Forbes has recently listed Dumaguete City as one of the best places to retire around the world. My first reaction was, “Why?”. The city does not have the urbanity of Iloilo or Cebu. It’s not even in the level of Bacolod City yet. Apart from Silliman University, it does not have major attractions. But then I realized, Dumaguete City is a great jump off point for so many other great places like Siquijor, the Twin Lakes of Balinsasayaw, the Manjuyod Sandbar, and so on. And come to think it, when one retires, one may not exactly wish for a very busy city but rather for a more laid back one that is still in close proximity to relaxing places. Dumaguete fits that bill.
When I asked myself the big “WHY”, I also overlooked that the greatest asset of Dumaguete is its food. I can’t recall eating a bad dish in the city! In fact, I and my friend didn’t do anything but eat when we were there last September. Restaurant owners also invest in interiors. I couldn’t find a restaurant, even small ones, with ugly interiors! I even joked that perhaps it’s one of the city government’s requirement for the renewal of business permit. Here were my case studies:
Case Study 1: Lab-as Restaurant
Situated the outer skirts of the city, Lab-as offers a variety of seafood dishes at surprisingly affordable prices! My personal favorite would have to be the baked scallops.
Lovely food aside, the restaurant had a very homey feel. There’s something about the wooden interiors that made me feel so relaxed. The staff was very accommodating goo!
Case Study 2: Sans Rival Bistro
One cannot go to Dumaguete without visiting Sans Rival Bistro and trying out their famous sans rival and silvanas. Let’s just say it’s a right of passage. The parent branch of Sans Rival Bistro seemed like a house converted to a restaurant. When we there, the place was teeming with foreigner and student.
Case Study 3: KRI Restraurant
KRI Restaurant is often listed as one of the best restaurants in Dumaguete. Before I entered the restaurant, I refused to believe. It’s situated in one of the darker streets near Silliman, and the exterior of the building where it was located reminded me of a rundown budget hotel. But once I entered and tasted its food, I concluded one should not really judge a book by its cover. It has one of the best though interiors I have seen from the details of the walls and tables up to the tiles of the lavatory. And the food is a superb as the restaurant’s interiors. KRI has one of the best steaks I have ever tasted. The meat was cooked to perfection!
Case Study 4: Casablanca Delicatessen & Fine Dining
Casablanca Delicatessen & Fine Dining is a Mexican Restaurant and also situated along Roxas Boulevard. We tried it on a whim because we were very hungry already when we arrived from Siquijor. Glad the gamble paid off. The pasta they offered was great! I didn’t love the tacos but I forgave them for that because the rest of our food was great. The Mexican vibe of the place also helped a lot.
The list of great restaurants in Dumaguete can be even longer. Too bad I only stayed in the city for two to days so I wasn’t able to try more. I can only eat so much! I would love to go back to try other dining places! Just the restaurants along Rizal Boulevard are enough to make me drool. I would love to live along that street, drink a cup of coffee in a cafe and enjoy its beautiful view of sunrise everyday!