galli village café is a cozy little restaurant in san antonio village offering lovely filipino-spanish dishes at affordable prices.
being so near the makati CBD but apart from all its commotion, it is a go-to place for meetings (or other) over good food. with the sacred heart church just across the street, the cafe has been a happy accomplice in events such as the celebration of baby baptisms. it has also housed at least three successful marriage proposals.
international travelers and backpackers who stay in the hostel upstairs come to the cafe for sustenance. on my visit, the owner, christine arriola-villongco, recounted her struggles earlier that day with a french customer who could not speak flipino nor english. when that same customer arrived for dinner, i offered my french skills to translate monsieur andre’s order for christine. we suggested the shrimp gambas to him (one of my favorites from dinner). i was somehow able to understand and, surprisingly, have my poor French be understood! (he said I was jolie, to which I said merci!)
on its walls are mugs from bali, prints from london, wooden faces from davao, a map of israel, paintings from italy, photographs from all over, and other mementos from christine and her husband’s expeditions here and abroad. travel books and magazines line the windowsills.
on its table on the evening i went were some of their bestsellers:
tuna salpicao (p230)
i found the tuna chunks to be too salty, but the tomato-infused sauce was very nice.
callos ala madrilena (p230)
their callos had a pleasant hint of spice, but was not hot in the mouth. it was good, and i liked the texture of the chickpeas (they were soft instead of the usual plasticky).
arroz a la cubana (p170)
i thought the ground meat was a bit too salty, but that was only because i tried it on its own. when i combined the different bits of the arroz a la cubana, the result was this delightful blend of sweet and salty with multiple textures in the mouth, making this dish one of my favorites from the evening.
shrimp gambas (p230)
i can’t describe the sauce except that it so very perfectly brings out the shrimpiness of the shrimp, and was not one bit guilty of overpowering the main ingredient! the gambas (my other favorite dish) was spicy, but just rightly so.
paella marinara (p345 for 2-3 persons)
their paella takes around 40 minutes to prepare, but it is well worth the wait. (or you can call ahead so that they can have it ready for you by the time you arrive!) all the ingredients combine so well and make my taste buds feel honored to be in their presence. plus, the rice on the edges of the dish is crispy, but soft and moist in the middle.
beef salpicao (p230)
the meat was tender, juicy and sweet!
coffee jelly a.k.a dessert of the day (p40)
i loved these coffee jelly cubes swimming in a milky soup topped with cream. the coffee jelly was mild and the cream very vanilla, making a nice dessert that was easy to eat and far from nakakaumay.
this event was organized by aldous.
galli village café makati ground floor, YMCA hotel #7 sacred heart street, san antonio village, makati city contact: 09164111248 open daily from 7:00 am to 8:30 pm