When in Pampanga: Downtown 1956 Cafe by Bale Dutung

We were in Pampanga two weeks ago for the Balloon Fiesta. (Check my amazing experience here). During our 2 days stay in Pampanga, we indulged our cravings over the best food in town.

Our first stop was at Downtown Cafe 1956 by Bale Dutung. Inside, it felt like a trip to the yesteryears. Vintage items are on display, and the over-all vibe is, true to the name of the place,  reminiscent of the 50's. Petula Clark's Downtown song welcomed us.

'When you're alone 
And life is making you lonely
You can always go downtown
When you've got worries,
All the noise and the hurry
Seems to help, I know, downtown.'


 'PX goods' and soda bottles from the 50's adorn this cabinet

 Old ad posters and red vintage chair

Can you recognize that celebrity on the right poster? 

So why the name, Downtown 1956?

1956 was the year of Rock and Roll, Cadillacs, Jukebox and Soda Fountains. People go to Downtown when they want to have a good time, during that era.

Chef Claude Tayag, the man behind this place, was also born in 1956. Downtown CafĂ© 1956 brings you back to the good ‘ol days, serving the familiar tastes we all grew up loving in a fresh take.

The Filipino Rambler with Chef Claude Tayag, an accomplished painter, furniture designer, handy chef, food columnist and author.

The food


 Trianggulos- 8 pieces of fried Samosas filled with tinapa, spinach and pili nut served with sofrito dip.

 Lumpiang hubad- fresh spring veggies on Romaine lettuce

 Talangka rice

 Pork Belly Adobo

 Crispy Aromatic Duck -In House Special- served with Chinese pancakes hoisin and mango salsa

 Bringhe na may tutong- the Pampango fiesta rice dish with quaileggs, chicken, chorizo bilbao and crisp bottom

 Pan de bagnet- crispy pork belly sandwich with tomatoes, anchovy and mustasa

 Halo-halo with pastillas de leche 

Kamias shake

It was totally worth popping at this resto at Nepo Center's food strip called The Quad. I personally loved the Trianggulos- the flavor of tinapa made its taste richer. Another favorite was the Crispy Aromatic Duck- I guess the table went quiet when this dish arrived. The Pan de bagnet- I love! It's something all carnivores will surely enjoy! The bringhe is a must try for paella valenciana lovers. I also had the best halo halo to date. The pastillas de leche made the big difference. It was flavorful to the highest level. And yes, your Downtown 1956 Cafe dining experience is never complete without a sip of kamias shake- the sweetness and the sourness is the bomb! 

We also had the privilege of interviewing Chef Claude. The conversation was highly informative and I learned much about the richness of our country's food history. (I will post the interview with Chef Claude on my page soon.)

 Tummies full!

PS. Something to bring at home after you dine.


We were already at the van and we still talk about the great dining experience we had at Downtown 1956 Cafe. This is just evident of the great food this restaurant offers.

Fine dining. Flavorful combination.Truly one of the best taste sensation I had in Pampanga. 10 stars!

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About Allan Bough

Allan works full time as a Recruitment Head for an IT Solutions company in Makati and juggles blogging along side. He’s fond of travelling, a certified beach and nature lover and would want to explore more of Earth’s riches. A former community theater director, a pre school teacher and a frustrated Star In A Million contestant, Allan hopes of conquering the big stage for a spotlight one day. Conversation and people are his passion.
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