Best Restaurants in Pampanga – Culinary Capital of the Philippines

Where to Eat in Pampanga Mangan Tamu

Pampanga, the culinary capital of the Philippines, is worthy of your taste buds. The scrumptious dishes served in Kapampangan restaurants are actually decades’ worth of work. Food is an integral part of our identity and culture, flying all the way back to the early times. This province in Central Luzon is just one of the many proofs that Filipino cuisine is something to be proud of.

In this blog, we will tackle a comprehensive list of restaurants in Pampanga that serve delicious local and international cuisine. In addition to that, we’ll show you five reasons why Pampanga is the Culinary Capital of the Philippines.

5 Reasons Why Pampanga is the Culinary Capital of the Philippines

#1 Kapampangans love to eat

With a great love for food comes the high demand for great cooks, and Kapampangans just know how to adapt to that need! It is believed that during the Spanish period in the country, Pampanga was blessed with Spanish cooks who taught the Filipinos how to recreate their favorite dishes at the time. 

Many Filipinos find that Kapampangans have the best culinary skills in the Philippines, and it’s a long standing joke that if you don’t know how to cook, you’re not really from the province. However locals may take it, the innovative skills and knowledge of Pampanga folk make the province being the culinary capital uncontested. 

#2 Everywhere you turn, there’s a restaurant to be seen

It would be impossible for one to visit Pampanga and not go on a food walk. Whatever town you might find yourself stopping by, there’s just an array of restaurants, eateries, cafés, and food stalls to choose from! If you’re in the mood for Filipino cuisine, you’re most likely to find a local restaurant within a mile’s radius.

If you’re in the mood for fine dining, then you’re also in the right place! Pampanga is one of the world-class provinces in the country, and that calls for international cuisine and tons of fine dining establishments.  Here’s a list of the best places to eat in Pampanga! You might want to check this out before your next visit. 

Tasty, Mouth-Watering Restaurants in Pampanga


Fine Dining

Piccolo Padre Meal

Who says Filipino dishes can’t be served in Fine Dining Restaurants?

Below are the best fine dining restaurants in Pampanga.

Casual Dining

The Veranda Herbs & Spices

Grill Houses

Side Griller Restaurant Meal

Wherever you may be in the country, once the clock hits 5 o’clock, vendors get their grillers and pamaypays out. Grilled food is an essential part of Filipino cuisine, and several restaurants in Pampanga just take this experience up a notch. You’ll find dishes such as the classic pork barbeque, grilled seafood, and other grilled goods from the restaurants we’ve picked out just for you.

Garden Restaurants

Rainforest Kichen by Chef Vince Garcia

A little bit of nature and a dash of good food equates to dining bliss. Garden restaurants are designed to give you a change of scenery from your dining places. These restaurants are usually found near Mt. Arayat to provide you with the best views Pampanga can give.

Kapampangan Cuisine

Lolaima Pampanga Cuisine

You’ve probably heard of sisig, menudo, and afritada, but I bet that you didn’t know they all originated from Pampanga. With the number of Kapampangan dishes, it is no surprise that there is an abundance of restaurants in the province that only serve local cuisine. If you’re visiting the Philippines, be sure to stop by Pampanga–they sure do have the Filipino taste perfectly down!

Seafood Restaurants

Shrimp Avenue

You won’t need to go outside the country to enjoy the trendy, Cajun-style boiled seafood, because they’ve got it all in Pampanga. Most restaurants serve freshly caught seafood cooked into dishes the locals certainly love. Whether you’re craving something more inclined to Filipino flavors or something Caribbean, these restaurants are the go-to places for your seafood fix.

Food Parks

Comercio Central

If you’re a foodie, you probably have noticed the rise in food parks in the country. These parks are where various food stalls featuring different cuisines are put up. You’d often find different flavors ranging from Filipino dishes to Korean street food, from rice meals to desserts. Food hubs are the go-to dining places for people who want to try out different meals and drinks.

Cafes

Café Fleur & Nuan Cafe by Katrina’s

Are you looking for coffee, tea, and everything in between? If your answer is yes, you should check out our top cafes in Pampanga. They vary in theme, but they’re the perfect place to go, whether you’re just getting your coffee fix or cramming your report for Monday’s meeting.

Comfort Food

Top Pizza & New York Supreme

Don’t you sometimes just want to throw out your meticulously curated diet plan and just stuff your mouth with your comfort food like pizza and fries? Don’t tell my gym instructor, but I always do. These places may not make your pants happy, but they will surely satisfy your stomach and cravings. At the end of the day, isn’t contentment and satisfaction all we need?

Buffet

Amante-Ribs & Steaks

Filipinos love eating, and Filipinos love eat-all-you-can restaurants even more. These top restaurants in Pampanga serve Filipino and international cuisine to satisfy your rumbling stomachs.

Breakfast

ZRV-Breakfast-&-Coffee

Taking your first meal in the cozy and dreamy morning in the province of Pampanga is literally a slice of heaven. Some of the popular choices for breakfast include tocino (thin pork cuttings), silog (fried rice, egg, and viand) paired with a hot cup of coffee or sikwate (Filipino Hot Chocolate).


Amazing, Delicious International Food Options in Pampanga

You won’t need to buy a plane ticket to experience international flavors; you’ll find them all in just a few hours’ worth of drive from Manila. Pampanga is one of the hottest tourist destinations in the country, so it’s no surprise that the city’s dining scene caters to everyone. Try our top resto picks and enjoy a burst of Filipino and international flavors on your tastebuds.

Korean Cuisine

Grill-Seoul-Korean-BBQ

You’ll get to star in your own K-Drama in these Korean restaurants. Whether you’re a fan of Korean culture or not, their cuisine is something you should try at least once in your life. Don’t worry if you don’t have your own oppa to share your meal with; you’ll still leave with a full belly and a satisfied smile.

Japanese Cuisine

Namari-Japanese-Bistro

Konnichiwa! If you’re craving for some Japanese food, look no further because we’ve picked the best ones you can find in Pampanga. Bestsellers include sushi, tempura, katsudon, ramen, and more.

Italian Restaurants

Italianeh Menu

The Italian restaurants in Pampanga are not just your usual pasta and pizza. They also have wines, bread, steak, lobster, fettuccine, oyster, and other high-class dishes. These restaurants are meant to transport you to Italy in luxury and style.

Mexican Restaurants 

Spanglish-Restaurant

¿Que quieres comer? Mexican food is known for its rich, spicy, and savory flavors. If you’re up for either quesadillas or burritos, get your fix from one of the restaurants we’ve picked out for you!

Vietnamese Restaurants

Side-Griller-Restaurant-&-Lanquyen-Vietnamese-Food-House

Get the well-deserved Pho that takes you back to Vietnam when you go to these restaurants in Pampanga. For newbies to this type of cuisine, Vietnamese food is all about balance. You’ll find dishes to be the equilibrium of heat, aroma, sweetness, sourness, and fish-sauciness.

German Restaurants

Bavarian-Restaurant

German dishes are all about hearty portions of meat, which is why sausages are among the more known German delicacies. It’s not every day you come across German restaurants, and Pampanga is lucky enough to have some! Don’t forget to broaden your food knowledge by trying dishes you’ve never tasted before!

Chinese Restaurants

Tai-Woo-Chinese-Restaurant

Being closely tied to Chinese culture, it’s no surprise that Chinese food is a Filipino favorite. Get a taste of the Orient when you dine in these Chinese restaurants in Pampanga.


#3 Festivals are all around

Filipinos love to celebrate–whether it’s a promotion, a birthday, an anniversary, or something big like a festival, Filipinos will always find something to celebrate about! Apart from the colorful decorations, lively music, and dancing, what makes a Filipino festival worth celebrating is the food! 

It is a tradition in almost every part of the country for locals to open their houses during fiestas. Families show their generosity by inviting friends and neighbors to eat the food they’ve prepared for the community celebration.  Here are some festivals in Pampanga you should miss out on! 

Sinukwan Festival

Sinukwan Festival is celebrated in the first week of December as a tribute to the god of ancient Kapampangans, Aring Sinukwan. It serves as a way to introduce Kapampangan culture to tourists and for locals to celebrate their rich culture and heritage. Although the spotlight of this festival falls to the street dance competition, there are hundreds of food stalls around San Fernando. 

Fiestang Tugak

Pampanga is blessed with vast rice fields. They do, however, come at a price–frogs. Kids usually spend their afternoons catching frogs then bringing them back to their homes, which gave birth to various frog cuisine! Fiestang Tugak celebrates the frog-catching season in San Fernando. One of the highlights of this festival is the cook showdown featuring frogs as the main ingredient. 

Duman Festival

Another festival celebrated in December is the Duman Festival, which celebates the local-made Christmas delicacy which is usually paired with hot chocolate or coffee. Apart from duman, you can also find a lot of food stalls around Sta. Rita selling Kapampangan dishes and delicacies. 

Camaru Festival

Aside from frogs, mole crickets are also abundant in the rice fields of Pampanga. Just like the tugak, the camaru, became one of the most known Kapampangan delicacies. The Camaru Festival in Magalang showcases the talents of local folk in dancing, visual arts, and of course, cooking. One of the highlights of this festival is the culinary competition featuring crickets as its main ingredient. 

#4 Pampanga offers a variety of authentic Kapampangan dishes you probably haven’t heard of  

 A place heralded as the culinary capital of the Philippines surely has its own cuisine that is exclusive only to them. Others may try to recreate them, but nothing will contest the skills and techniques of a cook raised in Pampanga. Here are some of the Kapampangan foods and delicacies you have to try on your next visit! 

Bringhe

Bringhe is a traditional dish offered during fiestas and other special occasions. In fact, bringhe is frequently prepared in huge pots to ensure that they can serve a large number of people. 

Bulang-lang Kapampangan

Bulang-lang Kapampangan is a popular Kapampangan dish that may also be enjoyed rain or shine. This meal is similar to sinigang, except instead of tamarind, Kapampangans use guava fruit to give the soup its distinctive sour flavor. 

Sisig

Sisig is a popular Filipino dish made from various pig parts sautéed with onions, soy sauce, and lime juice. This one is best enjoyed as pulutan for your chill-numan nights! 

Betute Tugak

Betute Tugak is one of the more exotic delicacies from Pampanga. It is made from frogs stuffed with ground pork and other condiments, then deep fried. Don’t worry, though! Locals say they taste just like chicken. 

Camaru

Camaru or mole crickets are usually found in farmlands. They would be caught by children and be cooked in various ways–grilled, fried, adobo-style. Not everyone would find this appealing, but it’s something everyone should taste at least once in their life.

#5 Most of our favorite Filipino dishes originated from Pampanga

Kapampangan cooks surely know the secret to the hearts (and stomachs) of Filipinos. In fact a lot of our favorite Filipino dishes originated from Pampanga. If you like any of these dishes, you might want to thank our ancestors from Pampanga for their innovations.

Menudo, Caldereta, Afritada.

Filipinos are obsessed with these meat with orange, tomato-based sauce dishes. In fact, there have been online debates about which dish is which, because they all basically have the same ingredients. Whatever the difference is, this type of dish is a staple in the Filipino household!

Aligue

Taba ng talangka or aligue is a Filipino seafood paste from crabs found in shores or river banks. This paste is usually used as flavoring for fried rice, or a base for other seafood dishes. As much as it tastes good, here’s a fair warning! It can spike up your cholesterol levels.

Tocino

Tocino is a classic Filipino breakfast food best served with garlic fried rice and sunny side up. Tocino is made from pork strips, which are marinated in sugar and salt for hours before cooking. The long and time-consuming process of marinating pork gives off a tender texture and sweet flavors when cooked.

Tokwa’t Baboy.

You might know this one as a side dish for rice porridge or mami. This dish is made from–you already guessed it–boiled pork and crispy tofu cubes, drenched in a concoction of soy sauce and vinegar. Whether you treat it as a side dish or serve it with steamed rice, this one is a Filipino classic that everyone seems to enjoy.

In summary…

Filipinos love to eat, and that love for food entails a passion for cooking. However, not everyone can say that they have the talent of a Kapampangan cook. These skills and love for anything food makes Pampanga the deserving holder of the title culinary capital of the Philippines.

Filipinos love to eat, and that love for food entails a passion for cooking. However, not everyone can say that they have the talent of a Kapampangan cook. These skills and love for anything food make Pampanga the deserving holder of the title of culinary capital of the Philippines.

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