New Restaurant Alert: Bodega Casa Villa on Dragon Street, Marikina
It's a marriage of Fil-Mex flavors.
Bodega Casa Villa
48 Dragon Street, Midtown Subdivision, San Roque, Marikina City
Open from 5 p.m. to 12 a.m. (Monday to Friday) and 5 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. (Saturday and Sunday)
(SPOT.ph) Don’t be deceived by the name. As far as bodegas go, Bodega Casa Villa in Marikina is as far removed from the one that is currently in your head. In fact, Bodega Casa Villa is a bright, happy, and homey place to eat, drink, and have an awesome good time. Which is exactly what the owners—high school friends turned business partners Karen Villa (who’s also head chef), Keanne Andeza, and Jan Junsay—planned for their restaurant. “Para ka lang nasa bahay ng kaibigan mo,” explains Keanne, head of marketing.
Bodega Casa Villa was once Karen’s family home. Her parents also own Rey’s Auto Electrical Shop next door, which is considered a neighborhood institution. When the family moved to a new home, the house was then converted to a bodega for the shop. When Rey’s further expanded, Karen and her friends seized the chance to convert the old house-turned-bodega into a restaurant.
The restaurant is as warm and inviting as a Mexican casa. The walls are painted bright yellow, accented by a colorful mural. Wood pieces and accents populate the dining area. The house’s garage has been turned to an al fresco bar, complete with a counter faced with a heady mix of decorative tiles.
While the interiors are inspired by the Mexican aesthetic, both Filipino and Mexican flavors share the menu. Karen worked as a chef for the Raintree Hospitality Group—the people behind M Café, Chelsea, and Simple Lang to name a few—for almost a decade before finally opening Bodega Casa Villa in September. The restaurant's chill, homey yet fun vibe is most evident in the al fresco bar area, where Jan is at the helm.
Bodega Casa Villa is only open for and after dinner until they’ve sorted out more parking space for guests. In the meantime, diners can park at Rey’s as soon as it’s closed for the day.
Even if the restaurant is only open for a limited time of the day, they still strive to make each experience special. Jan puts it succinctly, “Ganyan naman ang Pilipino, they want their visitors to feel at home...'Yong special plates mo pa ang ginagamit. Ganyan kami dito, ganoon ang gusto namin, dito everyone is special.”
Mucho Nacho Bodega
Your tummy will thank you for that extra special treatment, with such a satisfying menu. The Mucho Nacho Bodega (P220) is a mountain of nachos glued together by salsa fresca, jalapeno, longganisa, kesong puti, garlic cream, and quezo sauce (or homemade cheese sauce). It’s great as an appetizer, though best shared over beer as pulutan.
Homemade Vigan longganisa adds a savory touch to the the Longganisa Quesadilla (P170), which is further intensified with salted egg powder and salsa fresca.
The Taco Trio (P295) is a medley of tastes and flavors—crispy buttered ox brains, beef barbacoa, and pork bagnet sisig. Want something else? There are other fillings to choose from such as Chicken Inasal, Lamb Adobo, and Fish Sinigang.
Chicken Inasal Fajita
There’s loads of Pinoy flavor in the Chicken Inasal Fajita (P275), which packs a generous serving of that favorite local dish.
Pan Fried Herbed Sole
The Pan Fried Herbed Sole (P245) is a really satisfying dish with the right saltiness of the fish, tanginess of the mango salsa, and the subtle taste of the tomato brown rice.
Crispy Dinuguan Burrito
The Crispy Dinuguan Burrito (P250) is the runaway winner. The dinuguan recipe hails from Nueva Ecija which uses sampaloc instead of vinegar. To make it a healthier choice, lean meat and brown rice were used as alternative ingredients for the dish. We are not surprised that they say it’s their bestseller. Our taste buds agree. Completely.
Bodega’s ode to Marikina’s favorite noodle dish, the Pancit Burrito (P195) is a new take on the traditional noodle dish. It’s as familiar as the noodles from the panciteria but this one is eaten with a tortilla instead of bread. It can’t get any more Fil-Mex than this.
Sili Mo Rita
Bodega’s own Jalapeno-infused and tequila-based alcohol, the Sili Mo Rita (P140) is quite an interesting choice. The rim is only half salted to give guests a choice to take it with or without salt.
The Santa Santito (P140) is Bodega’s take on sangria. It’s a lovely mix of red wine, brandy, and apple, and a few bits of gulaman that add hints of texture.
For the perfect ending to your meal, the Boleros (P170) are doughnuts served with three types of dips: maple, milk chocolate, and salted caramel.
Bodega Casa Villa is that refuge you can run to at the end of a stressful day. It’s a perfect spot to unwind—with dishes that offer comforting flavors and interesting combinations that prove so warm and inviting, you won’t ever want to leave.
Photos by Jun Pinzon