Thanks to Antipolo City's stunning cliff-side views, there's no shortage of exciting dining spots in this side of mainland Luzon. Tourists can easily make stopovers on their way up the city proper from Metro Manila or eventually linger for hours at a restaurant that has spectacular views of either the Laguna de Bay or the Sierra Madre. However, not all restaurants in this capital of Rizal can be found in such a mold. Tucked away from the busy streets inside a 1.3-hectare art sanctuary is the aptly-called Cafe Rizal. It's where visitors of the Pinto Art Museum take delicious breaks from all the indoor and outdoor strolls of the property's well manicured gardens, cobbled pathways, and Cycladic-inspired galleries. Because of its unique location, it can be considered as one of the most unique cafes in the Philippines.
To access the restaurant, one only has to pay a reasonable entrance fee (Php200 per visitor) at the museum gate. Once registered, you can leave your stuff at a luggage counter or simply start exploring the sprawling property if you don't have anything on you that will unnecessarily drag you down. If there's anything that you need to bring along with your camera or smartphone, it's a hat or a cap to protect your head from being directly exposed to the sun. Since the area is filled with trees, you'll probably only need it when your stroll happens to extend after lunch.
During my revisit of the museum while booked at the newly-opened LeBlanc Hotel and Resort, I easily had to take a break at its restaurant which is located at the center of the whole attraction. I was the first customer when it opened at 10:30am which meant brunch for me. I found my cozy spot inside the cafe where it still felt breezy thanks to the structure's expansive windows which also let the natural light in for that laid-back ambiance. By the time I was decided on my orders and feeling refreshed from my glass of Raspberry Iced Tea, some visitors were already taking their own quick breaks for salads and appetizers at the cafe's al fresco dining area.
|Raspberry Iced Tea|
My order of the cafe's eight-piece Shanghai called Dagupan was appetizing for all its worth. It's a set of tasty lumpia filled with smoked milkfish and ground pork which I dipped one too many times on the accompanying Saigon sweet chili. It was a perfect appetizer to start my meal.
As I was halfway in my set of spring rolls, my order of the cafe's pasta carbonara called Tribeca was served. Its Tyrolean bacon and mushroom definitely cut through the overwhelming taste of the truffle oil, making the dish just right to have in small portions. The hefty plate of pasta was actually good for two to three people, but I just had to sample it and decided to have the rest to-go.
|Green Chicken Curry|
To complete my meal, I ordered the cafe's Green Chicken Curry which is an interesting bowl of diced chicken, Thai green curry and eggplant. It was served with steamed rice and was a great semi-spicy contrast to the creamy pasta.
For a fulfilling finish, I had a hot cup of Cafe Latte. It was exactly what I needed to perk myself up for another hour of strolling the rest of Pinto Art Museum.
Curious to see what the rest of Pinto Art Museum looks like? Check out these photos:
Address: #1 Sierra Madre St. Grand Heights, Antipolo City, Rizal, Philippines
Cafe Opening Hour: 10:30am
Museum Operating Hours: 9:00am to 6:00pm, Tuesdays to Sundays
Phone: (02) 697-1015