Pampanga is known as the Culinary Capital of the Philippines for all the mouthwatering reasons. A Pampanga food trip is all you need to taste the province’s best dishes.
Only a two-hour ride from Metro Manila, go up north and do what every foodie must do: E-A-T.
Restaurants to include on your Pampanga food trip: Where to eat, what to order
Where to eat in Pampanga, you may ask. Below is a list of must-try restaurants and dishes. These are the places where you can get to taste how authentic the meals are. Also included are the best sellers for each restaurant.
1. Everybody’s Café
Everybody’s Café is an exotic restaurant. So expect to see betute (fried stuffed frog), kamaru (fried crickets), and tapang kalabaw (cured carabao meat) on the menu. These items sold out fast, so be there as early as possible if you want to try them.
If your palate is not ready, the restaurant also serves Kapampangan comfort food such as mami, sinigang na sugpo, embutido, and tsokolate (chocolate batirol), which take at least three hours to prepare. But morcon, the house specialty, remains to be Everybody’s Café’s best-seller.
There is a mini shop inside the restaurant. They sell the most delectable sylvannas in Pampanga.
There are two Everybody’s Café branches; one in Nepo Mart in Angeles and MacArthur Highway in Del Pilar, San Fernando City. Choose the second one because it is the actual ancestral house that was turned into a restaurant.
2. Aling Lucing’s Sisig
Sisig is originally from Pampanga. Aling Lucing’s Sisig claims that it’s the first to offer the delicacy made from pig’s head meat (cheeks and ears) and other parts that were considered scrap then. Today, sisig is known as a ubiquitous beer match and is almost always present in every Filipino drinking session. Luciana Cunanan, or simply Aling Lucing, the Sisig Queen, introduced the dish in the 1970s. Incidentally, Aling Lucing claims to serve the best sisig in Pampanga.
The streetside eatery also offers sizzling pusit (squid) on top of the best-seller, sisig. There are many options to choose from a la turo-turo style, including fish, pork, chicken, chicharon bulaklak (ruffled fat crackling), and tokwa’t baboy (fried tofu and steamed pork).
Aling Lucing’s Sisig is located in Glaciano Valdez St., Angeles City.
3. Mila’s Tokwa’t Baboy
Best-sellers: Tokwa’t baboy and sizzling sisig
Another sisig joint in the province that also claims the origin of this indulgent delicacy is Mila’s Tokwa’t Baboy. Their version is on the crispy side, although the same ingredients were used in preparing it. The carinderia began operation in 1989.
Its best-seller other than sizzling sisig is tokwa’t baboy served with its special sauce made from soy sauce, celery, and tomatoes. You have never tasted something like this before for sure.
Mila’s Tokwa’t Baboy is a few blocks away from Aling Lucing’s Sisig. It is located in San Andres St.
4. Café Fleur
Best-sellers: Crispy shrimp okoy (appetizer) and crispy pork belly, and macadamia kare-kare (main course)
The famous Chef Sau del Rosario is behind the homey Café Fleur. The restaurant serves classic Filipino dishes but with a French twist. Of course, Kapampangan dishes like pako (fern) salad, buro (fermented rice), and fried hito (catfish) are a staple of its menu.
Café Fleur is also known for unique dishes such as crispy shrimp okoy (shrimp cake) and crispy pork belly, and macadamia kare-kare (stew in peanut sauce)–its appetizer and main course best-sellers, salted egg bibingka (cassava) cheesecake, lamb caldereta with kesong puti (cheese), and pandan (screwpine) sansrival.
The restaurant is located in Miranda St. Brgy. Sto. Rosario, Angeles City.
5. Historic Camalig
Best-seller: Armando’s Pizza: Ang Pambansang Pizza
From its name, Historic Camalig used to be the Nepomuceno family’s house and rice barn. The restaurant offers unique pizza flavors, with which the owners dubbed the “pambansang pizza” (national pizza). Armando’s Pizza: Ang Pambansang Pizza is actually Historic Camalig’s best-seller.
Speaking of which, Historic Camalig serves longganisa (sausage) and salted egg-flavored pizzas. Other best-sellers include tinapa (smoked fish), tuyo (dried fish), and chicken adobo pizzas.
Cisan’s, another restaurant in Pampanga that serves Japanese-Thai-Vietnamese dishes, is also owned by the Nepomuceno clan.
Historic Camalig is located a few meters away from Café Fleur. It is specifically located in Camalig Square, Dalan Sto. Rosario, Angeles.
6. The Original Razon’s
Best-sellers: Halo-halo and pancit palabok
From its humble beginnings as a refreshment parlor, The Original Razon’s became a household name thanks to its halo-halo and pancit palabok, both of the diner’s best-sellers. The owners even included the tagline “The Halo-Halo & Palabok that Made Guagua Famous.”
Razon’s opened in 1972, serving what we now call the minimalist halo-halo. Their version has only four ingredients. The quaint, family-friendly restaurant also has a mini shop inside selling chicharon (crackling), uraro (arrowroot), bottled sardines, and taba ng talangka (crab fat).
Razon’s is located along the MacArthur Highway in Mabalacat, Pampanga.
7. Apag Marangle
Best-sellers: Adobong camaru, sizzling balut, and relyenong betute
Apag Marangle, like Everybody’s Café, serves exotic dishes. What makes the experience more unique is the menu that resembles a banana leaf and the table set inside connecting nipa huts partially submerged in the water.
The menu items are written in Kapampangan but also include the English translation of each. Their best-sellers are adobong camaru (mole crickets in vinegar and soy sauce stew), sizzling balut, and relyenong betute (stuffed frog).
It also offers ningnang (grilled) and pulutan, including tokwa’t liempo (fried tofu and steamed pork belly), sizzling balut, chili garlic camaro, and tugak king bawang ampong lara (chili garlic frog).
The rustic place is huge, with a small pond where the catfish are contained, a play area, a mini zoo with birds and monitor lizards, and a selfie spot. The place is surrounded by greens, so you’ll have a relaxing yet delicious meal.
8. 1956 Downtown Café
Best-sellers: Trianggulo, sinigang na lechon, crispy hito and halo-halo
1956 Downtown Café is owned by another renowned Kapampangan chef, Chef Claude Tayag of the Bale Dutung fame. The restaurant was established to commemorate his birth year.
The retro-styled diner serves unique dishes from crispy aromatic spring duck and lechon taco to halo-halo with crema de pastillas. Halo-halo is one of its best-sellers along triangulo (fried samosas filled with tinapa, pili nuts, and spinach), sinigang na lechon (roasted pig in sour stew), and crispy hito (catfish).
Eating here will make you feel nostalgic with all the memorabilia despite being a relatively small diner.
9. Nathaniel’s Bakeshop
Best-seller: Buko pandan salad
When Nathaniel’s opened in 1994, it mostly offered frozen dessert products such as juices, fruit salad, sylvannas, and its best-seller buko pandan salad. The last one sells out so fast the crew has to replenish the stock on the fridge several times daily.
Now, the selection widens to include chicharon, bucheron (chicken gizzard crackling), cashew-flavored barquillos (crispy waffles), puto pao (steamed buns), and other local delicacies. A bigger portion of the main branch, where the plant is located at the back, is converted into a restaurant.
No one can mistake Nathaniel’s stores or products because of its mint green branding. The main branch is located in
10. Kusinang Matua ni Atching Lillian
Best-seller: San Nicolas cookies
Lillian Borromeo is famous for her San Nicolas cookies, which is also the Kusina’s best-seller. The kitchen is on the first floor of her house. She hosts cooking demos here. She lives on the second floor. If she’s there, Atching Lillian welcomes an impromptu interview.
Her place is like a mini museum with all her family’s artifacts when cooking. There are old ovens, stone mills, wooden mortar and pestle, sewing machines turned into a table, and hundreds of biscuit molds passed from generation to generation.
Kusinang Matua ni Atching Lillian is not actually a full-blown restaurant, but including it in the list is a must too.
11. Apag Marangle
Best-seller: Betute (deep-fried frog), Camaruginisa, Sizzling Balut, Tinolang Tugak, Sale Manuk
As Pampanga is one of the Philippine provinces known for its rich culinary heritage, it is inevitable for food items to become a staple. That said, those who are hoping to take their tastebuds on a culinary adventure are in for a ride. One of the famous Kapampangan restaurants known for its exotic food is Apag Marangle which translates to “farm table”. The restaurant has almost every exotic dish, from the deep-fried frog betute to sizzling balut.
12. 1798 Lifestyle Studio
Best-sellers: Cheesecakes and other baked goodies
Offering so much more than just delectable food and breathtaking views, the 1798 Lifestyle Studio was once a place teeming with life. It offered various workshops to patrons, but the pandemic has compelled them to look for other ways to entertain customers. Since then, the studio has opened its doors to the public with affordable food on the menu complemented by stunning and spectacular views of the surrounding farm.
13. Kalidad Coffee
Best-sellers: Matcha lattes and lemonades and patries
If you cannot get through the day without your favorite cup of Joe, be sure to drop by Kalidad Coffee and get your fix. This community-forward cafe in Pampanga is known for its simple and straightforward coffee menu. Individuals who have not developed an affinity with caffeine are not left out either, as the coffee shop offers non-coffee beverages and snack items. However, if you wish to try something different, be sure to sample their signature Kalidad Coffee or Cloud Americano.
14. Cafe Rooftop
Best-sellers: Siganture Rooftop (pulutan latter), salted caramel cheesecake, and ube macapuno cake
Cafe Rooftop is the place to be if you want to update your social media feed. This Instragrammable cafe is a sight to behold to influencers and visitors who wish to have a curated feed. More importantly, they offer delicious and hearty food items as well. Their menu combines trendy and classic food items that will surely fill you up for the day.
15. Nuan Cafe by Katrina’s
Best-sellers: Batirol de Bacolor, silogs and pika-pika fare
Located inside the Nuan Farm and Resort, Nuan Cafe is a restaurant and cafe perfect for individuals looking to have a relaxed brunch or early dinner. Here you can enjoy a slew of beverages (caffeinated and non-caffeinated), pizzas, and burgers. Give your hearty meals an epic finish with the restaurant’s selection of cakes and wide collection of desserts.
16. Moon Cafe
Best-sellers: Salted Egg Pasta
Considering that all things Korean are rather popular nowadays, it is inevitable for Pampanga to have its own rendition of a Korean cafe. Moon Cafe is one of the most popular cafes in Pampanga, owing to its Korean-inspired Instagrammable interiors. With good coffee, such as their signature Macadamia Latte complemented by an array of sandwiches and pasta dishes, customers are guaranteed a good time!
17. Sky Garden Cafe and Resto
Best-sellers: All-day breakfast meals
Sky Garden is one of the new and recently opened food establishments in the culinary capital. Here you can enjoy brunch, lunch, and dinner menu items that include Osso Bucco Alla Milance, Salmon Steak, Spicy Arrabiata, and Steak Medallion. You can then wrap up your meal with their wide array of delicious desserts such as Gateau Au Chocolate Cake, Chocolate Truffle Amuse, Chiffon Cake and Macaroons, and many other desserts.
18. 25 Seeds
Best-sellers: Aligue Pasta and Crispy Pork Belly Truffled Macadamia Kare Kare
The brainchild of Cafe Fleur’s owner and chef, 25 Seeds, is a farm-to-table concept restaurant that serves reinvented modern Filipino dishes. The restaurant exudes a modern homey feel despite being the Dycaico Ancestral House, an abandoned mansion built in the 1920s. The restaurant’s must-try dishes are Mushroom Tom Yum, Fried Vegetable Dumplings, Three Cheese sandwich, Sous Vide Duck with Adobo, Pinakbet Ratatouille, and Elote.
With the restaurant and cafe selections above, you can now pepper your food itinerary with must-try Kapampangan food and dishes. While Pampanga is already slowly reopening its borders to guests, visitors, and hungry diners, please be advised that some of these restaurants may not yet accept dine-in patrons. To be sure, it is recommended that you contact them before visiting and ask or make reservations to ensure that you can be accommodated.
Also, be sure to follow strict health and safety guidelines for everyone’s safety.
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