Where to Eat in Vigan: Café Uno

After a day of intense sightseeing in the scenic heritage city that is Vigan, one is bound to crave for something delicious with which to cap the night. Located at Bonifacio Street and a short walk from Calle Crisologo is Café Uno—one of the three restaurants of Grandpa’s Inn. Luckily, we were staying at this inn, so right after dinner we just had to climb two flights of stairs before collapsing into our cozy beds. But I’m getting ahead of myself—first, our dinner.

Café Uno is a quaint, cozy little shop attached to the hotel with an ambience that is rustic and intimate. Admittedly, the place is a bit cramped—but the presence of fascinating knickknacks around the restaurant is enough to keep you interested and to start a conversation.

Around 5-6 tables occupy the main dining area, which can accommodate about 14 guests; an extension is at the far end, adjacent to the other restaurant, Kusina Felicitas.

I was eager to try Ilocano specialties so I wasn’t too thrilled to see that the menu consists of pasta, sandwiches and cakes (stupid me, it’s a café—duh). The good news is that Grandpa’s Inn lets diners order from any of its three restaurants, so we had our craved-for local food (from Kusina), a “sizzling” dish (from Uno Grille) and of course, desserts from Café Uno.

After my experience at Johnny Moon Café in Batac, I wanted more of the Poqui Poqui—this time we tried Vigan’s version. It tasted a bit like Johnny Moon’s, but somehow more creamy and “eggy”. I don’t know how to make eggplants tastier than this.

We spotted the Sizzling Bagnet off Uno Grille’s menu and instantly knew we had to get it. Unlike the one I tried from La Preciosa in Laoag, the Sizzling Bagnet was a mix of pork and vegetables, with some sort of sauce made of tomato juice and bagoong. The pork belly is deep-fried, the edges crispy, but the meat not as tender as La Preciosa’s. Still a pretty good choice though.

I couldn’t leave without trying Café Uno’s refrigerated cakes, so we ordered the Sans Rival and the Blueberry Cheesecake. The Sans Rival, one of my favorite cakes, didn’t disappoint with its delicious layers of buttercream and meringue. The amount of cashew nuts was generous. Actually, Café Uno’s version tasted like the cheap but yummy ones you can buy from Burger Machine!

The Blueberry Cheesecake was as delicious as it was Instagram-worthy. The cheese layer was thick but not cloying, the graham crust barely there. Topping the cake were some blueberries and sauce.

Pair your cake with some freshly brewed coffee. While Café Uno offers both traditional selections (café latte, cappuccino, etc.) and playful creations (latteccino caramel), I’m a die-hard fan of black coffee. I opted for some Arabica—which was served with balikutsa (solidified sugar cane juice) which turned out not to be too sweet at all.

Aside from coffee, Café Uno also sells fresh fruit shakes and alcoholic beverages. Take your pick from the assortment of drinks and sip them as you watch some news or sports from the main dining hall TV.

Café Uno was so cozy that dinner lasted for what seemed like three hours. My friend Kat and I just lounged there and chatted over our meal—good thing there weren’t too many guests (it was past normal dinnertime when we went) so we could stay long without worrying about giving others our table.

The following morning, we chose to take our complimentary breakfast in Café Uno as well. I think the food was from Kusina Felicitas, but we wanted the cheery ambience of the café. A lineup of Filipino breakfast sets was available, and of course I had the Vigan Longganisa set. Kat, on the other hand, had the Chicken Longganisa. Both meals included a fried egg, garlic rice, some vegetables, coffee (instant), and orange juice. Breakfast at Café Uno was one of the best I’ve had in Ilocos.

In retrospect, I think Café Uno was one of the most pleasant places I’ve been to in our Ilocos trip—along with Grandpa’s Inn itself (full review coming soon). The café’s atmosphere felt like a piece of home, a place where you can just chill and think and be quiet or talk to a friend and recall happy moments. I definitely recommend giving this restaurant a try when you happen to be in Vigan. Needless to say, if ever I come back, I would dine and hangout here again and stuff myself with more poqui poqui, bagnet, coffee, and cakes.

Café Uno – Grandpa’s Inn
#1 Bonifacio St., cor. Quirino Blvd., Vigan City, Ilocos Sur
8:30AM – 11:00PM
Website | Facebook | Trip Advisor (currently ranked #1 restaurant in Vigan)
Budget: PhP150-PhP250/head

Have you been to Vigan? Ever tried Cafe Uno? What's your favorite Ilocano food?

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