Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Casa Marcos: Classic Heritage Dishes since 1945

An iconic name in the metro's restaurant scene returns to Quezon City, bringing back its classic heritage dishes to its loyal customers and a whole new generation of diners. Since it first opened in 1945 along then Dewey Boulevard, Casa Marcos has been known for its gambas, almejas, paella, and steak ala pobre, dishes that still bring you back to simpler times. And now you can relive those days with a visit to Casa Marcos at Quezon City's Il Terrazo.  

Ever since Senor Marcos de Guisasola, a Spanish Jai-Alai player, opened his restaurant in the original Dewey Boulevard location, Casa Marcos has been the place to celebrate family milestones, business meetings and other important gatherings, when Senor Marcos often cooked and even sang for his loyal guests.  When he returned to Spain, a  close friend and loyal customer, Ben Del Rosario, acquired the restaurant and managed Casa Marcos during its heydays in the fifties to the early eighties. Today, the third generation of the Del Rosario clan continue to manage the restaurant with one goal, to bring back its storied past with its classic heritage dishes (for more on Casa Marcos, check out my previous posts on the classic all-time bestsellers here at and its return to the restaurant scene here at

The newest and third branch of Casa Marcos marks its return to Quezon City, site of their former Tomas Morato and Gilmore branches from the early eighties. The new branch clearly has a more contemporary look and feel, but its link with the past is maintained with the use of dark woods and classic tiles for a comforting vibe.

The elegant yet casual interiors exude a homey warmth, with subtle contemporary touches like modern lighting fixtures keeps it in step with the times. And that's Casa Marcos today, with one foot stepping forward embracing change and modernity, while one foot is firmly planted in tradition and its rich culinary heritage. 

The signature pan de sal, baked fresh daily from wood-fired brick ovens, start your dining experience at Casa Marcos. The small, round rolls are complimentary, and have become so popular that Casa Marcos has been selling larger sizes in all its branches for take-out for decades. Break open a roll and watch steam rise releasing a fragrant aroma, then add a generous dab of butter. Just perfect.

Start your feast with the signature Almejas (P 230), baked clams with melted cheese topped with crispy garlic bits. The mild briny sweetness of the plump clams are perfectly complemented by the richness of the cheese and the nutty notes of the crispy garlic. Truly a classic, no feast at Casa Marcos is complete without the best-selling Almejas, just the way my dad and my grandfather started their meals at Casa Marcos.

Next, enjoy a hearty and comforting bowl of Sopa de Mariscos (P 245), another signature dish with fresh clams, squid, and crab in a creamy bouillabaisse soup with a light tomato base. The soup is thick and flavorful, with the sharpness of the tomato base to balance the richness. Best paired with some of the signature rolls of Casa Marcos.

Known for its Lengua Sevillana, Casa Marcos adds an inventive spin with its new Lengua Salpicao (P 345), with fork-tender strips of ox tongue cooked in garlic oil topped with button mushrooms, onions, green and red peppers. Different, yet comfortingly familiar, and perfect with a glass of wine or a cold beer.

While the new dish adds a refreshing element to the menu, the flavors remain close to the original Casa Marcos profile, rich and garlicky, just the way I've always remembered Casa Marcos.

Casa Marcos has also been known for serving wild game and exotic meats, including venison and wild boar. The all-time favorite, the Tapang Baboy Damo (P 395) from Casa Marcos, is still as good as the day I first tried it as a kid so many summers past. The tender yet firm fried strips of lean marinated wild boar releases a flavor so rich with each chewy bite, a dip in the Casa Marcos sauce completes the flavors. Served with french fries and green beans, great with the original Casa Marcos sauce, a rich vinegar dip with onions and garlic.

The distinct Casa Marcos style with steaks, cooked in oil and lots of garlic, has been a signature of the restaurant for years. Casa Marcos offers a wide range of steak cuts, including Tenderloin, Fillet Mignon, US Angus Ribeye, US Porterhouse, and US T-Bone. For smaller appetites, you can still enjoy all the beefy flavors with the The Pepito (P 395), the smallest steak at Casa Marcos yet comes with big and bold flavors to satisfy your craving for a classic steak, Casa Marcos style.

The rich oil and roasted garlic provide all the flavors, without any need for steak sauce. Pure, clean and classic flavors, each bite brings back so many memories. And it's really comforting to know that Casa Marcos preserved and maintained its traditional culinary style after so many years.

The elegant Prawns Thermidor (P 535), with three tiger prawns draped in rich bechamel sauce with just a hint of mustard, mushrooms, cheese, and garlic, completes my classic feast at Casa Marcos. The richness of the sauce, the briny sweetness of the plump prawns, the cheese and the garlic, each with its own distinct layer of flavor and texture, blend seamlessly in this one dish.

It's great to see a familiar name come back to Quezon City with its signature heritage dishes. For many, Casa Marcos remains one of the few remaining links with a cherished past, and it's re-opening in Quezon City offers a whole new generation of diners to discover the rich and distinct Casa Marcos style.

Casa Marcos Restobar is located at Unit S08, Second Floor, Il Terrazo, Tomas Morato corner Scout Madrinan, Quezon City or call 374-3178 or 0906-221-3615 for inquiries and reservations.

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