The best way to know a town is through its food, so let’s check out the various dining spots found in Marikina and neighboring San Mateo.
KKK Coffee is located in SM Marikina. It serves coffee made with locally sourced beans. The name of the shop itself alludes to the revolutionary past of the Philippines. Proprietor Brian Tenorio says he named his shop KKK because he wants to help revive the once thriving coffee industry in the country.
All coffee beans are sourced locally, and the blends are KKK’s creations.
Try the Kapeng Ginto, a sweet and creamy concoction made with coffee, honey and muscovado sugar.
The KKK 100 percent “AAA” Barako is a premium, high-grade Barako coffee concoction. At P149, it is the most expensive coffee available at KKK.
The KKK House Blend costs only P69, but the taste of the coffee is decidedly premium, way better than the overpriced varieties of many coffee shops in Manila.
The unique Kapeng Labuyo is a quaint mix of spicy zing and the bitter chocolate flavor of Pinoy kape.
KKK Coffee also has a delightful selection of suman and empanada. Try the Suman topped with chocolate and slivers of dried mango.
Ca Phe Saigon offers authentic Vietnamese cuisine. The proprietor herself is Vietnamese, and her passion for her country’s native food is easily tasted in the pho and banh mi dishes.
The restaurant is built into her house in New Marikina Subdivision in San Roque. The interiors are refreshingly cool, easy on the eyes. The proprietor’s warm smile adds a delightful charm to the restaurant’s ambiance as well as the menu offerings.
Try the Vietnamese Noodle Soup (P150). The reasonable price belies the quality and expertise in the cooking of the pho.
Sample the Basil Flavored Detox Juice as well (P100).
The banh mi is made with real baguettes—with roasted pork, chicken, or beef.
The Vietnamese baguette costs about P150, depending on the sidings that you prefer.
After a hearty meal, we take sips of Vietnamese Coffee, which was delightfully full flavored and creamy.
Next stop is Quina in Midtown Subdivision, Marikina. The restaurant’s ambiance is open and welcoming. Natural light streams in through the glass-paneled roof; red and yellow colors dominate the interior design, both colors are known to stimulate the appetite.
It offers Woknatoy, a menudo-like dish unique to Marikina. This is made with tomato paste, just like menudo, but the addition of pickles unlocks a tangy taste.
Other interesting dishes are Pininyahang Manok, Sinigang na Baka sa Bayabas, Kare-Kare and Tawilis.
For dessert, there’s Quina’s Chocolate Cake, baked daily in the restaurant’s own ovens.
The Red Velvet cake in Quina is a must-try, as well as the Banana Walnut Loaf.
SM City San Mateo
Visiting the newly built SM City San Mateo, we find our way to Grand Duchess Café, a homegrown brand that serves doughnuts of different flavors, along with a slew of iced coffee selections.
The mall houses other Homegrown brands like Eduardo’s Peri-Peri and Tonkatsu Dad.
San Mateo has some unique culinary finds, and Kristal G Ristorante is at the forefront—a breed of new restaurants that introduces new flavors and concepts to San Mateo cuisine.
Kristal G’s interiors are decidedly posh, creating an elegant vibe to its menu.
Topping the list are the expertly crafted pastas and other Italian dishes.
But since Kristal G also serves Filipino food, there’s Kare Kare, Crispy Pata, Rellenong Bangus and Sinigang fare.
The place is always full and San Mateo residents are apparently very taken in with Frappuccino of all varieties.
The café has an interesting array of frappes and coffee drinks flavors. Try its nachos, French fries and buffalo wing selections as well.
A veritable local institution, Primablend Bake Shop is the first and largest bake shop in San Mateo.
It offers regular snack items such as spaghetti, hamburgers, pizzas, chicken pies, along with Pinoy favorites like sago’t gulaman and halo-halo.
Primablend is the go-to place for bespoke cakes and other pastries. Its Leche Flan and Sans Rival are famous even beyond the confines of San Mateo. —CONTRIBUTED