Monday, July 27, 2015

Cabanatuan Food Hunt: Team RH Edition

Where To Eat In Cabanatuan

Cravings and appetites can be contagious. With a brood of ten on a fun-filled adventure, it was inevitable to be hungry all the time. And during our Cabanatuan weekend trip, we, of course, checked out the local food scene which didn’t disappoint. Warning; if you’re on a strict diet, I’m begging you to stay away from this post as this might ruin your efforts for that perfect bikini bod.

Team RH in Cabanatuan
(minus Chino)
Thanks Kurtzky
It was our first day in Nueva Ecija, and after we settled at Microtel by Wyndham Cabanatuan the gang went to the city center for a super late lunch. Fresh from our two-month Southeast Asian summer backpacking trip (like five days after), I was craving for legit Filipino cuisine, and Cabanatuan was the perfect weekend trip for our glutton sessions.

Rustica Restaurant

First on our long list was Rustica Restaurant along Maharlika Highway. Looking at the extensive menu, we asked the server on their bestsellers and ordered almost everything.

Rustica Restaurant Cabanatuan
Rustica Restaurant
My Green Mango Shake (125 pesos) was handed to me after chatting with my buddies. After the first sip, I instantly felt homesick with Pinoy food (yes, I usually get homesick after I get back, like I didn’t know I was missing something till I have it with me). The combination of sourness and sweetness of the mangoes with the blended shaved ice was totally refreshing.

Rustica Restaurant Cabanatuan
Green Mango Shake - 125 pesos
Then one by one, the food arrived; Sinigang na Ulo ng Salmon (300 pesos), Kare-Kareng Seafood (375 pesos), Lechon Kawali (275 pesos), Ensaladang Hilaw na Mangga, Kamatis at Bagoong (150 pesos) and cups of steamed rice (45 pesos each).

Rustica Restaurant Cabanatuan Sinigang Na Ulo Ng Salmon
Sinigang na Ulo ng Salmon - 300 pesos
My eyes drooled as my buddies started to take snaps of the food. I couldn’t contain my happiness as I saw the feast laid on the table; I was yearning for some yummy goodness, plus the fact that we’re really starving.

Rustica Restaurant Cabanatuan Lechon Kawali
Lechon Kawali - 275 pesos
Everything was good. Like, I could finish this batch. For me, the winner of this round was the Kare-Kareng Seafood. The peanut sauce was tasty on its own while the veggies seemed like it was blanched and was put on top as add-ons. The mixed seafood was tasty. My chummies were raving about the crispy goodness of the Lechon Kawali though.

Rustica Restaurant Cabanatuan Kare-Kareng Seafood
Kare-kareng Seafood - 375 pesos
The prices were quite steep but I ain’t complaining for they served us comfy food right when we desired it the most.

Bistro 360

After our quick dip at Microtel, we experienced one of the greatest sunsets ever, with the sun bidding its last glow along the rice field-laden horizon of Cabanatuan. Afterwards, it was dinnertime.

Blame Rustica Restaurant for setting the standards high, we craved for another delectable treat from downtown Cabanatuan. And this time, we went out for some local and international treats.

Bistro 360 Cabanatuan
Bistro 360 bar area
Bistro 360 is your good old bar and grill with a twist. They incorporate Asian, International and Pinoy cuisine on their menu. The unique concept of al fresco dining with a touch of unfinished industrial design layout of the bistro (I’m not into design, by the way) was so fresh to see as you were expecting to dine in one of the old houses and stuff when you’re on this side of the country.

Moving on, we asked for the bestsellers (safest way to order) and were given a list of scrumptious foodstuff afterwards.

Our long table was packed with Crispy Green Mango Salad (160 pesos), Sinigang na Salmon Head (250 pesos), Spice Mixed Seafood (250 pesos), Beef Back Ribs (420 pesos), U.S. Pot Roast Beef (370 pesos), and two trays of Panizza; Kesong Puti with Longanisa and Joaquin.

Bistro 360 Cabanatuan Spice Mixed Seafood
Spice Mixed Seafood - 250 pesos
Bistro 360 Cabanatuan Beef Back Ribs
Beef Back Ribs - 420 pesos
I could hardly move as I inspected all of the dishes that were served. With the cool breeze from the light rain showers hours ago, I first tried the soup of Sinigang na Salmon Head and was immediately soothed by its warmth. It had the right amount of sourness which gave way to the fresh taste of the fish.

Bistro 360 Cabanatuan Sinigang Na Salmon Head
Sinigang na Salmon Head - 250 pesos
I tried almost everything after that, saving the panizza for last, and was blown away with the subtleness of the U.S. Pot Roast Beef. The tender meat was flavorful that it could be served on its own, devoid of the gravy. I’m a gravy lover so I drenched the mashed potatoes and the meat with the not-so-overpowering sauce. And it was good.

Bistro 360 Cabanatuan US Pot Roast Beef
U.S. Pot Roast Beef - 370 pesos
My favorite was the panizza, Kesong Puti with Longanisa to be specific. I only tried panizza once or twice and I remembered rolling it with arugula leaf and alfalfa sprouts (makes me miss The Little Rascals). I forever love four-cheese pizza but this unique panizza was totally a great challenger.

Bistro 360 Cabanatuan Joaquin Panizza
Joaquin Panizza
Hapag Vicenticos

It was Saturday noon and the restaurant was packed with almost every person in the city. After its fifteen minutes of fame on national television (thanks to Kris Aquino), it has become one of the must-eats in town. After our Nueva Ecija quick tour, we were brought to Hapag Vicenticos for a hefty lunch.

The setting was perfectly rustic; an old house-turned-restaurant that serves legit Filipino dishes. The group settled on one of the long tables. Again and again, we were served with the house specialties that all we needed to do was to wait.

Hapag Vicenticos Cabanatuan
Hapag Vicenticos
Our group of ten was served with; Chicharon Bulaklak (180 pesos), Rellenong Alimasag (190 pesos), Crispy Pata (450 pesos), Sinigang na Hipon (265 pesos), Pork Sisig (215 pesos), Kilawing Sugba (275 pesos), Pinakbet (140 pesos) and karioka (85 pesos) for dessert. Whew, my tummy was grumbling in protest as I took some photos of the food. With no warning, we started to attack.

Hapag Vicenticos Cabanatuan Pinakbet
Pinakbet - 140 pesos
Hapag Vicenticos Cabanatuan Kilawing Sugba
Kilawing Sugba - 275 pesos
Hapag Vicenticos Cabanatuan Rellenong Alimasag
Rellenong Alimasag - 190 pesos
I instantly fell in love with Chicharon Bulaklak. The sinful crispy-fried innards weren’t typically my favorite, but then it was the easiest target as it was resting next to my plate. Next was the Crispy Pata, my all-time favorite jawbreaker.

Hapag Vicenticos Cabanatuan Chicharon Bulaklak
Chicharon Bulaklak - 180 pesos
Hapag Vicenticos Cabanatuan Crispy Pata
Crispy Pata - 450 pesos
Everything was so delicious that we had no time to give out our unsolicited critiques and just went on with our own taste tests. Oohhs and aahhs dominated our table. And then it was time for dessert.

I don’t usually dig desserts especially the native kakanin or sticky rice. But then, when someone mentioned that the delectable karioka effortlessly melted in his mouth, I felt the need to try it. I grabbed one ball and savored my first bite. And it did seize my attention for a while. I was enjoying the crisp caramel coating from the outside and the soft chewy sticky rice inside. I was about to grab my second ball when I noticed that the four plates were all consumed. I was so irked that I even asked how many balls did everyone finish. In the end, I only got to taste just one ball. Next time I would grab a whole plate and keep it to myself.

Hapag Vicenticos Cabanatuan Karioka
Karioka - 85 pesos
Rosenda’s Restaurant

It was dinnertime and the group was craving for a sumptuous feast after the back-to-back great treats from Cabanatuan. We were guided to another famous restaurant in the city along Maharlika Highway. Rosenda’s is a Chinese Restaurant that serves Filipino-Chinese favorites.

It has been customary that we heeded for the restaurant’s bestsellers so we waited patiently for our food while abusing their free WiFi internet connection (Instagram addicts).

Our food arrived in no time and was placed on the huge lazy Susan in the middle of our round table, reminiscent of wedding banquets.

The feast made our table cramped; Sinigang na Tadyang ng Baka sa Gabi, Gising-gising (145 pesos), Sweet and Sour Fish Fillet (160 pesos), Seafood Casserole (235 pesos), Pork Sisig (155 pesos) and Seafood Pancit Canton (300 pesos – medium).

Rosendas Restaurant Seafood Casserole
Seafood Casserole - 235 pesos
Rosendas Restaurant Gising-Gising
Gising-gising - 145 pesos
Rosendas Restaurant Seafood Pancit Canton
Seafood Pancit Canton - 300 pesos | Medium
I had a hefty serving of Sweet and Sour Fish Fillet and wasn’t disappointed at all. But the rock star for this meal was the Seafood Pancit Canton which everyone agreed as their favorite.


I was chatting with my buddy once about the coffee culture that Starbucks have created. Although I don’t usually subscribe on the idea of coffee tambay sessions (I love my beer more than my black coffee), I’m always happy to see people converging and having real conversations on coffee shops. This, I think, is what drives people to visit new cafés that have sprouted everywhere, faster than bean sprouts, baduy, I know.

NYORK Cafe Cabanatuan
NYORK Cafe - The Podium branch
Moving on, we met the lovely couple behind the coffee phenomenon that’s been spreading all throughout Cabanatuan. Sorry for my zero knowledge on the province but I thought it would have the same rural feel like my hometown in Cabangan, Zambales where there’s nothing but Big Mak Burgers (Zambales’ version of Burger Machine).

NYORK Cafe Cabanatuan

NYORK stands for something, I’m sure; it’s Not Your ORdinary Koffee, makes sense. What’s interesting was that the owners wanted to make a hub for the coffee tambay sesh people and make something available for them from their wide assortment of menu list. And yes, we got to try out almost everything on the menu. 

And then my blog turned into a photoblog.

NYORK Cafe Cabanatuan Mocha Mint Brownie Fudge
Mocha Mint Brownie Fudge - 105 pesos | 115 pesos
NYORK Cafe Cabanatuan Milky Way Mocha
Milkyway Mocha - 85 pesos | 95 pesos
NYORK Cafe Cabanatuan Buffalo Wings
NYORK Style Buffalo Wings - 160 pesos
NYORK Cafe Cabanatuan BBQ Pork Ribs
BBQ Pork Ribs - 140 pesos
NYORK Cafe Cabanatuan Cheesy Baked Penne
Cheesy Baked Penne - 140 pesos
NYORK Cafe Cabanatuan Char Siu Chicken Pasta
Char Siu Chicken Pasta - 140 pesos

Of all these yummy goodness, I love the NYORK Mango Salad and the Honey Cinnamon Latte. It was far from my usual black coffee fix but I love the refreshing twist to it.

NYORK Cafe Cabanatuan
(L) Honey Cinnamon Latte - 80 pesos | 90 pesos
(R) Nutty Irishman - 85 pesos | 95 pesos
NYORK Cafe Cabanatuan Mango Salad
NYORK Mango Salad - 130 pesos
I love NYORK and the way they presented themselves to Novo Ecijanos. The location is perfect and the no WiFi theme (so as to mingle some more) is totally great. I love the ambience and the yummy twists on their food options. The design layout was also notable. I love how you can choose your space and be lost in the world for as long as you want to.

Our Cabanatuan food hunt was a success. Maybe it’s because I’m with my lovely Team RH or maybe it’s really the sumptuous food. If you're from Cabanatuan, lemme tell you this; I envy you for having really good food everywhere. 

Rustica Restaurant
Bernardo District, Maharlika Highway,
Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija
Contact Number:  (+63) 44.940.7927

Bistro 360
General Tinio Street, Cabanatuan City,
Nueva Ecija
Contact Number:  (+63) 44.463.0049
Email Address:
Open Hours: Everyday | 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.

Hapag Vicenticos
1077 Del Pilar Street, Cabanatuan City,
Nueva Ecija
Contact Numbers: (+63) 44.600.3237 | (+63) 917.565.7860
Email Address:

Rosenda’s Restaurant
247 Maharlika Highway, Cabanatuan City,
Nueva Ecija
Contact Number: (+63) 44.940.7326
Open Hours: Everyday | 08:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
The Podium, Cabanatuan City,
Nueva Ecija
Contact Number: (+63) 923.625.6163
Email Address:
Open Hours: Everyday | 6:00 a.m. to 12:00 m.n.
Facebook Page

Check Cabanatuan City accommodations here


  1. Great photos! I must say, I felt totally full after seeing all those pictures of food.

  2. You guys missed the cabanatuan longganisa...

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. I'm originally from Nueva Ecija living now in the bustling city of Manila for more than a decade. Sadly, I've never been to those restaurants that you featured on your blog. :(

    1. Oh. Sayang naman Mark. Pero you know what? Di pa naman huli ang lahat :)