We had our post Valentine’s Day celebration at Cucina di Francesco, a community cafe that serves Italian comfort food, freshly-baked products and coffee drinks. It’s located across St. Pio Chapel, only three minutes of walk away from our office, making it an excellent spot for our dinner last Friday after work. While having dinner, the team surprised us and threw a baby shower. We had games and plenty of fun! Anyway, that’s another story to tell in a different time. Here’s a review of the restaurant and a food rundown.
Review of Cucina di Francesco (Libis, Quezon City)
Cucina di Francesco has a cool, casual, and confident atmosphere that remains mercifully undercrowded. The neutral space features a minimalist, elegant interior with color accents inspired by the Italian flag. Brick and beige walls are matched with wooden furniture and sleek and bright lighting that added a little warmth in the dining room. Everything looks crisp and clean. The painting on the wall by the stairs brings a further oomph; it’s designed by some UP Diliman Fine Arts students.
Toasted Ravioli (PhP 165) was an easy choice to begin with. It’s pan-toasted spinach ravioli drizzled with marinara sauce, a great appetizer.
Next up, the Breakfast Pizza (PhP 360) was delicious and simple without having too many elements of complexity. Specially made bacon, ham, eggs, mozzarella, and marinara formed a great interplay of flavors with the crusty bread.
Another pizza we tried that’s new on their menu was the Tre Formaggi Pizza (PhP 350). It’s your usual four-cheese pizza made with mozzarella, emmenthal, blue cheese, and bechamel and it didn’t disappoint. If you love cheese, get this.
It was time now for the main attraction: Frutti di Mare (PhP 330). This pasta dish is one of the must-orders when dining in Cucina di Francesco. The pasta game is strong and I love the combined seafood flavors. Shrimp, clams, and anchovies provided a great salty overtone that’s then punctuated with sun-dried tomatoes in garlic butter and olive oil. It was very good indeed.
Porchetta (PhP 780) is another bestseller and sure enough, the 14-hour roasted pork belly was lovely and extra aromatic. The porchetta was rich and crisp and it looked like a perfect centerpiece for a special-occasional meal. Brimming with porky sapor, it was topped with garlic confit and was served with olive-fig tapenade, balsamic vinaigrette, and au jus gravy. The taste of the pork belly alone was on point even without these various condiments. The wonderfully crunchy, salty skin satisfies your basest cravings.
Price for Value:
Cucina di Francesco is a bustling moderately-priced Italian restaurant that’s a nice spot especially for families after visiting the chapel or for people working in Libis. If you’ve had your fair share of Italian food in other restaurants, then the dishes here wouldn’t be something that will particularly “wow” you, but they’re pretty decent. Must orders are pasta and pizza, of course. For occasions that require large groups, this place would be an absolute delight. Ask to be seated on the second or third floor (private function areas) and call ahead to easily snag and secure your reservation.