While it has been known for the longest time as the Summer Capital due to its refreshing mountain views and cool climate, the city is fast becoming a food haven in the region as well—with gastronomic offerings that will surely heighten your palate standards. Join Travel Now as we score the best culinary establishments and local snacks around the city!
written by Jamille Domingo additional text by Klara Iskra Añonuevo
Le Monet Hotel’s The Lobby
One good thing about Le Monet Hotel is that it continues to surprise—especially when you thought you’ve seen all that it has to offer. You’d think that the wonder stops at its quaint atmosphere, until you see its beautiful unassuming garden. And you might also think you’ve experienced all its offerings, but wait until you dine at The Lobby—the hotel’s in-house restaurant. This all-day establishment offers varying cuisines created through farm-to-table processes. Since the ingredients are sourced mostly from local produce, and the chefs are nothing short of remarkable when it comes to their work, you’ll find here mouthwatering steaks, juicy meat, and scrumptious seafood.
Some of the must try dishes include the Clam Chowder Soup, served in their freshly baked sourdough bread; the signature Le Monet Salad, with field greens, strawberries, candied walnuts, balsamic vinaigrette, and parmigiano-reggiano; the Pork Barbeque ribs, served with mixed veggies; US Short Ribs Kaldereta, with meat so so it melts in your mouth; and the Almond Crusted Salmon, served on a bed of tomato juice and green apple chutney. Don’t forget to finish the meal with a set of fresh fruits—from mangoes, to pineapples, to melons, to of course, strawberries.
Foggy Mountain Cookhouse
Getting to Foggy Mountain Cookhouse may be a bit of a chore (you need to drive up a steep and narrow street), but trust us, it is so worth it. Before heading up there though, make sure you have a table booked, as Chef Babes Reyes’ restaurant can only seat around 20 people at a time, and dining there requires prior reservation. Why have limited seats? That’s because Foggy Mountain Cookhouse is actually Chef Babes’ rest house, which he turned into a restaurant after quitting his job. “I couldn’t just do nothing,” he says, explaining how Foggy Mountain Cookhouse was born. “I said then that I will be happy if I get 15 to 20 guests a week, but it has blown up!”
And blown up it has, thanks to the delicious food and the gorgeous views (hence the name) it offers. Here’s a tip: reserve for a table at around 5 PM. On a clear day, the restaurant offers a gorgeous view of the sun setting, with the Cordilleras in the foreground. But of course, the highlight of the cookhouse is still its scrumptious dishes, all of which are prepared and cooked from scratch on the same day.
It is recommended to dine with a group, as portions are big— this will also allow you to try several main dishes. During our visit, we were able to try the Oven Roasted Whole Chicken, the Grilled Chipotle Pork Chop, the Pan Fried White Fish Fillet, the Greek Peasant Lamb Dish, and the USDA Beef Sirloin. While each dish was delicious, our favorite would have to be the chicken—the brick oven roasting and the Italian herbs gave the chicken a rich smoky flavor that permeated from the skin all the way to the meat. The lamb stew was also a standout, and will convince those who aren’t a fan of the meat to give it a second chance. The meat is so tender, and the mashed potato at the bottom of the dish is the perfect complement to its flavor.
End the meal on a sweet note: try the Cookhouse Pumpkin Puree with Roasted Marshmallows and Whipped Cream while sipping on Cookhouse Orange Brandy. For those who can’t have any alcohol, a mug of Dark Hot Chocolate with Marshmallows will also warm you up. Definitely a must-try when in Baguio.
Foggy Mountain Cookhouse is located at 172 Saint Joseph Street, San Carlos Heights, Baguio City and is open from Monday to Saturday, 11 AM to 3 PM and 6 PM to 11 PM (earlier reservations may be available upon request). For reservations, send a message to (+63 916) 767 4687 or (+63 932) 762 3639
Amare La Cucina
This Italian restaurant, owned by Edmark Bustos, has been on the list of Baguio’s top favorite diners since it opened, and it’s not hard to see why. The pizza, which is what the restaurant is most famous for, is remarkably not far from the real and authentic Italian pizza in terms of taste. Their Tre Formaggi Pizza, for one, has that perfect crisp and taste that is hard to top—with roasted garlic mushrooms, olives, pepperoni, crispy bacon, and arugula topped on a bed of crunchy-yet-gooey-in-the-middle crust. Other pizza dishes to try are the Foie Gras Pizza and the Roasted Mallow Speculoos Pizza. The former is an experimental dish of Edmark that has become one of the restaurant’s best sellers. This flavor will probably change the way you feel about liver— especially if you’re not a fan of it. The latter is one of Amare’s famous dessert specials, with cooked mallows and speculoos cookie butter topped with vanilla ice cream.
Amare La Cucina is also known for its customer engagement, as the cooks will let you have the option to make your own pizza. You will be taught how to roll and knead the dough and toss it in the air, put the toppings (of your choice) appropriately, and even place the pizza on the brick oven yourself! A reason why they go by the slogan “Be the chef of your own pizza.”
The mouthwatering offerings of the restaurant, however, do not just stop in its pizza offerings. The appetizers and main entrees, as well as their drinks, are instant winners too. Some of those we highly recommend are the Baked Mushrooms, Mozzarella Dip, and the Marianne’s Special Salad made from fresh vegetables. For main dishes, an order of Wood-Fired Ribs is a must, as well as Chicken Skewers and Ala Sardines Pasta (Edmark’s original experimental dish since high school). Make sure you drink those delectable meals down with either a glass of their signature Mint Iced Tea, or their Slushy drinks such as Basil, Arugula and Lemon, or Carrot Slushy.
Baguio Craft Brewery
Once you step foot in one of the floors of Baguio Craft Brewery, you’ll immediately see why it is the perfect place to spend Friday nights
and after-hours at. Its design is nothing like you’ve ever seen before in a Baguio establishment, or any other Manila bar. It has an old and industrial element feel to it, with a dash of modern and rustic.
Its three venues—the Tasting Room, the Biergarden, and its Speakeasy pub—all have their own distinct character that appeals to every customer preference. The Tasting Room is where you’ll get a glimpse of its brewery, since they make their own draft beer. It has barrel tables and high chairs, which show the bar’s rustic personality. On the other hand, the Biergarden, located at the glass covered rooftop, is where the party happens—its open atmosphere allows for fun live entertainment. While these two venues have their unique features, they are both similar in one thing—having a wooden tap handle bar with intricate artworks inspired by the works of Ifugao wood carvers. This design element has become part of the signature look of Baguio Craft Brewery.
The third venue, meanwhile, is arguably the first Speakeasy (a retro- style, mostly secret) in Baguio—hidden by its warehouse door. This is where guests can enjoy its famous beers sans the chaos of usual bars, as well as real conversations set against 1920s music and Charlie Chaplin films on repeat.
In terms of its beer varieties, Baguio Cra Brewery offers over 50 plus brews and 21 craft beers on tap, making it the bar with the largest selection of draft beer in the Philippines. This is why one visit is not enough to taste all of its beers, unless you’re willing to get a massive hangover the day after. But to get you started on some of its best, try its Tasting Tray, with six different flavored beers—including Ssshhhputnik, Rolling Fog, Luscious Lychee, Pugaw, Stout Crusader, and Lagud. Also notable are its Kiwi, Zigzagger, Suck Butter, and Englishman in New York beers.
Of course, having a drink is better with well-cooked dishes and desserts to gorge on. And staying true to its reputation, Baguio Cra Brewery maintains quality even in its entrees and appetizers. Its staple pulutan meals are not just Cordillera-inspired; they are locally-sourced and produced as well. Some of the recommended ones are its Stout Isaw, Buffalo Wings, Ribs Platter Family, and the bar’s signature dessert—Beeramisu.
Baguio Craft Brewery is located at 120 RKC Building, Marcos Highway, KM 4, Baguio City. For more information, like them on Baguio Craft Brewery, or visit <baguiocraftbrewery.com>