Metro Manila's Hidden Gems: Cafe Ysabel.

T and I didn't make plans for the long weekend because both of us have work. Only yesterday, I had to go to my friend Ivy's couturier to have my measurements taken (she's getting married and I'm a bridesmaid!) so T drove me there. After the fitting, T and I were hungry so we decided to go to Cafe Ysabel.

Cafe Ysabel isn't new. Well, that's an understatement since it's been around for 25 years. T and I would always see the cafe and talk about eating there but for one reason or another, we end up in another hole-in-the wall restaurant instead (read my blog entry on The Frazzled Cook).

In front of the cafe are really big kois, which are considered very lucky.

By the entrance of the cafe is the bakery. Mental note to self: Buy bread when we pass by this area again.

This is the view of the fountain from the bakery.

We were lucky enough to get this table by the window without making reservations.

Cafe Ysabel is housed in an ancestral home that has been in existence since the 1920's. Wow! Great upkeep for a house that's almost a 100 years old!

T and I both had their Homemade Iced Tea.

Our server gave us complimentary bread and balsamic vinegar. The bread is freshly baked and one of the best ones we've tasted!

For starters, our server recommended the Baked Scallops Au Gratin (P368/$9.50). T doesn't usually eat scallops but he loved this dish!

For our soup, we got the Lobster Crustacean Bisque (P128/$3.50) served with quenelles of turbot and cognac. We had it split into two. Another excellent recommendation from our server!

For our carbo fix, T ordered the Paella Sulipena (P518/$12), classic saffron rice with seafood and mixed meats. It's not the best paella we've tasted but still good!

As you can see, the paella is good for sharing.

For his main, T got Chateaubriand, steak cooked in brown butter béarnaise. There are 3 choices for all beef dishes: Tenderloin (P678/$16), Angus (P1,498/$35) or Wagyu (P2,400/$56). The accompanying side dish of Truffles Fettuccine was really yummy especially since we both have a soft spot for truffle oil.

On the other hand, I got the Pan Roasted Seabass (P998/$24), also one of their bestsellers. The server gave me a choice between 2 cooking styles: Vietnamese Butter and Mixed Seafood in Crustacean Sauce and Hazelnut Butter and Wild Mushroom Ragout. I chose the second and loved it!

For dessert, T got Creme Brulee (P138/$4). T said it was really good.

To accompany his dessert, T ordered Choco-Mallow, which is hot chocolate with marshmallow bits. The menu actually describes it with the phrase, "How juvenile!". Cute!

Coffee-lover that I am, I got the Cappuccino Con Panna (P88), which is authentic Italian mocca.

Once again, the greatest moments are those left unplanned... :)
Thumbs Up!
Good food.
Nice ambiance.
Really great service.
Thumbs Down!
We can't think of any except maybe that it's far from us.
We will definitely come back again!

Cafe Ysabel
Dining Date: 18 August 2012
455 P. Guevarra Street
San Juan
Metro Manila
Tel Nos.: (632) 726-9326 and (632) 725-5089
Cafe Ysabel's Website


  1. Yay to this post and my special mention, haha:) we wanted to try this place for so long... Pipilitin ko na talaga si Fred! Visit my NEW blog... Wala pang laman but this is the permanent site (hopefully!).

  2. I heard they were supposed to be included the "No Reservations" PH episode but had to be removed at the final edits. Sayang din. =)

  3. Everything looks sooo yummy!!!! :-)

  4. Your post makes me want to eat there now! :)

  5. Such a beautiful restaurant and the food makes my mouth water! I love your food pics!


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