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Cocina Juan

Restaurants By February 3, 2010 Tags: , , , 2 Comments

I have been wanting and waiting to blog about Cocina Juan, my favorite little eatery in Teacher’s Village, for so long now. It’s just that every time I was there, I did not have a camera with me or I didn’t have the opportunity or more like the nerve, to take photos. I have to admit that I am quite uneasy about taking photos of restaurants or food. It makes me self-conscious.

What I love about this little eatery along Maginhawa St. in Teacher’s Village is that, aside from its wonderful delicious Central American-inspired food, it is self-effacing. I don’t like crowded, noisy places and this modest place can always be counted on to have free tables; staff that is unobtrusive, polite and efficient; and more importantly, patrons that are nowhere near boisterous. I hate it when people at restaurants like to call attention to themselves.

We went to Cocina Juan twice this month. It was closed for an event the first time so we ended in Tomato Kick, my second-favorite eatery in Maginhawa St. It was open last Saturday though and boy, was I glad, because I was famished after that house-tripping we did in farther-than-Farview Sauyo. I didn’t get to take decent photos still though. Maybe next time as I am sure there will always be a next time.. and next.. and next.. and next, as long as I love Central American food, unassuming quiet little eateries and this place exists.

What is Cocina Juan?

What is Cocina Juan?

(This text is lifted from this site. Click to view original post.)

Cocina Juan is a Central American inspired restaurant, thus the tag line “Inspiration de Centro America, Plato para La Filipino”. The small restaurant started last July of 2008 and was the brain child of siblings Thomas, Juan and Karlo Adviento.

In the beginning, Tom, the eldest among the siblings, wanted to start a Mexican inspired restaurant. The idea largely originated from his trips to the US where the cuisine was first introduced to him. He then related the taste and flavor to his brother, Juan aka “Boogie” (a culinary arts graduate at Café Isabelle), who bought the idea and started researching and developing the very first dishes for Cocina Juan, while Karlo (an interior designer) drafted what he imagined to be a Hispanic interior and design for the restaurant.

Before the end of 2008, Tom needed to travel again for work but this time was assigned for 4 months in a country located in Central America called Nicaragua. While in Nicaragua, he was able to expand his appreciation for the Latin culture and was able to learn and experience the festiveness that was expressed through color, music, language, dancing and cuisines.

When Tom went back to the Philippine, he immediately added what he learned in Nicaragua to finally complete the brand of Cocina Juan. Cocina Juan is not only just a restaurant that offers your Mexican Filipino staple, but is now serving a wider selection of food that comes from different regions of Central America. Examples start with the Chimichurri sauce, a parsley based sauce that originated in Argentina and used to accompany meat (Pork or beef) or fish, another is the Gallo Pinto rice which is originally from Guatemala but is considered as the staple rice in central America, Sofrito is another spanish sauce which is partnered with Fish at Cocina Juan and lastly for dessert is the Sopa Borracha, a Panamanian Dessert which from the word “Borracha” means drunken.

Cocina Juan is a small restaurant located in the heart of Maginhawa St. in Teachers Village, when you walk inside you will feel like you are right at home, colors and music were adapted to the interior to share the experience of the travels to Central America to every Filipino.

Menu Front

Menu Front, you may click on image to view larger version.

I got these photos of the menu from their Multiply site a long time ago. A site, which according to Multiply and Google, does not exist anymore. I wonder what happened. Have they canceled their Multiply account? Good thing they have a Facebook page. Click to view and maybe, be a fan, just like me. 🙂


Menu, you may click on image to view larger version.

This is Lia very much enjoying her meal of Nokia 5630 Xpress Music phone, with her foot propped up on the table. Feel-at-home much?!


And these were Lia’s very-own-Cocina-Juan-play things. I like that plate right there. Actually, I had my D80 in one hand and a climbing-on-the-table Lia in the other, so taking photos was like, “Yeah, yeah, click, click, whatever. Composition? What dat?”


The place is empty on a mid-Saturday afternoon, just the way I like it. We always take the outdoor tables even if we have Lia with us. I don’t know why. Maybe because.. “I love the outdoors”? *straight face*

This is actually our favorite spot, when we don’t have Lia with us. I like hiding. 🙂

While we were waiting for our orders, our red iced tea and lemon iced tea were served. I love their iced teas. It was followed by a basket of their complimentary nachos.

Ryan ordered pesto con aligue pasta…

While I ordered my favorite, quesadillas. This time I ordered Hungarian sausage quesadillas, for a change. I’ve had almost all the others except the sausage, because I don’t really like sausage.

…and this is what Ryan recommended I eat. He said it’s what he ordered last time we were there and I liked what he ordered more than I liked mine and that we switched plates. He says this is Chicken Chimichurri.


This last photo is a random shot of, “Whose bike is this?” resting by the wall, right next to the Cocina Juan signage, which is right next by the door, that at that time we were there though may not be there now, has a big native parol hanging on it. 😉


To read what Anton Diaz has on this place, as well as see more photos, click here.


Cocina Juan

100 Maginhawa Street,
UP Teacher’s Village Quezon City
Telephone Number: +632 434 3911;
+63 916 317 8935


Bellini’s in Marikina

Family, Restaurants By January 15, 2010 Tags: , , , , 2 Comments

We accidentally found Bellini’s Marikina during our last visit to Lia’s pediatrician for her measles vaccine. Actually, our finding it was not really very accidental since we knew Bellini’s is around the area, as was mentioned to us by our good friends Abet and Hash, who had their anniversary dinner same day Bellini’s  celebrated their first anniversary in Marikina. (The original Bellini’s is in one of my favorite places in Metro Manila – Cubao Expo, formerly known as the Marikina Shoe Expo.) 😉

Bellini's Santa

Bellini's - unassuming through the years

Bellini’s Cubao, November 2009

Bellini’s is right across from the nearest and perhaps only available parking space in the area. I must say Marikina is such a nice city because it seems like a bigger and more spacious version of Quiapo. I always make it a point to buy fruits from the market across the clinic where fruits are cheap! This time around, walking from the clinic to the parking space, we also accidentally found a nice store to buy cheap brandless diapers and baby wipes. No need to go to Quiapo! Hoorah for that!

Bellinis interior

This is what you will see when you get inside. Though this is the view from my table, as you can see the doors on the left side. 😉

It was about eleven in the morning when we got to Bellini’s and it was empty.

Bellinis handpainted wall

A closer look at the painting on the wall.

Bellinis interior

Upon entering the doors, wall painting on the left, more tables on the right.

Bellinis photo wall

Photo wall on the right. Did not get to see a closer look though. Here, Ryan is showing Lia the photos while I eat.

The well-trained staff assisted us with our menu choices. We ended ordering the appetizer, which looked good on the table from where I was sitting.

Bellinis appetizers and cake

Little window at the back is the kitchen. The chef was making pizza. 🙂

Appetizers at Bellini's Marikina

Appetizer (composed of five different kinds of food); P300, small

If you know me, you will not ask me what these are, since I am absolutely stupid when it comes to food. I just eat away and don’t bother to know what I am eating. These appetizers were good though! Real good! I thought to myself, “Maybe next time I go to Bellini’s and just order the appetizers.”

And of course, since this is an Italian eatery, we ordered pizza and seafood pasta.

Lia enjoying her bread sticks

Lia looks like she is absolutely enjoying the food.

We had a hard time though with their high-chair since it was not ideal for kids of Lia’s age group.

Saliva-cious Lia at Bellini's

Us wearing our current favorite dresses. Lia is salivating on, either the food or the high chair. Though, literally, she was salivating on the high chair.

While we were eating, an Italian came in, we think Bellini’s son, came knocking at the door. Yeah, he actually knocked. Then he was chatting with the staff and then us. He even ran around my table to pick up the fork I accidentally dropped on the floor and immediately replaced it himself.

When we left, he was standing by the table of an elderly couple who came in about thirty minutes after we did, chatting away.

Our bill was about P1,100. Ryan said afterwards, “I think we’ve found a better Italian restaurant than Cantinetta!”

I shouldn’t even have to say that I love Italian and Mexican food. It might just be worth mentioning too that I do not eat Japanese food at all. 😉

Mama and Lia at Bellini's Marikina

“Yeah! We love this Italian eatery! You should come!” – Lia


For more on this Italian restaurant, read what this blogger had to say.

Also, read what Anton has. It’s informative and so much better than this post. Hahaha! Not that I’m competing, I am just documenting my otherwise boring life. 😉 Haha.


Adarna: Food and Culture

Restaurants By December 13, 2009 Tags: , , , , , No Comments

We have probably driven past this resto a hundred times. I have noticed it before, but was always hesitant to go in because I thought it was some sort of resort. Hahaha. Like you know, with nice villas and a pool inside. Sometimes I thought, it’s probably a chic little private museum. Other times I thought it was a restaurant, but an expensive one where we could not afford any food.


The courtyard

I love Kalayaan Avenue. It has all these cool little places that I make memories with. Like 9 Mile Bar. Like Pork Barrel, this kubo-kubo grill Ryan and I found ourselves one night we were trying to find a place to have coffee and beer and a quiet place where we could talk. Like this wine resto that is also a depot for native furniture. (Ha! Even BarKo in which we have unfortunately found ourselves one night). I lived in Kalayaan Avenue for one semester. My father rented out a big room for me, with its private bathroom at the back of this brick building that housed his then-office in the penthouse, where I was joined by my brother when he took up his masters in Ateneo de Manila. I almost know it upside-down, downside-up.

We had mass with Ryan’s parents because it was his mom’s birthday last Friday, at the Parish of the Holy Sacrifice in U.P. It was actually Lia’s first mass. I was not too happy about bringing her to mass because I know it was just gonna be hard on her but oh well.. We first thought of having dinner at Cocina Juan, since that is actually one of our favorite places these days, but we thought a party of six and a baby would not really fit in. We made it to Kamay Kainan thinking we were all gonna avail of buffet but the service there is awful, awful, awful, awful (I can’t seem to say it enough) that we left. We thought of eating at Trellis right across the street but Trellis was closed. I would say that this is another of those occurrences when a bad thing turns out to be a good thing because we ended up in Adarna: Food and Culture.


The trees in the courtyard decked with Christmas lights and lanterns


Doors at the dining area opening into the courtyard


Little sari-sari store at the lobby. More dining in the courtyard.


Dining is made more private with the use of dividers


The view of the courtyard from our dining table

We were supposed to head back to Teacher’s Village, a convoy of three cars. We stopped to wait right in front of Adarna and I thought, why not check this place out? A waiter came out to meet me and I asked if I could see the menu. I only really wanted to check if the food was affordable. Having seen that they were, we then decided to stay.




Nice plate! 😛 (coz I don't remember what this was)


Again, don't remember what this was.


It may seem obvious to other people what this is, but to me, it's not. Haha!


I will have to improve my dish naming skills..


Don't remember what this was called but it's a must-try! 😀


This, I definitely know. It's halo-halo! Hahaha! Really, it is. 🙂


Taking a moment to have photo taken at courtyard.


It's Christmas season after all. 🙂

I would dare say, this place is great! Affordable food, wonderful ambiance, great service and all that. Love this place! We would definitely come back soon!

Outside the resto

The family, in front of the restaurant.


Cantinetta at Rockwell

Restaurants By November 19, 2009 Tags: , , , , No Comments

Cantinetta at Rockwell

Cantinetta at Rockwell is an Italian/Vegetarian resto. Or at least, that’s what this website says.

We were famished after almost two hours at the Global Pinoy bazaar and could not decide where to eat. We were standing at the taxi stand from across the street and I was so wanting to have a Mocha Frappucino at Starbucks. We spotted one across the street. On the way to Starbucks, we wondered where to have dinner. It was the first establishment we passed by.

Cantinetta outside [1]

I was hesitant at first. After that ridiculous dinner at Cima in Eastwood and after a number of ridiculous dinners in places like Prince of Jaipur, Italianni’s, T.G.I.Fridays and even Claw Daddy’s, I was not too keen on eating in another expensive place – and hating it.

Cantinetta outside [2]

There were a bunch of real Italians sitting outside. A waiter from inside the resto came out of the door and approached us. I was apprehensive. I told him I wanted to see the menu first to see if I liked anything before deciding whether I wanted to stay or not.

Cantinetta outside [3]

It turned out to be a very good dining experience. Ryan said, “I think we have found our Italian restaurant!” …because I love Italian. 🙂

The food, service and ambiance were great! The waiters were helpful. Food was served fast. The bill and the change were fast too! The food was delicious! We finished the Pescatora (fresh seafood with tomato sauce)  we ordered. Though we didn’t finish the Quattro Formaggi (mozzarella, parmesan, gorgonzola and ricotta cheese) pizza we ordered because we were quite full, we did not have a problem eating it for breakfast the next day! Haha! I did not get to take photos of the food because we were sitting under one of the umbrellas outside where it was really quiet and breezy and we were only lit with a candle light. It was just so relaxing to sit there, eat good food and have a little bit of chit chat with a cup of macchiato (for me) and an Earl Grey tea (for Ryan.)

Blk. 9 Hidalgo Drive, Rockwell Center
Makati City, Metro Manila
(02) 403-0145

Open from 11:00 am to 11:00 pm all days of the week

Click here to view the menu.

And well, I have got to say, you know it’s a good Italian resto when there are Italians eating. 😉