Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Discovering Isabelo Garden Restaurant in Marikina is like getting lost somewhere in the forest and suddenly discovering a wooden house with a chimney, the smell of a feast suddenly fills the air, the trees light up with fireflies, and you can hear the lovely voice of a fairy singing - in this case it's Portia of Isabelo. Upon entering the silver gate we were greeted by trees carefully decorated with colorful lights, leading to the entrance to the restaurant where you feel you are stepping into a different world.

I think our timing was great: dinner. All the lights are on, all you can hear is the faint sound of classical music and bottles clinking.

Philip, the ever-diligent receptionist cum waiter, led us to our sweet little corner. The walls are adorned by old family photos (c/o the legendary J.P. Rizal Studio, and yes, still operating!), empty perfume bottles, cute vintage items, porcelain, figurines, and of course, beautiful paintings of Portia's Mom.

After a few minutes, the lovely chef and hostess Portia welcomed us and gave us a brief background on how the restaurant started. She was originally working in the (money-abundant) field of advertising, but like we all know, when your heart isn't there, you will always go to where it belongs. In Portia's case, it is cooking and setting up her own restaurant. Great move dear. :)

I know you have all been waiting for this, so this is what we ordered:

For the appetizer, we ordered the dish that according to Portia, "started it all": the SPINACH AND ARTICHOKE DIP (350 PhP). She began baking this goodie and selling it to family and friends in microwaveable containers. That night we had our share of this tasty dish. Served bubbling and hot with toasted Ciabatta bread, Portia's Spinach and Artichoke dip is a creamy, cheesy, and truly stomach-opening winner.

We ordered Lemon Parslied Garlic Rice (210 PhP, good for 5 persons) for the upcoming entrées...

...first of which are the STUFFED PORTOBELLO MUSHROOMS (525 PhP). It has a delicious sauce that complements the stuffing and the taste of the mushroom. We loved it! (You can read more about Portobello Mushrooms here.)

And here comes the Star of the Night: the ROAST PORK CRACKLING (1250 PhP). I believe Portia pours in so much love in cooking this one. It is pork cooked via pugon for six (6) hours! The meat is so tender and juicy, the fat sticky and the skin crunchy and then melts in your mouth. Haaay! It is served with four (4) signature special sauces: Red Wine Vinegar, Apple Sauce, Mango Chutney, and Marinara. All were hits for me and Sweetie.

The order doesn't end there of course. Disclaimer: We did NOT finish everything, we had more than enough to take home to our families. We just wanted to try a bit of all the bestsellers (hihi, palusot).

And then the QUATTRO FORMAGGI PIZZA (450 PhP) comes in. Thin, cripsy crust, loaded with four types of cheese. We really love how the flavor of the Blue Cheese really stood out. We almost finished the whole pizza! Served with Chili Oil, this pizza is one of the best quattro formaggi I have ever tasted.

You can also add "peperoncino" (chili + olive oil) to your dishes:

We took more gulps of the iced tea we ordered to get ready for dessert (yes, there is always room for dessert). To "cap off" our meal as Portia says, we had Yoghurt Sorbet with Fresh Fruits and Walnut Streusel (200 PhP), and Mango Float (110 PhP)! Mango was the fruit of the night, oh yeah!

The yoghurt sorbet was soooo good it did not last for more than five minutes.

The Mango Float had this really creamy ice cream base, a little like refrigerator cake because of the presence of Graham crumbs. It was topped with chocolate syrup. So yummy!

Our dining experience in Isabelo will always be one of the most memorable. The place is great, the food is excellent, the service impeccable, and the chef / hostess has been very accomodating.

We will definitely dine again SOON in Isabelo. :)

Isabelo Mendoza Street, San Roque, Marikina City
RESERVATION is a must via
Munching Budget per person: starts at 500 PhP

My map of Isabelo made with love (Click on the image to enlarge):

Marikina, aking hirang.



  1. Nice blog baby spice! and even nicer photos! grabe nakakagutom!

    Ive been seeing blogs about this isabelo garden. Where is this exactly? Pano b pumunta dito from MIST, for example. I always wanted to call and reserve a dinner here, di lng lagi natutuloy.

    Keep the reviews coming! I love reading them! Tsaka I know that the reviews are for real, of course, i know the writer personally! =)

    Very very very good job!


  2. hi Ginger!!!! thanks for visiting my blog! :)

    it would be easier to make the San Roque church (Our Lady of the Abandoned) as a reference point, because you just have to cross to the shoe museum, and Isabelo's gate is right behind the shoe museum :D

    you can visit their site for reservation, or you can text the lovely chef owner Portia at 09087401645 ;)

    thanks again for dropping by! natuwa naman ako sobra! mwah!

    P.S. if you need help with anything else just leave a comment or SMS me :D *hugs*

  3. grabe parang ang sarap sarap lang ng roast pork crackling with the lemon rice!

  4. hi Marc!!! yes dear, masarap talaga. ang tender ng meat, sticky ng fat, and crunchy ng skin. plus the four sauces...ay nako, heavenly. :D

  5. hi Roni, me again. sorry can't help but comment, can i just say that those Portobello 'shrooms are the BEST!!!

  6. hi bianca, you are always welcome here. yes, those mushrooms are juicy and tasty. sarap nung stuffing niya no, plus the creamy sauce? :)

  7. thanks for this Isabelo map too, Roni!

  8. you're very much welcome! hope the map helps. :)

  9. the roast pork crackling looks were the sauces, Roni? parang bitin ang quantity

  10. @anonymous: heavenly talaga...tender meat pero very crunchy yung skin and malagkit yung fat. :) the amount of the sauces were just right, i personally liked the apple sauce :D

  11. Roni,

    I'm glad that I found your site. I'm from Marikina too and I like trying out our local cafe's. Finally, I have a resource to turn to.

    God bless!

  12. hi! thanks so much! my pleasure. :) feel free to drop comments if you have any questions. enjoy your food trip in Marikina! :D

  13. hi roni! thanks for providing a map. haha.. i've always wanted to dine here but i'm reserving it for a special occasion. maybe on my birthday next month! really excited to try the famous roast pork crackling!

  14. you're welcome Jam! :) i am soooo excited for you, the roast pork crackling is really delicious. advanced happy birthday! ;)

  15. Hola Roni! Accidentally bumped into your food blog while searching the net looking for tahini. Great reviews!

    Proud to be fr Marikina!

    Annie Yglopaz

  16. ah, la bellissima profa Annie!! so nice to see you here, please keep visiting! :D hope to see you all again soon, I miss my DEL family sooo much :(( muchas gracias!!

  17. Nice blog.... keep going it is totally awesome...just love it
    and thanx for share....

  18. Aww! Thank you so much. Please keep visiting! Thanks!! Cheers ;-)

  19. pwede po malaman kung ano sasakyan papunt dyan? if mangagaling akong lrt 2 katipunan or santolan? salamat po.. :D

    1. hi there Edle Jay! from LRT 2 Katipunan, take the Calumpang jeepney (may pila dun sa station). Tell the driver baba ka sa Shoe Museum. Dun lang sa likod nun ang Isabelo :-) Enjoy!

  20. Hi! I would like to know if the set-up of the restaurant' s really intimate. Were there a lot of diners at the time of your visit? Are the tables far away from each other so we won't hear conversations from other customers and they won't hear ours too? I'm planning to have an intimate family dinner where I will announce a very important news, I don't know how would my family react to it so I'd just want to be sure that it's intimate enough.

    1. hi there! sorry for the late reply. yes, Isabelo is one of the more intimately-set up restos in Marikina. You can also try Patio Vera ;-) you can also check out Cafe Kapitan. :-) good luck with your announcement... :-)

  21. hello po, mgkano po approximate na magagastos for 2 persons? my reservation fee po ba? thanks


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