[Review] Delectable Favorites at Cafe Adriatico (SM Mall of Asia, Pasay City)

cafe adriatico sm mall of asia sm moa pasay spanish restaurant

The Spareribs Adobo Rice — one of the crowd favorites at Cafe Adriatico.

Even before Cafe Havana, Abe, Lorenzo’s Way, Larry’s Bar and Cafe, and many more well-loved restaurants put the LJC Restaurant Group on the foodie radar, Cafe Adriatico was the restaurant that started it all. Considered to be the flagship restaurant of the LJC Group of Restaurants, being the eldest in the group, Cafe Adriatico is particularly known for its Spanish-Mediterranean menu that has captured the hearts and stomachs of many. It was exactly for this reason that I preferred to dine at Cafe Adriatico over its more modern counterpart, Abe, which is a popular fine-dining joint for Filipino food classics.

The Cafe Adriatico branch at the second floor of the Entertainment Center at the Mall of Asia in Pasay shared space with Abe, so there was not much distinction between the two. Particularly notable was the lush leather couch at the corner of the room that seated our foodie team of two, and the brightly lit room c/o natural lighting that made dining (and taking photos!) a more pleasurable experience. The couch located at the corner proved to be a blind spot, as we got overlooked by waiters and waitresses a couple of times before finally getting their attention for simple and non-urgent requests. The servers were pleasant and were quick to assist, and the food made it to our tables in ten to fifteen minutes, warm and fresh.

cafe adriatico sm mall of asia sm moa pasay spanish restaurant

While waiting for our orders, one of our friendly waitresses provided us with something to nibble on: a basket of kropeck / fish chips. It was served without any condiments, and we agreed that it would taste really well when dipped in vinegar. We requested for a serving of vinegar (which took a while to come!), but it was worth the wait as the vinegar garnished with diced onion pieces augmented the taste of the fish chips really well.

cafe adriatico sm mall of asia sm moa pasay spanish restaurant

Cream of Two Mushrooms (Php 110)

For soup, we chose to get the Cream of Two Mushrooms, a combination of both button mushrooms and shiitake mushrooms. We were very happy with the creamy consistency of the soup, and the basket of bread slices and butter pack that was served along with it. A good alternative to the Cream of Two Mushrooms Soup would be the Spanish Corn Soup, a chili-spiced concoction of corned soup with chicken, a great choice to warm the tummy and whet the appetite with the hint of spiciness in the soup.

cafe adriatico sm mall of asia sm moa pasay spanish restaurant

Penne Al ‘Arrabiata (Php 220)

The Penne Al’ Arrabiata, also known as the “fiery pasta” failed to set my tongue on fire, or even at least provide hints of spice. I had to request for a bottle of Tabasco Sauce to repair the dish and get the kick I longed for. I had to empty about half of the bottle to finally reach the level of spice to satisfy me, but even that tasted very artificial, knowing that the spiciness of the dish should be attributed to the masterful combination of spices, and not because I had tried to augment it with Tabasco. The dish tasted “okay”, but had not met expectations.

Listed as one of Cafe Adriatico’s bestselling menu item, the Spareribs Adobo Rice was a dish we look forward to ordering the next time we visit. It had two thick cuts of pork spareribs, tender and flavorful from long hours of being simmered in soy sauce and other spices. The entree was served with a conservative amount of atsara, leaving you wanting more (especially since you get two thick slabs of pork and a heaping cup of hot, steamed rice). The serving size of the Spareribs Adobo was big enough for sharing, and won’t leave you bitin even if you do choose to share.

cafe adriatico sm mall of asia sm moa pasay spanish restaurant

Cappuccino Cheesecake

My favorite order of the day would have to be the Cappuccino Cheesecake. Just the novelty alone of the dish warrants an award. Every bite is packed with the unmistakable flavor of coffee mixed with a chocolate crust. We loved how they chose to include coffee in the plating, making it not only authentic, but allowing the crust to absorb the coffee makes the cake’s flavor even richer. Oh, and the coffee beans? They’re chocolate pieces shaped like coffee beans. Genius.

Price Range: Php 500-700/ person

The prices of the items might be a wee bit expensive, but the serving size and the quality easily justifies it. Cafe Adriatico is not a restaurant you can easily look up a cheaper and better alternative to. They have quite a number of dishes that I have yet to see replicated or duped by other restaurants, but I doubt the dupes will ever hold a candle to the original. I am already planning my next visit as early as now, and I’m keen on trying their Chicken ala Kiev, Callos, their famous Pancit Palabok, and their authentic Spanish Hot Chocolate beverage called “Chocolate Eh”. How about you? Do you have any recommendations for my next Cafe Adriatico visit? Let me know by leaving your answers in the comments section below!-HANA

Cafe Adriatico
Second Floor, North Wing, Mall of Asia Complex (MOA), Pasay City
Open from 10 AM to 10 PM, Mondays – Sundays
Contact Number: (02) 5560608
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