Cozy café-style interiors accented with floral motifs, throw pillows, and other shabby-chic details: Check! Pretty china and crocheted glass holders: Check! Sumptuous dishes that end with a slice of cake to share and refills of freshly brewed coffee: Check!
Such are the givens of a tita café, a casual dining place where amigas meet up for lunch or a snack and chat the day away.
My Pope recommends four favorite hangouts where you and your friends can bond for hours over stories about each other’s lives and irresistible entrees and desserts:
Mary Grace Café
The tita coffee shops of all tita coffee shops, Mary Grace Café absolutely charms with its trademark accent: personal handwritten notes from diners slipped under glass-top wood tables. Its all-day Filipino Breakfast options hit the spot (choose from toasted Vigan longganisa, sirloin beef tapa, pork tocino, fried boneless bangus, or chicken inasal fillet with eggs the way you like them and fried rice), as does its wide array of pastas (in cream, olive oil, and tomato sauces). Only have time for coffee? Make sure to pair it with the bestselling ensaymada. (Take yours grilled!)
Quaint French cottage-style furnishings and an extensive array of sweet and savory crepes served on blue and white plates aren’t the only come-ons of Café Breton. Highly recommended are La Primavera (three eggs scrambled with tomatoes, mushrooms, and spinach and served with buttered toasted topped with gruyere) and the Tuna Melt (creamy and spicy tuna spread, melted cheese, tomato, and lettuce). Can’t decide between a main course and dessert? Enjoy the best of both worlds in the Hamburcrepe—a juice burger patty on a bed of spinach, sautéed mushroom, cheese, topped with tomato Provencal.
Classy white furnishings with the signature fuchsia and purple color scheme transport titas to a French café. Known for its cakes, breads, and other baked goods, Bizu Patisserie also serves everything from appetizers and mains to short-order pastas, sandwiches, and salads. Meeting the girls? Go for the Afternoon Tea Set, where serve staff set up trays of canapes, scones, jams, and sweets that include the addicting macaron de Paris. (One isn’t enough, we swear!) Wash them down with cups of hot tea.
Maria Luisa’s Garden Room
The few who discover Maria Luisa’s Garden Room inside the Makati Garden Club––an unexpected oasis of greens and blooms on the corner of EDSA and Ayala Avenue––adore its rustic vibe and superb comfort food. Exchange kwento and advice over a Charcuterie (meat and cheese) platter and glasses of wine, or go all out and treat yourself to any of the grilled US Angus Beef Tenderloin Steaks. A Mango Jubilee, Toblerone Sansrival, fresh strawberries and cream, or strawberry, blueberry, or raspberry cobbler makes a fine sweet ending. Take note: You need to sign up as a member of the Makati Garden Club in order to dine here, or at least be sponsored by one.