COVID-19 information & support
Kabsat view

14 Best La Union Restaurants: Where to Eat in San Juan, San Fernando, Bars, Cafes, Beachfront

Verified Expert

La Union Fatwave Surf Resort and El Union Coffee

Photos by Fatwave Surf Resort and El Union Coffee

La Union, a surfing spot located in the Ilocos Region on Luzon Island, is one of the most popular road trip destinations near Manila, especially for the younger crowd. It is known as the surfing capital of the Northern Philippines because of its consistent world-class surfing waves. 

Aside from being one of the top surfing destinations in the Philippines, it is also home to some of the best beaches near Manila, making it one of the best places for your next vacation in the Philippines. Several Philippines tour packages highlight La Union, known for its sandy western shore that faces the South China Sea.

14 Best La Union Restaurants: Where to Eat in San Juan, San Fernando, Bars, Cafes, Beachfront



Aside from being a prominent surf spot in the Philippines, La Union has also become a food hub. It attracts travelers from all over the country with its wide variety of eateries, bars, and cafes that match its laidback surfing vibe. Most of these restaurants are located on the beach, with a view of the breathtaking sunset of La Union. To help you make the most of your trip to La Union, bookmark this article that lists where to eat in La Union: 

Here are the top 14 best La Union restaurants that you should add to your travel itinerary aside from top La Union tourist spots

14. Makai Bowls

Makai Bowls smoothie bowls

Photo by Makai Bowls

Makai Bowls is located in San Juan’s coastal commune called the Great Northwest Philippine Travel Stop and Viewing Deck where you can see sweeping views of the sea. Makai Bowls was established to offer surfers and beachgoers a healthy and refreshing food option. The brand is known for its healthy dairy-free and sugar-free smoothie bowls that only use 100% real fruits. 

This restaurant also serves quinoa bowls, chia bowls, fruit parfaits, popsicles, and fresh fruit shakes. Makai Bowls’ bestsellers include the Beach Break Smoothie Bowl and the Mango Shake Shack. 

13. Halo Halo de Iloko Balay 

Halo Halo de Iloko Balay halo-halo in a coconut shell

Photo by Halo Halo de Iloko Balay

Halo Halo de Iloko Balay started as a hole-in-the-wall eatery on San Dueta Street. Today, it is one of the most famous San Fernando La Union restaurants. It occupies a two-story house decorated with paintings, woodworks, and artifacts. The restaurant gives off a hip, artsy, and vibrant ambiance with affordable food. 

Halo Halo de Iloko Balay facade

Photo by Halo Halo de Iloko Balay

At first, Halo Halo de Iloko Balay only served halo-halo, a Philippine ice shave dessert with sweetened fruits, beans, jellies, and milk, of unique varieties. The menu extended to serving regional snacks and La Union delicacies like Palabokano (a thin noodle dish). The restaurant supports the local community by sourcing 98% percent of its ingredients from local farmers and vendors. If you want to know where to eat in San Fernando La Union, start with Halo Halo de Iloko Balay. 

12. Mamba's Kitchen 

If you're looking for where to eat Filipino comfort food in San Juan La Union, head to Mamba’s Kitchen. This restaurant specializes in well-loved Filipino breakfast meals like Tocilog, a meal composed of rice, egg, and sweet pork sausage called tocino. Mamba’s Kitchen also offers western dishes like salad, burgers, and sandwiches.

This restaurant features blue and white walls and an open-air seating area to match La Union’s beach lifestyle and their food is considered reasonably priced. Mamba’s Kitchen is situated at 215 Urbiztondo Road, home to a cluster of restaurants offering a variety of cuisines.

 

11. Sabong Fried Chicken 

Sabong Fried Chicken

Photo by Sabong Fried Chicken

Sabong Fried Chicken specializes in western comfort food like fried chicken meals. What sets it apart from other chicken restaurants is its variety of distinct sauces like Elyu Original (classic), Korean Soy, and Chick’n Morty (spicy). You can also order your chicken meal with the locally-inspired sauce called Honey Bagoong. Notably, Sabong pairs their fried chicken meals with Western side dishes. 

You can find Sabong Fried Chicken at the Great Northwest Philippine Travel Stop and Viewing Deck, where many trendy San Juan La Union restaurants reside. 

10. Mad Monkeys 

Mad Monkeys facade

Photo by Mad Monkeys

Mad Monkeys sits along McArthur Highway in San Juan La Union. The restaurant created a smaller menu selection to highlight their burger dishes with big servings and bold flavors. Mad Monkeys owners invented unique sauces like SOS sauce that combines roasted garlic and spices. The restaurant's most popular burger is called Classic, and it comprises 200 grams of beef patty and the restaurant's famous cheddar beer sauce.  

Mad Monkeys burger

Photo by Mad Monkeys

Mad Monkeys looks like a casual burger shack, which features an outdoor seating area with a small and rustic main building. It prides itself on sourcing fresh ingredients with local supplies and employing the local community. The restaurant also treats guests to jazz and blues music.

 

9. Beach Bum Food Park 

Beach Bum Food Park

Photo by Beach Bum Food Park

If dining at a restaurant is getting too boring for you, try the food park called Beach Bum Food Park, the first of its kind in San Juan La Union. You can find this local food park along Urbiztondo Road.

Beach Bum Food Park is not very stylish nor lavish but it is a popular nightspot among guests who like outdoor dining, delicious food, and cheap beer. A lot of people head out to Beach Bum Food Park after spending a day at the beach. There are at least ten eateries within this food park, so there is a wide range of options when it comes to food. 

SeaShack La Union

Photo by SeaShack La Union

Some of the stalls you can find in this food park include SeaShack La Union (seafood), K-Pop’s Diner (Korean finger food), and Beach Bum BBQ. Dishes served at Beach Bum Food Park are generally affordable and offer great value for the cost. The main dining area lies in the middle of the park, and it has plenty of space for families and a large group of friends to gather. 

8. Fatwave Sunset Shack 

Fatwave Surf Resort's Sunset Shack

Photos by Fatwave Surf Resort

Fatwave Sunset Shack is the bar component of Fatwave Surf Resort, a popular beach resort near Manila. Fatwave Sunset Shack sits on the beach and offers gorgeous views of the sea and sunset, and offers an impressive lineup of signature cocktails. Some of their popular drinks include the ‘Elyuzu’ (gin, cucumber, lemon, campari, and yuzu puree), and ‘It’s Complicated’ (tequila, gin, firewater liquor, pineapple, watermelon, and local mandarin.  

At Fatwave, you can enjoy various cocktails by the sea. They can also serve your favorite cocktail drinks in pitchers instead of glasses if you're sharing with a group. 

Fatwave Sunset Shack

Photo by Fatwave Surf Resort

Like the resort it is attached to, Fatwave Sunset Shack exhibits a hip and relaxing beach vibe. It has an open-air lounge area with low tables and pillows, a sunset viewing deck, as well as a collection of tables and chairs/bean bags on the beach. The main bar looks cool and stylish with its nipa roof, tall wooden bar chairs, and suspended chairs. 

7. Papa Bear 

Papa Bear Nasi Lemak

Photo by Papa Bear

Papa Bear is one of the eateries you can find at the Great Northwest Travel Stop and Viewing Deck of San Juan, La Union. Its location gives you sweeping views of the sea and fresh breeze. Papa Bear strives to be community-centered and eco-friendly.

Papa Bear facade

Photo by Papa Bear

The restaurant is also known to cure and smoke bacon and serve vegan food. It also focuses on famous Asia fusion dishes like sambal pork, char kway teow, Thai salad, and pho.

Examples of the favorite specialties at Papa Bear include sambal pork and 'begg' - a dish composed of rice, egg, and 120-hour brined and smoked pork shoulder with sweet soy sauce.

6. Masa Bakehouse

Masa Bakehouse food

Photo by Masa

Located on San Roberto St. San Juan, Masa is a bakehouse and restaurant that serves some of the best fresh handcrafted bread in the region. Masa’s menu also includes dishes like sandwiches and pizzas. It also serves coffee and other signature drinks. One of its bestsellers is the Notorious P.I.G - a pork and vegetable sandwich similar to the Vietnamese banh mi. 

Masa facade

Photo by Masa

Masa shares the same owners as Barefoot, another notable restaurant in San Juan. Masa was an old house, converted into a cafe shop and bakery. It features an open-air dining and drinking experience with a chill vibe. 

5. El Union Coffee 

El Union Coffee

Photo by El Union Coffee

Established in 2013, El Union Coffee is one of the most prominent coffee shops in La Union and sources local quality beans from farms across the Philippines. 

El Union’s most popular products include cold brew coffee and horchata, a milk drink made from ingredients like barley, almonds, and sesame seeds. Guests can also request to add coffee to their horchata. 

El Union Coffee horchata

Photo by El Union Coffee

El Union Coffee also offers dishes and snacks, and one of their popular ones is the sweet indoor s’mores. This restaurant is one of the tourist draws at the Great Northwest Travel Stop, San Juan. 

4. Flotsam and Jetsam

Flotsam and Jetsam

Photo by Flotsam and Jetsam

Flotsam and Jetsam is a popular nightlife spot along the MacArthur Highway, Urbiztondo, San Juan. This restaurant and bar is part of a stylish artist hostel of the same name and is extremely popular among the young millennial crowd. 

Flotsam and Jetsam features open-air dining and drinking with a hip and fun vibe. The restaurant has a sheltered space, decorated with colorful artsy lamps and wooden furniture. Low picture tables and mats occupy the open-air space.

Flotsam and Jetsam serves Filipino dishes and western favorites like pasta and pizza aside from beer and cocktails.

3. Gefseis Greek Grill 

Gefseis Greek Grill

Photo by Gefseis Greek Grill

Many travelers regard Gefseis Greek Grill as one of the best restos in San Juan La Union. It is definitely a stand-out in the province because it is rare to find Greek eateries outside Metro Manila. 

Gefseis serves favorite Greek dishes like lamb souvlaki, grilled meat pita sandwich, and kebab rice at reasonable prices. The set meals from this restaurant usually come with fries, vegetables, and Greek sauces. Another best-selling dish at Gefseis is the Greek version of cheese sticks that uses saganaki cheese and lemon.  

Gefseis Greek Grill

The design and ambiance of Gefseis take inspiration from the Greek Island of Santorini. Located on Urbiztondo Beach, this restaurant treats guests to gorgeous sea views while dining. 

2. Tagpuan sa San Juan 

Tagpuan sa San Juan food

Photo by Tagpuan sa San Juan

If you want a humble yet authentic Filipino dining experience, then Tagpuan sa San Juan along Urbiztondo Road is the place to go. Tagpuan is well-loved by locals and travel nomads. It is a small outdoor eatery marked by a main gray wall with a wooden roof, pillars, tables, and chairs. However, Tagpuan has a unique charm. 

Tagpuan sa San Juan is famous for its Filipino rice bowls, composed of pares (sweet soy beef), chicken adobo, or tapa (marinated beef in thin slices). Their most beloved rice bowl is rightfully the bagnet version, as bagnet (crispy deep-fried pork belly) is a dish from the Ilocos Region.

1. Kabsat 

Kabsat interior

Photo by Kabsat

Kabsat has emerged to be one of the best restaurants in La Union. The word ‘kabsat' means sibling in Ilocano. This 1500-square-meter La Union bar and restaurant offers a homey feel and aims to be the kind of place where family and friends enjoy eating together. 

Kabsat view

Photo by Kabsat

The architecture of Kabsat combines the look of a modern beach house and a traditional nipa hut. It has two floors with the interior filled with rattan furniture and metallic decorations. The open-air lounge areas treat guests to dramatic sunset and seaside views.

Kabsat cocktail

Photo by Kabsat

Kabsat's menu includes Filipino comfort dishes like pinakbet (vegetable), kaldereta (beef stew), and tuna panga (grilled tuna). It also offers a collection of signature cocktail drinks, local craft beers, and house-blend coffee. Kabsat sits along the North Shore, Urbiztondo, San Juan. 

Hangout at the Best La Union Restaurants

Kabsat view

Photo by Kabsat

La Union has become one of the best places to visit in the Philippines not only for its world-class surfing waves but because of its diverse food scene. Because of the sheer number of international and domestic tourists, the eateries in this province are nothing typical. They have both international and homegrown cuisine influences. They also strive to be trendy, distinct, and memorable.  

La Union is one of the more accessible tourist spots in Luzon as it's less than 300KM away from Metro Manila. Staying here for a couple of nights is not an issue as there is a wide range of La Union resorts. The province is also a popular destination for vacation packages for couples

To experience the best trip in La Union, make sure to try out a couple of the recommended restaurants on our list. But before you visit La Union or tour the Philippines, check out the up-to-date Philippine travel requirements.