I Eat Dumaguete
“Dumaguete cuisine is more Filipino-Spanish fusion,” said Malca, a local and a good friend. She then pointed us, Booboo, Alex and I, to a few more restaurants she marked as her favorites.
What we liked about the City of Gentle People is how everything is easily accessible by foot or a short tricycle ride that costs P8 per head.
Food in this city is very affordable. A meal, generous serving size, fancily plated, and served in an upscale restaurant, will cost around Php250 on average. It's equivalent in the bigger cities would be double, if not triple the price. Yes, can easily get spoiled here.
Let’s start with the most affordable place to feast. Siliman University
Cafeteria Perhaps Dumaguete City’s top attraction is Siliman University. Do stop by the cafeteria for refreshments or a meal after a tour of the campus.
The cafeteria is quite popular with its cheese bread, a glazed hotdog bun-shaped bread with cheese filling. It’s like a cross between Spanish bread and cheese bread. Like any other bread, it’s best enjoyed hot from the oven.
Do try the baked siopao, too. It’s a break from the regular steamed variety and more filling.
For a bit of nostalgia and reminiscing on the college days, take a tray, queue at the food counter, point at the items you fancy, take your spot in the student-filled dining hall and enjoy your meal.
On the table for two people were humba (a house specialty), pork chop, dinuguan, ampalaya salad, a slice of embutido (not recommending this), two cups of rice, avocado salad for dessert and two bottles of water. All for (kaching!) Php230 only.
Serve yourself with free
hot soup. It’s beside the water station.
Tinto, E.J. Blanco Drive, Piapi
The location of Tinto is on the ground floor of the newly opened Hotel La Casona along a residential strip. It’s a Spanish resto we were told and on board the tricycle we didn’t spot the signage but the arched detail of the exterior and oak barrel tables were given away that we were at the right place.
The look is carried into the interiors with the tiled flooring, painted plates as wall and heavy use of wood.
On the menu are Spanish staples of tapas and steaks and a few American, Italian and Filipino selections like the beef burger, pasta, and chorizo burger.
We wanted to go all Spanish and ordered Croquetas de Bechamel (Php140), Callos (Php210), Beef Salpicao (Php190).
The croquetas were very tasty, the béchamel made it so. I liked it.
The callos was cooked right according to my foodie friend. It had the smoky flavor and perfect consistency. I passed on the dish because the fat will surely cause my nape to ache (you know what that means).
I enjoyed the salpicao though. Tinto’s spin was the used butter with the olive oil, which might raise the Españols’ eyebrows. The crispy slivers of garlic was a heavenly contrast (for me).
Tres Bistro, Tubod, Hibbard Avenue
A local pointed us to this place. It’s another fusion restaurant and the interiors agree. Don't get me wrong. It’s a nice cozy restaurant with a hodgepodge of interior styles.
True enough the menu is extensive offering a mix of cuisines from Spanish to American, Pinoy to Creole.
We were still full from the lunch but we had to try a couple of dishes at least.
I ordered a specialty, Pasta Diablo, spicy angel hair pasta with shrimps (Php 165), and for Booboo, Spanish Chorizo Rice (Php110).
As the name suggested, the pasta was one hell of a spicy dish. The tomato sauce was rich and purposely sweetened to lessen the blow of the hot spicy flavor. Maybe I was not too hungry or maybe I found it too sweet for my taste, I wasn’t able to finish the dish.
Gabby’s, Paseo Perdices, Rizal Boulevard
This bistro was recommended by the younger set. Gabby’s in the Paseo Perdices along the boulevard is one of the branches of the restaurant in the city.
It’s a barbecue, pasta and pizza kind of place. It's bursting with colors like we were dining outdoors somewhere in Mexico, and we were two Gen Xers in a roomful of millennials.
Food choices were leaping out of the pages of the menu, but after “careful deliberation”, we opted for one of the house specialties, the Ribs Barbie Q- grilled hickory smoked spare ribs (Php245); Garlicky Shrimp Pizza (Php315); for dessert, another house specialty, the Mango Crepe (Php110); and a couple of fresh fruit smoothies (Php75 each).
The spare ribs were tasty, sweet and tender; the pizza was okay but the thick crust was too much like focaccia, which was a bit off for us; and the dessert was heaven. They didn't scrimp on the size and ingredient serving like there was one whole mango in the blanket of crepe.
Compared to other restos, Gabby’s pricing is on the higher side. But the dessert though made everything forgivable.
I can confidently say everyone visiting Dumaguete won’t only bring home fond memories or a few boxes of silvanas, but the extra weight around the belly as well.
Next issue: Dumaguete’s sweetest things.
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“I can confidently say everyone visiting Dumaguete won’t only bring home fond memories or a few boxes of silvanas, but the extra weight around the belly as well.
Gabby's Bistro's Mango Crepe
Tres Bistro's Spanish Chorizo Rice
Tinto's Spanish touches in its exterior
Entrance of Gabby's Bistro at Paseo Perdices
Silimian cafeteria must-try- cheesebread and baked siopao
Tinto's Croquetas de Bechemel & Callos
Siliman University cafetria
Tinto's Beef Salpicao spiked with butter
Tres Bistro's Pasta Diablo
Gabby's Bistro's RIbs Barbie Q