～The Secret that is Café Ysabel～
～The Secret that is Café Ysabel～
For over 27 years, Café Ysabel has been delighting food enthusiasts ranging from the great Filipino actor Fernando Poe Jr. to the queen of Spain, Queen Sophia. Father and son Chef Gene and Gino Gonzalez continue to enchant the taste buds of Manila’s social scene through their wonderful Franco-Italian-Spanish concoctions.
After visitingCafé Ysabel, you will surely divulge one of Manila’s Best Kept Secret to your friends.
Café Ysabel is tucked in a beautiful garden along P. Guevarra St. in San Juan City. You will definitely fall in love with the cozy Filipino-European architecture of the building. The ambiance of the restaurant has a very romantic old-world feel to it. It would seem like you traveled back in time once you step over Café Ysabel’s threshold. This 1927 residential building has been the home of Café Ysabel for the past 19 years.
We started our meal with homemade lavosh bread with Zatar dip – Chef Gene’s original blend of herbs and spices from Asia and the Middle East.
Then as starters we tried the Gambas which is shrimp with garlic and chilies. Despite the bits of chili added, it is not spicy at all! You must definitely try the Jake and Christine’s Crisp Smoked Fish Wantons in Salsa Verde which is similar to the Japanese sanma. The freshness of the salsa is a great contrast to the saltiness of the smoked fish. It is also a delightful twist to the ordinary smoked fish that many Filipinos enjoy plain.
The Chef’s Onion Soups also serves as a great comfort food with the caramelized onions topped with cheesy crouton. Caesar’s Salad is very refreshing with crisp lettuce and crunchy croutons, though we recommend that you ask a separate dish for the salad’s dressing.
Jake&Christine’s Crisp Smoked Fish Wantons in Salsa Verde (P158)
Ⅰ．Steak ala Pobre(P448, P880)
Ⅱ．Hot Smoked Miso Glazed Honey Salmon(P358)
For steak lovers, you will definitely enjoy Steak ala Pobre which is a delicious fillet of beef topped with crispy garlic sauce and balsamic glaze. You can even choose between regular or imported Angus beef! The steak is greatly complimented by mashed potatoes covered with breading. Fish enthusiasts will fall in love with the Japanese inspired Hot Smoked Miso Glazed Honey Salmon with Wasabi Mayonnaise. The fish is marinated in a miso-based sauce and then pan-grilled to perfection! But the star of the show is the Halibut Amandine which is a dream in itself. The fish is crusted with slivered almonds and served with a creamy leek sauce. It has no fishy taste at all! It will just melt in your mouth.
For dessert, the Peter Pan Pie is for the kid in all of us. Everything a child wants packed in one outstanding dessert. Vanilla ice cream, chocolate ice cream, ba nana, peanut butter with a Belgian chocolate cookie crust is layered in one slice of pie. To add to your sweet tooth’s cravings, it is topped with pulled sugar and served with a butterscotch sauce. It is a treat for both your palate and eyes!
What we really love about Café Ysabel is the personal touch in everything from the food to the table you’re sitting at. Many regulars have their own “table” when they visit Café Ysabel. And if you’re lucky enough, that dish that you always order might even be named after you! What used to be called Tortang Talong Sarsiado is now named “Stephen’s Tortang Talong Sarsiado” as is Jake and Christine’s Crisp Smoke Fish Wantons.
Café Ysabel also has an extensive and creative beverage menu ranging from coffee to fruit smoothies inspired by the various drinks of the world. Have your own bottle of wine? Call the chefs and they can prepare a special menu to match that special bottle, all prepared especially for you! Just call at least two days ahead so that you can consult with Chefs Gene and Gino about your meal.
Aside from all the gastronomic delights that Café Ysabel has to offer, you can also learn cooking and baking from the experts in their school, Center for Asian Culinary Studies. From diploma courses to weekly short programs, you will definitely learn how to cook the professional way from this TESDA accredited school. Their schools are located in San Juan (also in the same vicinity as the restaurant’s) and Davao. Another campus is going to open soon in Santa Rosa, Laguna.
As Chef Gene wished that our tables may always be full, I secretly know that this will always be the case for everyone who visits Café Ysabel.
455 P. Guevarra St., San Juan City, Metro Manila
Tel. No.: 725-5089 Open: 7:30 a.m. – 12:00 a.m.