Many of my friends ask me for advice about where to eat in Baguio. The thing is, Baguio isn’t really a place of proud delicacies. Juxtaposed with Pampanga or Cebu (yes, lechon!), this city’s cuisine will pale in comparison. The strawberries, ube jam, and coffee beans? They hail from Baguio’s neighbouring towns. So, what is so special about going on a food trip in Baguio City?
Here’s a little insider information: Baguio has really affordable food. It’s a university town — the food establishments need to thrive through offering student-friendly meals. Besides that, Baguio is a melting pot of cultures; thus, you’ll find a wide variety of authentic cuisine in the city. Be it Cordilleran, Ilocano, American, Chinese, or Korean meals, everything tastes delightfully real in Baguio.
Along with the booming tourism, capitalism has thrived in Baguio City as well. You’ll find restaurant after restaurant lined along the streets of the city. As a traveller, you might get quite overwhelmed with the bizarre number of restaurants and fast food chains. To help you decide where to eat in Baguio, I’ve come up with a list of eateries every traveller will definitely enjoy.
A taste of the classics
1. Jack’s Restaurant
Jack’s is a famous restaurant among the Cordilleran community, especially for serving its renowned Jack’s Rice. This meal was actually an accidental invention, and it has filled the stomachs of many Baguio locals since — my mother and her sister, when they were back in college, included. Its contents include a filling pork chop and juicy chicken, a topping of fried egg, and a side of chop suey. Certainly affordable and very satisfying, Jack’s Rice has certainly grown into a local favourite.
Address: Laperal Building, Session Road, Baguio City
2. Cathy’s Fastfood
Rainy days in Baguio call for a visit to Cathy’s Fastfood. I adore this place because it literally shows you the vastness of life in the city of pines. You’ll see happy families, drunk students, and cowboys feasting over a piping hot meal (and many times, a bucket of Pale Pilsen).
Address: 24 Diego Silang Street, Baguio City
3. Luisa’s Café
If you’d like a taste of old school Baguio, Luisa’s Café is your best bet. Although it’s not as popular as the other new eateries in the city, this café has endured years and years of change. Today, it’s mostly the go-to restaurant of the local press. Rumour has it that Nick Joaquin used to travel all the way to Baguio to dine here, too!
To make the most out of your time, buy a local newspaper, order some brewed coffee, and sit at the second floor. (You’ll know what’s so exciting about this when you actually do it.) Wait for your order to come up through the dumb waiter! (Fun fact: This was another one of my mother’s favourite restaurants back when she was a law student!)
Address: 53 Session Road, Baguio City
4. Rose Café
I may be the first one to tell you: When you’re choosing where to eat in Baguio with your barkada, Rose Café might not be the best option for you. This hole-in-the-wall eatery is only small enough for a person to enter, eat, then exit. Is it worth a try? Definitely. Take in the culture, be kind to the servers, and enjoy the warmth of your pancit guisado.
Address: 35 Diego Silang Street, Baguio
For the artsy foodies
5. Ili Likha Artist Village
Literally a masterpiece by film National Artist Kidlat Tahimik, Ili Likha Artist Village is more than just a food stop. Talk to the servers and cooks, and you’ll learn that this is place is a home. A food park before food parks were even a thing, Ili Likha offers several healthy and hearty food choices specially curated by artisans.
Address: Assumption Road, Baguio City
6. Café Yagam
If Baguio had to have a signature local cuisine, it should technically be Cordilleran food. Café Yagam wins this spot for me. The café offers pinuneg, kiniwar, pinikpikan, etag, and many other Cordilleran dishes.
Aside from its delectable food, Café Yagam offers quite an authentic Baguio feel with its ambience. Surrounded by pine trees, this café is built as a regular Baguio home, complete with a fireplace and wooden furniture. With its homey atmosphere, Café Yagam is a favourite venue for spoken poetry events.
Address: 25 J. Felipe Street, Gibraltar, Baguio City
7. Arca’s Yard Café
Among all the other options of where to eat in Baguio, Arca’s Yard Café is probably the millennial traveller’s dream. Its location is the bomb, allowing its visitors to overlook the city and enjoy the cool breeze. Its aesthetic is certainly IG-worthy. Aside from being a café with cool food items, Arca’s Yard Café also doubles as a library and museum!
Address: Ambuklao Road, Baguio
Great for families and barkadas
8. Good Taste Café & Restaurant
Celebrating a graduation? A birthday? Despedida? Reunion? In Baguio, every big event must be held in Good Taste Restaurant. Its large orders are the epitome of sulit. If you’re with a group, don’t hesitate to order a platter of buttered chicken, beef with broccoli, soup, and fried rice! Their desserts are also heavenly, and very affordable.
Address: Otek Street, Baguio
9. Pizza Volante
Every time I visit Baguio, I never fail to drop by Volante. In fact, I have my go-to order (take a breath, because this is pretty heavy): four cheese pizza, mussels in red sauce with white wine pasta, brewed coffee, and chocolate vanilla affair. Back in college, I also loved having Volante when I was cramming. (They’re open 24/7 and they deliver!) They offer great rice meals below ₱100, all of which are much healthier than fast food options.
Address: Session Theatre Building, Session Road, Baguio (The branch with best tasting food, in my opinion!)
10. Choco-late de Batirol
Choco-late de Batirol is one of the well-known restaurants in Baguio City among tourists. Its outdoor ambience is undeniably cosy, and won’t fail to bring you the best image of Baguio. Also, their hot choco is definitely a must-try!
Address: Igorot Park, Camp John Hay, Baguio
Canto has evolved into a tourist favourite, and for a good reason! It offers reasonably priced Western food (their Lomo ribs are a crowd pleaser!), and its ambience is great. Not known to many, though, is that Canto is also a homegrown restaurant. Before gaining a number of fans when they moved to Ketchup Community, Canto was a quaint food joint in Engineer’s Hill!
Address: 25 Kisad Road, Baguio
12. Hodori Korean & Japanese Restaurant
Who doesn’t love samgyupsal? Because Baguio has a high population of Koreans, many Korean restaurants have spread across the city. One of the most accessible ones from Session Road is Hodori. The last time I checked, eat-all-you-can only costs ₱350. Better grab the chance to eat affordable samgyupsal while you can!
Address: Lower Mabini Street, Baguio
Burger lovers need not look further — Miwishayu has the best-tasting burgers in town. There’s a wide variety of burger flavours here! They also offer pretty good milkshakes, because all those burgers will definitely leave you thirsty. The place is clean, minimalistic, and definitely worth a try.
Address: 27 Leonard Wood Road, Baguio
14. Vizco’s Restaurant and Cake Shop
Craving for some sweets? Vizco’s has such good cake that it was here where I first learned to appreciate dessert. I remember that moment so clearly: My housemate brought home a piece of strawberry shortcake, which I hesitantly obliged to taste. I’ve gone there for my cake fix ever since.
Address: Porta Vaga Mall, Session Road, Baguio
Going on a food trip in Baguio will allow you to experience much more than a variety of flavours. If you choose where to eat in Baguio wisely, you’ll be taken into the fascinating culture of this melting pot in the north.