Marikina is renowned for its main product – high quality, hand-made shoes. It is so well known for the quality of the shoes produced in the area that on its famous riverbanks stands an imposing structure of a shoe, which, for a time, was one of the city’s main attractions. People would flock to Marikina for a glimpse of the “giant shoe” and to have their photos taken with it as the backdrop.
Marikina is also home to the famous Riverbanks Center. During its heyday in the early to mid-2000s, it was known both as a shopping mecca and a hangout place for good food and good drinks. Frequented by families, yuppies needing a break, friends having a good time, or couples on a date, Riverbanks Center was THE place to be. At present, it is a haven for sneakerheads and those with Imeldific tendencies, thanks to the many shoe outlet stores there.
Nowadays, people have more reason to flock to Marikina aside from purchasing shoes, seeing a giant shoe, or looking for an inexpensive shopping experience. For a few years now, Marikina City has a burgeoning food scene that doesn’t show signs of fizzling out anytime soon. No longer just the best-kept secret among those lucky enough to have a Marikina zip code in their addresses, these places have gained quite a following even among those from down south and the far north, and other parts of the metro – and for good reason:
Café Lidia is comfort food heaven and has a special spot in the bellies of frugal foodies, because this place allows them to indulge in their favorites for only a fraction of the price they’d usually pay for at higher-end establishments. A generous serving of Gambas costs less than 300, a plate of seafood marinara pasta costs less than 200 pesos, while a plate of buffalo wings will set you back only 170 pesos. End your meal on a sweet note and have a slice of their Mudpie Madness or KitKat Choco Attack parfait, which cost less than 100 pesos apiece.
Photo Credits to Life is Fun blog
Tapsi Ni Vivian
Tapsi Ni Vivian is a no-frills place where you can get hearty silogs in generous portions at really affordable prices. And by generous, picture this: a heaping plate of sinangag, topped with a perfectly fried egg, and more than enough beef that’s perfectly seasoned and very tender. They also serve other Pinoy favorites, such as bulalo and sisig, but it’s their tapsi that you should never miss to order. Oh, and they’re open 24 hours a day, so you can get your tapsi fix whenever your craving hits.
Photo Credits to Tapsi Ni Vivian FB page
Luyong has been serving chinoy (Chinese with a Filipino twist) dishes to Marikina locals since the 1950s. Serving Cantonese fare that Filipinos have grown to love, their menu includes lumpiang shanghai, lomi, yang chow fried rice, beef with oyster sauce, as well as pork sisig and crispy pata. Prices range from 150-200 for orders good for one to two persons, while family-sized orders go for less than 500 pesos per dish.
Photo Credits to Luyong Restaurants
Rustic Mornings by Isabelo
This Instagram-worthy place is perfect for ladies who brunch and those who are looking for a cute, romantic date place. Enjoy the quaint, rural ambiance while you dine on classics, such as waffles and pancakes, served with hash browns (made from scratch, not the store-bought small rectangles fast food joints usually serve) and bacon. They put their own spin on the waffle and made them into waffle churros, and also serve a good gourmet hotdog sandwich. A hotdog that is filling and decidedly dense sits on top of soft buttered bun, smothered with a generous amount of chili con carne, and topped with a fried egg. Their three-egg omelettes are also worth ordering – three eggs, done fluffily and stuffed with meats or cheese or both, then served with ciabatta, homemade herbed butter, and fruit jam. Filipino breakfast favorites, like tawilis served with garlic rice, are also available.
Prices may be a little on the steep side, but you’re not just paying for the food, you’re paying for the rustic experience. Totally worth every penny.
Photo Credits to Rustic Mornings by Isabello FB Page
Brad and Pit’s Ribshack
Located in Lilac Street, Marikina’s answer to Kapitolyo and Maginhawa, this place offers fall-off-the-bones ribs and Caribbean wings served with rice and sides for only 149 pesos per plate. If that’s not a steal, I don’t know what it is. The bold flavors and generous portions will definitely keep you coming back for more. Come for the food, stay for the ambiance – Latin music is regularly played, and you can feast your eyes on the vintage electronics displayed. No frills, just good food and a relaxed atmosphere.
Photo Credits to Geekend Galdiators
If Kapitolyo has Silantro and Makati has El Chupacabra and Chihuahua, Marikina has Burrito Brothers. Their specialty is burrito – available in beef and chicken – but they also serve a mean chili con carne with nacho chips, as well as a decadent cheesedog wrap. The al fresco ambiance may be bothersome for those used to airconditioning, but come in the evening and you’ll have a pleasant dining experience. Come in casual garb and be ready to eat with your hands.
Photo Credits to Chadsenga
Good cakes and desserts can not only be found in the patisseries and coffee shops in upscale addresses – Marikina’s Casa Feliz is an institution, serving pastries and desserts even before we even knew what third wave meant. Touted as the “home of sweet memories,” you’ll find very good versions of pistachio sans rival and red velvet cake here. They also serve hefty, homey main dishes, so yes, it’s okay to come hungry.
Photo Credits to Google Streetview