Cafe Lidia is one of the most talked about restaurants when you talk about the area. I have been wanting to try it ever since I heard my friends talk about it. They are mostly from the San Roque – Kalumpang area so they are near the place and have eaten there so many times.
Last Sunday, we were about to watch a movie but there was a bit of a rain so they decided to leave the idea. We settled for eating and wanted to be in a different place. We are usually found in the nearest McDonald’s branch after the mass. Tonight, we were found inside the halls of Cafe Lidia.
Cafe Lidia can be found at 64 Calderon Street, Kalumpang, Marikina City. It isn’t found in one of the busiest streets in Marikina nor is it found in a commercial area. If you’re not there to look for it, you wouldn’t know that it is there.
I like the homey atmosphere that it brings. We arrived and we were waiting to be seated. By the looks of it, the restaurant seems small and cramped. Although, I like its ambiance even from the outside. However, I was proven wrong because it’s quite a large building with three different dining areas. The one is immediately seen by customers outside, the next is like a function hall and another is a bigger function hall on the second floor. All along, I thought that it was a very intimate place. Then again, they could serve up to 250 people at once or even more. Despite the fact that it was a full house, food service was good. We need not wait for more than 30 minutes for our ordered food and what’s better is that they did not need the follow up.
A meal for me will never be complete without rice. A friend asked that we share a rice meal because we still want to eat our own pastas. Seafood rice is like paella. It is rice in marinara sauce with various sea food. I would have wanted the marinara sauce to be a bit stronger. It is being overpowered by the rice and there are only small hints of sourness. I wanted to taste the tomatoes! The sea food were cooked nicely. There were fish, clams, shrimps and squid. It was a nice starter for the evening. Also, I could have finished the whole bowl to myself. If I were that hungry.
The name of the pasta is as straightforward as it can be. It is an olive-oil based pasta with garlic and anchovies. I started the meal with something sour, I wanted to move on with something salty. My friend recommended it and it was delicious. I love the anchovy flakes. It was really the star of the dish. I was initially worried about the garlic because it might take over the whole dish but it didn’t. There was this strong balance between the garlic, anchovies and olive oil. Sometimes, oil-based pasta can have so much oil in them. This one didn’t.
I also ordered bottomless iced tea. However, I didn’t like it because it tasted so commercial. I wanted iced tea that tasted like it was real tea with ice. We also wanted to order cakes for dessert but they said that the cakes in Cafe Lidia are subpar. They don’t compare to the cakes of the other restaurants in the vicinity. So, a trip to another restaurant might be in order. Casa Verde, perhaps?
All in all, the place surprised me. It wasn’t just a small kind of restaurant. I realized that there were a lot of people eating there even if it was a Sunday. And the food justified the hype that it was given. I could try some of their rice meals in the future. Their pasta was already proven. Cafe Lidia is definitely worth a second or third trip back.