Friday, June 1, 2012

Illustrado - Fine Dining Inside the Walled City

June 12, The Philippine Independence Day, is a national holiday observed in the country and is just around the corner. In line with this, Illustrado will be launching a tribute to the Malolos Culinary Heritage - A First Republic Feast (FOOD!) But before jumping to the main event, let me walk you through in my Illustrado experience :)

Illustrado Dining Restaurant/Cafe is situated inside the Wall City of Intramuros. For over 19 years, it has established a name for itself as a fine dining restaurant and favorite wedding venue. Well known personalities all over the world delight in dining here. 

A touch of Hispanic ambiance and wood works, Illustrado is a must place to visit apart from a tour over the long-stretched famous wall. It is situated along General Luna Street, near the PLM School. I like how their website describe the location of the place, "a cobble-stoned driveway off the Calle Real del Palacio leads past a tree-shaded courtyard to Illustrado. Here in a setting inspired by Spanish architectural detail wrought iron grillwork, stone tiles and wood. Illustrado offers as well the rich flavors of Spanish, Filipino and European cuisine."
I was privileged to attend this luncheon, Illustrado prepared. Thanks to a fellow blogger who gave this opportunity for bloggers like me, I attended this event and I saw myself recalling my Lyceum days as rode past by the walls of Intramuros. Who would have known that such a fancy place was situated inside the Wall. It was a blast from the historical Spanish era.

 As my friend and I reached the front door of the place, we were greeted by a lady wearing Filipiniana dress :) hehehe. The foyer leads to two different doors (just before the stairway). On the left door is Illustrado Restaurant. 

A table of wines, some paintings and two couch chairs greet you as you enter the restaurant area. The whole dining place is made of wood ceilings, a ceiling fan, and lots of windows.

Illustrado does not only give dishes that fills up the stomach, but they also have a cafe as well. For my family, we typically have dessert and coffee after the main dish. And we normally transfer to a different place. But in this place, it will just be easy, you just need to transfer to another door :) Energy-saving because it's just a few steps away. hihihi ^^,                                                                                                     
Their cafe gives a different feel of the place. Although in general it is of Spanish design, but I've noticed that each room is arranged uniquely. 

The restaurant (see picture above) has a feel of rancho-Spanish-elegance. It is not too fancy but it gives you the feel of it.

The cafe, on the otherhand, is more of a laid back feel. The brick ceramic-like walls is decorated with historical pieces of paintings and pictures. You'd know that everything is vintage by the look of the paintings. The ceiling is decorated with inverted coach wheels. It was genius! 

Apart from our tour of their dining areas, I was able to taste their famous sampaguita ice cream. Sampaguita is a white small flower found in the Philippines, and it also the national flower. Illustrado is known for this homemade ice cream. 

When this was served at our table, the first I did was smell the ice cream. Sampaguita flowers have this sweet smell. But the surprising thing was, it did not have the smell of the flower. It was just like plain scoop of vanilla. So where was the scent? It was in the taste! It really tastes nice. It was one of a kind. No trace of scent, but the essence of the flower was incorporated in the ice cream process instead. (Photo source:

#744 Gen. Luna St. Intramuros, Manila
Tel. no: (02) 527-3674

Quote for the Day: "I have a very good memory, but it's short. Thank goodness for photography." ~John E. Burkowski

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