Saturday, June 28, 2014

Back Home at Cafe Naci

An old favorite comes home, back to where it all started in its original location. 

Cafe Naci reopens in its former location at Greenhills, bringing back its line of signature dishes and desserts (for more on Naci's wide range of comforting dishes, check out my previous post here at And it's great to see Cafe Naci back home again.

Since the time I first tried Naci in its original location almost three years ago (see my previous post here at, I immediately knew this place was special. Serving classic favorites from family recipes prepared under the supervision of the late Chef Ed Quimson, Naci offers familiar and comforting flavors maintaining its homestyle charm. Renamed as Cafe Naci, you can still come back to your favorite dishes. Like coming home, I start with a personal favorite, the Black Grape Shake (P 150), a refreshing beverage and the perfect welcome back drink. 

Time to reacquaint myself with the old favorites. Cafe Naci's Classic Gambas (P 340), plump freshwater shrimps sauteed in olive oil, garlic, chili, and roasted pimiento. The fresh shrimps have a firm texture, perfectly cooked with a mild natural sweetness balanced by the rich and spicy olive oil. The flavorful bits of garlic, chili and smoky roasted pimientos build layers of flavors in this classic dish. 

Kani Mango Crunch (P 270), a mix of fresh greens, kani, ripe mangoes, cucumber, crispy wonton, and vermicelli with a sharp wasabi mayo dressing. Fresh, clean flavors with just the right level of sharpness from the wasabi mayo dressing tempered by the sweetness of the ripe mangoes. The crisp noodles add that delicious crunch. 

Adobo Cannelloni (P 370), flaked chicken and pork adobo folded in homemade cannelloni pasta topped with creamy bechamel and mozzarella cheese and adobo sauce. A cool pasta dish with a unique and inventive Filipino twist, a spoonful of the fresh, homemade pasta draped in rich cheese with the distinct notes of adobo is pleasantly reassuring, and despite the new name, the flavors are still rich and familiar. The late Ched Ed Quimson's legacy lives on with Cafe Naci's homestyle dishes (for more on Chef Ed Quimson, check out my previous post here at

Braised Beef Ossobuco (P 490), tender beef shanks braised in red wine and tomato sauce served with buttered vegetables. The rich sauce and tender beef make this a hearty dish, best paired with rice. Slow braised for hours resulting in bold flavors, this dish reinforces the classic homestyle feel of Cafe Naci. 

The hint of red wine adds a richness to the sauce, complementing the bold flavors of the tender beef. You'll probably want to go with extra rice with this dish.

And for dessert, choose from Cafe Naci's wide range of specialty cakes. A reunion with an old favorite caps my meal at Cafe Naci, the rich and indulgent Chocolate Ganache (P 175). The familiar flavors are back. Returning to its former location, Cafe Naci is back home.

Cafe Naci is located at the 2/F, Fox Square Building, 53 Connecticut Street, Greenhills, San Juan or call 726-7266 for inquiries.

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