Located in the province of Pampanga, the municipality of Lubao in the Philippines is known for its rich culture and prosperous farming industry. But despite the locale’s access to plentiful harvests of rice, sugar cane, fish, and sampaguita, Lubao’s restaurant scene has been non-existent for many years. The recent May 2022 opening of FRIENDS Restaurant, however, is expected to change that. Lubao is home to only a handful of local food spots, most of which only serve Filipino food in a casual setting. FRIENDS Restaurant, therefore, is the first of its kind in the area. The restaurant is an upscale, two-story eatery with an impressive menu fusing Korean, Filipino, American, and Italian cuisine prepared by expert chefs. The top level features a steakhouse, bar, and outdoor terrace where diners can enjoy signature cocktails, while the lower level is set up for Korean barbecue and unlimited samgyeopsal.
At FRIENDS Restaurant, the farm-to-table concept, a trend largely popularized by the US, is in full force. The restaurant boasts an in-house butcher and deli service stocked with fresh meat products including longanisa, tapa, and tocino. That means diners are able to enjoy the freshest meat in the region no matter what dish they order. But it’s not just the food that makes the restaurant stand out — it’s the experience as a whole. As its name suggests, FRIENDS Restaurant is designed to be a social atmosphere with a lively, welcoming vibe. Not only is there a bar and two stories of space to gather, mingle, and eat, the restaurant also provides live karaoke entertainment. Living up to its TV show namesake, FRIENDS Restaurant is quickly becoming the go-to hangout for all the locals while paving the way for a bustling food scene.