It may be one of the smallest cities in the Philippines but San Juan's Little Baguio area has ridiculously great food gems you need to include in your eat list. From international street foods the whole barkada will appreciate to homey comfort food for the family, San Juan will offer you a one-of-a-kind gastronomic adventure you'd wish you had been in sooner.
From classic favorites to newer finds, here are a few restaurants in San Juan that deserve a visit from you:
You'll definitely be wowed when you see the different kinds of street food sticks displayed behind the glass case just beside the streets of Jose Abad Santos. Other than the variety of street food on sticks, they also serve claypot rice toppings, congee, noodles and their famous pancake balls. They also have short orders that are good for sharing – Intestines with Leeks, Lemon Chicken, Beef Brisket, Salt & Pepper Squid and more.
A restaurant that isn't just a feast to the belly but to the eyes as well, Flossom Kitchen + Cafe has a chic and relaxing interior decorated with fresh flowers from their orchid selection. They have a wide array of comfort food from breakfast food and think crust pizza to pasta and sandwiches. Almost everything on the menu are a must-try but the Ube Champorado, Mushroom Truffle Risotto, Baked Meatloaf and Molten Lava Burger are some of our favorites.
3. Oyasumi Ramen Unit 3, 308 P. Guevarra St. corner Seaview St., San Juan
If there's one thing we can never get tired of, it would be ramen. And at this quaint ramen joint in San Juan, they serve Yokohama-style ramen with their signature broth and noodles that are made fresh in-house. Order their Iekei which is a good introduction to their other bowls of ramen – it is made from tonkotsu-shoyu tare broth, chasu slices, spinach, leeks and sheets of nori. If you're feeling a bit adventurous, check out La Paz Ramen which takes influence from the famous Filipino noodle soup or the Truffle Ramen where they use premium truffle essence for a different kind of ramen experience.
Named after internationally renowned painter Juvenal Sansó, Cafe Sanso is a casual dining restaurant serving Spanish specialties like Jamon Serrano Bruschetta, Mussels in White Wine, Churrasco Pork Belly and they also have four kinds of Paellas – Paella Catalonia, Chorizo Y Quezo, Paella Valenciana and Paella Negra – that are must-tries! While you're at it, check out the Sanso Museum next door which opened in 2015 with the support from the artist himself.
Have you ever found yourself craving for good Taiwanese comfort food without hurting your pocket? Shuin Food House specializes in smoked meats – chicken, duck and liempo – and if you want to have a taste of everything, order the House Special which has all the three meats where you get two side dishes for only P260! Other must-tries are the Shuin Porkchop and the Noodle Soups that are perfect for this weather.
Another Taiwanese restaurant just across Shuin focuses on street food where it lets its adventurous eaters choose from different meats, lobster & fish balls, vegetables, a variety of mushrooms and noodles. You can mix and match whatever meat you want and after you've chosen, they will cook it in their special broth and serve with a sweet and spicy sauce for dipping. Apparently, this is a big thing in Taiwan but you don't have to fly all the way there just to try this!
Who can ever say no to Italian food, especially when it's prepared perfectly? Known for traditional Italian cuisine serving up homemade pasta and brick-oven pizzas, the two-storey Francesco's Kitchen will surely give you an unforgettable Italian dining experience. Just like us, Italians have a great love for food and its resident chef Francesco Rizzo who has been in the industry for more than 25 years have evidently showed that on the menu.
In case you haven't noticed, San Juan is all about converting old houses to restaurants and CO/OP isn't a stranger to that. It is a haven for imported and local items, furniture, home decor, good grub, coffee and desserts perfect for those with a sweet tooth! Order the Beef Brisket Sandwich which is slow-cooked until remarkably tender, served with a side of sweet potato fries and crisp salad. Make sure you check out the different quirky items you can take home for your little nook at home or office!
From sushi and ramen to katsudon and donburi, finding this hidden gem in San Juan is definitely a treat and would be a great addition to your list of go-to Japanese restaurants. An old house converted to a restaurant with modern interiors, Tomo which means friend in Japanese, have classic and unique dishes to offer. Start with any of the salads or classic rolls and move on to the specials which includes the Kaki Cheese Yaki: five pieces of grilled oyster with cheese and vegetable agemono. Even non-oyster lovers would appreciate this dish!
If you're looking for freshly hand-pulled noodles, you're in for a treat! The Lamb Fried Noodles have the softest noodles we've ever tasted and the house special Mala Niu Rou which is a serving of sliced beef and vermicelli noodles in a hot thick chili broth would be perfect if you want to slurp on something hot and spicy, especially now that the rainy season is here. While their noodles are the standout of the restaurant, they also have other Chinese dishes you need to add to your eat list and that are great for sharing: the Kanzhu Special Braised Beef, Chinese Sausage Fried Rice, Lamb Dumplings and Tausi Spareribs just to name a few.