Francesco’s Kitchen is a newly opened Italian restaurant in San Juan, Metro Manila. It was still in its soft opening during our visit last August, but it has already become a favorite among local residents. It’s full house even on weekdays, and last month, it was already cited in the Top 10 Most Loved Restaurants in San Juan.
I hope this excites you as much as it did us!
Hali and I came here with our friend Michelle, who introduced us to the restaurant’s chef patron Francesco. Francesco told us a little bit about the restaurant’s background and then invited us for dinner. Aside from the well-prepared meals, we also learned how to enjoy food in a new level.
How to enjoy food the Italian way
Before we’d started the dinner course, the restaurant’s manager came over our table and explain the kind of dining experience they want to provide in Francesco’s Kitchen. It’s not just about having a good meal, it’s also about knowing how to enjoy it. In Italy, people love their food and they savor it.
In between servings of food (from the appetizers to main course and then dessert), guests are given ample time to finish everything and then rest a little bit. It’s so different with how Filipinos spread out all the dishes in one seating. I know, because I’m one of those people who eat her dessert (ice cream or halo-halo) in between spoonfuls of rice.
I love this setup because we have time to fully enjoy our meals, enjoy each other’s company and the several minutes before the next serving means we eat in small amounts, so we didn’t get immediately full.
P.S. Here’s a simple read on Italian meal structure that explains all about the aperitivo (nibbles), antipasti, main course (often with a primi and secondi) and then dolce (dessert) and coffee.
Now let us show you some of the best food in Francesco’s Kitchen.
We started off with a glass of cocktail and some nibbles — nuts, olives, pretzels and bread with a dipping oil. The antipasti includes various meat cuts, cheeses, breads and even a small slice of eggplant lasagna. It’s like a little bit of everything, with different flavors that I think the best way to enjoy it is really to slow down.
Next comes the octopus salad, which we were told was one of their bestsellers. The salmoriglio dressing is new to me; it’s salty and perfect for the chargrilled seafood. Even the cherry potatoes are flavorful.
Ordinarily, we’d be full at this point. But remember that the next dish is served after several minutes, so we have time to recoup. For the main course, we had a parma pizza followed by spaghetti with meatballs and oven-roasted grouper (lapu-lapu) with clams.
We capped off the main course with a limoncillo. It’s an after-dinner liqueur that comes in a tiny glass. Very strong, but also delicious.
Of course, we need more time to discuss how our evening went. So we had coffee drinks and dessert — traditional tiramisu and affogato, which is coffee-based dessert with scoops of ice cream drowned with hot espresso. I love the latter in particular, this hot-cold concept is unique to me.
Overall, we were deeply satisfied with the food. You can tell that they’d been prepared with delicacy, and you’re really giving your money’s worth. I told Hali that I’d be happy to spend an anniversary or other special celebrations here.
Francesco’s Kitchen cafe
A portion of the Francesco’s Kitchen is dedicated to a cafe area. We’d been in the cafe days earlier, as you can tell from the lighting. My first impression was that the staff was well trained, and the server we talked to is very knowledgeable about the menu. That’s not something that you see from most restaurants nowadays.
I love the marocchino, which is a coffee drink with nutella smeared on the insides of the cup. For the dessert, you can’t go wrong with a creamy mascarpone & berries tart and a flavorful chocolate cake.
The price range of drinks in Francesco’s Kitchen cafe doesn’t differ from your usual coffee shops (P100+), and in fact here you have more choices. If you’re anywhere near San Juan, especially if you want a good place to have good coffee or important meeting (my friend Michelle brings her clients here sometimes), make sure to drop by the cafe as well.
Practical info on Francesco’s Kitchen
Francesco’s Kitchen is a two-story Italian restaurant located in 863 A. Mabini St., Addition Hills, San Juan, Metro Manila. It’s divided into the main restaurant and a cafe. The main restaurant is open during lunch and dinner hours only, while the cafe is open straight from morning until night.
It’s currently headed by chef patron Francesco Rizzo, who has more than 25 years in the culinary industry. To ensure authentic Italian taste, some of the ingredients used here are directly imported from Italy.
- Parking space is huge.
- Walk-ins are very much welcome, although it’s best to reserve your spot or call in advance, in case they have large reservations.
- Budget estimate for 2 people is P750 each.
- Appetizer: Octopus salad
- Main course: My mom meatballs, spaghetti meatballs, slow-cooked beef cheek with beef risotto, Francesco’s pizza, tartufata ai formaggi (white pizza with cheese)
Disclaimer: Thanks Francesco’s Kitchen for feeding us! As always, opinions and comments are our own. 🙂
If you’re into Italian dishes as well, make sure to save this article for later. 🙂