La Union Food Trip: 5 Restaurants to Try

With its laidback atmosphere, accessible location, and exciting surf scene, it’s no wonder La Union—fondly called “Elyu”—is a favorite weekend destination among Manileños and residents of nearby provinces. Only five hours away, San Juan, the most popular town in Elyu, is home to relaxing beaches, casual neighborhoods, and waves (literally) that attract surfers—professionals and new enthusiasts alike. Come any weekend and you will never see it devoid of tourists.

Whether you’re a surfing lover eager to fill your tummy after a long day in the water or simply a traveler enjoying the vibe and exploring the culinary scene of La Union, the province’s vibrant and emerging foodie culture is sure to find you a favorite—one place you would keep coming back to. Below, I have listed down 5 places I tried in my recent trip. From pizzas to moussakas, let your taste buds wander around these delicious beach finds.


1 | The Coffee Library


Pho and Vietnamese coffee in beach town? Hell yes! This Baguio-born café serving affordable snacks, mains, all-day breakfast, desserts, and exquisite coffee now has a branch in San Juan—and it was right beside our homestay! Their Pho Ga (chicken pho) brought me back to Ho Chi Minh with its delicious broth and familiar aroma. And don’t get me started on their Vietnamese coffees—the Ca Phe Sua Chua (iced coffee with yogurt) is highly recommended, the Egg Coffee a must-try! The Coffee Library also serves Filipino dishes and other comfort food—the Crispy Kare-Kare is really good.

Highly recommended: all Vietnamese coffees, pho, Crispy Kare-Kare
Useful tips: The place is always packed so bring a bit of patience. There are books on the 2nd level that you can borrow while you wait. The Egg Coffee is pretty strong and not for the faint-hearted.

~*~
The Coffee Library
MacArthur Highway, Urbiztondo, San Juan, La Union
+63917.503.7962
Budget: around PhP250-PhP300/head (food and coffee)


2 | Flotsam and Jetsam

If there’s a place that fully encapsulates my perceived vibe of La Union, it’s definitely Flotsam and Jetsam. Artsy. Chill. Communal. The restaurant makes you want to stay there for long hours—we especially loved the little covered area littered with cushions, where people sit, sleep, drink, and basically do nothing! Whether you’re thirsty for some ice cold beer, some good brick-oven pizzas, or healthy smoothie bowls, Flotsam and Jetsam is the perfect place. I loved the Margherita Pizza, perfect in between sips of beer.

Highly recommended: the pizzas, Makai bowls
Useful tips: at night, the vibe slightly changes from super chill to upbeat, especially when DJs play and attract throngs of partygoers. The place becomes so packed then—luckily, you can just grab a bean bag or a banig and sit anywhere.

~*~
Flotsam and Jetsam
MacArthur Highway, Urbiztondo, San Juan, La Union
+63917.802.1328
Budget: around PhP300 up/head


3 | Gefseis Greek Grill

There are not too many Greek restaurants in the country, so when one pops out, people are usually curious to try it. Gefseis is no exception, an open-air, blue-and-white restaurant situated right in front of the beach. With an extensive and fresh menu, Gefseis promises a delicious and somewhat healthier dining experience as they are heavy on veggies and grilled meats. The Grilled Tuna is a good choice for those looking for seafood; however, I recommend trying their Moussaka composed of layers of eggplant and minced meat, topped with béchamel.

Highly recommended: grilled tuna, ribs, moussaka
Useful tip: don’t be discouraged by the unappetizing photos from the menu—their food is delicious.

~*~
Gefseis Greek Grill
Urbiztondo Beach, Urbiztondo, San Juan, La Union
+6372.603.0183
Budget: PhP300 up/head


4 | El Union Coffee

This beach hut along the highway is one of the most popular hangout spots in La Union—people just love its vibe. Offering a small selection of brews, El Union is all about enjoying great coffee in a very casual setting. The place is quite small, with only a few tables inside and a couple of stools by the bar; however, customers just spill out and sip their coffees anywhere, unmindful of the heat. The Dirty Latte has balanced sweetness, whereas the Dirty Horchata is more subtle, but with flavors of cinnamon.

Highly recommended: Dirty Latte, Horchata, Dirty Horchata, Nitro Cold Brew
Useful tips: They serve desserts like skillet cookie and s’mores too. If you seek peace and quiet while you enjoy your coffee, this might not be the place for you.

~*~
El Union Coffee
MacArthur Highway, Urbiztondo, San Juan, La Union
Budget: around PhP300/head (food and coffee)


5 | Olas Banditos

It’s hard to miss this place: if you see a huge skull drawing on a warehouse-like façade along the highway, then you have found Olas Banditos, the new Mexican joint owned by the popular surfer, Luke Landrigan. The place attracts a crowd hungry for tacos and burritos, and although I must say that the food feels more American than Mexican, I did enjoy their Chicken Flautas topped with tomatoes and cheese. They serve beers and cocktails too, so if you are looking for a chill drinking session with friends, it might be worth checking out. I love their interiors.

Highly recommended: the flautas (beef/chicken)
Useful tip: manage your expectations (especially if you are used to El Chupacabra-style tacos)

~*~
Olas Banditos
MacArthur Highway, Urbiztondo, San Juan, La Union
+63977.859.0064
Budget: PhP200 up/head


Have you been to La Union? What other places have you tried? If you're a local, which is your favorite?

If you like my posts and would love regular updates on travel photos, food finds, restaurant reviews, dance articles, and drunken tales, follow Pepe Samson on Facebook!

pepe samson

About Pepe Samson

This is a short description in the author block about the author. You edit it by entering text in the "Biographical Info" field in the user admin panel.
    Disqus Comment
    Facebook Comment

0 comments :

Post a Comment

Let me know what you think!