Shanghai-based Bellagio restaurant finally agreed to branch out to Manila. 🙂 Bellagio is known for having the best Taiwanese cuisine in China and the best desserts in Shanghai.

Since Bellagio is a registered name here in Manila, they were forced to use the translation of its Chinese name — Lugang Cafe. (I guess using the Bellagio trademark was more expensive, so they had to rebrand it.)

A lot of foodies are already raving about this resto, and some even commented that Lugang’s Xiao Long Bao is better than Crystal Jade’s.

Let me share with you our Lugang Cafe experience…

Lugang Cafe has already attracted a lot of diners, even though it is just on its third week of operations. The first seating at 6pm gets full quickly, so most people have to wait in line for about an hour.

If you are a group of 8 or more, I suggest that you reserve your table (+632 775-7599) for the first seating. They don’t accept reservations for the second seating at 8pm.

The place looks quite intimidating from the outside and seems like a fine-dining restaurant. Among the best seats in the house are these tables up front, under the high ceiling with overhanging lights.

The restaurant is stylish and hip (not like a lot of the old Chinese restaurant favorites). Reserve the tables with sofa chairs if you are with a small group.

The second floor also projects the same chicness as the ground floor. The difference is that this area is guarded by the white dragon. 🙂 If you’d like to dine here, ask to be seated at the booth tables, if possible.

You can also reserve this private room on the second floor for your special events and celebrations.

The menu is quite extensive. We found it hard to decide what to order since everything seemed unique and yummy.

Lugang Cafe Menu:
Dimsum | Roasting | Appetizer 1 | Appetizer 2 | House Special 1 | House Special 2 | House Special 3 | House Special 4 | Seafood 1 | Seafood 2 | Pork 1 | Pork 2 | Beef 1 | Beef 2 | Poultry | Tofu & Vegetables 1Tofu & Vegetables 2 | Vegetables | Noodles 1 | Noodles 2 | Pot Rice Specialties | Rice 1 | Rice 2 | Soups | Set Meals | Congee

Drinks & Dessert Menu:
Specialty Drinks 1 | Specialty Drinks 2 | Hot Tea 1 | Hot Tea 2 | Cold Tea 1 | Cold Tea 2 | Coffee & Chocolate | Sweet Soups 1 | Sweet Soups 2 | Sweet Soups 3 | Smoothy 1 | Smoothy 2 | Iced Snacks | Shaved Ice | Ice Cream | Cantonese Desserts

Iced Pineapple Bubble Juice

Pineapple shake with sago? It was a bit risky to order this for Aidan, but he loved it!

Most of the chefs are from Mainland China and one is from Taiwan. I guess this is the secret behind what makes the food here really authentic.

Steamed Pork Xiao Long Bao, 6 pcs.

Lugang’s Xiao Long Bao was smaller than what we expected. The dimsum skin was thin but strong enough to keep the soup in. It’s priced the same as Crystal Jade (5 pieces only but bigger).

Crystal Jade‘s Xiao Long Bao is better for us since the pieces are bigger, the soup is hot when served, and the soup itself is tastier.  Nevertheless, Lugang Cafe has more Xiao Long Bao variations. We recommend the Crab Roe and Pork Xiao Long Bao. 🙂

Crispy Chicken, 1/2 (P490).

When they said half-chicken, they meant half-chicken — the dish came with half of the chicken head as well. 🙂  It was very good with its roasted aftertaste and crispy skin. Recommended for kids looking for a different kind of fried chicken.

Beef with Chinese Crullers

This is one of the house specialties we love! The well-marinated beef was nicely soft and tender. What made the dish special was the bicho bicho, which remained crunchy even when soaked with sauce. Sarap! (This is also Aidan’s favorite dish. 🙂 )

Three-Cup Chicken

This is my personal favorite! It’s chicken cooked in 1 cup of rice wine, 1 cup of soy sauce and 1 cup of sesame oil — hence, the name — topped with basil and served in a hot pot. It was sweet and full of flavor from the secret sauce (it had a pleasantly different taste). The tiny pieces of chicken made me want to eat one after the other. Sarap! Highly recommended, especially if it’s your first time to eat at Lugang. (Admittedly, it was a bit oily though.)

Dragon Beans Stir-fried with Garlic

This vegetable dish came highly recommended. It was crunchy and a bit oily in its milky sauce. I don’t usually like sigarillas, but this was very good.

Szechuan Dan-Dan Noodles with Peanut Sauce

Since we loved Crystal Jade’s Noodle with Dried Shrimp and Peanut in Spicy Sauce, we just had to order this and compare the Lugang version.

First, we noticed that they tempered the spiciness — it was not spicy at all. Second, the noodles were thin and seemed overcooked (they’re also similar to the noodles you find in cup noodles). Third, the peanut sauce was a bit diluted.

For us, Crystal Jade is still better for their Xiao Long Bao and Noodle specialties.

Peanut Smoothy (P160) and Bellagio Breeze (P190).

The desserts in Lugang Cafe are definitely worth raving about!

The Peanut Smoothy and Bellagio Breeze were the top 2, highly recommended desserts.

I was expecting the Peanut Smoothy to taste like peanut butter, but it tasted more like ground peanuts. It’s good to share with 2-3 friends.

The Ice Kachang Bean Tower is a feast for the eyes… I loved the sweet pineapple, sago, and ube mochi with the red beans. It was just ice inside the tower, so we ended up eating and scraping off the ingredients from the ice. You can share it with 3-5 friends.

Overall, I enjoyed our Lugang Cafe experience, particularly the unique Taiwanese dishes and the extensive array of desserts! It definitely has one of the best ambiances among the Chinese restaurants in the metro. Budget around P500/person.

Let me know if you have other food recommendations in Lugang…

Lugang Cafe – Bellagio in Manila
115 Connecticut St., Northeast Greenhills,
San Juan, Metro Manila
Telephone: +632 775-7599 (Don’t forget to reserve!)
Operating Hours: (Monday to Sunday)
Lunch 11.00am-2.30pm
Dinner 6.00pm – 9.30pm (up to 10.30pm on Friday/Saturday)
Parking: Lugang has a dedicated parking lot in front of the restaurant. You have to double park your car and leave your keys. Parking is FREE with a validated parking slip.

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Disclosure:  Nothing to disclose. We paid for all our meals and we are not connected in any way with the owners.

P.S. Thanks to Antoinette for sending me the first foodie tip about this place, along with suggestions on what food to order!  🙂

Also, thanks to Elery and Lanabel for the food recommendations!