Thinking of where to spend your next #lunchbreak?
If you’re in the Diliman area, why not go to the green and breezy haven that is University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman?
The campus is famous for its precious hole-in the wall restaurants – from Mang Larry’s Isawan to Rodic’s Diner to the Chocolate Kiss Cafe. All of these are cheap yet delicious finds that students, faculty, and visitors to the campus seek and thrive on.
If you’re looking for something to really spice up your work day, go to Area 2. Officially JP Laurel Street of Barangay UP Campus, Area 2 holds some of the lesser known eats in UP. The street is marked by a series of townhouses, where the first floors are commonly converted into restaurants and small businesses. Walking along it you’ll find food options for every price range that’s sure to wake up those taste buds and give you something good to look back on when you’re back at the office.
Here is a list of the must-try establishments in UP Diliman’s very own eat-street:
Jing’s Lutong Bahay (LB)
Price Range: Php 50 – Php 100
Being one of the pioneers in Area 2, LB has established itself as the go-to “lutong bahay/ karindiria” of UP students. According to Ate Azon, sister to LB’s original owner, there were only 3 establishments in the ‘eat street’ when they started in 1977. People enjoy eating in LB because it’s just like eating at home. The living room area is also open for customers during peak hours. Some trivia, the establishment is also famous because wittily enough, the food hub in front of LB was once called Lutong Kapitbahay.
Old Country Kitchenette
Price Range: Php 50- Php 99
Specialty restaurants with ‘secret’ recipes like the Old Country Kitchenette is a surprising delight for most eaters. Their most famous eat is their 1920s fried chicken. You can also get ll-day breakfasts at low prices and pasta meals at this famous establishment.
The Snack Shack
Price Range: Php 70 – Php 135
Situated before you enter JP Laurel St., Snack Shack is definitely a hit to both hungry students and professionals. Instead of the usual quick frying of fast food, their patties are freshly grilled upon your order. Their big burgers, that come in quarter pounders or half-pounder sizes, are more than enough to fill your hungry tummies.
Price: Php 79
Longga Republic has been serving the UP Diliman community for two years now. Their different variants of longganisa have tastes and styles of cooking coming from the provinces of Luzon and Visayas. Their unlimited rice promo makes this place truly worth every peso!
Chicken Shawarma & Al Dar’s Shawarma
Price Range: PhP 50-55
Food in Area 2 is truly an array of different cuisine and if Persian is the fix you’re looking for, try these two establishments. Essentially, they both offer the same products- shawarma with either pita or rice, but each only has beef or chicken as ingredients.
Price Range: Php 55 – Php 75
If you want a good meal with a sense of humor on the side, go to Pork Congestion. They offer Filipino dishes, from Beef Steak, to Sinigang, to Lechon Kawali, at very affordable prices. More than that, they have mini blackboards placed around the area where diners can write funny and interesting jokes and stories related to pork. Trivia: Pork Congestion and Longga Republic are owned by the same people!
Price Range: Php 35 – Php 55
In the mood for hot soup? UP Pares offers Pares and Mami, just right to awaken your sleepy minds and hungry tummies.
Price Range: Php 20- Php 50
If you’re on a tight budget, visit Bentelog Avenue – their name says it all. They serve silog meals for only 20 pesos! Some upgrades would incur additional fees but rest assured, food from Bentelog Avenue doesn’t go above 50 pesos.
Price Range: Php 25- Php 70
Craving for a crepe? Frappe 21 is the only establishment in Area 2 with a crepe stand. They offer a wide variety of flavors that will surely satisfy your craving. Their coffee-based and milk-based frappes are also must-tries!
Price range: Php 55- Php 65
My Chef is known for its Mongolian Rice Bowls. The establishment, now open for 3 years, is the only Mongolian Food Stop in Area 2. It is famous for its Barbecue Spareribs and Chicken Teriyaki, which customers love to flavor with My Chef’s home-made sauces.
Price Range: Php 50 – Php 75
Good food is meant to be shared with good company. Nacho Belly offers Nacho servings for every barkada, at low prices! They have special sauces and Nacho chips that make their nachos an array of great flavors.
TBA: Talagang Busog Ako
Price Range: Php 45- Php 90
In UP, asking where TBA is located is expected from UP Freshman. Most upperclassmen joke that TBA actually stands for The Bahay ng Alumni while others pick on the freshman by saying it’s the Tallest Building Around. Actually, TBA on your registration form only means ‘to be announced’, but Area 2 gives a new meaning to TBA. The establishment is known for the wide array of food products- from burritos, sizzlers, etc.
Endless Summer Cafe
Price Range: Php 69 – Php 75 (for their rice meals); Php 64 – Php 105 for their smoothies
Not only do people come here over and over again for their food, their interiors is also a must-see.With their place filled with designs of beach, waves, and surfers, together with their food varieties, it’s a great place for mid-day relaxation.. According to Kuya JC, a close friend of the owner, they are best known for their buffalo wings that come in different flavors and their thirst-quenching smoothies. Aside from that, they also offer silog meals and sizzling dishes that are nothing short of delicious. They also have another branch in Maginhawa: strEAT (Food Truck Community). Must Try: Buffalo Wings, Garlic Chicken, Sisig, and Smoothies.
Price: Php 55 (all dishes)
For an all-day breakfast crave, Ralzarap is the place to be! With an all-silog type of menu, there is a sure meal just right for you and your budget. From Hamsilog to Tosilog… you name it and it’s all there!
Iskomai + Iskorambol
Price Range: Php 17 – Php 50
Area 2 is well-known for sulit eats and what could be more sulit than siomai and scramble from Iskomai + Iskorambol. For only 25 pesos, you can avail of 6 pcs of pork siomai. They also have other items in their menu such as wanton fumplings, lumpiang shanghai, etc. You can opt to have rice with your selected food for an additional fee of just 10 pesos. Iskorambol, for only 17 pesos with toppings is one of the food that is best to beat the Manila heat.
*Photos and words by Iya Brucal and Kat Tuaño