Pampanga is known as the “Culinary Capital of the Philippines,” and rightly so. Foodies travel far and wide to taste some of the most authentic Filipino dishes. But just a two-hour ride from Manila is the haven of traditional and mouthwatering cuisine. Take a trip up north and do what the Kapampangans do best: eat until they can eat no more! Here’s a foodie guide of where to eat in Pampanga and 10 of the most authentic restaurants you’ll find in the province!
Test Your Stomachs
Have you ever tried betute, kamaru, or dinuguan? Well, if you’re up for frog legs, fried crickets, and pig’s blood, then this is the place to try them out! But don’t let those scare you. Everybody’s Café is home to comfort food dishes as well. Try the mami for those rainy day feels. It is composed egg noodles with shredded meat and broth and costs only PHP 140.
If you’re coming for breakfast, get the whole spread for PHP 550 that also includes longganisa and tapang kalabaw (cured buffalo meat that tastes like tocino, but a little more sour). Wash it all down with their signature tsokolate (PHP 95), a rich chocolate batirol that takes three hours to prepare! Everybody’s Café is true to its name for being a staple of where to eat in Pampanga because it’s simply for… everyone!
Angeles Branch: 105-106, BPI Arcade, Nepo Mart, Angeles City, Pampanga
San Fernando Branch: MacArthur Highway, Del Pilar, City of San Fernando, Pampanga
Open daily from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
You can’t go to Pampanga and not have a plate of sisig. Pampanga is also known as the birthplace to this dish of fatty, sizzling pork bits. Its origin is Aling Lucing’s aka the Sisig Queen. She’s the woman who practically invented the indulgent delicacy back in the ‘70s so as not to waste any parts of the pig. When you ask, where to eat in Pampanga? Aling Lucing’s most likely the answer you will get. Many other provinces of the Philippines have tried to do this dish justice, but it just can’t compare to the Kapampangan way of cooking it.
Glaciano Valdez corner Henson Sts., Brgy. Agapito del Rosario, Angeles City, Pampanga
Open daily from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m.
ALTERNATIVE: Can’t make it to the pioneer Aling Lucing’s on your visit? Then head on over to its sister restaurant, Mila’s Tokwa’t Baboy! Mila’s is another household name that offers just as good of a savory hot plate at PHP 200. Also, try their crispy sisig version! Just don’t count your cholesterol afterward!
Mila’s Tokwa’t Baboy
San Andres St., Brgy. San Angelo, Angeles City, Pampanga
Open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Modern Takes on Classic Filipino Dishes
Tucked into a home-like space, Café Fleur is Chef Sau del Rosario’s French twist to classic Filipino dishes. The café alone gives a pleasant vibe, but the reason this restaurant landed on our list of where to eat in Pampanga is that of its unique dishes! Upon visiting, you should try the pako salad, which is made light and zesty with watermelon as an appetizer. Then dig into the buro (fermented rice) and hito (catfish). The catfish is rolled in mustard leaves, giving it a strong yet satisfying taste that you can roll like sushi!
For dessert, take a bite of the Pandan Sansrival, which is Café Fleur’s popular dish and may not regularly be served. Other items on the menu include Crispy Pork Macadamia Kare-Kare, Lamb Caldereta with Kesong Puti, Tamales Mexico and Pampaguena and another delectable dish, Salted Egg Bibingka Cheesecake all with a twist!
L-463B Miranda St., Brgy. Sto. Rosario, Angeles City
Open on Tuesdays to Sundays from 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
One of the top restaurants in not just the Philippines but also in Asia, Bale Dutung is the simple food concept of Chef Claude Tayag. It is a must when deciding where to eat in Pampanga not only because of its status but also because of its menu! You can choose from three standard ones: the Kapampangan Spread, Lechon 5 Ways, and the Anthony Bourdain menu. Yes, Anthony Bourdain went here and featured it on his show, No Reservations—we weren’t kidding about status.
Make sure to bring a big group, though, so you can devour all ten mouthwatering dishes in the span of four hours and prepare a budget, too! The ambience and experience are definitely worth it!
P.S. The Lamang-Dagat Kare is to die for!
Villa Gloria Subdivision, Angeles City, Pampanga
By reservation only
+63917 595 0218
1956 Downtown Café
As if Chef Claude Tayag couldn’t do enough, he created another restaurant inspired by Bale Dutung. Although this time, instead of signifying his Kapampangan heritage, he’s giving an ode to the year of his birth! 1956 Downtown Café is a retro-styled diner that serves dishes with a twist too like Pork Adobo Confit, Lechon Tacos (Did someone say lechon? And tacos?), and the creamy yet refreshing, Halo-Halo with Crema de Pastillas!
We recommend for a full meal, best-selling Crispy Aromatic Spring Duck, the meat is tender and has a secret nine-spice recipe! And another crowd-favorite, Crispy Crablets with Pure Talangka on Rice! This dish may not be a full meal, but it’s an extra you have to go with!
1956 Downtown Café
Nepo Quad, Plaridel St., Angeles City, Pampanga
Open on Mondays to Sundays from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Different Cuisines in the Heart of Pampanga
When we say the culinary capital of the Philippines, Pampanga encompasses almost all cuisines, not just the local or native food. If you want to skip all the crispy and fatty goodness and load up on carbs instead, Piccolo Padre hits the spot. Get your fill of gnocchi, risotto, and pasta with recipes that date up to 80 years ago! Piccolo is not just a feast for the stomach, but also a feast for the eyes, given all the artwork on display! Although the meal course will set you back at around PHP 1,500 per head, the fine-dining experience is worth a stop on your trip!
Our recommendations for starters are the Ahi Katsu (PHP 450), silky tuna smothered with lemon-butter sauce, and the Live Oysters Inferno (PHP 680), both fresh and tart numbers! Then for the main course, try the Capellini de Angelo (PHP 950), red sauce pasta stacked with seafood or for the meat lovers, the Osso Buco Alla Milanese (PHP 950). The veal shank comes with a side choice, as do all the dishes whether you want veggies or more carbs!
Prime Asia Hotel, Narciso Street, Angeles City, Pampanga
Open daily from 5:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.
What makes this a destination of where to eat in Pampanga is not what’s on its menu, but the way its dishes are cooked. Binulo is a traditional way of cooking food inside bamboo. The method is taken from the Aetas and makes the meat tender. Binulo Restaurant serves many Kapampangan dishes along with some American specialties like grilled steak, but their must-try is Pangat na Ulang. Think giant shrimps in creamy, sour sauce oozing from the end of a bamboo pole. Yuuuuum! It had us at prawns! Save some room for the Suman with Mango Ice Cream, and you’re one happy camper!
Bldg. 6410-6413, Manuel A. Roxas Highway, Clark Freeport Zone, Angeles City, Pampanga
Open daily from 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
If you’ve heard of Historic Camalig, well, here is another creation by the Nepomuceno clan. Cisan’s is a Japanese-Thai-Vietnamese cuisine restaurant nestled into the new food hub, Nepo Quadrangle. You’ll get your usual spring rolls, curry, and pad thai, but if you want to go all out, you have to order the following off the menu. Grab the Beef Thai Salad as an appetizer and follow it up with the Grilled Pork with Bagoong Rice with a side of chicken satay or yakitori BBQ! That way you get a mixture of flavors and textures you can share with family or friends.
Bring a big group on your visit and order even more. Their Green Beef Curry is a great main, and their mango sticky rice is just perfect! Budget around PHP 500 per head seeing as the items are a little pricey but health is wealth, right? Don’t forget to get a sweet brewed Thai milk tea, too!
Nepo Quad, Angeles City, Pampanga
The Oldies But Goodies
Didi’s Pizza has been serving Filipino-style pizza since 1972. That makes them one of the oldest establishments in Angeles City that serves over 200 boxes of pizza a day. They’re so popular that there is a line to get your hands on the rectangular-shaped, locally produced, cheesy goodness. With sweet tomato sauce and tons of toppings, we’re pretty sure it’s easy to finish off a 16-piece pie! Didi’s prides itself in not tasting like your regular Italian pizza, but being unique with orders like the Combination Pizza and the Pizza Burger. These won’t cost you more than PHP 279. You should also try their Didi’s Tacos, barbecue ribs, and pancit canton!
#237 MacArthur Highway, Balibago, Angeles City, Pampanga
Open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m.
Also established in 1972, Susie’s Cuisine is a great place to get dessert and last on our list of where to eat in Pampanga! Famous for its signature Pampango kakanin (sweet, sticky rice), you should grab your pasalubong treats here: the mochi, maja blanca, and leche flan are Susie’s specialties! While you’re waiting for your goodies to be wrapped, sit and have their delicious palabok!
BONUS: Angeles Fried Chicken
Or popularly known as AFC (kind of like KFC), is the oldest running restaurant and is a staple in Kapampangan authentic cuisine. Of course, their menu offers a variety of food, but you shouldn’t leave without ordering a bucket of fried chicken. Locals frequent the house-like establishment, and foreigners come to visit for some “heavenly tasting” fried chicken. You can get a family-sized serving for just PHP 425 to satisfy your cravings and can choose from crispy or deep fried regular chicken. Angeles Fried Chicken is a must-try for all fried chicken lovers out there!
Ten, no, eleven of the most authentic restaurants in Pampanga probably can’t be covered in a day’s trip. That only gives you a reason to go back again and again! One thing any foodie will tell you when scouring the Pampanga scene for good places to dine is that more so than the food, the owners and staff complete the experience. All of these restaurants have been around for a long time or are well known and loved for their hospitality. The quality of the food is excellent, the servings are huge, and the prices are affordable—and that’s the real bonus there. Eating in Pampanga is incomparable to other cities and provinces, and there’s no bias in that statement. A food trip up north is just one of the many things you can do on a long weekend, too!
Did we miss any places? Any other suggestion on where to eat in Pampanga? Leave your comments below and until then, mangan tana!