Laoag Philippines – Best Places to Eat
You won't find any organized street food alleys here but you're likely to encounter food carts and kiosks around schools, local market, and parks. We do recall seeing a motley crew of food stalls a few blocks from Laoag Plaza where you can munch on popular street food fares such as empanada (stuffed bread) and miki (noodle dish). Other than this, we recommend the following restaurants to get the most out of your gastronomic journey in the city.
Ask any local where to dine and they'll most likely refer you to Saramsam Ylocano Restaurant (Rizal Street Corner Hizon St., N. Corpuz Building, Barangay 7-A). We heeded one such advice and were not disappointed. Everything was cooked to perfection and reasonably priced. The ambience wasn't too bad either with various vintage knick-knacks in every nook and cranny. Make sure to order bagnet (deep fried crispy pork belly), poqui-poqui (roasted eggplant with tomatoes and eggs), sinanglaw (beef and beef offal soup), and wash it down with the refreshing sampaloc juice.
La Preciosa (Rizal Street, Laoag) is another restaurant known for their authentic Ilocano dishes. Like Saramsam, it's almost always packed so make sure to make a reservation when you can. Again, you can't go wrong with traditional food such as bagnet and poqui-poqui here. We also loved their crispy dinuguan (pork offal, meat, and pig blood stew). The Spanish inspired interior is also perfect for enjoying a good cup of coffee with a slice of their famous carrot cake. Do not miss it!
Western and International Food
The lack of restaurants catering to the foreign palates is hardly surprising considering that the region is known for their culinary pride. If you've had your fill of local delicacies, however, we recommend dropping by at Don Saros Restaurant (Brgy 8 S. Hernando Ave., Brgy 8 S. Hernando Ave Corner Primo Lazaro) for an authentic Italian dining experience. It's a small place but has a homey and really friendly atmosphere. They also serve their own bread freshly baked from scratch which is typical of real Italian restaurants. We enjoyed their cold cuts, carbonara, and semifreddo but hope they serve pizza soon.
Eagle's Nest Restaurant (Java Hotel, Farinas Caltex Service Station, Bacarra Road, 55B Salet) is where you go for the best baby back ribs in the region. The restaurant has a nice atmosphere and the staff are polite and professional. If you like being serenaded while chowing down lunch then you will definitely like it here. They also serve local dishes but a lot of patrons go here for the steak.
Cafes and Coffee Houses
Johnny Moon Cafe (La Tabacalera Ilocano Lifestyle Center) is named after one of our National Artist, Juan Luna. The cafe's concept is centred on it so don't be taken aback when the staff offers you to wear his signature top hat and moustache for a photo op. We really liked its youthful vibe as well as their fusion dishes though we sat down only for a quick snack. Their bibingka (rice cake) is perfect with a steaming hot of coffee and the fruit shakes were refreshing.
The City Cup Cafe (Jose P.Rizal St.) is located right at the heart of the city so finding it is not a problem. We liked the cosy interior and the fairly strong WiFi connection which is a rarity in the city. Plus point for having a smoking area too. We went there for a quick caffeine fix and while my friends enjoyed their cappuccino and tea, I was over the moon with the fact that they serve Vietnamese drip coffee. That alone makes this coffee shop a must-visit.