Ilocanos have a passionate relationship with food; the restaurants in Vigan City will easily introduce you to this side of the region. Much like its effervescent people, the local cuisine rejects blandness, having recipes usually peppered with an interesting mix of spices and seasonings, mostly pairing beautifully with some sort of sawsawan. And because robust flavours mark Ilocano fare, you’ll find edgy and distinct dishes everywhere, whether you dine in a native food stall or a fancy fusion restaurant in Vigan City.
Must-try restaurants in Vigan City, Ilocos Sur
1. First Sinanglaoan
“Tara, mag-sinanglaw tayo” is the Ilocano family’s version of “I love you.” A sour variety of pinapaitan, sinanglaw is a local staple, made of beef innards and flavoured with kamias and bile.
Locals enjoy having breakfast or lunch at First Sinanglaoan, so expect long queues even early in the morning. If you’re a big eater, you can indulge in three cups of rice with just one order of sinanglaw — sabaw pa lang, ulam na. And here’s an insider tip: Flavour your sinanglaw with sukang Iloko, pespes, and sliced onions. Bottles and plates of each are available on every table.
Address: Gov. A Reyes St. Brgy. VIII. (south-west of Paradores de Vigan), City of Vigan, Philippines
2. Casa Jardin Empanada and Okoy
What once started as a humble carinderia has now turned into one of Vigan’s most talked-about restaurants. Casa Jardin, colloquially referred to as “CJ’s,” is a rising star, best known for its massive servings of empanada and okoy. The former is a deep-fried pastry stuffed with Vigan longganisa, egg, and grated papaya or bean sprouts; the latter is an Ilocano variation of a crunchy shrimp omelette, with frizzled pieces of onions, tomatoes, and herbs.
Address: V Delos Reyes St. corner Mabini St. 2700 City of Vigan, Philippines
3. Hidden Garden
Lilong and Lilang, aka the Hidden Garden, is one of the best-kept secret restaurants in Vigan City. Tucked behind bamboo walls, the destination welcomes tourists through floral archways, leading them into a vast dining area surrounded by a makeshift tropical forest.
Despite its impressive ambience, Hidden Garden offers delicious food for reasonable prices; its best-sellers include bagnet lomo-lomo, longganisa poqui-poqui, sinanglao dinengdeng, and chicken inasal.
Address: Bulala Vigan City, Katipunan St, Vigan City
4. Kusina Felicitas
Heritage restaurants abound in Vigan City, with Kusina Felicitas leading the pack. Step inside and you’ll discover a well-preserved abode built with 18th-century materials. The restaurant upgrades Ilocano fare by merging local flavours with other regional staples.
Order a plate of pinakbet with bagnet and a bowl of pipian na manok (a sour variation of kare-kare) for an indulgent meal. Kusina Felicitas also serves dishes from different parts of the northern region, including Abra, Ilocos Norte, La Union, and Benguet.
Address: 1 Bonifacio, Vigan City
5. Cafe Leona
If you want a quirky food experience, head to Cafe Leona, a restaurant in Calle Crisologo that fuses Ilocano flavours with Italian and Japanese recipes. Their unique menu items reel in a number of travellers daily, including Japanese and Western tourists. If you’re an adventurous foodie, try out their pinakbet pizza and bagnet-bacon maki — you won’t be sorry!
Address: #1 Calle Crisologo, Vigan City
6. Coffee Break
Offering the award-winning Sigay Robusta coffee, Coffee Break boasts several must-try beverages (caffeinated and not) for remarkably affordable prices. Most of their expresso-based drinks are available for under ₱100! In addition to their drinks, Coffee Break also sells budget-friendly rice meals, snacks, and pasta.
Address: 3 Casa Feril, Salcedo St. corner Crisologo St. 2700 City of Vigan, Philippines
7. 1995 Studio Cafe
If you’re strolling along Calle Crisologo with a travel buddy who isn’t as eager to grab another bite of bagnet, stop over at 1995 Studio Cafe first. This coffee shop is quite popular among local students for its chicken wings and filling rice meals.
Of course, you can still get your fill of Ilocano goodness here: You can’t go wrong with their Ilocano platter! So if you’re craving both local cuisine and a glass of milk tea (no judgment!), this restaurant in Vigan offers the best compromise.
Address: Ground Floor GSP Building, Leona Florentino corner Plaridel St. Vigan, Ilocos Sur 2700 City of Vigan, Philippines
8. Toning’s Store and Special Empanada
Arguably the least prominent of all the food spots on this list, Toning’s Store and Special Empanada is but a humble stall in Tamag. It serves Batac empanada and Abra miki — perfect if you’re searching for a wider variety of Ilocano food. Students adore this empanada hub so much that they’ve found comfort in this particular brand of crispy pastry. If you’re heading to Baluarte, Toning’s is the perfect place to grab a quick and easy snack.
Address: Quirino Boulevard, Tamag, Vigan City
9. Angkong Seafood Restaurant
Aside from the Spaniards, the Chinese also left a big impact on Vigan. Unknown to most, the brick and wood structures in the city are actually resemblant to traditional Chinese architecture. After World War II, Chinese merchants flocked to Vigan to do business. Up until now, you will find that the majority of the residents in the city are of Chinese-Ilocano descent.
Surprisingly, the Chinese influence in the city didn’t quite translate as well in terms of food. Angkong Seafood Restaurant claims to be the only restaurant in Vigan (and Ilocos Sur) that serves authentic Chinese food. Plus, the meals are all affordable — or as we like to say, Ilocano-friendly!
Address: 88 Burgos St, Vigan City
10. Cafe Bigaa
While Cafe Bigaa has brought its lustre to this day, it has expanded since 1870. From a mere gastropub, it’s now a full-blown fine dining restaurant in Vigan Plaza Hotel. It serves everything you can ever wish for from a Vigan restaurant: from the basic Ilocano dishes to the fanciest platters. The health-conscious can enjoy a Vigan salad, and the young can indulge in a serving of bagnet con bagoong. There’s also the poqui-poqui pizza, the longganisa pasta, and the paella Ilocandia. Can’t decide on what to order? Get their Vigan Sampler, which has it all: bagnet, pinakbet, longganisa, pork dinaldalem, and sinanglaw.
Address: Plaza Burgos, Vigan Plaza, Crisologo, Vigan City
11. Kubo Ville
Have you ever experienced waking up in the middle of the night, hungry for some local delicacies? You’re not alone. If ever you’re wondering where to eat in Vigan City at the most random times, just head over to Kubo Ville. This open-air restaurant serves Ilocano meals 24/7. And while its ambience embraces the beautiful Filipino design, it serves sulit and masa-friendly meals.
Address: Salcedo Street, Barangay 3, Vigan City
12. Cafe Uno
Looking for a hearty breakfast meal? Cafe Uno is a popular restaurant in Vigan that serves all kinds of silogs, from tapa Ilocano to danggit, for cheap prices. It’s a pretty straightforward cafe — perfect for slow and sleepy mornings as much as for intimate late-night conversations. If you’re up for an adventure, you can also go ahead and order the exotic adobo nga abuos (mountain ant eggs) or tokak (deep-fried frogs).
Address: Grandpa’s Inn, 1 Bonifacio, Vigan City
13. 7th Ave. Diner
7th Ave. Diner, previously SmokEatz Grill and Chill, is more of a local hangout spot than it is a tourist go-to. Nevertheless, this restaurant in Vigan serves delectable grilled meals for cheap. After their exams, students head to 7th Ave. Diner to order some beer with a very native pulutan — tokwa’t bagnet. After you’ve exhausted all the touristy spots in Vigan, you can finally find some time to relax with your travel buds here.
Address: Quirino Boulevard, Vigan City
14. Dario Ristorante
Wondering where to eat in Vigan City when you’re looking for something a little fancier and family-friendly? As the main restaurant of Safari Hotel and Villas, Dario Ristorante stands out for its appetising meals. The Vigan restaurant serves a wide variety of gastronomic delights — from kid-friendly pasta and pizza to Ilocano staples like longganisa, poqui-poqui, and bagnet.
Address: Katipunan St, Vigan City
15. Tessie’s Restaurant
Indeed, Vigan City has its glamorous side. But if you’re a traveller searching for where to eat in Vigan when you’re on a budget, you can trust Tessie’s Restaurant to satisfy your cravings. At this two-storey carinderia-style eatery, you can expect to enjoy silog and budget meals that will only cost you ₱50 to ₱150. Tessie’s is best known for its huge, tasty, and affordable siopao and its lomi dish with kimchi.
Address: #52 Gen. Luna St., Vigan City, Ilocos Sur, Vigan City
There’s no doubt about it — this city is a blossoming food district. So the next time you happen to travel to the North, make sure to try out these impeccable restaurants in Vigan City.