From Laoag City to Vigan and back, we remember our wonderful dining experiences in these 4 restos. If there was more time, I’m sure we would have tried other dining places in between those yummy bagnet, longganiza and empanadas. So. Let’s not beat around the bush. Whenever the subject is food, no one should be kept waiting.
Best dining location ever. Pick a table by the window and enjoy a panoramic view of the Paoay Church in all its majesty. It rained while we were cruising in a van from the airport thru a couple of touristy sites before sitting down for a proper lunch here. A late lunch, but no one was complaining.
This is the home, the birthplace of the famous Pinakbet Pizza. Pinakbet as in that very Ilocano dish which found its way to almost every Filipino family’s dinner table. Pizza as in that most famous export of Italy, along with spaghetti. And it was such a treat to be able to taste the authentic Ilocano dishes such as Bagnet, Poqui Poqui, Dinengdeng and Crispy Dinuguan.
La Preciosa @Laoag City
Our van driver wanted to bring us here on our very first day. Perhaps he felt an authentic Ilocano meal here would have made a fine introduction to Ilocos Norte. He wasn’t wrong. Even if we actually “ended” our trip with a meal here on our last day.
The restaurant has a bakeshop right beside it. Which is fine if we have grown “tired” of Ilocano cuisine. Not so though. We have not outgrown our taste for Dinengdeng and Crispy Dinuguan which they call Crispy Dinardaraan here.
But we were not prepared for Warek Warek. No Ilocano has ever introduced me to this local dish of pig’s meat and entrails (tongue, liver, intestines) parboiled with calamansi, grilled, sliced, served with the juice of more calamansi and seasoned with salt and pepper. Having tried it, I was convinced we should not order any more dish involving innards. So no Higadu for us. But don’t miss the chance to try it when you get here. Along with the Inabraw, Insarabasab, and Duyduy.
No one goes to Vigan without a “proper stroll” along Calle Crisologo. You can do it during the day, but we strongly recommend you don’t miss it at night. It had just rained when we got here, and the rainwashed cobble-stoned paths glistened as the lights from colonial-inspired lamp posts reflected on the water. At the end of Calle Crisologo is Cafe Leona. I didn’t mean to stop here for a meal except for my usual late afternoon brew. Thought it would be a good place to sit out while the rest of the family explore. By the time they were back, they were famished and ready for an early dinner.
Cafe Leona’s menu is as confused as my current state while there, minding my 2 “elves” while their parents and aunts camwhore outside. Thinking the best thing to do was to submit to Fusion Cuisine, that was exactly what we did. I wasn’t too happy with my Pasta with Longganiza, but the kids were happy with theirs. Guess this place provides a “good break” while our stomach enzymes were still busily digesting our Ilocano breakfast and lunch.
Kusina Felecitas / Cafe Uno @ Grandpa’s Inn
In Vigan, we would have been quite content with the empanadas filled with Vigan longganiza, egg and papaya. But in Kusina Felecitas in Grandpa’s Inn, we found this rare Malaga fish on its Menu, prepared in sour broth as with any other sinigang dish, but soured with the local santol fruit! We also indulged in the famous Vigan longganiza, the usual accompaniment of Poqui Poqui and Dinengdeng, and the Kulintipay Shells. These shells are actually the very same capiz shells you see framed in the sliding windows of Grandpa’s Inn. I have not seen them for ages, much less, ate them. Well, we were in luck in Vigan!
Among all the dining places we have tried, this one’s our favorite in terms of ambience. The restaurant looks more like an art gallery. The paintings hanging on the walls cover all the way to the Inn’s coffee shop aptly called Cafe Uno. Next time we are in Vigan, we would most certainly check in at this lovely Grandpa’s Inn.