OLD RESTAURANTS AND EATERIES IN BAGUIO CITY
Food is one thing that is very close to everybody’s heart and of course, tummy. Baguio City is teeming with all kinds of restaurants and eateries that serves local delicacies and mouth watering dishes. In one of our Throwback Thursday entry this month of September, we’re going to revisit old restaurants here in Baguio that some are no longer around while others are still very much existing. Let’s reminisce the good old gastronomic times we had with them. Enjoy reading and Bon Appetit!
■ DAINTY RESTAURANT/CAFE
As far as I can remember, Dainty is like one of the most popular spot here in Baguio City during the 80’s and the 90’s where local politicians, notables and other Baguio old timers congregate to talk and debate about local and national issues while sipping over a cup of hot coffee and a piece of bread or a slice of cake. I also remember when I was an elementary student, we ordered a streamlined cake here for our Christmas party and it was my first time to taste one. Dainty is located in the middle of Session Road where Veniz Hotel and McDonald’s currently standing right now. There used to be a Magnolia Ice Cream house in it. Dainty has been closed for many years now but I’m pretty sure many true blue Baguio City residents still remember the old glory of the former cafe. Sadly, we don’t have any photo or we couldn’t find any on the net of Dainty.
■ STAR CAFE
Another legend in Baguio, Star Cafe is so popular that one’s visit to Baguio would not be complete without dropping by and savoring its mouth watering Chinese and Filipino dishes and breads. Another appeal of the cafe is to be served by waiters in spotless white long sleeved shirt and vest. I and my family used to frequent this place every Sunday and so far, we were never disappointed with our orders specially their pancit canton and spring rolls. For 74 years, Star Cafe never ceases to be a joy to both local people of Baguio and tourists in its location at Lower Session Road. Unfortunately Star Cafe finally closed its door to its loyal patrons in July of 2014 after 74 years of operation.
■ LUISA’S CAFE
Luisa’s Cafe is a classic example of what the word endurance and resilience really means. It is still standing on the very same spot (corner Session Road and Mabini Street) for many decades now and I think, the only remaining Baguio City cafe/restaurant of old. I’ve been passing Session Road for thousand of times already since I was a kid and it’s very difficult not to notice Luisa’s since it’s in a very convenient spot and front glass display where they hang roasted duck. They serve Chinese delicacies and their best seller is the pancit canton and the beef mami. Experience an old Baguio by dining at Luisa’s Cafe.
■ SOLIBAO RESTAURANT | GANZA RESTAURANT
Solibao and Ganza Restaurants are often synonymous with Burnham Park as these two home grown restaurants had been on the same spot for more than 40 years now providing famished visitors frolicking at Burnham Park with good old Filipino and local Cordilleran foods. These two restaurant can be very busy and usually jam-packed specially during the Christmas holiday and the summer vacation. Their puto bumbong is the bomb! Solibao and Ganza (Gangsa) are names for traditional Cordilleran musical instruments which very well embody the restaurants connection with the Igorot’s rich culture and heritage through the foods that it serves. To date, Solibao Restaurant has 3 branches located at Session Road, Mabini Street and at Burnham Park while Ganza has one at Melvin Jones, Burnham Park. If you happen to be at Burnham Park, try out these two restos and for sure you’ll gonna love their foods.
■ ROSE BOWL STEAKHOUSE AND RESTAURANT
If you’re looking for a legit and credible Chinese restaurant in the City of Pines, then Rose Bowl is the place that you should be. They serve the best and authentic Chinese foods in Baguio and are always crammed during Saturdays and Sundays. When we have big gatherings or celebrations be it birthdays, christenings and family reunions, Rose Bowl would always be our top choice since they can accommodate big groups of people and you’ll never go home unsatisfied with their foods. I even got tired of eating at Rose Bowl since my mother-in-law always treat us here after hearing mass on Sundays and we would always order the same food (fried chicken, pancit canton, and crispy pata). But, Rose Bowl is Rose Bowl and you can never go wrong with their foods. Originally, Rose Bowl is located along Harrison Road but a few years ago they relocated to their permanent building at Gen. Luna Road near the Pink Sisters Convent and they have been around for more than 50 years now.
■ GOOD TASTE RESTAURANT
Considered by many to be the best budget friendly Chinese and Filipino restaurant in Baguio, Good Taste Restaurant boast of numerous accolades to its name like the TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Award for being a popular resto to Baguio tourists and residents and others. You’ll be amazed at how long the queue of customers waiting just to get inside the restaurant during weekends and long holidays. So why is it so famous? Basically, the price is pretty much affordable, the portion are quite plenty and the taste of the food is so delectable. Their best sellers are Garlic Buttered Chicken, Crispy Pata, Pancit Canton, Chopsuey, Mixed Pulutan, and my all time favorite Good Taste Rice-a combination of rice, fried chicken, fried egg, chopsuey, and lechon-all in one plate. Many good memories were made in this restaurant including mine and my family as it has become like the national event place for birthdays, reunions, etcs. here in Baguio City. You can even hear groups singing birthday song for their friend or family celebrating in its wide dining hall and that adds to the feeling that everyone is really at home. Whenever my balikbayan brothers come home here in the city, we always made it a point to eat out at Good Taste. The restaurant has been around for decades now and has not shown any tiredness of welcoming all who wants to be served with good and affordable food. They now have two branches-the original one at the back of Baguio Center Mall and their latest branch at Otek Street which is really close to Burnham Park.
■ 50’S DINER
Waitresses with trays on hand and on roller skates serving customers with famous American staples like milkshakes, sandwiches and burgers, pictures of classic american actors, singers and movie posters neatly placed inside photo frames and hanged on the walls , vintage songs playing in the background, an old jukebox machine sitting quietly in one corner and an old Cadillac convertible on display on top at the entrance of the diner-what more can you ask for? Well, that’s what 50’s Diner was during the 90’s- a feel of an old American style diner in Baguio City. During the 80’s and the early 90’s, Baguio City hosted an American Airbase which is at Camp John Hay and maybe that’s the inspiration for 50’s Diner. Just my two cents though. When I was in high school, every time I pass by the diner I cannot help but to be mesmerized and dream that someday I’m also going to eat there which I was only able to fulfill when I already had a job. They were originally located at Abanao Street near the City Hall but had to close it after been there for a long time and now relocated to their present place at the Porta Vaga Mall at Session Road. The size of their foods are oh so huge that two or three people can partake on it. My personal fave are their 50’s Club Sandwich, Full House and the Gambler’s Choice.
■ JACK’S RESTAURANT
Jack’s Restaurant is like a go to eatery for many local people of Baguio and Benguet whenever they’re craving for some highland budget foods like the ever popular Jack’s Rice which is a combination of pork, a slice of fried chicken, chopsuey, and a sunny side egg on top of a cup of rice. Many local restaurants here in Baguio have created their own version of the Jack’s Rice but nothing beats the original as they say. According to the information from Jack’s Restaurants website, Jack’s Rice came to what it is now out of sheer ingenuity of the owner Mr. Jack Dulnuan and the rest is history. I and my best buddies frequented Jack’s Restaurant at the former Empire Cinema along Abanao Street when we were in College since this is one of the few restaurants we’re able to afford with our meager budget.
■ 456 RESTAURANT
456 Restaurant has been a silent witness to the changes Session Road had over the years. Like other old time establishments at Session Road, it still stands on the same spot all throughout the year serving both Chinese and Filipino foods at an affordable prices. Very popular among Session Road “gimikeros/gimikeras” who wants to have midnight snacks or early morning breakfast before heading home and calling it a day as they are conveniently opened 24 hours a day. I and my friends used to frequent the 2nd floor of this place to play billiards at their wide billiard hall and after a few rounds of billiard games, we just go one floor down to eat our fave Pancit Lomi. The old 456 Restaurant is still at middle Session Road but they now have other branches at Upper Session Road and at Legarda Road.
■ SIZZLING PLATE
Tasty yet affordable steaks served on a sizzling plate (hence, the name of the restaurant) coupled with Java rice and a side dish of french fries and buttered vegetables is what this famous local restaurant has been serving the people of Baguio for over 40 years now. Not only the food but the ambiance too will make you feel that you’re dining at a country style restaurant with wooden interiors, dining tables and chairs. Many wonderful Baguio memories were created over a plate of grilled double pork chop and a homey feel of the restaurant. Sizzling Plate is the kind of restaurant that compliments the cold climate outside with its warmth and coziness inside. Today, Sizzling Plate has four branches in Baguio City and still continues to serve their signature steak dishes.
■ COMILES EATERY, SAGADA LUNCH, MASTER HOPIA RESTAURANT AND BAKERY, GOTO BADEN, MAROSAN’S RESTAURANT
So far, these are some of the unforgettable restaurants here in Baguio City and if we failed to mention any, please don’t hesitate to comment or message us so that we may include it.
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