June 24, 2012
My mom loves to dine at Cafe Monaco. I remember when she was still here in the Philippines, she would go there every single week just to have her share of Kimchichige, pita pockets or daing na bangus. Since she was so addicted to the food, I was influenced and ended up loving Cafe Monaco too!
It wasn’t too long till I became friends with the owner of the restaurant. She’s Sofia, a Korean who moved here in Manila and she’s definitely a charmer. In fact, I see her mingling with her customers every single time. It felt like all her customers are already her friends. I guess that’s one of the secrets why Cafe Monaco is very successful in Banawe avenue. Topnotch customer service plus the warmness and the hospitality of the owner herself! Of course, the food was delicious too! (more on that later).
I wasn’t surprised when Cafe Monaco opened its second branch at Ortigas Avenue in San Juan. The Banawe branch is nearer to my house, but I wanted to check out the Ortigas branch anyway, at least to support the owner.
The Ortigas branch is definitely bigger than the Banawe branch (approximately twice as much space!). Business is doing good as I saw several people dining at the restaurant when we visited. However, I think a lot of people still don’t know about the new branch so here I am, sharing the good news! If you live in San Juan area, you don’t have to drive to Banawe avenue anymore when you’re craving for Cafe Monaco’s specialties 🙂
I noticed something on the wall when we were dining at Cafe Monaco in Ortigas. I didn’t see it in their other branch but I was curious what it was so I asked Sofia. She told me that it’s a verse in the Bible.. Psalm 23:1 which says, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.”
I really feel happy whenever I see establishments showing signs that God is in their lives. Coincidentally, I was with my friends from the church then 😛
While we waited for our orders to arrive, we were given Kimchi and radish as appetizer. Kimchi, a favorite Korean food, is a vegetable made with napa cabbage fermented in ginger, garlic, scallions and chili pepper. I’m not really fond of Kimchi but I loved the radish!
We were eight in our group. We had been planning to dine at Cafe Monaco. I really wanted to blog about it so we tried to order differently. Every single item we ordered tasted so good, just as expected! There’s really no difference on the menu between the two branches of Cafe Monaco. It’s just the location so take your pick.
- Mushroom Soup (Php 170)
My church friends were raving about the mushroom soup since we’re on the rightmost side of our long table, I decided to share it with them. I must agree that it was flavorful yet a bit spicy. The good thing was this. The spiciness was just right (at least for me). I have in mind that when rainy days come, I would drop by Cafe Monaco to order the mushroom soup.
- Kimchichige (Php 170)
Kimchichigue is my mom’s favorite! This is always part of her order whenever she would visit Cafe Monaco. I can’t eat it though as it’s just too spicy for my taste. I remember when I tried it out before, I was sweating like crazy! hahaha! I guess that was the point 😛
- Bibimpop (Php 140)
Bibimpop is another Cafe Monaco bestseller! Everyone just loved to order this! Well, why not? The price is only Php140 for a huge serving of this beautiful Korean signature dish. In order to enjoy Bibimpop, you have to mix the ingredients altogether. If you’re afraid of spicy food, then you have to request in advance for the chili paste to be served separately.
- Daing na Bangus (Php 210)
The first time I tried the bangus in Cafe Monaco, I was shocked as to how big the fish was! You cannot eat this by yourself! I think the fish was from Dagupan (I’m not sure). This was sooooo good! If I’m hungry, I would definitely order this alone without rice. I dip the fish in vinegar but Cafe Monaco also serves mayonnaise with it.
- Curry Beef Rice (Php 150)
- Gyu Nikuyakidon (Php 150)
Bibimpop is Cafe Monaco’s bestseller. For me though, when it comes to rice toppings, my fave has got to be Gyu Nikuyakidon. It’s basically beef with egg and rice. I love the sweet flavor of the beef, so tasty!
- Fruit Shakes (Php 65)
I never fail to order fruit shakes in Cafe Monaco because I saw how they prepared it. They were generous with the servings and I don’t feel like drinking water with their fruit shakes. You have to be a bit patient though if you’re in a big group or if there are a lot of people ordering shakes. They only have one blending machine but not to worry, it’ll worth the wait 🙂
- Halo Halo (Php 150)
The most unique Halo Halo has got to be the one by Cafe Monaco. Theirs is a combination of different fruits with red bean, chocolate powder and ice cream. If I have to choose between the numerous types of Halo Halo available here in Metro Manila, my choice would be Cafe Monaco’s version. Delicious, refreshing and uber fresh!
Cafe Monaco for me, is like a hidden gem in the Metro. Not a lot of people know about it but once they discover the restaurant, they would definitely go back often.
I’ve been a loyal customer of Cafe Monaco since year 2002. I never blogged about it until now. I have to stop keeping secrets and inform people about this restaurant that serves good food and a place I always frequent to.
368 Sekai Center, Ortigas Center, San Juan City, Philippines