Lolo Dad's Cafe in Manila : Back for the Fifth Time

As much as I love to try new restaurants, there are just some that I do not mind going back to again and again. These restaurants are part of my list of favorites and they're the same ones I'll always trust when it comes to having consistently the yummiest dishes and the best service to boot. I've mentioned a few when Cathie interviewed me for her blog and I realized that I missed out on the one that I love the most -- Lolo Dad's Cafe.

My love affair with Lolo Dad's began in 2011 when Paul and I went on a double date with friends R and I. We went back the year after and months after that. To date, I've been to Lolo Dad's for a total of 5 times and perhaps if only I don't live a thousand miles away from Manila, I would have probably been able to visit the restaurant more frequently.

Recently, I went home to celebrate the birthday of my first love -- my Papa. As early as April, I booked my flight home as I wanted to make sure that I'll be there to celebrate Papa's special day with the entire family. Admittedly, my Papa is a very picky eater. He keeps very high standards when it comes to scrutinizing a restaurant and as a result, only a few has made the cut. Lolo Dad's Cafe has obviously passed his "test" with flying colors thus this has been our go-to place when the decision comes to choosing where to celebrate his birthday.

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We got there just in time for dinner and were warmly welcomed by friendly server Francis. Francis has been our server numerous times that he has recognized us already. As soon as we've settled in our table, we began perusing the menu. Not that we haven't memorized the entrees already rather we wanted to check if there's anything new that might catch out fancy that evening. While checking the menu out, we were given Lolo Dad's signature basket of bread. Oh how Papa loved this! It never fails to put a smile on his face as he enjoys the warm bread with Chef Ariel's butter creation. It's so yummy!

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We initially wanted to order our favorite Baked Oysters on Angel Hair Pasta with Slivers of seared Duck Foie Gras but Francis sadly told us that the oysters were not available that evening. Oh mannnn... :"( They must have heard my heart tummy crying that they gave us complimentary "Espresso" Cream of Mushroom Cups to console us. Hmm.. okay, we forgive them. After all, Francis explained that the oysters were not of top quality that day so Chef A decided not to get it. It really shows how they make sure that they serve only the best to their patrons.

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With Mommy, no meal at Lolo Dad's is complete without starting it with some fresh salads. Since we were a big group of 9 that evening, we decided to order three kinds of salad. First was the Soft Shell Crab Parmigiana with Keta Caviar Aioli (Php 570). Deep fried soft shell crab served with fresh salad at the side. I love the cucumber that's filled with creamy salad inside. This is good for sharing as consuming this on your own might be too creamy and rich for you.

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Next, we also had my personal favorite -- Gourmet Salad of Langoustine and Prawns (Php. 490). I had this on my first visit and have been ordering this thereafter. What's there not to love? Fresh langoustine and prawns on top of tossed greens and kalamata olives with balsamic vinaigrette. I love how they don't scrimp on the number of prawns and langoustine added in this salad. This is really yummy!

Last, we also had the Romaine Caesar Salad with Jamon Serrano (Php. 420). Sadly I wasn't able to try this nor even take a descent photo of it as the adults happily dig in and before I knew it, the salad bowl was empty. Guess it was THAT good.

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Here's one thing that never fails to excite us while dining at Lolo Dad's -- the Food Genie! Kidding.. It's Lolo Dad's Calamansi Serbet served in a mini smokin' teapot. I really love it! Wish someday, the food genie will really come out if I rub the teapot harder. Meanwhile, we love the perfect combination of sweet and sour notes as we cleanse our palate with this refreshing intermezzo.

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As soon as the teapots have been cleared, more excitement could be felt around the table as we all know what this means. It's time for our main entrees! This time, I went for the Sauteed Jumbo Scallops and Tiger Prawns, Baked and Stuffed Tomato Rigatoni Pasta with Garlic Cream Sauce (Php. 755 / Php. 1,235). It was really hard to choose as it was a toss between this or the Pan-Fried Seabass. Well, the scallops and tiger prawns won this time. I just love this dish very much! The juicy tiger prawns and the delicious jumbo scallops was like a foodie dream come true. I felt like royalty as I happily enjoyed my dish allowing myself to appreciate the flavor and texture that my entree brings. The stuffed tomato rigatoni pasta was also superb. I'm normally not fond of anything with tomato but this one created a perfect balance with the garlic cream sauce. Paul and I initially agreed to share but we somehow forgot to do so as we were both so engrossed with our own entrees.

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While I enjoyed my seafood plate, Paul had the Confit of Kuroba Pork Belly, Arborio Rice with Chorizo, Prosciutto and Panceta with Garlic Aioli Melocoton (Php. 650 / Php. 1,080). Wanting to try something new, he chose this pork dish which he said sounded really good. His intuition was right! As he ate his entree, he raved at how tender the Pork Belly was and the Arborio Rice perfectly complemented the meat. Definitely two thumbs up from him this time! Hooray!

Around the table, some got the Trio Steak Platter, Herb de Provence Crusted Rack of Lamb and the Pan-Fried Seabass. Everyone loved their own entrees and all plates were spotless clean afterwards.

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Here's a tip though: when dining at Lolo Dad's, always leave room for dessert. I love Lolo Dad's Panna Cotta on Mango Sauce. It was divineeee! Don't let the simple plating deceive you. I initially wanted to pass on this but I decided to just try a small spoonful and I was so glad I did. The Panna Cotta was one of the best I've had in the country (I kid you not!). The mango sauce was sweet and tasted really authentic and definitely not the kind of flavor you'd get from artificial mango drinks that's loaded with food coloring and artificial sweeteners.

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For chocolate lovers, you'll never go wrong with Lolo Dad's Sampler of Chocolates. They got all kinds of chocolate desserts to suit your taste. Flourless Chocolate Cake, Creme Brulee, Chocolate Mousse, Chocolate Praline Ice Cream and more! I love the flourless chocolate cake which is always so moist and decadent.

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Lastly, we also had the Mango Terrine with Declension of Mascarpone cheese. Sadly, I wasn't able to try this as I was busy digging into the Panna Cotta.

Papa went home so happy and declared that he really had a great meal at Lolo Dad's. I'm also so happy that despite the short time I was in Manila, I was able to dine in one of my favorite restaurants too.

Lolo Dad's Cafe is located at 899 Pres. Qurino Ave. cor. Leon Guinto St., Malate Manila. Make a reservation first by calling them at 522-2941, 524-2295, 526-7151.

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