Whether it’s to escape Manila’s sticky summer heat or to treat the whole family to a chilly Christmas vacay, the six-hour Manila-to-Baguio roadtrip is always worth the drive. Because it means getting to huddle around the table in fuzzy sweaters and taking comfort in the city’s delicious food!
Biting into La Trinidad’s juicy strawberries and eating Good Shepherd’s Ube Jam by the spoonful are some of the obligatory foodie things you need to do here. But on your next trip to the City of Pines, shake things up by visiting the top restaurants in Baguio for 2015! Think you can squeeze all ten into your itinerary?
10. Le Chef
The best way to reward yourself after a traffic-laden journey to Baguio is to dine at Le Chef, one of the city’s more upscale restaurants. The man behind the food here is Chef Billy King who, after working in posh restaurants in London and the Middle East, came to the Philippines and introduced us to the concept of fine dining.
This restaurant is hailed as the place with the best breakfast buffet spread in town, never running out of bacon or Baguio Longganisa! But if you’re here for lunch or dinner, you have to get your hands on their bestselling tender and succulent Ribeye and Tenderloin Steaks.
Le Chef can be found at The Manor, Loakan Rd., Camp John Hay, Baguio, Benguet.
9. Arca’s Yard
If you’re wondering where the yard is, step out onto the balcony to find the biggest, most beautiful one yet! Trees in the foreground, mountains as the backdrop, and clouds hanging from above–it’s a sight to behold! But the view inside is just as pretty as the one outside, decorated with art pieces that represent the Igorot culture.
This cafe doubles up as a museum and library, making it the perfect place to get some wanted solitude. As you get engrossed in a book, help yourself to a drink and a slice of pie. Their bestseller is Arca’s Cloud Tea, infused with cream and wild honey, and Arca’s Sweet Potato ala Mode, a sweet and rich kamote pie topped with cream.
Arca’s Yard can be found at Tiptop City Limit, 777 Ambuklao Rd., Baguio, Benguet.
8. Cafe by the Ruins
Cafe by the Ruins, one of the most well-loved restaurants in Baguio, has been around for twenty five years. Where it stands now used to be the site for the Benguet governor’s residence, until it was demolished in the Japanese-American war. With just a wall left of the house, the restaurant’s owners creatively built around the relic, incorporating a piece of history into the cafe’s design!
The Baguio Bagnet is an order you won’t regret in this classic cafe, the meat tender and totally worth the cholesterol! This typical Ilocano dish is softened in lard, refried for some crunch, and served with brown rice, padas bagoong, tomato relish, and dinengdeng soup. Cap off your Filipino meal with an English dessert called the Traditional Strawberry Shortcake — an indulgent treat of strawberries, shortbread, and whipped cream.
Cafe by the Ruins can be found at 25 Shuntug St., Baguio, Benguet.
7. Choco-late de Batirol
Pine trees rustling in the wind, the cool breeze caressing your face, and steam rising up from your mug. This is the year-round scenario at Choco-late de Batirol, a garden cafe in Baguio that specializes in everyone’s favorite cold weather drink — hot chocolate! Using the traditional method of mixing tsokolate in a metal pot with a batirol, your drink is served to you indulgently thick and rich!
The Traditional blend is the favorite here, a simple but delicious combination of bitter and sweet. But for other flavors, they have strawberry, orange, almond, choco mallows, and cinnamon. Pair your Choco-late de Batirol drink with their homemade Filipino breakfast treats like Bibingka, Suman sa Lihia, and Turon de Langka.
Choco-late de Batirol can be found at Igorot Park, Camp John Hay, Baguio, Benguet.
6. Strawberries and Ice Cream
When life gives you strawberries, make ice cream, parfaits, and shakes! Just like how this ice cream parlor is putting Baguio’s strawberries to good use. It may be freezing cold in this city already, but you’re not going to want to pass up on the icy desserts here served in big, shareable portions.
Wiljohn M. in his looloo review highly recommends the Simply Strawberry Ice Cream. “The perfect mix of ice cream and fresh strawberries made rich by the whipped cream. The sweetness of the ice cream goes well with the natural sourness of the strawberries.”
Strawberries and Ice Cream can be found at Filling Station, Ordonio Drive, Camp John Hay, Baguio, Benguet.
5. Hill Station
If you want both your eyes and palate to be impressed, Hill Station will do a mighty fine job at that. This famous award-winning restaurant is owned by Mitos Benitez-Yniquez, a well-traveled culinary expert. Which explains why her menu is a blend of Asian, European, and American influences. While it may be fine dining up in here, you get to relax to the ambiance of a cozy Baguio log cabin.
Locally sourced ingredients are used to prepare the dishes here. Among the top picks from the slew of entrees is the Moroccan Spiced Baby Back Ribs, the meat slow-roasted and then charbroiled to a crisp. Other favorites are the Lechon Kawali with Laing sa Gata and the Cambodian Coriander and Garlic Chicken.
For dessert, you must treat yourself to their Ice Cream Palette! This gives you five scoops of rich and creamy homemade ice cream creatively presented on a painter’s palette.
Hill Station can be found at Casa Vallejo, 111 Session Rd., Baguio, Benguet.
If QC has StrEat: Maginhawa Food Park, Baguio has Ketchup: The Food Community. Within this food compound, you get to choose from five restaurant concepts, one of which is Canto.
They serve pizza and burgers but the Lomo Ribs are the real specialty here. And you don’t need a big wad of cash to enjoy them. Imagine a full slab of Lomo Ribs at just ₱400! It’s huge enough to feed three people, by the way.
Arianne S. is just one of the many fans of Canto’s ribs. She raves about them in her looloo review, saying that the meat is melt-in-your-mouth tender and that the barbecue sauce goes perfectly well with the meat.
Canto can be found at Ketchup: The Food Community, Romulo Drive, Lualhati, Baguio, Benguet.
3. Amare La Cucina
When eating pizza, the crusts usually end up in the reject pile at the side of our plates. But at Amare La Cucina, polishing the crust off isn’t a cumbersome chore, but rather something that’s highly enjoyable!
The pizza dough in this Italian restaurant is hand-tossed for everyone to see and then baked in a wood fire brick oven. The temperature goes so high in it that it only takes a couple of minutes for your pizza to be cooked. The dough then comes out all crispy around the edges and chewy at the center.
You can order their bestselling Pepperoni Pizza or Truffle Foie Gras Pizza, or you can create your own flavor if you’re feeling pro. For dessert, their pizzas take a sweet turn with creations like the Nutella Pizza and the Roasted Mallow-Speculoos Pizza.
Amare La Cucina can be found at EGI Albergo Hotel, 1 Villamor Drive, Lualhati, Baguio, Benguet.
Feeling at home in Chaya isn’t difficult because it looks exactly like every Filipino grandma’s house. It’s wooden everything from top to bottom, with colorful bits and bobs adding color to the place. While you might expect traditional local food to emerge from its kitchen, it’s actually fresh Japanese food that you’ll find here. And it has become so well-known in Baguio for cooking this foreign cuisine so well.
The dish that everyone raves about at Chaya is the Temaki Sushi. It’s a different experience because you get to be the boss of your own sushi rolls. You’ll be served a big bowl of Japanese rice, fresh tuna and salmon sashimi, crispy vegetable slices, and nori sheets. How you want to eat them is completely up to you!
To cap off your meal, you have to get a cup of their famous homemade Green Tea Ice Cream. It’s rich and creamy, with the matcha flavor not too overbearing. It has a side of adzuki beans too for an extra dose of sweetness.
Chaya can be found at 72 Legarda Rd., Baguio, Benguet.
1. Vizco’s Restaurant and Cake Shop
Baguio is the perfect place to come down with a craving for sweets, simply because Vizco’s exists. This restaurant and cake shop is home to what’s been dubbed as THE best Strawberry Shortcake in the whole city! So if you’ve already made the New Year’s resolution of dropping a few pounds this year, you might want to hold that goal off until you’ve tried this much talked about cake. Be sure to take a box home with you too!
Even Dia S. who used to not care much about strawberry shortcakes turned over a new leaf when she tried Vizco’s. She says in her looloo review: “It is fresh, creamy and light, like a cross between heaven and strawberries. I am not much of a strawberry shortcake person but I have been converted into a fan after one life-changing experience of putting that first bite into my mouth. I am now counting the days until I can have Vizco’s strawberry shortcake again.”
Vizco’s Restaurant and Cake Shop can be found at Puso Ng Baguio Bldg., Session Rd., Baguio, Benguet.