Street food being served on a boulevard in Dumaguete Dumaguete

WIT: 11 of the Best Restaurants in Dumaguete

If you’re looking for the best restaurants in Dumaguete then this is the post for you. As we’ve already mentioned in The 21 Best Tourist Spots in Dumaguete, Dauin & Valencia, we ended up spending ehm, quite a bit of time in the area. We got to know the place pretty well – for better or for worse.

Filipino food is not made with love. That being said, some of the restaurants in Dumaguete are a treat. But that’s only if you know where to look. We also checked out basically every single café in the area. So – you can trust us on which cafes to slam the espressos in and which ones to avoid.

If you’re struggling to decide where to eat in Dumaguete, then hopefully this post points you toward the best restaurants.

How to Get to Dumaguete

We’ve detailed everything you need to know about Dumaguete, Dauin & Valencia in our guide to the best tourist spots in the area. Check it out for info on how to get to Dumaguete. We also talk about accommodation, tourist spots, waterfalls, thermal springs, scuba diving and more!

The Best Restaurants in Dumaguete

Filipino food! If you’ve met us we’ve probably already viciously explained our opinion on the food throughout this beautiful country. As we write this, we’re pretty far away and Daniel has finally managed to put some weight back on. We’re pescatarian now. And probably won’t ever eat pork again.

But despite our fear-mongering, there are some treats in Dumaguete. A dental disaster kept us in town for way longer than we needed to be there. That gave us an opportunity to try loads of places, sip the best coffee, and crunch the stalest café cakes. We’re no connoisseurs, but stick to this list and you won’t go wrong.

Kri Restaurant for the fusion dinner

There weren’t many success stories from our time eating in the Philippines. Kri Restaurant was an obvious standout. This might just have been our favourite restaurant in the country. It was certainly one of the best restaurants in Dumaguete.

Artichoke spinach and sausage fondue? Salmon medallions?! Truffle, bleu cheese and bacon burgers? You just won’t find that anywhere else in Dumaguete – let alone the Visayas.

If you’re not sure where to eat, then we’d highly recommend our favourite restaurant in town. Scuba divers will also be intrigued by the macro-photography adorning the walls.

The prices are a little above the street food in the Philippines. But it’s 100% worth it. Staff are friendly and the atmosphere’s great (nobody cared about how shit we looked). The food’s creative, exciting, and interesting. There’s just the right twist on traditional offerings. And all for a great price.

If you’re looking for one of the best restaurants in Dumaguete, start here.

2 Story Kitchen for the Korean cooking

You don’t have to be in the Philippines for too long to realise just how popular Korean food is! And with good reason. Barbequed meat, bibimbaps, delicious udon soups and value-for-money food sets are all available in 2 Story Kitchen.

It’s popular with students and has a really cool seating area upstairs. Combo bowls include rice, veg, seafood and spices. The ones we tried were all delicious, and the prices are reasonable. They also have a pretty extensive tea and milkshake menu, so expect to see friends hanging out too.

Another solid option. Popular with students – and we can see why.

Food Net for no-frills & value-for-money

And just along the street from 2Story Kitchen, you’ll find Food Net. This is a canteen-style local food joint, but we loved it. You’ll be the only tourists in the whole place and for once in the Philippines – go where the locals go. It’s very, very busy during lunch.

Customers wait at the canteen for some food in Food Net
No fuss, delicious canteen-style food in Food Net © FourSquare.com

Food Net serve up delicious curries, grilled okra (Daniel still dreams about it), meats, soups, even desserts are all served up behind the counter. Then there’s the traditional Filipino meals too. They do serve western meals like Spaghetti Carbonara as well, but you’ll have to wait a little longer for them. To keep straight out the freezer. Stick to the fresh, good stuff, right in front of you.

There’s a huge and breezy outdoor seating area with TVs and a no-fuss attitude. Oh, and the food is absolutely delicious. As in, seriously good, and seriously cheap. You’re basically paying around 50p for a tasty and incredibly filling meal in the centre of town. Highly recommended – one of our favourite restaurants in Dumaguete.

Lantaw Native Restaurant for high-quality expat vibes

When we asked anybody where to eat in Dumaguete the answer always seemed to be Lantaw. Incredibly, it was the one that always got away.

Every night we aimed for it something happened. We tried three times! Regardless, it’s highly recommended and seems to be a local favourite. Local as in ‘expat’, but you get the idea. Prices are decent and the food is impressive, but the queues are long if you don’t book ahead. Backpackers might have to dress up just a little bit.

It’s right next to Hayahay for those looking to make a night of it.

Rizal Boulevard for the plastic chairs and sea breeze

On the other end of the spectrum, there’s Rizal Boulevard. We mentioned the Boulevard as one of the best tourist spots in Dumaguete.

Every evening as the sun goes down you can head to the promenade and soak up some of the atmosphere. Toward the northern end, you’ll also find some plastic tables and seats with dirt-cheap street food.

Street food being served on a boulevard in Dumaguete
Everybody’s on Rizal Boulevard when the sun goes down

We’re not joking when we say that servings of seafood and chips start at literally 10p. Everybody’s there to gossip, share stories and chow down on the tasty local treats. Grab some food then walk along the length of the boulevard, one of the quintessential things to do in Dumaguete. Sea breeze, fresh seafood and the sound of the waves behind the chatter. What more could a backpacker want?

Chapters Cafe for the interior

Are you a lover of The Little Prince? What about other classics like Alice in Wonderland? Chapters Café is certainly memorable and worth visiting just to check out the impressive interior. Or, grab one of several books on offer and ignore the patchy wifi.

Little Prince decorations within Chapters Cafe, best restaurants in Dumaguete
Little Prince fans – this one’s for you

The book-themed café-cum-restaurant is, well, a sight to behold. Walls are painted, stuffed, designed and decorated with incredible flair. The giant red plane really is pretty amazing and you’ll spot other nods to Little Prince everywhere you look. The themed menu plays on a few familiar themes as well.

But the food! This post is about the best restaurants in Dumaguete, right? The first time we visited Chapters Café the food was great. The second time, not so much (they were running low on a lot of the menu).

Avoid the pizzas. And the ‘sharing platters.’ Apart from that, you should be good!

There’s also an incredibly cheap breakfast deal but bear in mind that the coffee is, well…typically Filipino: shit.

They seem to really thrive on the super-American, super-sugary decorative milkshakes. Trust us, Chapters Café is still a good’un. And if you’re not a fan of the produce, you’ll certainly be entertained by the setting.

Gabby’s Bistro for the Americana theme

And if we’re talking interiors, we can’t fail to mention Gabby’s Bistro. This American-themed bar is a throwback to just about everything in the early 1900s, apparently.

The menu is overwhelmingly long and service was a little slow. But the food was tasty enough (we stuck to Asian favourites) and prices are low. It seems like a family place with all the statues and characters and colours. Make sure you head to the one you mean to: there are two in town.

Restaurants in Dumaguete Worth a Mention

Pasta King: well-reviewed Italian food but super expensive. We looked at the menu and walked out. To be fair, we were pretty broke.

Hayahay Treehouse Bar: popular expat favourite. Again, it’s slightly more expensive, but you’re paying for good-quality food.

KEM: super-local, super-cheap, average canteen-food. But we mean, super cheap. Probably one of the best “restaurants” for anybody in Dumaguete on a serious budget.

Moon Café: another popular expat and holiday-maker spot. Again, well reviewed but we never made it in.

Casablanca: Austrian food in Dumaguete? Ehm…no thanks? This popular expat hangout has a spectacular setting right on the Rizal Boulevard. It looks perfect for sipping a drink and people-watching.

It seems incredible that despite spending nearly 10 days in Dumaguete and the area, we still never made it in to loads of restaurants! If you happen upon a gem we haven’t mentioned, then please drop a comment below and tell us all about it.

Where to Grab a Coffee in Dumaguete

So we’ve already explained that we spent time waiting around in Dumaguete. Not once, but twice! First we had a dental disaster, then one of our laptops suddenly died. On top of that, we had a pretty bad motorbike crash. We were feeling pretty sorry for ourselves truth be told.

So, with the one laptop that worked, we explored every café for places to work. The picking are slim, but this is what we came up with.

TeaLovely

This new café isn’t on Google Maps. It’s across from the Du Ek Sam. It’s definitely worth finding though. Their coffee was the best coffee we had in Dumaguete. There’s a cool vibe, friendly staff, and a loyalty card too! Solid wifi and tasty brew – highly recommended.

Arteasan Handcrafted Beverages

Arteasan make it on to the list because they tried. It’s such a shame that the day we visited, they’d ran out of filters for their coffees. Still, Emma like their lattes and the Americano did the job. Nice interiors and pretty good wifi. Recommended.

Bo’s Coffee

You’ll see Bo’s Coffee chain everywhere in the Philippines. It’s a sort-of Starbucks. It’s not great, not awful, but you know what you’re getting. Bo’s is a place to get a brew and do some work. The wifi is so-so, and you have to get an annoying wifi code every half an hour.

Panda Ice Cream

Ok…Panda Ice Cream isn’t technically a café. But it’s so good we had to mention it somewhere. The ice creams are made on site and are absolutely delicious. Chocolate, durian, mango, papaya, banana, you name it. We loved the flavours and they certainly went down well on a sticky day in town.

Dumaguete Cafes Worth a Mention

Cafe Mammia: came highly recommended, but what a disappointment. We don’t know what they claim to focus on but it certainly isn’t coffee. Or matcha tea. Or the rock-solid cakes. Avoid.

Sans Rival Café: more of a cake shop than a coffee shop. Their cake selection – to be fair – is pretty incredible. There’s a bistro next door, but we didn’t come back when we realised there was no wifi!

Fun Café: a pretty strange one. This café definitely seems like a teenage hangout. There are strange little cubicles to relax and uhm, cuddle? We crouched under a pod and managed to get some work done with K-Pop blasting out of the TVs. Good wifi, cheap prices, strange place all round.

Moving on from Dumaguete

If you think you’ve tried all of the best restaurants and cafes in Dumaguete, then why not check out the other tourist spots in the area? We’ve explained everything you need to see in our Guide to the 21 Best Tourist Spots in Dumaguete, Dauin & Valencia.

And if you’ve seen all of that, then where are you heading next? Check out our Philippines Travel Guides! We have everything you need to know about Siquijor, Sugar Beach, Sipalay and more.

Drop a comment below to let us know what you think, and enjoy Dumaguete!

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