Celebrating 4 Years at Isabelo Garden Restaurant

Tuesday, October 25, 2011 § 5

To get to Isabelo Garden Restaurant in time for our 8pm reservation, Boyfriend and I had to endure crazy traffic all the way from McKinley Hill to Marikina. It was a bit of an adventure going there, as the restaurant is hidden right at the heart of Marikina. But once we stepped inside, we knew we have unearthed a treasure.

The first thing we heard when we got down our car is the sound of flutes whistling. It then changed to some nice and relaxing piano instrumentals and remained like that during our stay. And if that's not romantic enough, the dim and colorful lights add up to the ambiance to create a perfect spot for couples. We dined al fresco in one of the corner tables for some privacy. They also have several long tables for families and big groups, as well as a small indoor dining area. The last picture is their kitchen, which serves the most aromatic and unforgettable food.

Spinach Artichoke Dip (350) We started our night with Ms. Portia Baluyut's specialty, the Spinach Artichoke Dip. I read in her website that this humble dish was the one that started it all and we can see why. The dip was incredibly creamy and cheesy with a very pronounced artichoke taste and bits of spinach. I wanted more spinach but I didn't really have time to complain because Boyfriend and I were busy eating. The thinly sliced toasted focaccia was also a nice touch and a much welcomed change from the typical bruschetta.

Beef Bourguignon (780) For our entree, we chose a classic French dish, which I've only ever heard of before from the movie Julie and Julia. It was highly recommended by a lot of food bloggers, including Mr. Awesome Planet himself. From the first bite, we can already tell that this dish has really been cooked for hours. The tomato and wine sauce was sweet, savory and just bursting with so much flavor and the beef was very, very tender. The serving was quite big but Boyfriend and I finished it up to the very last mushroom.

1/2 Quattro Formaggio & 1/2 Honey Bacon Pizza (450) Anniversaries are always a good excuse to order more than you can handle and that's exactly what we did at Isabelo's. You have the option to choose two different flavors of pizza and of course we had to go with cheese. The Quattro Formaggio has a generous amount of different cheeses with a slightly garlicky taste. We loved the huge chunks of blue cheese on top! The Honey Bacon, on the other hand, was a bit of a let down. You can actually taste the bitterness of the parsley more than the saltiness of the bacon. The crust, however, was perfect. It actually amazed me how thin and crispy the crust was. It also has a slight char from being pugon baked which we loved.

Watermelon Sorbet (90) Boyfriend and I were already groaning from too much food, but I feel like it's wrong to end a meal without any sort of dessert. The watermelon sorbet was simple, light and refreshing. Squeeze a few drops of lemon juice and it becomes incredibly addicting. A perfect ending to the perfect meal.

Other than the fact that we were celebrating our 4th anniversary, Boyfriend and I spent the rest of the night insanely happy, because of all the good food that we consumed that night. Isabelo Garden Restaurant has proved to be what we were looking for all along, the perfect date place. We only hope to encounter more places like this in the future. Isabelo Garden Restaurant has a strict no reservation, no entry policy. For more information, visit their website at www.isabelogarden.com.

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