It used to be that I thought of myself as someone who prioritizes yummy food the least. Back in college when I was scrimping on my allowance so I could buy the clothes I covet, I used to scoff at people who wear dowdy clothes but spend so much on food. I thought, “Duh, itatae lang din naman nila, dun pa nila inuubos any allowance nila!”
But I surprised myself when I found myself saying that I’d rather not eat if I don’t like the food, or losing appetite simply because the food bores me.
And then it hit me: during college, I was just blessed to be surrounded by restaurants serving delicious foods that still allowed me to save some of my allowance for clothes.
Fast forward to 2014: I am already working, and I could even afford to eat in fancy restaurants in Metro Manila. But you know what? I often feel foolish for shelling out thousands of pesosesosesoses for foods that are actually a fraction of the cost of their counterparts in eLBi.
So guys, lemme share with you my favourite restaurants that are proudly made in eLBi:
(Note: This is NOT an advertorial. The restaurants I am featuring did not ask me to write about them, nor did/will I ask something in return for this. I just really want to share their yummy foods to my readers)
Faustina’s Restaurant opened in July 2010. It is actually an homage to the owners’ late grandmother, the Habitos’ Lola Faustina (thus, Faustina’s) who left them with such good memories of family love and food. With the help of the Habitos’ Interior Designer friend, Rinelle Villareal, they were able to conceptualise and include their Lola Faustina’s memory into the details of the restaurant.
I first started to get curious about Faustina’s when of our teachers at Brain Train was raving about the dishes of this quaint restaurant along Raymundo Gate. He loved it so much that whenever there’s a reason to celebrate or whenever any one of us would muse out loud as to where to eat, he would always say, “Faustina’s!”
And then one evening, my friends and I found ourselves at Faustina’s. I asked what the bestseller was, and the waiter suggested the silindro ribs.
It was love at first bite for me! Everything was perfect—from the grilling to the barbecue sauce to the sukang pinakurat (I love vinegar on barbecue!)…and most especially the price! This meal that is a symphony to my taste buds only costs P210. I remember the time when my friends and I decided to have lunch out of the blue. We went to this restaurant and when we saw that a similar viand cost almost P400, we just looked at each other and knew we were leaving and heading for Faustina’s. Hahaha!
When you’re craving for something sweet naman, you should order Faustina’s blueberry cheesecake. I’ve tried it (the silindro ribs was filling, but my appetite swore to me that my tummy still had space), and I loved it!
Other bestsellers (which I have yet to try—I can’t NOT order these two every time I go to Faustina’s eh!) include Faustina’s Pepperoni Pizza, Aussie Beef and Lamb Pies (trivia: the owners grew up in Australia), Spaghetti and Meatbombs, Creamy Shrimp Pasta, and Banana Choco Hazelnut Crepe.
Truly, Faustina’s is a gem in Los Banos! But seats at Faustina’s are just like the rarest of gems—Faustina’s is almost always jam-packed, sigh! (Celine, palakihin n’yo ang restau n’yo please!)
(Faustina’s Restaurant is located at Lola J’s Building, 10278 Ruby St., Los Banos Subdivision, Los Banos Laguna. Call them at 049 501-1509. They are open everyday from 11am-8:30pm)
I have discovered Gastronomeats only recently. I used to pass by it almost everyday, but I did not give it any second thoughts. It looks very simple and plain, so I took it for granted. In fact, when my friend Zaira (the same person who brought me to Faustina’s) told me that our next dinner destination would be at Gastronomeats, I had to bite my tongue to keep myself from complaining. And so there we went. My doubts about the quality of food was heightened when I saw that even inside, everything was just so simple. So I was not expecting anything, really.
I ordered their Oompa Liempo:
I was surprised that it actually tasted great! I was expecting it to taste like our regular liempo at home (which also tastes great, by the way), but no, there was really an “oomph!” Hehehe. Since it was my first time there and since I was also dining with my closest friends, I tasted what they have ordered. And I loved them even more!
This is what my friend ordered:
I loved it! The mild, smoky flavour of the bacon is perfectly complemented by the mild saltiness of the sunny side up eggs and fried rice. My friend Zaira says it’s her favourite at Gastronomeats. So the next time I went there with my friend Irvin, I ordered this as well.
However, when I tasted Irvin’s order—spicy liempo—I told myself that it, too, was delicious!
And so I ordered spicy liempo when I went there with Randy and Raviv. Randy ordered Slabbed (which I got bits and pieces from), and ordered Sausage Fest for Raviv. Just when I thought I was already confused with what to order next, I also loved Raviv’s Sausage Fest. Waaaaah!!!
Three visits to Gastronomeats made me realize this: the owners really needed not to overwhelm its patrons with any kind of decoration—heck, there wast even a tinge of the usual colour red that is said to whet people’s appetites—because the flavours of their meats would cover just about everything!
(Gastronomeats is located along Lopez Avenue, Los Banos, Laguna. It is just in front of Centtro Mall. Its contact number is 09175105215.)
I only fully appreciated Bonito’s when we dined at Bonito’s and then at Abe and at Crisostomo only days apart. That’s because when we dined at Bonito’s, Randy had their Kalderetang Batangas combo meal. And he loved it a lot. He was surprised to see that what he had—scrumptious beef “stewed for a long time in a garlic-onion-liver sauce” served with rice and iced tea/lemonade cost only P140! Yes, P140 only!
Dishes such as this at Abe and at Crisostomo would be well over P300! And when it comes to taste, Bonito’s is definitely not lacking!
Aside from this caldereta that I am raving so much about, Bonito’s also serves these mouthwatering dishes that I have yet to try (all images lifted from Bonito’s Bar and restaurant Facebook Page):
The best thing about Bonito’s is that it is spacious (relative to other restaurants in eLBi) and can accommodate lots of people.
However, food service is kinda slow. I guess the staff get rattled because of the volume of people and of the orders that they receive.
(Bonito’s Bar and Restaurant is located at Oregano St. corner Lopez Ave., Demarses Subd, Los Baños, Laguna. They may be contacted through 049 536 3255 or 09153154521.)
I know that there may be other restaurants in Los Banos that are worthy of being featured here, but I may have not tried eating there yet…feel free to suggest where I should eat next time! I would surely hate to miss out on anything that proudly made in eLBi!