A Taste of the Past: Five Must-Try Restaurants in Laguna That Allows You To Travel Back in Time

“Dining is and always was a great artistic opportunity”

– Frank Lloyd Wright.

Lauded as a gastronomic wonderland, Laguna is a province situated southeast of Metro Manila that has an array of good restaurants, beautiful cafes, and charming eateries.

Plenty of these restaurants and cafes are located by the road and are easily spotted, while there are a few clandestine ones that offer tranquil sanctuaries from the hustle and bustle of the metropolis. If you wish to take your dining experience to another level, however, you can spice things up by visiting restaurants that give you a hint of nostalgia. We may live in a modern age, but old structures and buildings are rife with history. These are the places that hold a certain kind of charisma that takes you back in time and makes you wonder what life was back then. Luckily, most of these places serve excellent food, which makes the trip all the more worth it.

So, if you ever find yourself in the national hero’s birthplace, below are just some of the best restaurants in the area that do not only serve great tasting and sumptuous meals but allow you to take a trip back in time as well.

1.) Sulyap Gallery Cafe and Restaurant

If you are looking for that ultimate taste of the past, there is only one Laguna restaurant that can do that, and that is the Sulyap Gallery Cafe and Restaurant. Primarily known for its colonial-era hotel architecture, Sulyap Gallery Cafe and Restaurant feature classic traditional designs such as wooden furniture, hardwood flooring, brick walls, and Capiz shells windows. This lovely and charming restaurant may be located in San Pablo, Laguna, but upon setting foot in the place, each visitor will instantly be transported to the refined and luxurious time of the elite back then.

Apart from its stunning facade and elegant features, however, Sulyap restaurant also boasts a tasteful menu. More importantly, their menu items are not only affordable, but the food is absolutely delicious, making the trip to this city all the more worth it. That said, it should be no wonder that Sulyap remains to be one of the best restaurants in Laguna to this day.

2.) Calle Arco Restaurant

A house-turned-restaurant that is seven decades old, Calle Arco is sure to give you a healthy dose of nostalgia. The restaurant is known for its warm ambiance that exudes homey vibes complemented by its old wooden furniture and vintage pieces—all of which will remind you of your grandmother’s home, your childhood home, or a relative’s house that you used to visit in the province.

Also known as one of Laguna’s top restaurants, Calle Arco serves delicious Filipino home-style dishes. The catch is that their dishes are given a twist for a more unique dining experience. Some favorites that you should definitely try are their Sinigang na Baka with Jackfruit, Chicken Pochero, and Chicken Kare Kare. If you want a taste of something unique complemented by rustic antique interiors, you should consider dining at the Calle Arco Restaurant.

3.) Patis Tito Garden Cafe

If you wish to relax and unwind from the perpetual hustle and bustle of the city, there is a restaurant in Laguna that would make the perfect sanctuary for your storms. Featuring classic Filipino architecture, Patis Tito Garden Cafe in San Pablo is one of the restaurants in Laguna that will take you back in time. Just stepping into its interiors will already remind you of one of the many visits you had to your ancestors’ houses back when you were a kid. The restaurant features a garden and an open area surrounded by verdant greenery, lush plants, and clean, crisp fresh air. It is the perfect restaurant to hit up if you wish to slow down, relax, and just enjoy a hearty home-cooked Filipino meal. Here, you are guaranteed to enjoy some of the most beloved Filipino dishes. Some of the must-try dishes are the Tomato Curry Soup with Southeast Asian Malunggay and the Chicken Inasal infused with lemongrass. For dessert, do not forget to try their Turon con latik.

4.) Balai Ilocos

As one of the most distinctly well-loved native Filipino foods, it is inevitable for Ilocos cuisine to have its own dedicated restaurant in a province known as a gastronomic wonderland. So, if you find yourself hankering for Vigan longganisa or Ilocos bagnet, you will find yourself right at home in Balai Ilocos. It is hailed as one of the best restaurants in Laguna to visit. Also, Balai Ilocos in Pagsanjan is said to be more than twelve decades old already, as it used to be a heritage house. That said, it is definitely worth the visit—both for its food and the great ambiance.

5.) Aurora Filipino Cuisine

Known as one of the most popular restaurants in Laguna, Aurora Filipino Cuisine has stood for more than a century now and is among the oldest establishments located in Sta. Cruz, Laguna. It was initially built in the twenties, but it got burnt. It had also survived the second world war in the 1940s and transformed into a beauty parlor before it finally became a restaurant.

Indeed, the place is teeming with history, and on top of that, it is an excellent stop for local heritage food. Some of the menu items you should definitely try are the Ensaladang Santa Crus and Inalamangang Baboy.

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