Disclaimer: All dining places in this post are nowhere near the famous Lilac Street.
Being a girl from “East Manila” (#represent), I usually spend my time around the Marikina area. Located at the outskirts of Metro Manila (but still part of it), Marikina is one of the “chillest” places I know. Known for their quality, handcrafted shoes, Marikina also boasts of hole-in-the-wall food places. I personally recommend food places that I’ve tried and tested and it just so happened that Marikina’s got a whole lot of these. Too bad I don’t have good photos of them (I just have a few tolerable snaps), but I totally guarantee you they are worth your every buck.
- Chef B’s (Formerly known as Boyong’s)
Location: 15, E. Dela Paz St., San Roque, Marikina City
This place, a former garage area converted into a ‘fast food restaurant’ serves one of the cheapest and best-tasting pasta dishes I know. They are also best-known for their sulit barbecues and grilled burgers (Imagine getting a GRILLED quarter-pounder looking-burger for just P35!) During the holidays, they also have big and low-cost bibingka and puto bumbong. But mind you, parking around Boyong’s is very, very hard, so you’d have to circle around the place a few times before scoring a parking slot at the side of the road. You can take-out food if their dining space is jam-packed (as it is, always). Open Mondays-Saturdays, until around 8 or 9 PM. Closed on Sundays.
2. Suba’s Diner
Location: Liamzon Street, Marikina City (located a block behind Lydia’s Lechon Marcos Highway Branch)
This place is a small but thriving diner with a very homey ambiance. It serves quality lutong-bahay at very ‘keri lang’ prices. Often flocked by workers of all sorts during lunch breaks, as well as families who just want some lutong-bahay lovin’. I recommend you try their Papaitan and Paksiw, although their menu is different everyday, so it depends on its availability. Closed on Sundays. Parking is chill except when you go here during peak hours, especially lunch breaks.
3. Café Lidia
Location: Calderon St., San Roque, Marikina City
This place is tucked away from shopping malls and other crowded places where you can usually see quite-fancy dining places. Café Lidia is a perfect date-night place, as it offers quality steaks, pizzas, pastas, and decadent desserts. A word though, it is a bit pricey if you’re on a tight budget, but every cent is totally worth it. I suggest you try their Salisbury steak, as well as their special Pizza and Pasta. Parking has no chill when the place is jam-packed (most of the time) but when you happen to drop by the place during its chill hours (usually around 1PM onwards), you can easily score a seat and a parking slot. Open Mondays-Sundays.
4. QiZia Café
Location: Katipunan Avenue (behind SDS Hospital), SSS Village, Marikina City
I fondly remember this place because it was introduced to me in a very weird and awkward manner. It went like this:
My Dad: “Anak, gusto mo ng steak?”
Me: “Steak? Seryoso ka dad?”
My Dad: “Oo, seryoso ako. Diyan sa SDS [Hospital] may steak.”
Me: “Niloloko mo nanaman ako eh.”
My Dad: “Seryoso, masarap pagkain diyan.”
Me: “Sa canteen ng ospital? ‘Di ba walang lasa pagkain dun?”
My Dad: “Tara try natin.”
It may be behind a hospital building, but it served one of the most filling pesto pasta plates I’ve ever had. This place is quite cozy, and perfect for “tinamad ako magluto ng dinner kaya sa labas nalang tayo kumain” kind of dinners. Food is a bit above your average dinner’s spending, but it is seriously worth it (I still felt full a morning after I ate there). You will forget the place adjacent to it because the food is that good BUT! It will take at least 10-20 minutes before your food will be served (and I was hungry then, so I was impatient). Parking can go from chill-no chill in no time because it shares parking spaces with the hospital. Operating hours, I’m not really sure.
5. Mama Chit’s
Location: J.P. Rizal Avenue (across Shoe Museum, beside Johnnie Wilkie Bike Shop), San Roque, Marikina City
This is a Kris Aquino- certified food place. Enough said.
Seriously though, Mama Chit’s is best known for its chill, retro vibe topped off with Old Manila memorabilia and other vintage and restored stuff (If you’re a sucker for antique things like I am, you will surely love this place). Best known for their ginormous burger, it is also home to one of Marikina’s finest bike shops. They also offer pasta and desserts. It is quite pricey, but it’s perfect for post-holy mass merienda or if you’re feeling a bit adventurous with your burger choices. Parking has no chill, but you can go to this place conveniently by bike. Open Mondays-Sundays.
I hope I gave these places justice just as much as other food reviews did. As I’ve said before, I write what I feel, and my tongue might as well could be directly connected to my heart, as these places have swept me off my feet. I really hope you can check them out and let me know what you felt about what they could offer.
‘Til the next Tale of The Taste Buds!
Map screengrabs from Google Maps and zomato.com