Puzzles Café in Angeles City

To put it bluntly, the Philippines is not known for its food. Think the worst of local Hawaiian cuisine (spam, salt, sugar, carbs, etc.) instead of the amazing grub in Thailand, Vietnam…and just about every other country in Asia. There are far too many restaurants here that serve very unhealthy food, and if you want to pay more to go to western style restaurants, you’ll usually get nothing more than bar food – deep fried, fattening, and unhealthy, once again. Furthermore, the food quality just isn’t that great, so it’s doubly not worth it.

The Puzzles Cafe Restaurant Review

But one of my absolute favorite restaurants in the Philippines is the Puzzles Café located in Angeles City. Granted, Angeles City is known for something else (girlie bars and partying), as it’s the designated Sin City of the Philippines. But just like Las Vegas, there are also plenty of high-quality restaurants there, catering to free-spending tourists.

However, Puzzles is more of a local best-kept-secret among foreigner expats who live there, especially Americans. It’s not hard to find out why. Tucked away in a nondescript retail space where Malabanas Road joins Permiter Road far from the popular Walking Street area, Puzzles is simple but inviting. The café is always nice and cool, well lit, clean, and laid out more like a roadside mom and pop establishment you’d see in the southern U.S. There are TVs playing and a couple of fake plants, but I don’t remember seeing any other decorations.

That is until they drop a menu on your table, and then you realize that Puzzles is all about the food. The menu is ENORMOUS! I’m not kidding- it might be the biggest I’ve ever seen. So when I eat there, I first ask about their special of the day. You can rest assured that whatever the special is, it will be a big portion size, fresh and tasty, and a great value. On the regular menu, I usually opt for the breakfast – as they have giant portions that will leave you stuffed well into the afternoon. But if it’s lunch or dinner time, I thumb through the menu to the pages that have American comfort food.

You can find delicious quality cuts of steak, ham, pot roast, pork chops, fish tacos, and even barbecue ribs. One of my surprising favorites is their meatloaf, which truly tastes just like mom used to make. No matter what you order, the portions will be impressive like I mentioned, and it also comes with a variety of sides. I usually order buttered vegetables (it’s hard to get good quality healthy veggies here in the Philippines) and mashed potatoes, but of course, you can order rice, fries, boiled potatoes, macaroni salad, or many other options. They also serve everything with really good home bakes rolls (there goes the diet!). Add in a coffee, iced latte, iced tea, or a frigid San Miguel Light beer, and I have a feast!

I can order one of these giant meals for about $7 or $8 including drinks and a generous tip (the staff are friendly and attentive) and you can see why I consider it one of my favorite restaurants and best values in all of the Philippines!

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Norm Schriever is a blogger, Amazon best-sellling author, cultural mad scientist, and enemy of the comfort zone. His work appears in the Huffington Post,, Good Morning America, The Anderson Cooper Show on CNN, NBC, MSN, Yahoo,, and media all around the world.
Norm grew up in Connecticut and graduated from the University of Connecticut, where he was never accused of overstudying. After expatriating to Costa Rica in 2011, he started traveling the world and documenting what he saw. He now lives in Southeast Asia, writing his heart out and working with local charities.

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