: Don’t just order for yourself. Order a few boxes to go and bring some for your family and friends! Pasalubong ng bayan.
❥ Chocolate Chip ala mode
Price: Php 125 ($ 2.41)
Remarks: Luscious. Just really, really luscious.
#3 Post Bakeshop
What to get:
❥ Tinalay ⭐️
Price: Php 4 ($0.08) per “set” (1 set = 5 “pieces”)
Description: Tinalay is a kind of bread we buy from Dumaguete, particularly from Post Bakery (best tinalay in Dumaguete). It’s filling to eat for breakfast and perfectly paired with a cup of coffee or cocoa/tsokolate. My sister even eats it with soda — she dips the tinalay in Coke! To give you a more on-point idea, tinalay is kinda like dinner rolls but the crispy kind. Surprisingly addicting.
#4 Chantilly Cake Haus
Chantilly has been a Dumaguete favorite since a few decades back. When I got there for college roughly a decade ago, I used to order their pastas and although they’re palatable enough, they’re not really something you SHOULD order when in Dumaguete. They also have meals like sizzling steaks and ribs but again, not something to rave about. The best thing I can recommend from here is their chantilly bread.
Con: Before, Chantilly was located just outside Silliman University which is very convenient to visit. Now, it’s in Claytown, Daro, which is quite remote from the downtown. I mean, it’s not really something you would want to travel to just because you want some pastry. But then again, it’s something worth the try.
Pro: If you want a quieter place to spend an afternoon gobbling sweets and sipping refreshing dalandan juice, Chantilly is a nice place to be.
What to order:
❥ Chantilly Bread
Price: Php 50 ($0.96)
Before anything else, here’s a food trivia about Dumaguete: They call pork barbecue “TOCINO”. My guess is because the marinade they use resembles that of a tocino’s, but don’t quote me on that. But if you are looking for the best tocinos in Dumaguete, you can quote me on this: THE BEST TOCINO IN DUMAGUETE CAN BE FOUND IN KURAMBOS & MANG ATCHAN’S!
#5 Kurambos Grillhauz 💛
Where to find them: San Juan St., Dumaguete City
A good barbecue — erm, tocino — is always a good idea. So if you want a satisfying meal in Dumaguete that’s not too costly, head to Kurambos Grill! They also have boodle sets available upon request for a minimum of only P5,000. This already include lechon belly and even “special food” that are off the menu like chicken halang-halang (chicken spicy soup) and talong salad (eggplant salad). We were not able to try their boodle set (Bummer, I know) but based on the food we’ve tried from their menu, I am confident that Kurambos will NOT disappoint you.
By the way, a lot of people thinks Kurambos is already closed permanently. That is so not true. Their Tubod branch is closed, yes, but Kurambos — thank God — is still open for business. They’re in San Juan Street, near West Elementary School.
❥ Tocino 💛⭐️
Price: Php 12 ($0.23) per stick
Tip: Pick ones that has fat. Grilled pork fat is sinfully yum!!!
Where to find it: Dr. V Locsin Street, Dumaguete City
Locally known as “ACSAT” because of its location, Mang Atchan’s is one local favorite you cannot dare to miss. It’s the one DIRECTLY across Asian College, formerly ACSAT. I am emphasizing “directly across” because another place turned up a few years back and it’s right beside Mang Atchan’s. I guess the main reason they now named the place “Mang Atchan’s Original Spiced Tocino” is because a lot of other establishments are now replicating their sauce and tocino.
This well-recognized place was once a super simple outside-the-house eatery that serves tocino (pork barbecue) and isaw (grilled chicken intestine). Locals LOVE their tocino and sauce that even esteemed professionals come here to dine. Over the years, improvements have been made and although it’s still a no-frill barbecue place, I can really see some changes. One thing hasn’t changed, though: Their tocino and sauce are to die for!!! Too bad we weren’t able to dine here. When we came, the place was already so full and we had a hungry toddler in tow so we had to rush to another place. I’m heartbroken that we hadn’t had the time to come back 🙁
❥ Tocino WITH SAUCE + Puso 💛⭐️
Please please please order their tocino (again, pick ones with fat) and order LOTS OF SAUCE. Eat with puso (hanging rice) = SOLB!!!!!! They also have isaw (chicken intestine) which I love, chicken feet, hotdog, chicken tocino, chorizo, and baticulon. The most important thing is, order LOTS OF SAUCE!!! It’s very unique and very addicting, I tell you.
#7 Gina’s Kabayo-an or Mangga
Where to find Gina’s: Pinili Street, Dumaguete City
When I was in college, Gina’s and “Mangga” had always been a favorite. I can eat there everyday and I wouldn’t mind. My go-to order is, of course, their juicy sinugbang baboy (grilled pork belly) and [a lot of] rice. They also serve free soup which is usually tinola.
Before we discovered Gina’s, we used to go to Mangga. There’s a very modest carinderia near Meciano Road which is, as what I’ve heard, the real source of Gina’s sinugba. People say the owners of Mangga eatery and Gina’s Kabayo-an are siblings but that’s not verified information. What I’m sure is that they have the same sinugba and it’s either owned by one person, one family or one company/partnership.
Gina’s is a carinderia with more food variety and a more “spruced up” setting whereas the one in Mangga is the more “basic” one with wooden tables and chairs, non-cemented flooring, and a very “smoky” environment. But, I would personally prefer Mangga if you’re really after the authentic experience of enjoying their sinugbang baboy. You have to note, though, that it is very “basic” and you would really really sweat while you eat — I never cared about the sweating! You may also leave smelling like grilled pork but nah, you can always freshen up after lunch, yeah?
The selling point of Gina’s Kabayo-an is their great variety, their “kabayo selections” (food using horse meat), and their UTOK (pig’s brain).
Since the carinderia in Mangga gets full even at 11 am when I was in college, we always end up going to Gina’s instead. I wasn’t a fan of utok then so I just order the sinugbang baboy (same one from Mangga) and then order one or two other dishes from Gina’s food selection. It’s usually another soup dish, bicol express, or whatever.
What to order:
❥ Sinugbang Baboy : Php 48 ($0.92)
❥ Utok : Php 55 ($1.06)
❥ Soup :FREE! Just ask for it.
#8 3 Little Pigs
Although it’s slightly off-lying, it’s the place to be if you’re craving for some lechon and you’re in Dumaguete. It’s another no-frills place and they only have a few on their menu but it’s really worth a try. Most people debate between the lechon here VS the lechon in Angkol’s but personally, we like it better here. I haven’t tried Kurambos’ lechon belly, though, so I can’t say which is best yet.
PS. Their kinilaw is skippable but if you want to pair it with lechon because lechon+kinilaw is always a good duo, go ahead.
PPS. They don’t serve soup so if you want — and I recommend you do — order nilaga from Baroroy Eatery which is just beside them. Just remember to return Baroroy’s bowls/plates when you’re done eating.
Another great place for some lechon is Angkols. They have a greater variety of food options, which is a plus, and their restaurant is definitely more snazzy than 3 Little Pigs. They also have some interesting features like fun food names and some hugot posters. I also love the innovative design of their faucet!
Description: You know pinakupsan? I think in Manila they call it chinicharon — I’m not sure. It’s pork fat cooked on its own oil. Angkols’ version is not so much of a WOW but I still like it and it’s not really expensive so I’d definitely order at least one plate.
#10 Tempura ni Bossing 💛⭐️
This is a very popular place in Dumaguete. It started as a popular thing in Silliman and then it spread nationwide and now almost every tourist comes to town looking for that ‘tempura with 5 levels of sauces”.
Like regular street food vendors, Bossing sells tempura (kikiam in Manila), squid rolls, squid balls, etc. but I like the quality of Bossing’s products better. But that’s not what attracts people to try Bossing’s tempura. Their very unique selling point is actually their very yummy sauce that’s, guess what: NUMBERED.
Yes, there’s #1, #2, up until #5 which is the “hottest” of all. During SU Founders’ Week (celebrated at the end of August), Tempura ni Bossing offers challenges wherein #6 sauces are available. What’s nice about their sauce is that it’s not only “challenging” but it’s also something you’d want more of. My husband also craved for this every single day.
The original spot of Tempura ni Bossing is the one outside New Men’s Dorm (just outside Silliman campus). Now it’s in-campus at the driveway of SU Medical School (near Doltz Hall, just a few meters away from the swimming pool/gymnasium). Today, Tempura ni Bossing already has other branches and even franchisers. You can find them at KrossCat, Don Bosco, West Elementary School, Cang’s Daro, Foundation University, and near St. Paul’s College.
#11 Rizal Boulevard ⭐️
This is definitely a must when in Dumaguete. You can just sit around and people-watch; you can brisk walk or jog; you can wait for the sunset; or you can enjoy the view and ambiance with some good street food while sitting on tiny chairs by the street. There’s a string of vendors available and all you have to do is sit on wherever is vacant. Order some tempura, fishballs, squid rolls, whatnot, but don’t ever forget to get balut!
Now this is not just a touristy thing to do in Dumaguete. Even locals love hanging out here! Right across the boulevard, you can also find an assortment of restaurants, cafes and even bars/clubs! Among them, my favorite “along the boulevard restaurants” are Sans Rival, Chin Loong, Don Atilano, and Casa Blanca.
Restaurants & Carinderias
#12 Royal Suites Inn
I’m not sure if a lot of students and tourists know this but this is like a “secret” local favorite. Right along L. Rovira Road in Bantayan lies a cozy guest house named Royal Suites Inn. I haven’t gone inside their hotel but I’ve been to their restaurant since college and they have one of the best sizzling pocheros I’ve had in my life! (I actually only have 2 top pocheros in my list. This one and another one in Cebu). This is a no-miss thing when in Dumaguete. I would say if you only have a few hours in Dumaguete and you want a good meal, this is where you have to go. Then just order some takeout silvanas from Sans Rival and some cheesebread from SU caf. That’s it. You’re good to go… and I swear, you would want to come back to Dumaguete ASAP!
❥ Sizzling Pochero 💛⭐️
Price: Php 695 ($13.38)
One more thing you can order is their 🔸 Spicy Spare Ribs (Php 285 / $5.49). It may be skippable, but it’s so sapid it would be a waste to not try it.
#13 Gabby’s Bistro ⭐️
Eclectic and very beguiling, Gabby’s Bistro wins “best ambiance”, hands down. I could just go there for brunch and then spend my entire day there. They have a lot of food choices — from Filipino to Mexican to American — and although their food is good, I can’t really say they’re a must-try. I think people come here for the ambiance, the Instagrammable features, and well, some really satisfying dessert. While their Oreo Bonanza is a popular choice, my favorite really is their mango crepe. It’s very delicious in every way; I didn’t want to share! Hahaha!
What to order:
❥ Mango Crepe 🔸
Price: Php 110 ($2.12)
#14 Qyosko ⭐️
Qyosko is another favorite and definitely one of Dumaguete’s Best. I came here very excited to get their salted fish friend rice and buttered chicken but sadly, they don’t have the salted fish fried rice on their menu anymore. Their serving also grew somewhat smaller than I remember. But taste-wise, Qyosko is still a place I would always come back for when in Dumaguete.
This is a very interesting place. Why? Because it’s named CT Burger but they specialize in chicken inasal! Their burger is not even a highlight at all! Hehe!! I don’t know why it’s called CT Burger but I know it’s one of those places you wouldn’t want to miss when in Dumaguete.
Pro Tip: Never, and I mean NEVER, forget to order their special chicken sauce. They have chicken oil available on every table but that’s not it. You have to ask them for their chicken sauce. It’s now available for a small fee whereas before, they already give it one out for free and you’ll only pay if you want to add more. Anyway, it’s perfect with their chicken inasal and even with other food like the chicken skin!
❥ Chicken Skin💛
❥ Chicken sauce💛⭐️
#16 Howyang Cuisine ⭐️
Formerly called Taster’s Delight, Howyang Cuisine is a local fastfood in Dumaguete. They have spaghettis, etc. and they’re very palatable but what’s very popular here are their burgers. My personal favorite is the cheeseburger but all their other burgers are yummy, too. Taster’s Delight, FYI, had been known to have the “BEST BURGER IN DUMAGUETE”. I wouldn’t argue with that although just a heads up, their burgers are like the local type of burgers. Don’t expect American burgers with US-grade patties. Expect Dumaguete burgers with a homey, crave-worthy, familiar-and-yet-new type of flavor.
#17 Cafe Racer ⭐️
Cafe Racer is the new hip place in Dumaguete. It is located just behind Lantaw Native Restaurant (another good restaurant but I’m not putting it on this list because it is can also be found in Cebu). The owner of Cafe Racer is also the one behind the famous Lantaw Native Restaurants and Mooon Cafes.
We went to Cafe Racer for a quick nightout so we were only able to try some finger food, cocktails and beers. My niece, who studied in Silliman, has tried eating here lots of times and she recommends their Chicken Wings and their Sizzling Kansi (Ilonggo version of bulalo + sinigang).
As for me, I would say their cocktails are okay. Regular cocktails but lacks the kick (I think they didn’t put the right amount of Vodka, etc.? I find the drinks tasty but not very “alcoholic”, and I’ve had these drinks on many different bars, even ones in New York so I really know how it’s “supposed” to taste.) What I love most about Cafe Racer, and I couldn’t stress this more, is their music. We arrived around 8:30-ish in the evening and left a little before 2am and I can say I was a little too engrossed at their music the whole time! I swear, of all the bars I’ve been to here and abroad, Cafe Racer’s music is one of the best EVER!!! But that’s just me, a 90s kid, talking.
#18 Sta. Teresa Resto
Sta. Teresa Resto started out as a homestyle resto that features alfresco dining and home-cooked meals just outside Sta. Teresa Dormitory along Hibbard Avenue, Piapi. Over the years, their food business grew and now they already have another branch downtown. They offer “fine carinderia meals”, if you know what I mean. Their prices are a bit higher than carinderia prices but their serving is quite hefty so I would say it’s still sulit. We weren’t able to dine here this time, though, because we also went to restaurants outside the city proper, but I’m really hoping I could bring my husband and son here someday as this is one of my go-to places for lunch when I was a student. I don’t know if it’s still the same but I remember vividly how I would want to order rice from them because “1 cup” from them is like 2.5cups in other restos/carinderias and it was only P10 each while rice is P7 or P8 on other restos/carinderias.
#19 Jo’s Inato 🔸
Jo’s Inato is known for their chicken inasal and although this has a lot of branches in other cities like Cagayan de Oro, I’m still putting this on this list because this is the original branch. I’d say you can order their Chicken Inato for the sake of trying it but if it were me, I’d totally skip it. If you’re already here, though, my suggestion is to order Chicken Inasal (I love pecho), Pork Sinigang or Tinola (if you want soup), Calamares, Chicken Skin, and then Buko Halo for dessert. My favorites from them are Chicken Skin (one of the best for me) and Buko Halo. Calamares is a runner-up.
We haven’t dined here the last time we went but we did eat at Jo’s by the Sea which is a branch of Jo’s Inato. It is by the sea, hence the name. When it comes to view and ambiance, Jo’s by the Sea won’t disappoint. It has a playground which is only open until 7pm so if you have kids, this place is a good options. Just don’t forget to bring mosquito repellants like lotions and stuff. Also, Jo’s by the Sea is very near Sea Forest Resort so if you want, you can spend the day in Sea Forest and then dine in Jo’s by the Sea!
#20 Baroroy Eatery 🔸
I’m not sure how many branches they have but I’m pretty sure there’s quite a few Baroroy Eateries around town. We’ve only tried the one in Daro, though. They’re an open carinderia that offers home-cooked meals for a cheaper price. I asked one of the tinderas what their specialty is and she said it’s Soup #5 (soup made from a bull’s testes or penis). We’re not fans of Soup #5 so we got their Beef Nilaga and it was so flavorful! We ate it with 3 Little Pigs’ lechon. YUMMERS!
What to order:
❥ Beef Nilaga
❥ Soup #5
#21 Tiangge 💛⭐️
If you have the time, give one day to wake up very early in the morning (4:30-5am!) to head to the tiangge (palengke) for Puto & Sikwate. Puto is a Filipino steamed rice cake while Sikwate is tsokolate or hot chocolate made from native cacao seeds. Absolutely the perfect two!
Outside the city
We’ve been to a number of off-the-city restaurants and cafes like Mike’s Dauin Dive Resort and Tanjay boulevard but these 2 are our absolute favorites and we highly recommend you to try them. I will, however, have separate blogs for them. Links will be provided as soon as they’re posted.
#22 Alimyon Kapehan 💛⭐️
This is one of the first restaurants we went to because out of the “new” restos I haven’t tried, this is the one I’m most intrigued about. I will write a separate blog about this place and will incorporate the link here once it’s posted. 🙂
What to order:
❥ Halang2x/Tinola (better if native chicken is available)
Price: Php 360 ($6.94)
❥ Niluyang na saging
Price: Php 60 ($1.16)
Price: Php 5 ($0.10)
#23 Dream Cafe 💛
I will write a separate blog for The Dream Cafe. It’s a super relaxing place for a meal especially if you’re going to or coming from Apo island. Here’s a sneak on how this dreamy place looks:
That’s it! I know the list is long but Dumaguete is a food haven and I can’t forgive myself if I don’t share to everyone what’s the best in Dumaguete. Watch our entire food trip in Dumaguete in the video below. We’ve eaten at some places I haven’t listed here. Again, it may be quite long but trust me, it’ll be worth it… and while you’re at it, give me some love by liking the video if you enjoyed it and PLEASE subscribe to my channel for more foodie travels, mommy misadventures, honest reviews and recos, and everything in between! Love lots!!! ♥