Places to Eat in Dumaguete
As a university town and an emerging tourist destination, Dumaguete's food scene is geared towards those who favour quality and affordability. Start your gastronomic exploration at Rizal Boulevard where you can taste various street food such as fish and squid balls, tempura, balut (fertilized duck egg), penoy (unfertilized duck egg), and tocino (cured meat). You may also visit Building One of Dumaguete's Public Market for some home cooked dishes and native delicacies such as puto (sticky rice muffin) which is usually paired with a cup of hot cocoa. Vendors set out plastic chairs and tables so you can dig in properly. Here are more recommendations for your next Dumaguete food crawl.
Already a legend among the locals, Bossing’s Tempura (inside Silliman University with branches scattered throughout the city) is famous for its 5-level sauces that accompanies the popular street food. Level 0 being the sweetest and 5 being fiery hot. Like most people, challenge yourself to dip number 5. Don't worry if it scorches your tongue, Bossing also sells coconut juice to quell the burn. Tempura and Squid Roll costs about PHP4 to PHP5 each.
Another favourite student hangout here is at Neva's Brick Oven Pizzas (Hibbard Ave. corner Amigo Subdv.) for their budget pasta, pizza, and chicken. Their pizzas could go as low as PHP108 earning them the moniker of "home of the kuripot( tightwad) pizza". We had the cheese and garlic and it was really tasty. Dining place is semi-open but there's a second floor with a/c.
Jo's Chicken Inato (Silliman Avenue) is another home grown restaurant famous for their grilled chicken. This place is usually packed during meal times and can be a bit humid but second floor dining has a/c. It's pay as you order and you have to wait a bit for your food but it's well worth it. The chicken is juicy and flavourful and is best eaten by hands. You can make your own dip out of patis (fish sauce), calamansi, and chili pepper.
If you're missing home and your home is somewhere in Europe then Casablanca Restaurant (Rizal Ave) has the cure. It's one of the nicer dining places along Rizal Boulevard and is perfect for a nightcap. They have an excellent wine and beer selection and you can have frozen margaritas during Happy Hour! We had the meat and cheese platter, Shepherd's Penne, and schnitzel with fries and everything was just divine.
Ciao Bella Dumaguete located in E.J.Blanco is another wonderful choice for some Italian goodness. This place is actually a bar too so if you've been sober for years and wish to avoid the drinking crowd, best to come earlier in the day. We had the rotolo, aglio e olio peperoncino, and the Ciao Bella burger and we have to say it's on par with it's Italian counterparts.
Cafes and Coffee Houses
For desserts, you simply cannot leave Dumaguete without going to Sans Rival Cakes and Pastries ( San Jose Street). Hands down the best silvanas (cookie sandwich) in the country, not even kidding. We came here to get some for people back home but we couldn't resist checking out their cake selection too. We sat down for a slice of carrot cake and caramel cheesecake and both tasted heavenly along with our tea and espresso. Lovely ambiance as the place is a nicely restored Spanish colonial house.
Last but not least, From the Kitchen of Mel's Cafe (Sta. Catalina street) located on the second floor of UTH Bldg. is a quaint restaurant with a very hands on lady owner. We had the famous hazelnut butterbeer and cheesy dory and it did not disappoint. Small interior with playful drawings and everything on the menu is quite affordable. Perfect place for a nice chitchat with friends since they have no WiFi.