(This write-up was published in ClicktheCity.com last April 25, 2011)
A spacious, dimly lit restaurant with a setting that is in between fine dining and casual, but still has that cozy vibe—that’s the old Casa Marcos that I remember. It used to be one of our family’s favorite restaurants back then, as it was our go-to place to satisfy our cravings for mouth-watering steak. We always used to order steak ala pobre, and my parents also loved the pan de sal. My mom cannot forget how crusty it was on the outside but soft and chewy on the inside. Food can really evoke a myriad of memories, and Casa Marcos gave us a lot of nice ones.
The culinary world was never the same when Casa Marcos went out of the scene in 2000. It was one of the oldest restaurants in the country, having been around since 1945. Casa Marcos was an institution.
It was a pleasant surprise to see that it re-opened last February along Burgos Circle at Fort Bonifacio. Although it is smaller now and has a different setting, it still serves the classic favorites that Casa Marcos is known for. Of course my family and I couldn’t wait to try it out so we had lunch there one day.
Casa Marcos: Then and now
The restaurant had an al fresco section but we decided to eat more comfortably in the air-conditioned area. The first thing I noticed as we entered the place was the bar counter located at the ground floor. There were more tables upstairs to accommodate bigger groups, but it would be best to arrive early or maybe call ahead to reserve to be guaranteed a table, as the space is limited.
Unlike the old Casa Marcos, the new one looked more simple and laid back. The wooden theme seemed apparent throughout the restaurant’s interiors and furnishings. The warm muted brown tones of the interiors and the occasional brick décor made the restaurant more welcoming and comfortable.
As we were given the menu, I noticed that the history of Casa Marcos was written on the first page. I’ve always wondered who “Marcos” was. I found out that Señor Marcos de Guisasola was a true-blue Spanish national who decided to open a restaurant during the 1940s. When he had to go back to Spain, he passed the business on to one of the restaurant’s loyal patrons, Ben del Rosario. The one running the restaurant now is Jigger Galvez, who is from the clan’s third generation already. I had a chance to meet him on a separate occasion and learned the unabridged story from the owner himself. He manages the place with his business partner, Kevin Khoe.
It was through their other business venture called The Bread Bag, where the idea of reviving Casa Marcos was taken more seriously mainly because of the clamoring of the customers. Luckily, Jigger kept a copy of the old menu and his family has perfected the recipes from Casa Marcos throughout the years. He was also able to find the original cook from back then.
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