On the Saturday before Christmas, Louie and I planned to celebrate the holiday and have a quiet dinner in a restaurant in Tomas Morato. The Frazzled Cook was our top choice, however for some reason, Waze wasn’t able to guide us to the right direction and we could not find the place after driving up and down the street past the address where it should have been. We ended up in Buenisimo by Cafe Ysabel, a nonetheless fine choice where food is just what we’re in the mood for.
Buenisimo by Cafe Ysabel has been awarded as one of the Philippine Tatler’s 2009 Best Restaurants on its 6th month in operations. That says a lot about the quality of its food. “Buenisimo” is a Spanish word which means very good or someone exceptionally beautiful.
The restaurant is owned and run by Chef Gino and Giannina Gonzales, son and daughter of celebrity chef Gene Gonzales of Cafe Ysabel. The menu at Buenisimo is a collaboration of Cafe Ysabel’s favorites, traditional fare that their family used to have on Sundays and new experimental dishes with unique taste concepts and pairings. I personally have met Chef Gino in a Yummy Magazine event held in Enderun, BGC and I know he makes really delicious and crave-worthy food, so it was interesting to actually sample dishes in one of his restaurants. 🙂
Review of Buenisimo by Cafe Ysabel (Tomas Morato, Quezon City)
As a cozy nook in the heart of Tomas Morato, this place sets the standard for “special-ocassion” dining. With its clean lines and neutral colors, the interior design exudes a luxury feel made for celebrating something special. Buenisimo by Cafe Ysabel in Tomas Morato provides a modern take on Filipino minimalism. The relaxed yet upscale atmosphere looked impressive.
The staff was gracious and accommodating, helping make for a relaxing setting that’s as casual or formal as you want to make it. When there were more guests though, servers were not as attentive and they did not respond promptly when called for as when there were fewer active tables. That’s pretty understandable at prime times, but there must be a room for improvement in terms of efficiency and alertness to keep a high level of customer service.
Buenisimo by Cafe Ysabel delivered a perfectly roasted chicken that’s brined overnight served with caramelized onion gravy. The dish is called Giannina’s Roasted Chicken (PhP 318) on the menu, and it’s definitely one of the most recommended comfort food in the list. Along with mashed potatoes and vegetables on the side, the roasted chicken had crisp skin and tender and juicy meat that draws the difference between good and great. As soul-satisfying as it is, this entree can be the ultimate weeknight staple.
Four Cheese Pizza (PhP 468) made with pomodoro, mozzarella, bleu cheese, gruyere cheese, white cheese, and fresh basil was great. The bottom part revealed a soft crumb that is pliant and chewy, not crackery or tough, that transitioned from being soft and bread-like to moist and slick right where the cheesy flavors and sauce meet it. The pizza was tad salty and had the right amount of cheesy goodness with a bare hint of sweetness.
Three Mushroom Truffle Cream (PhP 438) was overwhelmingly good. Made with shiitake, oyster, and button mushrooms. We chose the spaghetti type of pasta over penne and fettuccine, and it turned out well. The creamy pasta was intensely flavored with fresh mushrooms, and truffle oil gave a savory depth. We love it! 🙂
Price for Value: ★★★★☆
Buenisimo by Cafe Ysabel serves excellent renditions of food without an ounce of pretense. Staffs give guests a warm welcome and offer its approachable menu in the vibrant, stylish setting. All in all, this charmer in QC makes wow-worthy dishes matched with fair prices to boot. It deserves its well-earned reputation for premium-quality cooking.