PRICE: Php 85 and above
Flores Avenue, Escano Beach, Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental, Philippines 6200
HOW TO GET THERE:
It’s quite near Dumaguete Airport. The best way is to Waze it but if you’re lacking internet, turn left as you go out of Dumaguete Airport. Go straight until you get to E J. Blanco Dr. then turn left again. When you reach the end of this road, you should see a view of the sea kind of like the one in Roxas Blvd. then turn right. Lab-as would be the second establishment on your right. 🙂
Come during off-peak hours. Parking is plenty but gets full during peak hours. The outside looks like your typical Filipino restaurant with trees all over, nothing fancy, nothing modern, all wood. They have an outdoor seating area where people can eat and enjoy the Dumaguete air. You can also opt to eat at Hayahay, their sister restaurant located right beside them, where they have a bar and a viewing deck both on a second floor, giving you a better view of the sea.
When you walk in Lab-as restaurant, you’ll be greeted by someone playing the piano. The songs weren’t new. Someone was celebrating their birthday when we were here. The birthday song was played more than 3 times for 1 celebrant.. It wasn’t very pleasant.
The whole restaurant can sit more than 100 people. We went there for lunch but it was already about 2pm so there weren’t much people. I imagine they’ve all just recently gone. Peak hours is during lunch and dinner so come about 2 to 4pm and 8pm onwards to avoid the long line. If you do come at peak hours, be ready to wait for about 1-2 hours to be seated.
Restroom here is clean but you have to ask them for the key. My sister was waiting outside the door like a fool when a local told her that no one was inside and that my sister had to ask the staff for the key. After that though, they left the door open. I guess they didn’t want tourist to come in just to use their toilet? Anyway, what’s done is done.
The staff weren’t very alert. It’s not that they lack employees because when we were there, there were about 6 of them and only 8 tables were occupied by customers. They’re all friendly though just lack attentiveness. Even though it was off-peak hours and there wasn’t much customers, the food came out a bit slow for us. The first plate came after 45 minutes from ordering. The second one about 30 minutes after the first. We were saying how the chef probably was still fishing and wrestling with the pig. 😂 Jokes aside, imagine how long it’d take for the food to come out during peak hours! I wouldn’t want to be a customer here when that happens.
We availed of a city tour on our first day so we had a local driver. We asked him where the best food in Dumaguete was. His first thought was Lab-as, known for their fresh seafood. We immediately told him to bring us there since we’re so hungry from our plane ride. We were both amazed and disappointed. Here’s why.
Having our vacation in the province wouldn’t be complete without fresh coconut! Their version though was a bit different from what we’re used to. The coconut didn’t have much meat and juice, just mostly shell but it was still refreshing. Mango shake was sweet but not too sweet. It was super yum. My sister finished it before any food came out but that may be because the first plate came about 45 minutes after. Yes, it was the baked oyster. The oyster was fresh and tasted delish just needed a bit more cheese on top. Don’t scrimp on that cheese please! In any case, I wanted more. 🙂
Next came the “Sinigang Baboy” (pork sinigang), grilled pork belly and Dumaguete express. The sinigang was sour just the way it should be, “asim sarap”. Pork belly has never failed me. It proved to still be a tasty dish here. It was one of our favorites from Lab-as. Here comes the Dumaguete express which is basically their take of the Bicol Express. I have to say, I’m not a fan. Bicol Express hands down forever. The Dumaguete express wasn’t bad. It just had fish, shrimp, squid and even the coconut wasn’t very prominent. Taste wise, it’s okay. I wouldn’t order it again, just wanted to try it. You can see there was coconut used even plenty of coconut meat but it was too watery.
The champions of the day, Chili Garlic Crabs and Grilled “Tuna Panga” (tuna jaw)! The crabs were small but the meat were sweet and tasty by itself and with the sauce, it was fireworks! 🎇 You just got to dig those treasures out. Don’t be afraid to use those muscles to crack them shells. 😉 Their tune panga was so crazily good. It tasted super fresh, melt-in-your-mouth, unbelievable. Its texture is almost same as a salmon but better! Can you believe that!? Tuna Panga is definitely a must-eat here! I’ll be sure to come back here just for this. 💗
Curious about other delectables they have to offer? Browse through their menu below. Their food selection is quite vast and I’d think caters to everyone, even foreigners from different parts of the world. Just look at their menu! Korean, Japanese, American, you name it. Have fun!