La Cocina de Tita Moning

Experiential dining at La Cocina de Tita Moning.

A walk back in time to Manila's "Golden Era" envelops a diner at La Cocina de Tita Moning, the fine dining restaurant at the 1930's Legarda Mansion along San Rafael Street, Manila, one of the country's most elegant districts at the turn of the century. This reservations-only restaurant prides itself in old family recipes, where guests can enjoy their meal in a lavish dining room turned museum.

Yes, you read that right - it's reservations-only so even if you want to take the love of your life on your first date and have it appear as a spontaneous night you've just whipped-up, you should really call ahead of time to let them know that you're coming by.

A tour of the grand mansion is given upon the guests' arrival, and appetizers of Tita Moning's addicting queso de bola spread on toasted bread and iced tea can be enjoyed along the way. Old heirloom telephones, camera equipment, medical supplies, books, and magazines can be viewed inside the mansion, as well as old bedrooms, one of them converted into an elegant changing room where a vintage wedding dress still stands resplendent.

Most of the action lies in the lavish Legarda mansion dining room, where Tita Moning's well-trained staff still cooks mouth-watering spreads from a bygone area. Guests are shown to the dining room last, the final pièce de résistance that culminates with an elegant table set-up adorned with glassware, silverware, fresh flowers, and candles. A diner experiences how the noblemen dined during Manila's most elegant era, especially with the Presidential mansion being only a stone's throw away.

Recommended items on their menu are: Tita Moning's onion soup, fresh green salad with onions topped with shaved parmesan and basil-dijon vinaigrette, lengua cooked in white wine, paella valenciana, hot chocolate with marshmallows, and Tita Moning's famous bread pudding (also found at the Saturday Salcedo Village market). The food is brought to each person, with another round or two if extra helpings are requested. Each dish is meant to be lingered and enjoyed alone, with spaces in-between courses, which adds to the whole dining experience. The overall feeling is serene, solemn, and scrumptious, best enjoyed within a group of two or more to experience dining like how the Legarda family did.

For information or to make reservations, please call 734-2141. La Cocina de Tita Moning is located at 315 San Rafael Street, San Miguel District, Manila.

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