Updated January 2016
Most guy bikers I know don’t usually care where they eat during or after a ride. Any food – even if it’s questionable looking carinderia fare that’s been sitting out for several days – is fair game if you’re hungry. Any gas station or sari-sari store is a potential pit-stop.
Well, if you want to get your girlfriends or wives to ride with you more often, you may want to put a bit more thought into the destinations. I can’t speak for all girl bikers out there, but while I don’t mind roughing it out every now and then on the trails, I also like being treated like a girl sometimes. Good food, unique ambiance and decent restrooms are probably the three things I look out for in dining places, whether or not I’m biking. Oh, and lots of Instagram-worthy details.
The bike-friendly city of Marikina offers a lot of quirky, unique and romantic restaurants, that you can easily ride to. Navigating through narrow one-way streets and finding parking spots can be a big pain, so going by bike is a great option. Here are my top picks for unique restaurants you can easily bike to in Marikina.
BEEFFALO BY HOTROCKS
Lot 6 Block 3 Gil Fernando Avenue, Sto. Nino, Marikina City
Beeffalo is a casual American-style backyard dining restaurant hidden at the far end of Gil Fernando Avenue in Marikina. The restaurant feels very laid-back and homey with an outdoor garden area and indoor air-conditioned section. There are a few vintage commuter bicycles and motorcycles on display here, including a vintage BMW, Vespa 150 and Lambretta Special 150cc.
Beeffalo specializes in steaks, ribs, wings, burgers, appetizers and grilled specialties. We ordered the T-Bone Steak (P355 for 250g), Three-Cheese Thin-Crust Pizza (P125) and Coffee Jelly Creme Brulee for Dessert (P65).
The food was pretty good, but I wish we hadn’t shared the steak because the serving size was a bit small.
- Price range: P300-P500 per person
- Restaurant hours: Mon – Thu: 11:00 am – 11:00 pm, Fri – Sat: 11:00 am – 12:00 am, Sun: 11:00 am – 11:00 pm
- Facebook: Beeffalo by Hotrocks
- Contact number: 09391130772
- Parking: Parking area in front of and beside the restaurant. Bikes can be brought in to the garden area
- How to get to Beeffalo: Link to Googlemaps
VINTAGE CAFE MUVELA
Liamson St., Midtown Village, Marikina City
A bar and restaurant dedicated to all things vintage. Lots of classic bicycles, retro motorcycles, model cars and memorabilia are on display here. The restaurant also offers a KTV room and events venue for groups. There’s an air-conditioned section and an outdoor area.
Vintage Cafe serves a mix of Filipino and Chinese dishes like Lechon Kawali, Lumpiang Shanghai, Buttered Chicken, etc. Food portions are pretty big (most dishes are good for 3-4 persons), though there are a few rice toppings and dishes good for 2 pax. Food is pretty decent for the price and beer is relatively cheap, so it’s a good place for groups.
The restaurant is open as early as 11 am for lunch rides, but I think the ambiance is better at night.
- Price range: P150-P300 per dish (good for 2)
- Restaurant hours: Mon – Sun: 11:00 am – 2:00 am
- Facebook: Vintage Cafe
- Parking: No bike parking, but you can bring in bikes to the gated outdoor area/extension area.
- How to get to Vintage Cafe: Link to Googlemaps
- NOTE: If you’re passing through the inner roads of Marikina City from QC, you’ll have to haul your bikes on the overpass to get to the other side of Marcos Highway. Vintage Cafe is on Liamson Street (with an S and not Liamzon with a Z) behind Mariposa Hotel.
23 M A Roxas Street, Calumpang, Marikina City
A new restaurant and events place converted from a shoe factory / warehouse. Very classy and cool interiors with a vintage industrial vibe. Placemats and other details show the rich history and art of shoe making, which Marikina is well known for. It’s currently on soft opening and only 2 months old during the time of our visit (Jan 2015), but it already seems very popular. The restaurant can easily seat 100+ guests, and they have an events venue with a capacity for 500 people.
The restaurant serves a rather wide menu consisting of American (Traditional), Japanese dishes, Filipino Food, Pizza, Sandwiches and Seafood. We ordered the All-Meat Pizza and Truffle Wedges (I wish there was more of it.)
Industriya serves a range of local and foreign beers. I was pleasantly surprised to find 2 local craft beers that I hadn’t tried before: Fish Rider Pale Ale (5%) and Sierra Madre Wheat Ale (4.3%), which are brewed by Joe’s Brew, a craft brewery based in Manila. The food’s a bit pricey for the portion size, but the ambiance more than makes up for it. It’s best to save this place for special occasions.
- Price range: P400-600/person
- Restaurant hours: Monday to Sunday 11:00 am to 10:00 pm
- Facebook: Industriya Marikina
- Contact number: 9048372
- Parking: The restaurant has a large and secure parking area. Bikes can be locked to a grill at the back of the restaurant.
- How to get to Industriya Marikina: Link to Googlemaps
GREG & SALLY GARDEN CAFE
145 Ipil St. coner Champaca, Marikina Heights, Marikina City
A relaxing garden cafe in Marikina Heights that serves homemade family recipes using fresh herbs from the garden. They also sell some potted herbs here like Gotukola, Serpentina and Taheebo. Too bad we couldn’t take home any since we were just biking.
According to a note posted on their Facebook page, the resto is named after Greg (once a Colonel handling army intelligence) & Sally (who used to be a chemist for the military), but who found their true passion in gardening and whipping up good meals for the family, respectively. Sally, who is now 98 years old, credits aging gracefully to “good food, a jovial outlook and lots of fresh air.” She opened the cafe to share just that.
The cafe serves breakfast & brunch meals, salads, refreshing herb-based drinks (Pandan Lemongrass, Dalandan Tarragon and Calamansi Mint Coolers) and interesting appetizers like Okra Poppers and organic Mushroom Dippers. I really liked the Peppered Steak with Mango and Tomato Salsa, which is one of their signature dishes. For those who like going on group food trip rides, they also serve breakfast meals and group specials good for 5-6 pax like Boneless Crispy Pata (P490), Crispy Tadyang (P350) and Breakfast Sampler (P699).
- Price range: P160-P220/main dish; P200-300/person
- Restaurant hours: 9:00 am to 7:00 pm Tuesday to Thursday; 8:00 am to 8:00 pm Friday to Sunday. Closed on Mondays. 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm Daily Breaks.
- Facebook: Greg and Sally Tree Garden Cafe
- Contact number: 9401976
- Parking: Street parking. You can bring in your bicycles and park it in the garden area.
- How to get to Greg & Sally Cafe: Link to Googlemaps
#11 Isabelo Mendoza St. San Roque, Marikina City
Rustic Mornings offers delicious all-day breakfast, brunch, lunch meals, pastries and coffee in a secret garden / country style cottage setting that will make you want to just lounge all day.
Meals here are prepared fresh and homemade, including the pancake syrup and butter cream which tops their crispy waffles and buttermilk pancakes. Other bestsellers include the all-veggie omelette (tomato, zucchini, onion, garlic, green bell, mushroom), pancakes with bacon & hashbrown, and cheesy chicken fricassee. They also serve some Filipino meals, pizza and sandwiches, fresh fruit shakes, coffee and dessert.
Guests can choose to dine al fresco in the different spaces around the garden. The indoor area houses nice display of collections, including blue and white china, copper pieces, paintings, and perfume bottles. While they’re open to walk-in guests for breakfast and lunch, at night, the place transforms into Isabelo Garden Restaurant, a by-reservation only dining destination.
- Price range: P180-P250 per dish
- Restaurant hours: Monday to Sunday 8am – 4pm
- Facebook: Rustic Mornings
- Contact number: 5106914
- Parking: Secure parking lot for cars & bikes. You can park your bikes inside a gated compound.
- How to get to Rustic Mornings: Link to Google Maps & commuting guide
PAN DE AMERIKANA
#92 General Ordoñez Corner Maroon St. Marikina Heights, Marikina City
Pan de Amerikana is a popular restaurant and bakery that specializes in authentic 1950’s pan de sal. The restaurant also serves a few Marikina specialties (everlasting and waknatoy), Filipino dishes (Ilokano, Bicolano, Cebuano, Kapampangan, Batangeno), steaks, seafood, and Filipino breakfast meals. They open pretty early and meals are very affordable, so this is a good choice for a breakfast or brunch ride. Good place for big groups.
But what makes the place really interesting is the theme and interiors. I mean, this place has everything! Windmills, a koi pond, old antique wooden tables, branches hanging from the ceiling, tropical rain forest plants, a wishing well…. Climb up the treehouse and cross the rope bridge, and what’s that, a boat hanging in a tree?
This is one of five chess themed restaurants in the world and has an extensive display of different chessboards. You can play chess using tournament sized table pieces or the jumbo-sized 3 and a half feet high plastic chess pieces imported from New York City. Near the life sized chess set is an elevated platform with Italian colonnade European ruins complete with marble columns! With all the whimsical details, the place looks great for themed parties and photoshoots. We held a Harry Potter themed party here for my nephew once, and the chess board was great for Wizarding Chess.
- Price range: P100-200 per person
- Restaurant hours: Monday to Saturday 6:00 am – 7:00 pm, Sundays 7:00 am – 3:00 pm.
- Facebook: Pan de Amerikana (Official)
- Contact number: 4752398
- Parking: Bike parking available in front of restaurant. Bring bike locks.
- How to get to Pan de Amerikana Marikina: Link to Google Maps
MAMA CHIT’S COFFEE HOUSE
#278 JP Rizal St. San Roque, Marikina
Mama Chit’s is a fast food restaurant that’s known for having the biggest collection of Coke Memorabilia in Marikina City. It also happens to be right next to John Wilkie Bike Shop, so riders can stop to buy bike parts or gear if you need to. Across the road is a huge warehouse, where vintage Japanese commuter bikes and folding bikes are sold. It’s very near the Marikina Shoe Museum and the road where puto, kakanin and some Marikina specialties are sold.
The small restaurant, which resembles an American retro diner, is just crammed with memorabilia. Murals of pop icons, road signs, vintage advertisements, black and white photos of old Manila, and other antiques decorate the space. There’s even a slot machine in there.
Sample items on the menu include: Cheeseburger with chips, Hot Dog wrap with Jalapeno, Pepper Steak Sandwich, Turkey Burrito and Hungarian Sandwich. They also serve a few basic pasta, salads, shakes and floats including root beer float, raspberry float, and hard-to-find soda like Dr. Pepper Cherry, Canada Dry Ginger Ale and Barq’s Rootbeer. The burgers and sandwiches are the bestsellers, with a pretty big Double Quarter Pounder Burger (good for 2) and a monstrous Family Burger (good for 6).
- Price range: Burgers and sandwiches range from P80-200; Pasta & Salad costs from P130-P180; Double Quarter Pounder Burger (good for 2) is P300 while Family Burger (good for 6) is P600
- Restaurant hours: Monday to Sunday 10:00 am – 9:00 pm.
- Facebook: Mama Chit’s
- Contact number: 6468547
- Parking: Limited street parking only. You can lock your bikes right in front of the restaurant or in the bike shop next door. There are also bike racks right next to the Marikina Shoe Museum, which is just a few meters away.
- How to get to Mama Chit’s: Link to Googlemaps
SOME KIND OF WONDERFUL (SKOW) CAFE
Rainbow Street SSS Village Concepcion Dos (right across St. Paul of the Cross Church, Marikina City)
“You look good wearing my future.” If you don’t get that movie reference, I feel sorry for you.
Some Kind of Wonderful or SKOW is an 80’s inspired cafe that serves Italian (pizza, pasta), American (sandwiches) and some Japanese dishes. The restaurant gets its name from the John Hughes classic of the same name starring Eric Stoltz, Mary Stuart Masterson & Lea Thompson, which is probably THE best romance teen movie of all time.
Aside from the collage of 80’s movie posters and artists, you can also find a collection of childhood toys and items like Rubik’s Cube, Viewmaster, Atari, Barrel of Monkeys, cartridges of old video games, VHS tapes, polaroid cameras, etc. If you’re an 80’s kid, you’ll definitely love the nostalgic interiors of the place.
- Price range: P150-P200 per person
- Restaurant hours: Monday: 12:00 pm – 10:00 pm, Wednesday to Sunday Sun: 12:00 pm – 10:00 pm
- Facebook: Some Kind of Wonderful (SKOW)
- Contact number: 0917- 5119535
- Parking: Street parking only. You can lock your bikes on the steel post outside the restaurant.
- How to get to Some Kind of Wonderful Cafe: Link to Googlemaps
70 Gen F. Santos Street, Calumpang
Patio Vera is a hidden house-turned-restaurant that serves “heirloom recipes in an eclectic modern setting.” They make use of relaxed patio furniture and antique touches in the outdoor garden area covered by a large canopy. The main dining space is more modern and whimsical with bright fabrics and colorful artwork.
The restaurant serves a range of Filipino, Seafood, Spanish/Basque cuisine, steaks and ribs. Bestsellers include Paella con Carne, Salpicao Sandwich, Chicharon Sisig con lechon, Puso ng Saging sa Gata, Pork Binagoongan, Longganisa Carbonara, Spicy Chicken Wings, Chorizo and Sausage Aglio Olio, Sardines Aglio Olio and Crispy Churros con Tsokolate.
Marikina is best known for their shoe industry and for being a bike-friendly city, and the restaurant seems to give a nod to that by the shoe-themed details (there are shoes hanging in the bathroom mirror & our bill was served in a shoe) and vintage commuter bikes, which I thought was a nice touch. The place feels very relaxed and laid-back, and wasn’t as crowded as the other places when we visited. They open at noon during weekends, so this is good for a lunch ride. I can imagine the set-up is more romantic at night.
- Price range: P300-P500 per dish; some dishes good for sharing
- Facebook: Patio Vera
- Contact number: 0905-4241593
- Restaurant hours: Monday to Friday 5:00 pm – 12:00 am, Saturday and Sunday 11:00 am – 12:00 am
- Parking: Street parking. You can bring / park your bikes inside the gated restaurant.
- How to get to Patio Vera: Link to Googlemaps
KANTO FREESTYLE BREAKFAST
6 Aquillina St. Cor Col Divino Sto. Niño, Marikina
Photos from Kanto Freestyle Breakfast – Marikina FB Page
For those looking for sosyal meals on a budget, Kanto Freestyle Breakfast is a good choice. There’s not much to say about the interiors, but this unassuming open-air eatery serves pretty good and affordable “gourmet” breakfast meals all day. They have dishes like Eggs Benedict, Croque Madame, Mixed Berry Pancakes, French Toast with Bacon and Eggs and Chocnut Champorado all for less than 100 pesos each.
We just ordered the Kanto Boy Breakfast meals. For P95 each, the Vigan Longganisa and Tinapang Galunggong already come with 2 eggs freestyle, garlic rice, and tomato pesto. Normally, I find breakfast meals in other places for this price bitin, but the servings here are pretty generous and filling. Kanto is open 24 hours a day.
- Price range: P99 for breakfast meals
- Facebook: Kanto Freestyle Breakfast
- Contact number: 4002268
- Restaurant hours: Open 24 hours a day
- Parking: You can park your bikes at the side of the restaurant
- How to get to Kanto Freestyle: Link to Googlemaps
The best thing about biking is you don’t feel so guilty about food tripping if you can burn your meal right after on the way home. Marikina is easy enough to get to coming from Quezon City (passing through the shortcut in Balara Filters and Tomana Bridge), so a quick breakfast or lunch ride here won’t leave you exhausted. Of course, there’s always the danger of getting caught in a freak rainstorm while biking home even though it was nice and sunny earlier in the day. But that just makes the trip more interesting, right?
NOTE: Because of the suggestions I got from readers in the comments section, this is an evolving list that I will update every time we visit a new resto in Marikina that fits the theme. However, the article is still displayed as “5 Unique Bike Date Places in Marikina.” Can’t change the URL for technical reasons. There are 10 in the list right now. Check back for updates! 🙂