We love trying different cuisines and socializing with friends. Dining out is hence an indulgence and an essential part of our weekend getaway. In Marikina, I’ve observed that there’s no shortage of good restaurants that promise both great ambiance and food. Café Lidia is noted as one of the spotlights for impressive style whether the occasion calls for casual or fine dining.
In this feature, we handpicked Café Lidia in Calumpang for dinner last June 7, 2014. Read through this post to decide if this restaurant is one that you would want to add to your wish list. 🙂
Review of Café Lidia (Calumpang, Marikina City)
A steward in the local dining scene in Marikina, Café Lidia is like a spacious house affixed with calming vibes of old and wooden furniture. The interior is mixed with modern and traditional touches. Its walls are accented with bricks and horizontal lines, and the color gave a good complement to the patterned floor tiles. There are separate dining areas for those who want to have a family-style or big-group meals and also for those who come in smaller groups or a couple date.
Service was prompt and we didn’t have to wait long for our dishes to arrive. The waiter was knowledgeable about food offerings and was friendly to talk with. Food was nicely presented and landed on the table. The staff here didn’t disappoint.
We had gone for almost all Café Lidia’s signatures. As an appetizer, the Buffalo Wings (PhP 180/six pieces) were a classic done well. We enjoyed the savoriness of this simple comfort food. I’d recommend it with some reservations. It’s a nice palatable appetizer that could be better with some spice.
Sufficiently warmed up, we proceeded to the Pasta ala Lidia (PhP 160) with anchovies, salty and distinct olives, capers, tuna and tomatoes in olive oil. I don’t always applaud pasta, but this platter was pretty solid and tasty. The pasta noodles were light and springy and the ingredients delivered brightness
The House Special Pizza (PhP 230/8 slices) made with pepperoni, ham, bacon, bell peppers, mushrooms, onions and pineapples was not something I’d try again. The cheese didn’t taste high quality. 🙁 I consider a pizza really good if it exceeds the sum of its parts, but this one was wee bit tired. Nothing fresh and new about it.
The Seafood Rice (PhP 205) was quite like a typical bowl of paella rice. The green peas and bell peppers brought a tasty, balancing sweetness to the equation, and the egg exhibited a pleasant change to the overwhelming flavor of mixed seafood (shells, shrimps and squid rings).
The Beef Salpicao (PhP 225), served with garlic rice and salad, was not too tender and easy to chew. It’s not to die for, but I can bet that this version of beef salpicao is a dish that will always hit home for Filipinos.
With crackling skin, the Porchetta (PhP 230) is pork covered and wrapped in fatty pork. How awesome is that? 🙂 My friends say you can’t go wrong with this treat. The fatty belly had a portion rich in juices and its connective tissues ostensibly helped to keep the meat moist. It looked good but not enough to tempt me successfully.
The pounded chicken breast pan-fried and then smothered in a rich marsala mushroom pan sauce was wonderful. The dish is called Chicken Marsala (PhP 265), featured with mushroom sun-dried tomato and marsala wine served with mixed vegetables that you would be oohing and ahhing over.
Price for Value: ★★★☆☆
Prices are friendly on the wallet and overall food tastes are fair, so I see clearly why dining at this restaurant often requires a wait for a table. Still, I hope Café Lidia’s food entrees (at least these ones we’ve tried) would improve more. Having good ambiance and customer service, it has the potential to grow into another great foodie/culinary destination in Marikina.