Lugang Cafe – Bellagio in Manila!

Shanghai-based Bellagio restaurant finally agreed to branch out to Manila. πŸ™‚ 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. πŸ™‚ 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
(P90)
.

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.
(P158)
.

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. πŸ™‚


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. πŸ™‚  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
(P280)
.

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. πŸ™‚ )


Three-Cup Chicken
(P290)
.

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
(P220)
.

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
(P230)
.

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.

Live an Awesome Life,

Anton 
Founder, www.OurAwesomePlanet.com
Call or Text Me: +63917 5683-627 (LOVE-OAP)
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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!  πŸ™‚


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

46 thoughts on “Lugang Cafe – Bellagio in Manila!

  1. This place looks fantastic! Looking forward to trying that 3-Cup Chicken and the Beef with Chinese Crullers (what does “crullers” mean?!). Parking seems pretty tough, though, and we’re always paranoid about valet. Thank you so much for this post!
    The Manila Girl

  2. I also ate at Lugang, but I was not a big fan of the 3 cup chicken..yes, tastewise it was ok, but the pieces of chicken were just parts of the wings of the chicken cut up into small pieces and it was just bony and for them to charge P290 for just chopped up wings..it’s too much..”harang”..
    But i also agree with you about the xiao long pao, crystal jade is better.

  3. ate at crystal jade and i think there stuff are just so-so… definitely lugang’s xiao long bao is better than crystal jade!… lugang’s pork knuckle is a must try! the steamed fish is great.. and they have a vegetable caserole with squash and taro in it which is super good!… lugang is definitely a resto thats worth going back to over and over again!….

  4. Hi Anton! Nice to finally have met you in one of your food trips!ΓΌ I think I have already proven to you and Rachel that I do read all your food trips and recommendations! Really love your website! Cheers and hope to be part of it again!ΓΌ

  5. The desserts look absolutely mouth-watering! But really now, the name is a bit of a turn off if you know what I mean:)

  6. Hi, Anton!
    Big fan of Our Awesome Planet. Nice to know that Bellagio is here in Manila! I can’t wait to try the Xiao Long Bao! Here’s to meeting you in one of your food trips!
    ( I’ve been to Bellagio Shanghai, and yes the Xiao Long Bao is really a best-seller. At times you have to order in advance.)

  7. hi Anton, which is better Tao Yuen or Lugang
    haven’t tried this place but Tao Yuen is the bomb, nice food and great place although they would need more space to accommodate even more customers πŸ™‚

  8. Xiao Long Pao in Lugang Cafe is definitely better than that in Crystal Jade Manila. The Roast Duck is also quite good, but Peking Garden’s duck is way better. πŸ™‚

  9. Love their Xiao Long Bao more than that of Crystal Jade’s. The minced taiwanese pork is also very tasty and very good. We also love their pineapple fried rice. Their aloe jelly honey lemon juice is a must-try, too (“,)

  10. dessertlicious! haha. there are indeed a number of yummy desserts. i was able to try this milk custard. i forgot its real name on the menu, but it was really good!=D perfect taste, worth a try! haha. for me=D

  11. the food was good here, ate there about two weeks ago. There are two main problems though:
    1) The noise level in the restaurant was almost deafening. We were on the second floor and aside from the piped in club music, the general noise from all the diners were loud. There must be something done to the accousics in the room so that the noise level can be tempered
    2) The service needs further improvement. We were honestly in the restaurant for 2 hours because they kept on forgetting our orders. We were only a party of four so we ordered 4 or 5 dishes but they came separately like every 20 minutes. The worse was the desert which took 45 minutes to bring out. We would have left but my daughter was insisting on getting it so we had to wait.

  12. Jade Crystal noodle and xiao long bao beats this resto, I liked the beef with crullers and spicy fish hot pot. Some of the food lack flavor. I think cantonese cooking beats taiwanese and shanghai style cooking. Somebody pls franchise Jade Crystal hong Kong, iba talaga luto.

  13. Our Lugang experience was dreadful because the 4 orders of rice that we had came in 45 mins apart hence cold viands. WTF! I feel like this is another Conti’s where food is awesome but the service has the tendency to be bad. I will go back though just coz the food was really really good.

  14. I think it’s just hyped and over rated .. The ambience is not commensurate with the taste of the dishes … Liked crystal jade more.
    Very poooooorrr service .. Will not come back anymore..

  15. I think Lugang’s Shiao on Pao is better than Crystal Jade’s. I just wish they were twice bigger. Just as most think that Crystal Jade is overrated…the long curious lines are gone. Word has gone around that it is not the same as the original. Most of what we ate at Lugang were good. The dragon beans is overrated. Maybe this is exotic for the Chinese but not for us Pinoys. Will definitely try the beef with crullers next time.

  16. Seryoso ka bang masarap yung beef crullers? eh lasang matamis na mantika lang siya e kadiri… tas yung chicken with scallions maganda yung itsura pero lasang hilaw.. just ate there yesterday okay naman yung ibang food.
    ambiance was good, but food was way over priced. my 2 cents.

  17. the beef with crullers wasnt very good. i dont know what you found in it to even call it well marinated. it tasted predominantly of celery. the sauce was blah! as in nothing that heightened the subtle savory taste of the crullers. it was just brown sauce… pretty much without any flavor.
    the chicken with scallions (their hainanese chicken, i think) tasted like raw chicken. and dont tell me thats how its supposed to be cooked. its supposed to be poached gently… not an excuse to serve it on the raw side. the scallions were the only saving grace for the dish.
    xiao long bao was good. no complaints there. you were probably right that its up there with the best in town.
    dont get me wrong. the place is good. as with any restaurant, it has its ups and downs, its own merits. HOWEVER, it was a bit of an inobjective review… especially that beef with crullers. dude… seriously.

  18. Like I said cantonese cooking parin the best, I think both crytal jade and lugang cafe are overated, but I still give the edge to crystal Jade. Peking Garden, Choi, hai shin luo and Gloria parin best sa fine dining chinese resto. Try the chinese resto sa hyatt also forgot the name lang but their food is nice also, bit expensive nga lang.

  19. in terms of xiao long bao, i think crystal jade’s is better. the skin is more thick and chewy and the soup inside is warmer and more flavorful. i’d say in terms of ulam, i’d go for crystal jade too. i felt the dishes were really cooked well and very good ingredients were used. (case in point — the rice. did you see the rice they used in crystal jade? similar to the rice used in summer palace and xi tian di. the rice in lugang was just like ordinary sinandomeng!) at lugang, masarap nga siya, but with all the hype and the acclaimed awards and all, i was a little bit disappointed. the food was ok — no question there — but i have this feeling i could have gotten that same quality of taste and presentation at mien san (na slightly mas masarap pa, no joke). in fact, there were times during the meal that i felt the posh ambiance was what was making the food more attractive. yeah, i’d probably go back for some special dinners and occasions (kasi nga, maganda ang ambiance) but definitely not in the near future when there are still very long lines (to-be diners, you have been warned about the food, ok! believe me, it’s nothing extraordinary!!).
    and the desserts?? jusko, mas masarap pa yung shaved ice dessert sa feng wei wee at wilson st. (a taiwanese family-owned eatery). too bad when i pass by there now, it seems to have closed already.
    and by the way, their service is ^&%$#@!!! obviously, the deluge of eager diners was not anticipated by the wait staff. but hello, lugang has already been open for like what, two months? and they still like act like they’re on their first day of operations. i was hosting a small dinner party and i had to remind the waitresses REPEATEDLY to ask my guests for their drinks. i had ordered sweet and sour pork days in advance, but the waitress served us pork knuckles (!). buti nalang they allowed us to have it cancelled and replaced with the correct order. later, when they served the dessert (we ordered 3), the third one was taking too long to arrive so we asked them to cancel it nalang. the waitress looked like she was ready to kill us. i told her it was taking them ages to bring it out, anyway. some supervisor came along and talked to us and finally had it cancelled. but when the bill arrived, they had included the pork knuckles (that we didn’t order) and the dessert (which we had cancelled). by the time the waitress came back with the revised bill, she really looked like she wished she would never see us again. in fact, after our meal, as we were enjoying our conversation, all four waitresses parked themselves beside our table and stared at us as if to imply that we should haul our asses off the chairs and leave already!! needless to say, we left a very measly tip for them…
    my verdict: so-so pricing for good (NOT spectacular) food. TOO MUCH hype. better eat blindfolded para di ka mapadala sa ambiance. for now, i’ll stick with crystal jade and mien san.

  20. I agree with u browneyedgirl .. Miensan is even better! My verdict, if the quality of food and service will not improve, they may be out of the business in 2 years

  21. daming food experts πŸ™‚
    a little info: Lu Gang is a small seaside town in taiwan..
    one thing i like about lugang’s xlb is that 6pcs are easier to divide than 5pcs of crystal jade’s.. imaging 2 or 3 of you fighting over 5pcs of xlb.. πŸ˜›

  22. There’s a Panciteria Lido in West Avenue – Westlife Building, where there’s also a Starbucks. There’s also branches in New Manila – Ground Floor, The Capital Towers,
    E. Rodriguez Sr. Avenue, New Manila; and SM Fairview Upper Ground Floor, Annex 1,
    SM Fairview, Quezon City. I think the original though used to be in Downtown Manila/Chinatown.

  23. went back to lugang this month (after my so-so experience last december). i have to admit, the food has improved. (they must have read all the comments here!) the xiao long bao’s skin was much thicker and more chewy, almost comparable to crystal jade’s… beef with chinese cruller was a hit in our table… even their plain rice was of a much, much better variety. the simple stir fried kangkong was also delicious. i was much happier with the food this time around. plus, the dessert we had — a peanut kind of sherbet that tasted like melted reese’s peanut butter cups — was simply the BEST!!!
    their service could still use some improvement, though. wait staff continues to be their old harassed selves…

  24. the serving is small the food is mediocre at best!!!!! Wont be returning to that place!! Quoting browneyedgirl: “the rice in lugang was just like ordinary sinandomeng!” and it cost a whopping PHP70 for a tiny cup of sinandomeng rice!!!

  25. Just ate here today. In my opinion, this place is way waaay overrated. Everything is just not worth it. Not worth the wait, not worth the time, not worth the price. Everything I had today was just a bad experience!
    Imagine we have to wait for around 37 minutes for our plain rice to come after our “ulam” had arrived. We kept on following it up but they said naubusan sila and have to cook again. We were really starting to feel irritated when our food was getting cold. It’s just too much a long wait for rice!
    We also ordered desserts, and the Bellagio Breeze really really took a long time to come out. If I am not mistaken we must had waited for around 40 minutes after we told them to start bringing out our desserts.
    The only thing I like about our food today is the Peanut Smoothy as I think it’s something unique and taste pretty good. Everything else however just taste ordinary and waay overprice. The serving size for the “ulam” is just way too small.
    We will definitely not come back again. I am guessing the long que must be because people are starting to try out their food, but if they don’t change their level of service. I don’t think they will really last a long time.

  26. Xiao long bao skin is not meant to be thick and chewy. Its meant to be delicate yet the filling flavorsome. Just imagine a hakao (shrimp dumpling) that is thick and chewy.. might as well go for those frozen supermarket varieties.

  27. They had improved a lot this year I assume. Cos the service is very fast now.
    Though FYI to the customers and guests in general, people have to understand and put yourself in their shoes, especially as a new resto/food service establishment, they still need to adjust in their new environment or operation- so expect slow to bad service in at least first year of operation while they get comfortable and used to the resto operations. For they are not like any fast food restos that have a dedicated training days and fixed franchise operation manuals.
    All I’m saying is, try to have not too high expectations to those new in the resto scenes as well in the service oriented biz. They’ll get better in time. =]

  28. The origin of the place is in China town. but now there are several franchised location like one in BF homes in Aguierre St.

  29. Yeah I want their Xiao Long Pao to be big too, but if you think about it – big portions might rip their wrap or the skin of the dumplings

  30. If ever you do try again, try on lunch time. OR low peak times.. Not that I’m related to them, but in any resto their service will be best at those times

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