After visiting the waterfalls in Laguna and quenching your thirst for adventure, the next obvious thing to do is to pacify to your stomach’s howls of hunger. Luckily for you, you don’t have to go much further to get your fill of good food because Laguna’s impressive selection of restaurants is growing by the day!
We know that choosing a place to eat in can be as tough as trekking to the basin of a far-flung waterfall, so we’ve alphabetically listed a bunch of local restaurants in Laguna that looloo reviewers have been raving about! There’s a carinderia in Binan that sells incredibly cheap but tasty pork chops, a Filipino restaurant that doubles up as an antiques museum, and a new Italian restaurant that’s by the same people behind Mama Lou’s!
Before all the restaurants in Laguna started popping up out of nowhere, Arabela was everyone’s old reliable. Found in the municipality of Liliw, it’s a bit of a drive from Laguna’s capital, but its rustic ambiance and comforting food are enough reasons to hit the road. As a heads up though, it can get cramped in this small bakery-cum-coffee shop so you might have to do some waiting!
Arabela’s menu is of the Italian persuasion, with a whole lot of pizzas, pastas, salads, and desserts to choose from. In his looloo review, Jairus D. raves about the Seafood Marinara, saying it was his favorite dish out of everything he tried. “The sweetness was right and the pasta was made al dente.”
Arabela can be found at 503 Rizal St., Liliw, Laguna.
You can’t really fit this bar and restaurant in Los Banos into any one category because its menu is a hodge podge of many different things. There are some Pinoy dishes in there, a bunch of Asian staples, as well as a selection of Italian entrees. So if you’re the type who gets multiple cravings at the same time, you know you’re covered. And with the many college students that come here to dine, you’ll be glad to know that Bonitos keeps its prices friendly!
When it comes to their pasta, their Ravioli Lasagna and Penne al Telefono are winners. But if you want to talk meat, go for their Grilled Chop or 5-Spice Pork Spareribs, both of which are prepared sous vide then grilled to perfection. For something closer to home, there’s their Crispy Kare-Kare and Kaldaretang Batangas!
Bonitos can be found at Oregano St. cor. Lopez Ave., Los Baños, Laguna.
3. Ippon Yari
Laguna might not even cross your mind if you’re looking for a place to satisfy your Japanese food cravings. But you sure are missing out because Ippon Yari (found in Calamba and Sta. Rosa) serves authentic Japanese fare that has been satisfying bellies since the 90s! It may be virtually unheard of in the Metro, but this restaurant is usually packed with locals and Japanese nationals who have tried and tested the food here.
In his looloo review, Kim D. had nothing but good things to say about his Ippon Yari visit: “The gyoza was cooked perfectly! Brown on one side, half cooked on the other. And the curry… The plate flows with curry! I even had an extra serving of rice because the big serving of rice just wasn’t enough for the monstrous amount of curry! As a bonus, coffee and/or tea is free! Any order you eat here is worth every peso.”
Ippon Yari can be found at these locations.
4. LZM Restaurant
In case you were wondering, LZM is an acronym for the names of the three sisters Luzviminda, Zanaida, and Monolita. Another fun fact: This restaurant started out as a 50-seater turo-turo carinderia in Cavite and all they had back then was a fan to keep their customers cool! But despite their crude beginnings, they found loyal supporters in the hungry golfers of the area. They’ve since then opened up other branches, including the one in Laguna.
The portions here are huge to say the least so it’s best to either come extremely hungry or visit with a big group. Their ultimate bestseller is their Daing na Bangus, golden and crispy on the outside, delicately flaky on the inside, and flavorful all over. Another dish that gets our mouths drooling is their Bulalo, complete with litid to chew on and bone marrow to suck out!
LZM Restaurant can be found at Solenad 2, Nuvali, Tagaytay Rd. cor. Nuvali Blvd., Nuvali, Santa Rosa, Laguna.
5. Nonna’s Pasta & Pizzeria
The folks behind Mama Lou’s have done it again! Nonna’s Pasta & Pizzeria is their latest contribution to Laguna’s food scene and yup, it’s another Italian restaurant! You can can expect the same kind of fresh, quality ingredients, homey ambiance, and excellent service here, but it’s also not hard to tell them apart. You could say that Nonna’s is the younger, trendier sister with its more playful menu and trendier interior.
For an extremely filling pasta dish, order up the Vesuvio, a heaping mound of rigatoni stuffed with mozzarella, ricotta, fennel sausage, and egg. If it’s pizza you’re craving for, try out their Seoul Special, an unusual but tasty combination of pomodoro, mozzarella, kimchi, korean sausage, and soy glaze! For some protein, get yourself the Steak alla Nonna which gives you a slab of perfectly cooked tenderloin garnished with sauteed mushrooms.
Nonna’s Pasta & Pizzeria can be found on the G/F of Solenad 3, Nuvali, Tagaytay Rd. cor. Nuvali Blvd., Nuvali, Santa Rosa, Laguna.
If there’s one word to describe the interior of this restaurant, it would be kitschy. As Amyxal V. said in her looloo review, there are toys in one corner, a liquor display in another, and balloons and fake flowers hanging from the ceiling. But don’t let its slightly gaudy appearance throw you off because believe it or not, Ryuma serves up authentic, quality Japanese food. And the proof of this is in the number of Japanese customers that frequent this place!
Best known for its ramen, you can pick from variations like Shoyu, Shio, Miso, and Champong. They make use of real, rich broth and their noodles are the right amount of chewy. Aside from their ramen, their Tokusei Ryuma Chirashi also gets raved about for being super fresh!
Ryuma can be found on the 2/F of Paseo de Sta. Rosa, Tagaytay Rd. cor. Laguna Blvd., Santa Rosa, Laguna.
7. Socrates’ Secret
This Mediterranean-inspired restaurant, with its soothing blue walls and quirky bits and bobs, will inspire you to whip your camera out and get artsy. While you’re taking pictures of the place, your kids can keep busy at the Imagination Corner where they can read, color, and make crafts. As for the food in this restaurant, dishes are made healthy without having to sacrifice flavor or bumping up prices!
A great way to start your Mediterranean meal here is with pita bread, and a lot of it! You can either dip it in Hummus (chickpeas and sesame seeds), Tzatziki (cucumber, garlic, and yogurt), Baba Ganoush (eggplant), or Tapenade (olive and herbs). For mains, you can fill up on some Moussaka Pasta Bake, Chicken Gyros, Spinach and Cheese Pizza, or Lamb Chops. For dessert, treat yourself to their best-selling Baked Apple with Granola Filling served with a side of vanilla ice cream!
Socrates’ Secret can be found at Laguna Central Mall, Laguna Blvd. cor. Sta. Rosa-Tagaytay Rd., Greenfield City, Santa Rosa, Laguna.
8. Sulyap Gallery Cafe
Before it was made into a cafe, Sulyap was first a school which was was then transformed into a hotel. But if you look at it closely, you can still spot remnants of its past lives in the old memorabilia that gives the place its charm. On the ground floor of the cafe, you’ll find a mini museum which boasts of a wide assortment of antiques which the owners have been collecting since 1985!
For starters, get yourself a plate of their Ensaladang Pako which is fiddlehead fern salad in vinaigrette dressing. For mains, their Kulawong Puso ng Saging is a bestseller, a dish of banana heart slices cooked in coconut milk and garnished with strips of pork belly. Cap off your meal with desserts like Banana con Hielo and Torrones con Sorbetes.
Sulyap Gallery Cafe can be found at Cocoland Compound, San Pablo City, Laguna.
9. TBS Blue Corner
It’s not hard to understand why TBS Blue Corner is always packed with locals, starving cyclists, and budget travellers. Because in this turo-turo style carinderia, customers are treated to Filipino favorites that are both cheap and delicious. Fancy isn’t exactly a word people use to describe this place but its simplicity is a refreshing break from the usual dining out experience we get in the Metro.
There are two ways to order food here. You can either choose from the menu or you could go up to the counter and point to the dishes you want to try. According to Anne R. in her looloo review, it’s essential that you order up the Bulalo Soup to go with your Lechon Kawali and rice. She says it’s the perfect combination! Other well-loved items here are the sizzling squid, liempo, and sisig plates.
TBS Blue Corner can be found at Paseo de Sta. Rosa, Tagaytay Rd. cor. Laguna Blvd., Santa Rosa, Laguna.
10. Tuding’s Original Porkchop
A good way to identify a true Laguna local is to ask if they’ve eaten at Tuding’s. Not only will they say yes but they’ll highly recommend it to you! Tuding’s is an institution in Binan, and while it can get hot, noisy, and crowded in this popular roadside eatery, you’re going to be too busy polishing off your glistening pork chop to even notice. If you couldn’t be bothered to cook at home, this is the perfect place to get your fill of comfort food.
The main reason why people love Tuding’s porkchop is because of how thinly it’s sliced, making it extra crispy and delicious. It’s served with a heaping mound of rice and a sunny side up egg too! According Apple D. in her looloo review, it’s best to dip your porkchop in their suka-chili flakes-banana ketchup mixture first before taking a bite!
Tuding’s Original Porkchop can be found at Pacita Ave., San Pedro, Laguna.