Café Laguna opened recently in Dumaguete just next door of Hotel Nicanor. Café Laguna is since 1991 in Cebu and has several outlets with the latest opened a week ago here in Dumaguete. The name Cafe might be a bit irritating as Cafe Laguna is definitely a Restaurant.
Anyway, after my last (not that impressive) try of a new Restaurant in Dumaguete I was very skeptical to go to the next addition of local food outlets as I rather spend my money with throwing it in the ocean than in bad food, stomach cramps, creating enemies etc.
But as it was 7:00 pm anyway and I had to go to Hotel Nicanor to confirm some rooms, I took the chance and paid Café Laguna a visit. So Rechel and entered the Restaurant and got welcomed by a hostess (if this is the right name) who brought us to a table for two. The entrance area of Café Laguna also has some seats for guests which wanna look into the menu first, or need to wait a few minutes for a table – very convenient and professional…. And that in Dumaguete? There must be something wrong.
Cafe Laguna’s interior is nice and it is obvious that all tables, chairs dividers etc were not build in Dumaguete. For my personal taste maybe a bit too light and I just don’t like this kind of green they are using for the seats. (The pictures look warmer, I was cheating with the camera setting, sorry)
Most of the staff are guys and they are very friendly in a professional way -not the Dumaguete typical way with that disturbing “I have no clue about my job but smile and say yes” face. Most of the staff is from Dumaguete but were the last few weeks in Café Laguna’s Headquarter in Cebu to get up to speed.
Café Laguna offers only Filipino Cuisine, where I use the word cuisine and not food by purpose. The menu offers a big variety of starters and main courses like chicken, pork beef dishes as well as many veggie- and seafood dishes, Merienda and drinks.
Like always, I asked the waiter what is not available, as I don’t waste my time in studying a menu just to hear the famous “Sorry Sir, out of stock”, and surprisingly everything was available. The price-range is between 150 and 270 peso for most dishes and appeared to me a notch higher than in other Filipino Restaurants in Dumaguete, but seeing the staff and the restaurant including aircon they are more than reasonable.
We ordered Kinilaw Tangigue and Crispy Crablets for our Pampagana (appetizer) and Beef Tenderlion steak a la Popre and Buttered Chicken for our main course. Of course after about 20 minutes starter and main-course arrived at the same time but that is the Filipino way so I should be used to that.
All four dishes of Café Laguna were very tasty and I am really positive surprised about the quality. The local Beef was not like piece of leather, the buttered chicken super juicy and not just skin and bones like in other places in Dumaguete. I even liked the crablets, despite the fact that I usually hate that small stuff were one needs 50 pieces to get a mouthful food.
When we checked the bill we had the chance to fill out a form if all was good and what to improve. Not sure if anybody reads that, but it gives a good feeling to have the option. We paid for 4 dishes, 2 garlic rice and 3 drinks 930 Peso and left stuffed.
Café Laguna is definitely a positive addition to the existing Restaurants in Dumaguete. I would almost describe it as Filipino fine dining and perfect if you want to introduce a first time visitor to local cuisine.
You can’t compare Café Laguna to the fast-food “unlimited rice” outlets or street kitchens where the food has little quality and simmers the whole day in a pot or outdoor places like blue monkey. You pay for quality, atmosphere, variety which is all given at the new restaurant Café Laguna in Dumaguete.
Of course the whole report does not sound Rhoody-like, so I need to add some small critics. There should be some tissues, pepper, salt etc on the table. When my food arrives, I wanna start eating and not asking for salt, pepper soy-sauce and wait again and as you serve finger food also, tissues are more than appropriate. Maybe some kind of sauce or dip for the buttered chicken would be nice.
An advice for all who want to have the dinner in a western way (meaning Starters first): Order your main-course when your starter arrives, that should give you the perfect timing.
They will have me back there and all I can say is: Keep up the level and good success for Cafe Laguna in your new branch in Dumaguete