The warm midday breeze swept from the sea, past the long avenue of trees along Rizal Boulevard and into the double-door entrance of an old two-storey mansion right across the road. It was lunchtime and we were gonna be treated to Dumaguete City’s newest incarnation of its famous sweet delicacy, the toothache inducing sans rival and silvanas.
What used to be a small affair of a café just a few meters from the mansion has now extended to a full blown restaurant. From the cramped dining area of the original café, the new Sans Rival Bistro has now a spread of posh tables and chairs on a spacious area. Decorated tastefully in classic and modern motif; the floral designs and fancy chandeliers compliment nicely with its grainy wooden floors and blank white walls.
The new Sans Rival Bistro restaurant used to be the original owner’s ancestral house. The ground floor has now been converted and renovated for the expansion of the original Sans Rival café which is still in operation just a few meters’ walk from the grand old structure. Our lunch was hosted by the Sta. Monica Beach Club--it’s where we would be staying for the whole duration of our Dumaguete trip—so we really have no control over the dishes served to us; we were simply ushered inside, sat at their comfy seats and mouthwatering food started arriving on our table one plate after another. No complaints on my part there.
Pasta carbonaras, traditional chicken adobos, American burger steaks with egg, fish fillets and salads were laid out on our table in all their beautifully set glories. I can’t wait to dig in, but since everyone in the group was holding a camera, I held on to my spoon and fork for a few more minutes.
I’ve visited the original Sans Rival café before and I was surprised to find that it was older than me, it opened in 1977, imagine that. The dishes I tried on those two separate occasions didn’t disappoint, so I was expecting the same experience this time around, considering that the new place is bigger and looked infinitely better.
So it was to our chagrin that most of the dishes served were very average. The pasta carbonara was even bordering on being dreadful since it was too dry and flavorless. We kept wondering if that’s really how they prepare it or if it was just an isolated mistake. Everyone though, unanimously hailed the salad as the best dish amongst the bunch, with the burger steak coming in at far second for me.
Good thing there’s still one thing that’s still consistent with Sans Rival even with their newest expansion, the silvanas! Like Cookie Monsters converted to eating only silvanas, we raided platefuls after platefuls of the sweet delight that has now become one of Dumaguete City’s icons. More silvanas please!
Sans Rival Bistro
Address: San Jose St. cor. Rizal Ave., Dumaguete City
Contact Number: (035) 225-4440 | (035) 422-9482
Open Hours: 10:00AM – 11:00PM
GPS Coordinates: 9° 18' 28.83", 123° 18' 34.48"
View Location on Google Maps: Click Here