10 Ancestral Houses-Turned-Restaurants Near Manila

Turn back time while dining in these places.

heritage restaurants

(SPOT.ph) The food and beverage scene is experiencing a boom even outside Metro Manila. While some unfortunately closed up shop due to the pandemic, there are also those who found opportunities to start new businesses. And not only are the options expanding and becoming more international, even the concepts are getting more and more creative. Hip cafés and bars are sprouting even in the unlikeliest of places. Similarly, old structures have been repurposed and given a new lease on life. 

Examples of these include heritage homes that have been transformed into restaurants and cafés; some of them are already established names in the Metro. If you want to experience dining in an age-old home while also taking a break from the chaos of the city, here are our must-visit heritage house-turned-restaurants or cafés near Metro Manila. A visit to any one of these is not only a treat for the taste buds but also a history lesson and a trip back to gentler times. 

Also read: These Old Buildings Now House New Restaurants

Check out these Filipino heritage restaurants near Metro Manila:

Calle Arco

Calle Arco Restaurant
PHOTO BY Facebook/Calle Arco Restaurant
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Calle Arco is an almost 80-year-old ancestral home-turned-restaurant in the heart of Pagsanjan. It’s located along Rizal Street in Poblacion 2, the main thoroughfare in the municipality which leads to historic landmarks like the Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, 19th-century Municipal Hall, and other heritage houses. 

Owned by Ana Jardin and her husband Ronaldo Cabrera, Calle Arco is also a bed and breakfast hotel with two rooms and a coffee and flower shop. Inside the establishment are paintings, photos, ceramics, and other vintage curios. There is a small garden outside the coffee shop as well. 

They specialize in classic Filipino dishes given a modern twist like their well-loved Sinigang na Baka with Jackfruit. Other Calle Arco favorites are Kare-kare, Pinakbet, Lechon Kawali, Pork Sisig, and Paco Salad with Kesong Puti. 

Calle Arco is at 57 Rizal Street, Pagsanjan, Laguna. It is open for dine-in, pick-up, and delivery from Monday to Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. For more information, follow Calle Arco on Facebook. 

Aurora Filipino Cuisine 

Aurora Filipino Cuisine
PHOTO BY Facebook/Aurora Filipino Cuisine
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Built during the 1940s, this heritage house owned by the Salonga family is considered one of the oldest remaining structures in Santa Cruz. Needless to say, the house has a long and colorful history. Japanese soldiers set it ablaze in World War II. It was then rebuilt in the '50s when it became a popular parlor for celebrities. In fact, some of the hair curlers and salon equipment are still on display. 

Later on, it became a well-loved meryenda place and eventually a full-service Filipino restaurant that has become well-loved over the years. Run by Chef Day Salonga, the restaurant is named after his grandmother Aurora whose recipes serve as the inspiration for their menu. Make sure to sample their Halo-halo, Minanok, and Pata Estofado. 

Aurora Filipino Cuisine is at 1488 Pedro Guevarra Avenue, Santa Cruz, Laguna. It is open daily for pick-up and delivery from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more information, follow Aurora Filipino Cuisine on Facebook. 

Camalig Restaurant 

Camalig
PHOTO BY Facebook/Camalig
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Locals say you’ve not really experienced Angeles until you’ve had a meal at Camalig. Meaning “shed” in Kapampangan, the original structure of this restaurant was built for that specific purpose in 1840 by the town's first mayor Don Ciriaco de Miranda. 

It was in 1980 when fifth-generation owner Armando Nepomuceno relocated his small pizzeria to the house. This explains why Camalig Restaurant is also called ‘The Home of Armando's Pizza: Ang Pambansang Pizza'." It’s known for its 15 artisanal pizzas, among which is the famous Doy's Kapampangan that is topped with longganisa (native sausage), salted duck egg, onions, and pickle relish. 

Camalig also serves breakfast plates, pasta, and a fusion of Filipino, American, and Mexican favorites. 

Camalig Restaurant is at 292 Santo Rosario Street, Angeles City, Pampanga. It is open daily for dine-in (with al-fresco dining), pick-up, and delivery from 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. For more information, follow Camalig Restaurant on Facebook. 

Tampuhan Café 

Tampuhan Cafe
PHOTO BY Facebook/Tampuhan Cafe
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This bahay-na-bato built in 1870 literally withstood the test of time as it has witnessed several eruptions of the Taal Volcano. It’s now a café that doubles as a bed and breakfast with sliding capiz windows and heavy wooden doors that retain echoes of a bygone era. Tampuhan Café also affords guests a view of the nearby Pansipit River. 

While the exterior of the café whisks one 150 years back in time, the interior is much quirkier with its chalkboard menus, paintings, knick-knacks, and mismatched furniture. The food puts the spotlight on the best of Batangas such as Longganisa Taal and Tapang Taal. 

Tampuhan Café is along Calle Marcela Mariño Agoncillo, Taal, Batangas. It is open from Friday to Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, follow Tampuhan Cafe on Facebook. 

Café at the Ranch

Cafe at the Ranch
PHOTO BY Facebook/Cafe at the Ranch

True to its name, Café at the Ranch sits right in the middle of well, a ranch. This 1904 bahay-na-bato was turned into a café by Michael Villano, a prominent businessman in Batangas, and his daughter. If features wide windows common in the colonial era which give visitors a relaxing view of the farm. The ambience gives off an old world vibe, but the furniture and other details are quirky—the interior is pastel-themed, wooden tables are painted white, and there are quotes in colorful calligraphy that are written on the walls.

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The menu is mostly Western with steaks, ribs, pasta, waffles, and crepes; while local options are limited to their breakfast dishes. They serve authentic Kapeng Barako and hot Tablea Tsokolate.

Café at the Ranch is at MGM Ranch and Farm, Mahabang Ludlod Taal, Batangas. It is open for dine-in (with al-fresco dining) from Monday to Friday, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and from Saturday to Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. For more information, follow Café at the Ranch on Facebook.

Café Apolonio and Restaurant 

Cafe Apolonio
PHOTO BY Facebook/Cafe Apolonio

Built in the 1850s, the ancestral house that is now Café Apolonio remains as one of the best known structures of its kind in Bustos. Stepping inside takes you more than a century back with its antique furniture and china, capiz windows, paintings, and stained glass pieces. Its main attraction is the dungeon-like corner where a table is set up amid a stone arch. The walls are adorned with sketches of the old house. 

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The house may look intimidating but their menu is surprisingly affordable. Don’t miss their Bagnet Sisig, Bicol Express, and Sinigang na Salmon Head sa Miso. They also serve international fares like burgers, fries, waffles, and sausages.  

Café Apolonio and Restaurant is at 194 Bonga Menor, Bustos, Bulacan.  It is open for dine-in, pick-up, and delivery from Tuesday to Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more information, follow Cafe Apolonio and Restaurant 

25 Seeds

25 Seeds
PHOTO BY Facebook/25 Seeds

25 Seeds is a farm-to-table restaurant by Chef Sau Del Rosario who also celebrates his 25th year in the food and beverage business. Built in the 1920s, the mansion used to be the home of a prominent doctor and his family. When the children immigrated to the United States, no one was left to take care of the house and it was uninhabited for 50 years. 

The mansion has been given a modern look with memorabilia sprinkled around the restaurant. The main sala (living room) serves as the dining area and bar. The bedroom and the old dining room can be reserved for private events. The house also has a garden at the back from which some of the vegetables and herbs used in the dishes are sourced. 

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Some of the must-try items on their menu are the Pork Belly with Truffled Macadamia Kare-kare, Sisig Paella, Smoked Salmon and Cream Penne Pasta, Crab Cakes with Sriracha Aioli, Prawn Rebosado with Aligue Calamansi Lady’s Choice Aioli among many others. 

25 Seeds is at 2/F Dycaico Ancestral House, Santo Rosario, Angeles, Pampanga. It is open for dine-in from Friday to Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. For more information, follow 25 Seeds on Facebook. 

Sulyap Gallery Café 

Sulyap Gallery Cafe
PHOTO BY Facebook/Sulyap Gallery Cafe

True to its name which means “to look” or “to peek” in Filipino, Sulyap Gallery Café and Restaurant gives visitors a look into how it must’ve been like in the Spanish colonial era. More than a dining establishment, the compound also houses a museum and lodging. 

Before its current state, the building was a former school, BIR office, and warehouse for wines and spirits, the last being the owner Roy P. Empalmado’s previous business. The designer, chef, and painter collected antiques—paintings, sculptures, memorabilia—from all over the Philippines. With the help of his daughter, they curated the museum and opened it to the public in 2007. 

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Sulyap serves modern Filipino cuisine. Among the must-try on their menu are their breakfast meals like their homemade tapa, longganisa, and bangus. 

Sulyap Gallery Café is in Barangay Del Remedio, San Pablo City, Laguna. It is open for dine-in from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (with last order at 6 p.m.). For more information, follow Sulyap Gallery Café, Boutique Hotels & Restaurant on Facebook. 

Calle Real Restaurant

Calle Real Restaurant
PHOTO BY Facebook/Calle Real Restaurant

Calle Real was built in the 1920s with a distinct art deco style. The house was then converted into a restaurant and an events venue. The interiors retain much of its old world charm and elegance with its chandeliers and antique furniture and furnishings. 

Current owner Millie Tahimic Lozada is a direct descendant of one of the two Tahimic brothers who originally owned the house. Together with her husband, they want visitors to have a taste of Cavite through their family’s recipes. 

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Calle Real specializes in Spanish and Filipino dishes. Some of the favorites on their menu are their Beef Caldereta, Pork Binagoongan, Paella Negra, Callos, Churros con Chocolate, and Calandracas, an heirloom dish of Sotanghon with chicken, vegetables, and pork. 

Calle Real Restaurant is at 8 Sta. Cruz Street, Poblacion 2, Tanza, Cavite. It is open daily for dine-in, pick-up, and delivery from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. For more information, follow Calle Real Restaurant  on Facebook. 

White House Bistro 1938 

White House Bistro 1938
PHOTO BY Facebook/White House Bistro 1938

The Art Deco White House Bistro in Liliw, Laguna, also known as Polistico Mansion, was built in 1938. It’s now a restaurant known for its Filipino recipes. It sits on the main street of the town near Liliw Church and several footwear stores. 

It has several rooms that are open for reservations and functions. The interior has high ceilings and wide windows, typical of houses that hark back to the colonial times. They also have a pasalubong corner where their special honey is sold. 

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Don’t forget to try their Pancit Habhab, Fried Chicken, Kare-Kare, Tortang Pako, and Pancit Liliw that combines sotanghon and miki noodles sauteed with sliced carrots, beans, and slices of meat. 

White House Bistro 1938 is at Gat Tayaw Street, Liliw, Laguna. It is open daily for dine-in, pick-up, and delivery from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, follow White House Bistro 1938 of Liliw, Laguna on Facebook. 

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