This restaurant offers home-cooked meals away from home
How long has it been since you went home and enjoyed a real home-cooked meal? One where your mom or your grandmother happily created her signature dishes to welcome her well-missed son or daughter, one where the dishes reminded you of the days of old?
A meal just like this is what we experienced when we visited Limbaga 77 Café Restaurant
in Quezon City. Also called Limbaga 77, it is a two-year-old restaurant that serves Filipino cuisine made interesting and provides old favorites and native regional dishes.
Since reviews of restaurants might be biased if the staff is informed, we asked Limbaga 77 beforehand for gift certificates so we can dine anonymously—a practice we conduct for our dining reviews. We visited the home-turned-restaurant in Tomas Morato late last October during lunch time to see what they offer. We lay out our experience in this comprehensive review of the ambiance, food, menu, service, and location.
Limbaga 77 has a calming and cozy atmosphere
Dining in Limbaga 77 is like dining at the comfort of your own home. The restaurant itself is an old house: the first floor, as well as most of the second floor, was repurposed as a dining area while a couple of rooms were converted to private function halls.
Like most traditional Filipino abodes, the house is mostly made up of wood, as is evident with the flooring and ceiling, and it’s reminiscent of a typical grandparents’ home in the province where the family reunion is held
every year. The place was cozy and quiet, with bossa nova covers playing in the background. Since we visited the restaurant in broad daylight, we saw how the huge windows gave the dining area a beautiful natural lighting.
It’s all in the details.
The quaint, old-home feel was also reinforced by the cute knickknacks in the dining area—the gigantic television set alone took us back to that time where we’re happily watching classic shows like John and Marsha or Iskul Bukol in our living room when we were a kid. These ornaments were smartly placed around the dining area, so the overall effect wasn’t too overwhelming and stifling.
Limbaga 77’s al fresco dining area
The only downside is the arrangement of seats. Although the chairs were plenty, they were placed too close to each other, thus making it a hard time for diners to pass through.
Pancit Bihon (PhP277)
To start our meal, we ordered Limbaga 77’s Pancit Bihon. Served piping hot, the Chinese-style bihon consists of a mountain of noodles topped with different kinds of vegetables and mixed meat including squid, pork, kikiam (sausage-like ground pork and vegetables wrapped in bean curd sheets), and fish balls. The vegetables were still crunchy and nicely cooked, as were the various meats, which were soft and easy to chew. Although the noodles were firm and not soggy, we initially found them quite oily. Still, this also prevented them from sticking together, and personally, I’d rather have them oily than too dry. The flavors were the right amount of savory and salty, and were made better with the fried garlic bits. If you’re not a fan of calamansi (Philippine lime), there’s no need to squeeze one because the dish already has a nice hint of sourness.
We ordered Four-Flavored Wings, Prawns in Garlic Sauce, and Grilled Liempo so we can taste each of their meat and seafood options. We also ordered Garlic Rice to go with these viands.
Four-Flavored Wings (PhP277)
We first tried the Four-Flavored Wings. It was coated in a mixture of organic honey, soy, roasted garlic, and calamansi juice. It gave the wings a coating of sweet and salty goodness similar to that of Korean fried chicken, although the flavors were not overpowering and are still fit for the Filipino palate. The sauce thoroughly seeped into the skin of the chicken wings, giving a tasty flavor in every bite. The menu says that this dish is good for two persons, but each wing is huge and can fill up one person even with just one piece.
Prawns in Garlic Sauce (PhP477)
For some seafood, we tried the Prawns in Garlic Sauce. The dish has five pieces of prawns lying on garlic sauce and topped with plenty of garlic bits. The sauce was a beautiful mixture of garlicky goodness and the shrimp’s natural oiliness from its fats. It resulted in a thick and almost buttery consistency with a spicy kick. The shrimp on the other hand were large, tender, and cooked nicely with the shells already removed when served. We dipped the meat of the shrimp on the sauce, instantly making the dish even better.
Grilled Liempo (PhP277)
The last one on our main dishes is the Grilled Liempo. The dish consists of soft and succulent pork belly grilled beautifully, with a small cup of soy sauce mixed with chilies and chopped onions for the dip. This is another simple yet flavorful dish. The grilled liempo was perfectly charred and it had a nice smoky flavor that went well with its sweet and salty marinade. The pork was also easy to chew and it had a nice fat-to-meat ratio. The serving was good for two people.
Garlic Rice (PhP57)
Although rice is often set aside and forgotten, Limbaga 77’s rice was a nice addition to our meal. Instead of just sitting in the background, it made our meal better. The rice was soft and the abundant fried garlic bits gave it a nice flavor. It’s like an elevated version of the usual sinangag (fried rice). One cup of their rice is good for one person only.
Brazo Tablea Cake (PhP277)
To finish our meal, we ordered Limbaga 77’s Brazo Tablea Cake. It was a bit of a downer after enjoying the previous dishes. A good point about it is that the tablea (local chocolate tablet) was nice; it wasn’t too sweet and it lent a nice chocolatey flavor to the cake. The menu says the cake has Batangas barako coffee in it, but the coffee flavor was not that evident. The thing that we least liked about the dessert is the cake itself: it was soft but the texture was almost wet and chewy.
Overall, it was a great dining experience at Limbaga 77. The dishes were good old Filipino food that will remind you of your parents’ cooking. There were neither crazy twists nor dramatic plating to wow you; it was a collection of Filipino comfort food prepared simply but packed with traditional flavors that we know and love. Limbaga 77’s food is a testament that you don’t always have to reinvent things to make it relevant. Sometimes sticking to the classic and just perfecting a well-loved dish is enough to win your diners’ hearts.
Limbaga 77’s staff in action
Limbaga 77’s staff was very professional and attentive. Despite the fact that it is a casual dining restaurant, the waiters were dressed well, and this added a sophisticated atmosphere to the place. They were also well informed about the dishes and were armed with a basic knowledge of the features. When lunch time arrived and diners started pouring in, the staff handled everything with grace, attending to each and everyone’s need without a hurried air.
One additional thing we should mention is the kind attendant at their parking area. Although his role is to attend to diners who want to avail of their valet parking services, he insisted on holding an umbrella over our heads while we were taking photos of the restaurant’s façade.
Limbaga 77’s façade
Limbaga 77 is not that hard to find. It is located in 77 Scout Limbaga Street (where it got its name) along Tomas Morato, and its sign is easy to notice along the highway. The restaurant itself is inside a small street, not in front of the busy traffic of Tomas Morato, so it’s away from the noise of private cars and jeepneys.
Limbaga 77 has its own parking lot and a small parking space in front of the restaurant so bringing a car wouldn’t be a problem. Another plus is that the place offers free valet services.
Writer's Rating: TOTAL AVERAGE:
To sum it all up, Limbaga 77 is a great place to gather the family if you’re looking for a place to relax and dine. Limbaga 77 made us feel at home with its modest interiors and it filled our bellies with dishes that we can truly say are comfort Filipino food.
Here, you will not find dishes with influences from multiple countries in one plate or deconstructed food that you won’t recognize what it’s supposed to be. The winning point of Limbaga 77 is its down-to-earth, honest-to-goodness preparation of dishes, giving its diners familiar flavors that they know and love. In short, Limbaga 77 is for those who want a place to dine and spend quality time with their family and friends minus the drama.
Limbaga 77 Café Restaurant
Address: 77 Scout Limbaga St., Tomas Morato, Quezon City
Contact Number: (02) 246 9069, 09267158134;firstname.lastname@example.org
Type of cuisine: Filipino
Operating Hours: Mondays through Sundays 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM
Payment Type: Cash and card accepted