Where To Eat In Vigan: Cafe Uno

Published on September 02, 2012

FTFBadgeAfter freshening up at Vigan Plaza Hotel and a quick stroll at Calle Crisologo, we decided to put our tour to a halt to hear out our growling stomachs. The last decent meal we had was six hours ago at the airport. We passed by Café Leona on our way to Calle Crisologo, but it was already crowded. One of the restaurants that came up from our online research prior to our trip was Café Uno. Other than knowing that it’s near Calle Crisologo, we failed to take note of its exact location so we asked for directions from the very few people who were still outside the shops along Calle Crisologo.

When we finally reached the place, we were so amazed because Café Uno is just beside Grandpa’s Inn. Gradpa’s Inn was on top of our list when we were hotel-hunting, but we were disappointed when we found out that they were already fully-booked. Anyway, Vigan Plaza Hotel was a good substitute.

We were seated right away in the area with a giant TV. They were tuned in to ABS-CBN’s Walang Hanggan, but the TV was on mute. We asked if they could adjust the volume, but we were told that it isn’t allowed by the management.

The server then handed us three different menus. I am not sure, but I’m thinking that there are other two restaurants within the area which are also owned by the owners of Café Uno. We initially went to another restaurant in front of Café Uno, but we were informed that whatever they have there are also being served in Café Uno. Though very tired, I was very excited since it was my first time to eat authentic Vigan delicacies. :)

It was a unanimous decision to get fried rice instead of plain rice. Served on a big platter, the fried rice wasn’t just delicious, it was very aromatic! The striking colors also made a simple fried rice more appetizing. It surely conditioned all our senses for an upcoming feast.

DSC_0952 Fried Rice PHP100

Leaving Ilocos without trying bagnet is a mortal sin. But since I want it "deadlier", I requested for Bagnet Sisig.

Their Bagnet Sisig is simply chopped bagnet with onions and loads of chilies served on a sizzling plate. Unlike the usual sisig where they include grilled pork skin, ears and snout, Bagnet Sisig has BAGNET (I think you already got it by now). I mean it’s the equivalent of LECHON KAWALI. If you still can’t figure out where I’m going at, my point is: it’s deep-fried! I heard that some version of bagnet fries the pork three times! Wooohooo! Cholesterol at its finest! :p

DSC_0961 Bagnet Sisig PHP190

The saltiness and spiciness of the dish are just right. Getting it was a wise decision though I told myself that I should not sleep right away if I wanted to see the sun the following day.

Another dish that Ilocos brags for is Pinakbet. They also serve Pinakbet with Bagnet, but we thought it would be overkill if we get it. Loaded with different vegetables and bagoong, their pinakbet didn’t blow me away maybe because my mom always cooks it at home. But still, Café Uno’s version is relatively good.

DSC_0954Pinakbet PHP100

And so I saved the best for last! Joie requested for Chicken Karimbuaya. When I asked her what it is, she simply read what was written on the menu – Chicken marinated the way Ilocano marinate their lechon manok but cooked in a different way by grilling. Though it sounds intriguing, there was nothing in the description that made me look forward to it. When it was served to us, it was unappealing too. With its weird name, I was extremely careful when I took my first bite.

DSC_0958Chicken Karimbuaya PHP175

Saying it’s delicious is an understatement, an unfair description for this wonderful dish. Everybody started talking about how tasty it is. There’s that perfect blend of acidity, sweetness and saltiness. There’s also that distinct flavor which seems to come from wine. But realizing that we’re in Ilocos, I figured that the flavor comes from their famous vinegar. Boyet couldn’t stand his curiosity and asked one of the servers how it’s cooked. The waitress couldn’t give a specific answer and just told us that the chicken was marinated.

Other than the tasty dinner, the next amazing part came when we got our bill! I saw it first and told the group that we’re only paying for PHP500++. I exclaimed, “500 lang dinner natin!” I checked the bill and even did a mental calculation of everything written on it. I even asked the waitress if we were really just paying that amount. In the many years we’ve dined together, that was a first! :)


Cafe Uno
1 Bonifacio Street,
Vigan, Ilocos Sur

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2 comments

  1. That Bagnet Sisig is mouth-watering, Je! Too bad I wasn't able to taste much of Ilocos' delicacies when I went there. I had their famous empanada, though! ;)

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    1. Maudey, you can always come back. :)

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