doña lydia’s cafe lidia

doña lydia never had imagined, not even in her wildest dreams that she would be getting herself into food business. she used to run an old shoe factory business, managing over a hundred eighty of her workers. hard to admit, shoe-making’s a dying industry in marikina city. most of the small-time shoemakers in the city had stopped operating. not to mention the skyrocketing prices of shoe materials they imported from china.

so lydia, being this very optimistic and strong-willed person, she decided to venture on food business. she believed that when a door shuts, a window opens. so having zero-knowledge on how she would run it, she decided to ask her long-time friend, nelson tolentino, for his professional advice. so on 8th september, 2009, cafe lidia opened its doors to the public. they had only two chefs, one barista, and seven other workers. but it wasn’t a happy ending yet. instead, it was just the beginning of this great story.

just two weeks right after their opening, typhoon ketsana (also known as ondoy) made landfall to metro manila on september 26, 2009. a month’s worth of rainfall in a single day washed away homes and flooded large areas of manila, pasig, and marikina. hundreds of people were killed and missing, thousands were left with no homes. it was the worst rainfall ever recorded in the history of metro manila. however, this didn’t deteriorate lydia’s spirits. instead, she faced all her problems with great courage and determination, she decided not to draw back. cafe lidia underwent an immediate facelift and soon attracted many hungry people of marikina. it became a perfect place for meeting people. it’s where friends and families meet to talk and vent their sad stories on the recent event. lydia quickly noticed that more and more people were leaving her restaurant feeling better and relieved. only a year after their grand launching, cafe lidia has established its reputation as one of the best and top-rated restaurants in the city of marikina. here are the foods we’ve tried during our visit:

buffalo wings (p150) tender chicken wings flavored with their very special barbecue sauce, cooked until bright red. it also comes with its special tartar sauce. it is so affordable yet tastes so good.

pasta ala lidia (p135) is their house special. it has anchovies, olives, capers, tuna, and fresh tomatoes in olive oil. very delicious and sumptuous. quite a large serving of 200 grams. if you love shrimps, don’t miss their spaghetti gamberini (p160), an unpretentious pasta dish, served with mushrooms, garlic oil, and shrimps. it also comes with garlic bread. simplicity at its finest. highly recommended.

pizza madam (p230) is a 12″ thin crust pizza topped only with the freshest and best ingredients like cheese, pepperoni, ham, olives, bell pepper, and onion. baked until crust is deliciously crisp. good for 2 to 3 persons. pizza mama (p205) is an all-vegetable pizza, with bell pepper, sliced mushrooms, onion, eggplant, pineapple, and zucchini. don’t forget to also try their house pizza special (p220) 12″ thin crust pizza topped with pepperoni, ham, bacon, mushroom, onion, bell pepper, and pineapple.

grilled pork belly (p195) is a new entrée recently introduced from cafe lidia’s kitchen, flavored with their own special barbecue sauce, java rice, carrots and green beans. the pork was terribly tender and tasty; quite satisfying.

lydia’s fish and chips (p160) is a buttered deep-fried creamy dory fish, served with thick potato wedges and tartar sauce. whoever sees and tastes it will swirl in excitement and delight. share this light snack with a friend or family.

cafe lidia is one of my most favorite restaurants/cafés in marikina city. their coffees and cakes are served with the biggest smiles. aside from their excellent menu, they also give speedy services by their very friendly staffs. the interior is quite cozy and comfortable, with lighting so easy to the eyes. free wi-fi service is also given to all you facebook fanatics. bon appétit everyone.

we would like thank the following people for making this feature possible: doña lydia, mr. nelson tolentino (publicist and adviser), ms. grace malabonga (manager), and to the entire staff of cafe lidia. more power to you. visit them at #64 calderon street, calumpang marikina city; (02) 647-7606;

Biyaheng Pinoy

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