Tucked in Burgos Circle, Bonifacio Global City (beside Forbeswood Heights Condominium), Casa Marcos spans generations and is no way a newcomer in the food arena. It finds its roots in the 1940s, when a Spanish expatriate named Marcos de Guisasola opened a restaurant in his name.
Eventually, when Señor Marcos had to go back to Spain, he passed the ownership of his successful business on to Ben del Rosario. Ben was his close friend and one of the customers who frequented the restaurant. A new branch of Casa Marcos was opened by Ben and his family in 1983, and it was in this place where the popular “Casa Marcos pan de sal” was established.
My friends and I had lunch at Casa Marcos last Saturday and spent more than two hours talking about our life’s recent updates while enjoying the food, especially the unlimited refills of pan de sal. 😉
Review of Casa Marcos Restobar (Burgos Circle, Bonifacio Global City)
At first glance, I could never have guessed that inside Casa Marcos Restobar lies gaudy décor. The first floor features a bar counter, two small dining sets, menu written on a chalkboards, and a fridge for chill drinks. Walking up the stairs to the second floor, I realized that this place is styled like a typical Spanish-style bar with antique-looking tables and chairs. The atmosphere was cozy and the setup, with brick walls, lights resembling tin cans on the ceiling, and colorful posters on the walls, was just simple yet beautiful.
The place was quiet with reserved staff to match. I was the first customer to arrive for lunch. This meant the staff wasn’t supposed to be busy; in fact, they were just listening to music on the radio and chatting with one another. Good times, huh. They looked at me as I pushed the glass door, however there was particularly no hi, welcome, how many or anything like that verbally exchanged. In short, the staffs (about four of five of them) were not friendly or inviting.
They also did not bother to hand me the menu or ask if I need anything but let me observe around and do things in my own pace. It was as if I did not exist! One waiter came when I raised my hand to order, when I asked for the bread refill and when it was time for us to pay for the bill. Attentiveness passed the test and that’s the only good point noted.
The garlicky scent of Gambas (PHp 320) wafted from our table, and we immediately dug into the plump Spanish garlic shrimps cooked Casa Marcos style sautéed in butter and garlic. The portion was small (almost like a side dish) and might be good for only one person, but we managed to share it, hardly needing all the jazz to appreciate the flavors.
The strong flavor in gambas simply begged for rice. But instead of ordering rice, we opted for Casa Marcos Restobar’s pan de sal—and what a good move that was. These babies (so tiny, so cute) were served as a complimentary starter with butter to spread, and the bowl was refilled with more fresh pan de sal by request. The bread was soft and chewy. Allowing any of the gambas’ sauce go to waste is a sin, so we had the pan de sal soak up its glorious juices and ate it. Mmmmm…yummy!
Our single entree, Pollo de Casa Marcos (PHp 320), was ever-so-gently pan-fried in oil and garlic. The chicken breast flesh was perfectly cooked, moist and toothsome.
Price for Value: ★★☆☆☆
Average price of a course at Casa Marcos is PHp 400. I consider this to be really high as we got very small portions of food albeit in nice plating. Also, while the food tasted fine, the ingredients used, the creativity and the uniqueness of the recipes were not really too exceptional or wow-intensive to be worth such cost. But just maybe, the vivid cooking and utter lack of trendiness have their own charms. Will it bring you to Spain? If only you close your eyes and daydream for a moment, that could be possible.
In any case, if you’re planning to dine in with a group of friends or your family, Casa Marcos’ selection of paellas can be worth the splurge. They offer four different types of paella (good for 5 to 6 people):
- Paella Valenciana (PHp 795) – Hearty rice meal with chorizo, seafood, and chicken seasoned with paprika cooked over a slow fire
- Paella Marinera (PHp 745) – Classic all seafood paella
- Paella con Saffron (PHp 895) – Classic Valenciana cooked in saffron, giving it a lighter and more distinctive taste
- Paella Negra (PHp 795) – A variety of seafood, chicken and vegetables cooked in black squid ink
For those who hanker for long and lingering suppers, feel free to punctuate jovial conversation with glassfuls of bar drinks: beer, gin, vodka, cognac, whiskey, rum, tequila, mixers and fruit juices are all available with prices ranging from PHp 80 to PHp 325.
Operating Hours: 11AM-2:30PM, 6PM-11PM
Unit 20a/20b, Ortigas Home Depot J. Vargas St. Pasig City | (02) 4703637