Cucina di Francesco, Libis

If Italian food ranks high in your list, here’s another place to justify why you love it. Cucina di Francesco is a three-floor restaurant in a hidden part of Libis. It also offers decent home cooked style Filipino dishes.

If you know Petron before you traverse Eastwood City, this one is located at the back area, fronting St. Pio Church. It was my first time to visit and it was quite a discovery.

Owner, Ms. Maryrose Pena used to be just a bread connoisseur and entrepreneur. She supplied to hotels, restaurants and other food establishments. Years of expertise eventually opened doors, and last September 2016 was the start of another career. This restaurant’s name came from the late Francesco Forgione or commonly called St. Pio of Pietrelcina. Her relationship with her church also played a major role in this milestone.

The partnership with Chef Waya Araos-Wijangco, principal of Open Hand School, a vocational school for individuals with special needs, also paved way for this establishment to employ those who have autism. As I dined here, I was able to meet one of them.

Despite its challenging location given that it is placed inside a compound, I am glad I said yes to this last minute invitation. As you enter, the ambiance impresses, with every corner filled with pleasing designs of either tiles or murals done by fine arts students. The place is also well lighted and ventilated. On its upmost floor, one could also rent it for special functions.

Food came before I did, so I rushed in the photos so I could indulge quickly. I was able to go for Bacon Gnocchi (Php 185) first, a cheesy and smoky appetizer. The huge pieces of potato ‘dumplings’ were cooked just the way it should. Then we had (together with other media friends), Arancini Di Riso, risotto balls with loads of mozzarella cheese with rich marinara sauce.

For the night’s dish highlight, we got the pleasure of having their own masterpiece of Porchetta. This was accompanied with rice and three sauces or dips, olive-fig tapenade, balsamic vinaigrette and au jus gravy. This succulent boneless, herb-stuffed, fork-tender, encrusted in crackling skin was indeed a show stealer. The slow-roasting for 40 minutes of this baby was worth the wait.

Of course, Italian feast won’t be complete without some pasta. Salmone Con Pasta Verde is highly recommended for just Php 305. It is a sophisticated al dente spinach tagliatelle topped with well cooked pan fried salmon in white wine cream sauce. We also had their classic take on Puttanesca. I love that this was a huge order for just Php 170. I love capers and olives, which they put a lot of.

To top all these were two mouth-watering desserts, Creme Brulee Ricotta Cheesecake – a thick, custardy cheesecake with a nice crust (Php 250) and the Torta Di Cioccolato -a decadent chocolate cake topped with ice cream and strawberry and caramel syrup (Php 180). I’ll be honest to say I got too much more servings than the rest. I just couldn’t resist.

But wait, there’s more. As we were wrapping up our intimate and story filled dinner, Ms. Maryrose gave us even more plates to try. It was their upcoming breakfast/brunch offerings. What caught my attention here was the platter. It had bacon slab, real corned beef and pork belly, accompanied by tomato provencale with pesto. It’s a genius combination! If this won’t fill you up just yet, you can have eggs and potatoes (cooked to your hearts desire) or fried rice with bits of pork chicharon. Yum!

Sharing with friends or family members is also a great idea as they offer a “Triple Treat” that is good for 3-4 persons and is available from Fridays to Sundays. For the price of Php 950, pick one among the three sets including one carafe of iced tea.

So have I gotten you curios yet? Well this got me hungry! See you guys on my next amazing food adventure. For now this spot can be found, again at St. Pio Church Compound, 188 E. Rodriguez Jr., Avenue Libis, Quezon City.

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Always Hungry PH

Always Hungry PH