"Nostalgic" is the word that best describes the aura inside Casa Marcos restobar located at The Fort, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.
This restaurant boasts a long history of providing gastronomic Spanish feasts to Filipino foodies.
Many people may be familiar with the Casa Marcos that was first established by former pelota (ball and racquet sport) player Marcos de Guisasola in 1945, along Roxas Boulevard, Manila.
The restaurant quickly gained a following because of its yummy home-style Spanish array, which includes steaks, gambas, and paella.
Several years later, Señor Marcos decided to move back to his homeland in Spain. He turned over the restaurant to his good friend and loyal customer Ben del Rosario.
The Del Rosarios soon opened a branch in Gilmore Avenue, Quezon City, where the well-known Casa Marcos Pandesal was first introduced.
They also opened a branch in Timog Avenue, also in Quezon City, but it eventually closed down in the year 2000.
REBIRTH. The idea to re-open Casa Marcos came from Del Rosario's grandson Jigger Galvez, who owns The Bread Bag together with his business partner Kevin Khoe.
Muffin Galvez, Jigger's sister, told PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) in an interview, “It’s a small place because it’s meant to be lang as The Bread Bag, a sandwich bar.
“A focus on Casa Marcos Pandesal, pero using typical viands... iyong mga corned beef. ‘Tsaka affordable, hindi talaga iyong fine dining.”
When asked why they decided to re-open the restaurant, Muffin said, “The customers here were parang, ‘Bakit hindi kayo mag-open ulit,’ parang, ‘Miss na namin iyong ganito, miss na namin iyong ganyan, iyong steak niyo.’”
Giving in to the clamor, the Galvezes established the new Casa Marcos, which is a bit laid back yet with a modern feel.
“As you can see, iyong dati kasing Casa Marcos, it was a house— dalawang malaking bahay iyon that can accommodate 100 people easily— but now, siyempre, mas maliit na siya.
“Smaller scale, trying to cater to the old market as well as the younger generation, kasi young na rin kami who are running it, parang gano'n.”
For now, the third generation owners plan to fix “small issues” before opening another branch.
Muffin says, “We’d like to [expand], siyempre, pero right now for the year 2013, our plan talaga is to fix [the] system namin muna before we’d like to open a new one."
If and when, the group is eyeing another branch in Quezon City— probably in their old space on Tomas Morato— or in Makati.
“Parang ayusin lang muna namin iyong mga small issues, ganyan, para medyo systematized na talaga bago kami magbukas ng isa pang branch.”
CASTILIAN FARE AND MORE. Luckily, Jigger kept an original copy of the menu from the old restaurant and was able to get back one of their loyal chefs who knows how to cook Spanish dishes the Casa Marcos way.
“Iyong cook namin, we always kept him in our files, so every time we have Christmas parties, we’d call him and he'd cook for our guests sa house namin.
“He never sought employment kasi parang nag-open lang siya ng small business, until we told him baka magbukas kami ulit, baka gusto mo pang mag-join.”
The restaurant initially served traditional Spanish food and some other Filipino dishes, but the new owners decided to trim down their menu and focus on their bestsellers.
“Bestsellers talaga, well, iyong tenderloin steak ala pobre, the gambas, and iyong clams namin, almejas, definitely," says Muffin.
They also introduced new dishes, like the sisig and chorizo, which are both crowd favorites.
Aside from the traditional Spanish recipes, they also retained some of their Filipino exotic dishes, such as the calderetang usa (deer), frog legs, and baboy ramo (wild boar).
"Meron din kaming baboy ramo. Iyon 'yong para sa old patrons, iyong mga para lolo’t lola namin, yun ang hinahanap nilang dishes.”
(CLICK HERE to discover some of their show-stoppers)
FAMOUS PERSONALITIES. Since their re-opening, famous personalities from different walks of life have been dining at Casa Marcos.
Politicians such as Senator Manny Villar, Senator Butch Aquino, and Vice-President Jejomar and Dra Elenita Binay all have paid visit and tried their specialties.
The likes of Gretchen Barretto and husband Toniboy Cojuangco, Lovi Poe, R.R. Enriquez, Chuckie Dreyfus, Angel Locsin and Phil Younghusband have also dined and loved their place.
Some of Manila’s elite including Ching Cruz, Consul Agnes Huibonhua, Tina Cuevas of Sulo Hotel, Therese Coronel of Cinderella, Susan Joven, Fe Rodriguez, Millet Mananquil, Maritel Nievera of Cabalen have also been seen dining at Casa Marcos.
Casa Marcos Restobar is located at F121 Forbeswood Heights Rizal Drive, Bonifacio Global City Taguig and Ortigas Home Depot, J. Vargas St. Pasig City.
For information, call 703-7784 or 552-3781, or log on to casamarcos.ph