One of the best things to experience when traveling in the Philippines is discovering local food favorites which leave guests feel more immersed in the place. After we checked into Pinehurst Suite in Legazpi, the innkeeper recommended us to try Bicolano cuisine in Small Talk Cafe located along Dona Aurora Street. We went to Ligñon Hill Nature Park and met two locals who were very kind to drive us to nearby tourist destinations worth visiting. As a thank-you for their help, we invited them to have dinner with us in Small Talk Cafe. It’s a modest house-turned-restaurant that serves local delicacies like Adobong Manok sa Gata, Pinangat Pasta, and Mayon-stuffed Pizza (inspired from the Mayon Volcano in Albay).
Review of Small Talk Cafe (Legazpi City, Albay, Bicol)
Small Talk has all the makings of a perfect spot for a family meal. It has the culinary buzz without the pressure. We love the vibe of the restaurant. It’s ideal for small talks, smooth conversations, or a long catching up, since the setup is like a rustic house that feels warm, relaxing, and convenient. With wooden tables and chairs, a piano, artworks, and a number of bright colors and patterns throughout, it’s a nice reprieve from the common “rustic yet modern” feel that most spots seem to have these days.
We thought anything that has “Talk of the Town” noted on the menu in red was worth a shot. We started with Albay Fries (PhP 50). The fries didn’t quite deliver mouthwatering flavors but what got us hooked was the fact that it’s made from the root crop of laing (taro) or “linsa.” With properly crispy exterior, these fries tasted interestingly different from the usual French fries. There’s a subtle sweetness of the root playing well with the condiment.
We ordered Filipno-style Spaghetti (PhP 475) which was sweet and cheesy just the way we imagined. It’s meaty and hearty, and the sauce was spoon-worthy. Taste and texture of the noodles come close to how my mom cooks it. Two thumbs up for this one!
Completing the homey eating experience, another comfort food we tried was their Crispy Whole Fried Chicken (PhP 400). The fried chicken had a solid crust with a heavily seasoned batter and a perfect marriage of taste and crunch.
Made with taro leaves and gata blended in white sauce, Pasta Pinangat (PhP 140) was also a standout. Cooked a little touch of spiciness, this pasta was brimming with delicious coconut cream flair. It also has an earthy depth that elevated the dish further.
We saved the best for last and got a slice each of the Bicolana Pizza (PhP 280). Loaded with pinangat (laing), pineapple chunks, mushroom and mozzarella as toppings, this pizza is a clear winner. It’s a solid interpretation of a classic. How laing played with mozzarella and tomato sauce added weight and character for sure. Its essence was apparent but not overwhelmingly so.
Price for Value:
Small Talk Cafe which opened in 1999 has been regarded over the years as the best restaurant in Albay. We haven’t been into every single one so we can’t say it’s true, but there’s no doubt this restaurant is a must-visit when in Legazpi. Packed with foodie-friendly shareable plates, Small Talk Cafe’s food prices were very fair and reasonable. Plus points go to staff who treated us like we were guests dining in their home. They got the local charm, all very friendly and hospitable. The relaxed service makes you feel special in a touristy way. Savor a fresh experience at Small Talk Cafe without worrying about the bill. This place is awesome! Check it out. 🙂