When in Manila and you’ve got some hankering for a road trip, why don’t you head down south for that much-needed change of scene? Further south of Manila lies the province of Laguna, known for being the birthplace of our national hero, Jose Rizal, and home to the biggest itik statue you’ve ever seen. Before going back to the urban jungle, head over to San Pablo City and dine in Si Christina Gateau Sans Rival, a quaint restaurant tucked along the city plaza’s rotunda.
Si Christina Gateau Sans Rival (or Si Christina, for short) is a cozy restaurant that offers coffee, pasta and pastries, frequented by locals and lost tourists alike. Its menu is pretty simple and straightforward, what it lacks in visuals makes up for the ingredients listing under each food title.
Aside from pasta, Si Christina also has a variety of sandwiches and burger sure to appeal to one’s whims and cravings. Freshly-made pastries, cheesecakes, and frozen brazo de mercedes are likewise displayed, ready for your own picking. Random knick-knacks adorn the crannies in the wall while comfy seats further add to the homey feel of Si Christina.
The interiors make you feel you welcomed.
For starters, we had Si Christina’s Nacho Cheese: a bowl of nacho chips with ground beef, tomatoes, onions, and lettuce tossed in, with the melted cheese and taco sauce oozing in the crevices of chips and veggies. This bowl of goodness is best shared rambulan-style, with fingers grabbing the nearest nacho and scooping as much toppings and melted cheese as you can to stuff in your mouth. Nobody, I say nobody, could go wrong with this appetizer as it really whetted up our appetites.
I tell you, that fork is totally unnecessary!
One of Si Christina’s bestsellers is the Chili White Cheese Burger with Garlic Ketchup. What you’re seeing is an all-beef grilled burger patty topped with kesong puti and jalapeno slices. Aside from a piece of lettuce and some tomatoes, the sliced onions and garlic ketchup likewise added some kick to this awesome burger. All these goodness sandwiched in a wheat bun (makes you feel less guilty, eh?).
Beefy goodness, all mine! Mine!
Also a 3-starred must-try, Si Christina’s Bacon Cheese Melt Burger is one’s direct ticket to Heart Attack Town because the beef burger patty cooked in bacon drippings IS ALSO TOPPED WITH BACON! This Inception-like patty comes with melted cheese in a wheat bun. Although the burger is mouth-watering, the bacon strips were a bit of a letdown since I was expecting “fattier” bacon strips that are half-cooked to give it that extra ooomph! While some may prefer the crispy-fried bacon, maybe Si Christina could ask how the bacon will be done?
Just like in the movie Inception, this patty topped with bacon is cooked with bacon drippings! Cannibalism at its finest!
Si Christina’s Caesar Clubhouse with Cajun Fries, another must-try, is a big sandwich divided into 4 finger food-sized pieces. The much-debated bacon, the sole meat in this sandwich, goes well with the mishmash of veggies, comprised of bell pepper, cucumber, lettuce, and tomato, and Si Christina’s own Caesar dressing. The creamy tangy dressing somewhat offsets the saltiness of the bacon.
The sandwich’s sidekick, the much-touted Cajun Fries, was just ready-to-cook french fries. Dusted with ground white pepper for that hint of spiciness and – voila – Cajun Fries!
Eating Si Christina’s Caesar Clubhouse makes you feel so….sosy!
For pasta, I ordered the Si Christina Classic Spaghetti, labeled as a house specialty. The red sauce with ground beef and bacon bits has a mildly sweet flavor that appeals to the Filipinos’ penchance for tamis-anghang ispageti. Topped with grated cheddar cheese, this pasta with a home-made vibe is sure to make you long for your momma’s cooking.
Cheesy goodness atop the pasta adds saltiness to the tamis-anghang formula!
So when in Manila and you want to go in an unchartered territory, come down to San Pablo City in Laguna. While you’re there and you got hungry, go ‘round the rotunda to find this quaint restaurant called Si Christina.
#6 Rizal Avenue, San Pablo City, Laguna
call them at (049) 573 2391
Join them on Facebook
Si Christina Gateau Sans Rival: A Gem in an Unchartered Territory