As part of my week-long birthday celebration, my parents had a dilemma on how to surprise me to a restaurant I’ve never tried. It was easier years ago when I was in college compared to now that I’m more adventurous and always out ‘scouting’ for new restaurants. Kudos to them, it’s still a success. They brought me to a restaurant I’ve been wanting to try ever since I knew about it, La Cocina de Tita Moning.
Generally, I didn’t have any idea the family was taking me to La Cocina de Tita Moning. I wasn’t blindfolded this time while on our way to Manila. Looking at my surroundings, I had ideas it will be somewhere in Manila but unsure of our final landing place. When we entered Malacañang compound, I was silent but my heart was pounding faster and was too excited on where they were taking me. The car parked and stopped, then I couldn’t stop smiling as I looked around the old house we were about to enter.
We were asked to wait at the patio by the garden before entering the house. While seated, they served us with Quezo de Bola Cheese bread and cold Lemongrass Tea.

The House Tour:

The elegant ancestral home of the Legarda family took us back to the memories of Old Manila culture. It is known as one of the first Art Deco Houses in Metro Manila, which was built in 1937. We toured the house-turned-fine-dining-restaurant from 1st floor to 2nd floor. Our eloquent tour guide explained in details the history of every room to the family’s traditions inside their home. On the first level, we started viewing the preserved antique medical books in the library of Dr. Alejandro Legarda Sr. I explained to my 8-year old cousin how kids during that era behave, where they spend most of their time reading books in the absence of technology like his iPad and Playstation.
The 2nd room made Reine, O and I stay longer. Why? It’s the Photography room of the Legarda ancestral home. A collection of classic camera bodies and lenses, including film accessories, made our eyes more entertained. While on the other side, it’s the old clinic of Dr. Legarda, who was an OB Gynecologist, where he kept all his materials and equipments including his preserved X-ray machine and dummy skeleton.
Moved on to the second floor where more memorabilia and art displays decorated the home. One treasured painting in the living room was by Juan Luna.
My 8-year old cousin surprisingly had his favorite room in this old house, the Antique Radio Equipment room. No need for vintage filters when you take a photo, the room is enough to show you its vintage character.
Right after the tour, we were asked to enter one of the home-like dining rooms beside the Antique Radio Room with a fine-dining table setting and seated on a long table with a capacity of 8 seats. Refined table setting of antique china, glassware and silverware.

The Food:

It is recommended to pre-choose your desired menu (Classic or Filipino menu) upon reservation. You can visit La Cocina de Tita Moning’s website for menu options.
Tapas Sampler
Rate: 4/5
O chose the Classic Menu 7 and as his starter, he was served a variety of Queso de Bola flamenquins, Tortilla de Patatas and fresh (organic) green salad on the side.
Papaya Salad
Rate: 5/5
On the other hand, my parents pre-selected Classic Menu 1 for me. Among my family’s choice of salad, I think I chose the best. This Papaya Salad took me to the garden of Eden for a moment of refreshment until I have to hop on to the next dish.
Tita Moning’s Cocido
Rate: 5/5
Jackpot plate with everything your body needs. Chicken, ham, chorizo, longganisa, pork rolls and beef brisket poached and served with its own broth. Also inside the bowl, five kinds of vegetables and their signature homemade tomato sauce served with organic brown rice.
We were treated like royalty as we were served with grace by the well mannered and chivalrous staff. Every staff attends instantly to your needs when you ring the bell they will give you at the start of your dining experience. With their warm smiles and hospitable responses, I felt the spirit of home in somebody else’s home.
Slowly Roasted Pork with Candied Sweet Camote
Rate: 4/5
In the middle of this dining experience when Slowly Roasted Pork landed our plates, I can say I am still impressed – consistently. The dish may look ordinary but the taste is extraordinary. Pairing with candied sweet camote didn’t go erroneous at all.
Paella Valenciana
Rate: 5/5
 There is nothing not to adore in this specialty of the house, Paella Valenciana. Identified as one of the highlights of La Cocina de Tita Moning. I don’t beg to disagree. Truly it’s a spectacular classic take on Paella Valenciana.
 May I just share that the service of La Cocina de Tita Moning is impeccable! More than just their food, it’s the total experience that will make my birthday celebration memorable.
Dessert Platter
Rate: 5/5
 Don’t dare to miss the dessert platter – Tita Moning’s Bread and Butter Pudding, Assorted Homemade Ice Cream and Homemade Fritters. Even if you’re already contented, or maybe a bit full from the line up of savory dishes, taking the sweet dishes is surely worth every bite. FYI, the bread pudding is spotless! I want to swing by and go back just for the bread pudding.
No walk-ins are allowed at La Cocina. You have to call for reservation, at least 24 hours before your desired schedule.
Officially, La Cocina de Tita Moning is now one of the best Filipino restaurants in Metro Manila I’ve tried.
I won’t hesitate to recommend this restaurant to all your special occasions. Highly recommended for balikbayans and your foreign visitors.
Have you tried La Cocina de Tita Moning?
Share with me your thoughts! 🙂
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Pray, Eat and Love.
The Food Scout
Location: 315 San Rafael St., San Miguel, Manila, Metro Manila, Philippines

Contact: (+632) 734-2146 / (+632) 7342141 / (+63 917) 531-5203

Budget: PHP2,000++

Food 9/10
Ambiance 10/10
Service 10/10
Cost 9/10
Overall 9.5/10