cafe Adriatico launches New Dishes as it turned 35.
Time, it was visible in all four corners of the restaurant. From the creaky wooden floors as you walk pass by every wooden board, the antique decorations that scattered all over the restaurant, the wooden windows ornated with clear shells that looked like paper. And even in the people who comes over and dine at the restaurant.
Cafe Adriatico was one of the survivors and the proprietors of Malate where it once flourished and was once considered the “IT” place in the Metro, the BGC or the High Street of the late 70’s to the early 90’s. Cafe Adriatico withstood time and Filipino’s cravings for westernization.
It was actually my first time in the restaurant and I know nothing of their origins only that they serve one of the very popular desserts and dishes like Sikreto Ni Maria and Binukadkad na Pla-Pla. I was lucky enough to be invited as they celebrate their 35th Anniversary and as they unfold and introduce new Dishes to the restaurant. I was also lucky enough to be seated with Miss Lorna Ambas, daughter of the man behind the LJC Group.
Before the meal started Miss Lorna told us a brief history of Cafe Adriatico and what was the life like back then for everyone in Malate. I was very eager to listen to her since I wasn’t born yet during those times. A Golden Age for Ermita. Where now it’s suffering from poverty and from snatchers and pickpockets thriving around the area.
We were served
- Gambas ol Ajilo - Shrimps in garlic Catalan style
- Hummus with Pita Bread- Eastern Mediterranean blend of chickpeas, garlic and spices
- Cream of Two Mushrooms- Combination of button and Shitake
A perfect introduction to a heavy main ahead. I enjoyed dipping the flatbread in the Gambas’ sauce since it was quite buttery.
Then for the Main Dishes,
Garlic Pork Leg Españole, Spanish style pork leg with fried whole garlic cloves and potatoes in olive oil, served with a tangy herb sauce. Very fancy looking Crispy pata, everyone one who was sitting with us attacked this one first and we were fighting over it since it was very sumptuous and really tasty. It’s more than your regular Crispy pata.
U.S. Tenderloin Steak Solana. Tender beef, pan fried till medium it’s medium rare. It was a delight eating the beef and mushroom together since the beef is really tender and the mushroom could scoop up some of the sauce which taste really great.
Blue Marlin Provencale. I love fish and I would’ve finished everything if I don’t have anyone sitting with me. The sauce compliments the flavor of the fish and gives the fish a new aroma which I know most people avoid fish because of it’s aroma.
Buttered Vegetables. As Miss Lorna told us “Something pa-healthy” since we’ve been eating fatty food the whole evening. And it was also served last so i guess it was really to cut off some of the fat we’ve been putting in.
And we capped off our night with a hot, thick tsokolate-eh. From the Noli and El Fili books, “Tsokolate Eh” were served for the Aristocrats and for someone important. And I felt important sipping that thick, delicious cupette of hot chocolate.
A little something about Cafe Adriatico which I’ve read from their book “Larry Can’t Cook”
Larry wanted a place where he and his friends could meet, enjoy good coffee, tasty food and drink while chatting about the day’s news. Upon the recommendation of his father, Emilio “Abe” Aguilar Cruz, Larry named his first restaurant Cafe Adriatico, after the street it was on. The Cafe emulated the Parisian sidewalk cafes. It offered good food, warm service and a charming ambiance, all at a reasonable price. And since it opened, the cafe became the watering hole for Manila’s who’s who. Today, it remains to be a hub for artists, celebrities, government officials and foodies enjoying Cafe Adriatico dishes such as Spareribs Adobo Rice, Salpicao, Callos, Lola Ising’s Adobo, Knockout Knuckles in garlic and chilies, or a fresh cup of Chocolate Eh!, hot rich Spanish chocolate drink.
After the success of Cafe Adriatico, LJC pressed on creating one brand after another, which offered his vision of the good life. He shaped the casual dining experience of the country with his many theme restaurants and was regarded “pioneer” in theme or concept restaurants, and the man who had “shaped Philippine cafe society.”
1790 M. Adriatico Street
G/F Gateway Mall
Araneta Center, QC.
SM Mall of Asia
2/F North Veranda,
Bay Boulevard, Pasay City