ORIGINALLY, I was going solo to explore Dumaguete, a bucket-listed place. That was until a couple of good friends, Alex and Boo, decided to join me.
Three is a good number. Hotel bills can be split three ways and more importantly, since it was going to be a “food trip”, three dishes (or more) can land on the tasting table.
The famed “university city” in the province of Negros Oriental may be small but it’s packed with culinary treats. What’s on our list? The Dumaguete specialties and recommended restaurants. We didn't want to waste time. As soon as we arrived in the city at mid-morning, we dropped our bags in our hotel along the boulevard and commenced the food safari.
Meals below P200? Oh dearie, much in the city’s menu entries are practically below that price. In fact, anyone can get use to pricing that if a dish goes beyond P200 that may be deemed as pricey.
What is quite evident though is restaurants don't scrimp on the portions. Short of saying, each food item—no matter the price— is worth it.
Let me start with the entrees and main courses and save the desserts for another story.
Sans Rival Bistro. Rizal Boulevard
Yes, it’s perhaps the first thing that pops to mind when Dumaguete is mentioned. Sans Rival is a pastry shop and next-door is the bistro, which is a repurposed old house. This was where we had our first bite of Dumaguete cuisine.
There’s a wide selection on the menu from entrees to dessert offering choices of different meats.
What we ordered: Grilled Malasugi in Mango Salsa (Php175); Salmon Cake Salad (Php190); Bistro Signature Roast Chicken (Php 210P; and Sizzling Squid Sisig (Php 280).
Unanimously, we picked the fish (sourced locally, thus fresh) as the winner. It was cooked to perfection and flavorful.
The salad with tzatziki dressing was okay but the salmon cakes needed a citrusy flavor to balance its “fishy” aftertaste.
The chicken was well cooked. Since I have issues with anything too sweet, the apricot topping came too overpowering on my palate (perhaps request yours to be served separately); and the sizzling squid was tasty and tender.
Kri Restaurant, 53 Silliman Avenue.
After the Silliman University tour, we went to a suggested resto a few steps off campus. “Everything,” was the reply to my question on what should we try.
Kri is a “New American Resturant” (as per its FB page) with offering a mix of meaty treats and vegetarian dishes served in a very cozy and modern interior.
Everything was tempting but decided to order three to taste—Bacon-wrapped Asparagus, Chicken Pesto Penne (Php195) and the Truffle, Blue Cheese and Bacon Burger (Php255), and the Rice Paper Vegetable Rolls (to counter the guilt of the all-meat meal. Php145).
Of course, anything with bacon will taste good, if one is a meat lover. The beef was tender and cooked well.
We will revisit the place to try the rest.
A local suggested this resto located in what it seems to be a residential neighborhood.
Adamo is a small restaurant, perhaps a repurposed old house, and quite popular that calling in for reservations is wise. Luck was on our side that we were able to get seats.
The menu holds select dishes of meat favorites, salads, sandwiches and dessert.
Like the place, nothing about the menu is pretentious. No fancy-named entries, like our selected dishes—Prawn and Mango Salad (Php160), Pork Belly (Php185), Half Native Chicken (php250), Fish (Php245).
However, the dishes were presented pretty much how a fancy fine dining joint will serve it. Beautiful!
Everything was good. A couple of snags though, the shrimps, which must have been defrosted, came a bit gummy and not as sweet, and the chicken, though quite tender, was short on the flavor kick.
Believe it or not, all those beautiful dishes plus drinks cost only P969!
Next issue: Tres Bistro, Tinto, Gabby’s and the Siliman cafeteria
Published in the SunStar Davao newspaper on September 30, 2017.
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