If you know much at all about the food scene in Dumaguete, you’ll have heard of Sans Rival. Easily the most famous dining destination in the city, Sans Rival in Dumaguete is more than just a restaurant, it’s a part of Dumaguete history. What started out as a little cake shop has since exploded into a countrywide, household name, with the original bakery and bistro still standing in the same place today.
WHERE IS SANS RIVAL IN DUMAGUETE
You’ll find Sans Rival in Dumaguete on the Rizal Boulevard, amongst a long stretch of restaurants, cafes and bars. The Boulevard is one of the most iconic tourist spots in Dumaguete, so you can pair your visit to Sans Rival with a stroll along the famous seafront.
SANS RIVAL IN DUMAGUETE BISTRO
One of the most charming things about Sans Rival in Dumaguete Bistro is the fact that it’s the family’s ancestral home, refurbished and flipped into a restaurant. This big old house has been witness to so many of the changes of Dumaguete, from the horse drawn carriages of yesteryears to the buzzing busyness of the Boulevard today. It seems especially fitting that it’s now the most iconic address on the Boulevard, a loving home now a popular meeting spot for locals, expats and tourists alike.
Sans Rival in Dumaguete has kept its homely charm about it, with the original hardwood floors, heavy doors and winding staircase. It has since been painted in that unmistakeable Sans Rival blue, bedrooms turned into dining rooms and modern amenities added, but there’s no mistaking this was once a grand house.
The menu at Sans Rival in Dumaguete Bistro is extensive, with large sections for beef, pork, chicken, seafood and our favorite, pasta! The Lemon Chicken Piccata is our favourite pasta dish on the menu, and the Sans Rival Spaghetti is a Filipino classic. However, the most show stopping item, in our opinion, is the Bistro Signature Salad. You’re probably thinking “Really, a salad? How boring” but you would be wrong. It’s a flavourful explosion of mixed greens, dried mango, candied walnuts and a secret bacon dressing to top it off. Zowie’s wanted to recreate it at home ever since we first tried it, but that amazing dressing can’t be copied.
Sans Rival in Dumaguete is great value for money, and won’t break the bank. If you’re looking for a great lunch meal, their Perfect Pasta Plates are the best value. They come with a smaller serving of pasta, garlic bread, your choice of salad or soup, dessert of the day and lemonade or iced tea. All of this between $4.90 and $5.50 depending on the pasta you choose.
If you’re interested in hosting a private event or party, the second floor of Sans Rival in Dumaguete has a number of dining rooms and event spaces for hire. They also recently added an extension to the house to accommodate more event guests.
An Instagrammer’s visit to Sans Rival in Dumaguete Bistro wouldn’t be complete without stopping for a photo on the ornate staircase at the exit.
SANS RIVAL IN DUMAGUETE CAKE & PASTRIES
The original Sans Rival in Dumaguete Cake & Pastries was nothing more than a cake cabinet in a 5x3m brick building. That tiny building is now just the foyer of a much larger cake shop and cafe. Here you can get everything from bite sized desserts to classic cheesecakes, decadent birthday cakes and the famous Sans Rival Silvanas. If you don’t know what a Silvana is, it’s a layer of buttercream sandwiched between two cookie crumb coated meringue wafers, an absolute classic Filipino sweet treat.
Whether you like history, or whether you just like good food, Sans Rival in Dumaguete should definitely be on your itinerary of things to do in Negros Oriental. If you’re looking for other food guides around the city, keep scrolling down to the bottom for more, and don’t forget to save this article to your Pinterest to come back to later.
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WHERE TO STAY NEAR DUMAGUETE
Most people who visit Negros Oriental are told to stay in Dumaguete, but what they really mean by that is stay around Dumaguete. True, Dumaguete City has plenty of tourist inns and budget hotels, but it’s the surrounding towns of Dauin and Zamboanguita that offer the best spots to stay. There’s not a whole lot to do in the city itself, so when you stay in the nearby municipalities there’s plenty of nature to explore whilst still being nice and close to Dumaguete City. Check out our top picks for accommodation near Dumaguete City.
LUXURY: Atmosphere Resorts & Spa, Dauin
Atmosphere Resorts & Spa in Dauin is the resort to stay at if you’ve got a big budget and fancy the finer things in life. Atmosphere has hosted its fair share of local celebrities and deep pocketed divers looking for the best beachfront luxury in Dauin. Read our full review of Atmosphere Resorts & Spa here.
MIDSCALE: Mike’s Dauin Dive Resort, Dauin
If you want to stay by the ocean without breaking the bank, Mike’s Dauin Dive Resort in Dauin is a comfortable midscale accommodation option perfect for diving enthusiasts. If you’ve never dived before, you can get your certification at Mike’s, and divers of all skill sets can enjoy the abundance of macro diving opportunities in and around Dauin.
BUDGET: Bongo Bongo Divers, Dauin
Bongo Bongo Divers is one of the most popular hostels in Dauin for backpackers looking for cheap accommodation in a convenient location. The rooms are simple, without any glitz and glam, but the vibe is fun and welcoming. They have a variety of room styles to choose from, ranging from couples rooms to AC or fan only dorms.
AIRBNB: Villa Amani, Zamboanguita
Villa Amani in Zamboanguita is the perfect holiday home for small families or groups of friends looking for privacy that a traditional resort or hotel can’t offer. The main house sleeps 4 with additional space for 2 in the guest house, or you can book the guest house separately if it’s just the 2 of you and you’re on a budget. The property has a swimming pool, an unbeatable view of Apo Island and kayaks to use whenever you want. Read our full review of Villa Amani here.
MORE DUMAGUETE FOOD GUIDES:
Best Burgers in the Philippines, Cliff House Valencia
Best Mexican Food in Dumaguete: Beth’s Kitchen
Best Coffee in Dumaguete: ShimmerSpill Cafe
Baslay Highland Brew Coffee, Dauin
Boho Dreams Grill & Cafe, Dumaguete
Forest Camp Review, Valencia
Atmosphere Resorts Review, Dauin
Street Food, Dumaguete Boulevard