City of Manila

a classic dining ambience experience in the city

Can you imagine yourself having dinner in a centuries-old house which has preserved and dining in the midst of its furniture and other household items still intact in their old state? We get to read and hear places like these in travel shows and books that deal with places outside the country. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have a dining place like this here in our country, in a city such as Manila to be precise, where much of its old heritage have either disappeared or left to neglect.

It’s one of those (somewhat) best kept secrets in Manila’s San Miguel district, the place where some of the old rich of the city used to live. It used to be a house of that belonged to a gynecologist named Dr. Alejandro Legarda, his wife Ramona, and their four children, built in 1937 and is one of the few houses that stand today which employed the Art Deco style.

The house became known for the lavish parties held there, not to mention the culinary expertise of the matriarch Doña Ramona, or Tita Moning as some call her, that made those parties memorable. And when Tita Moning died in 1999, the idea soon grew among her children and grandchildren of turning the house into a dining place, or as the heirs call it, “a dining experience.” Thus was born the La Cocina De Tita Moning.

Being a “dining experience” more than being a regular restaurant, dining out here requires a prior reservation. Another alternative to have that La Cocina experience is to join Ivan Man Dy’s San Miguel tour which include a merienda at La Cocina’s lovely patio.

Much of the items here in the house has been kept the way they are: the furniture, books, the medical equipment used by the patriarch Don Alejandro, even photography and radio equipment. (the patriarch’s hobbies) Old appliances, photos and antique paintings adore the house.

Not to mention some souvenirs you can take home with.

There are a couple of dining areas inside the house, bearing the same classic ambience as the rest of the house.

As for the food, of course we all have different tastes, so you don’t have to take my word for it. But I have to say their pancit bihon and chicken galantina (AKA rellenong manok) is good, which I was able to try as part of Ivan Man Dy’s San Miguel tour.

pancit bihon and chicken galantina

Did I mention the food goes well with a shot of San Miguel Beer. (after all it was a San Miguel tour: the district and the beer named after it)


So if you’re in the mood for a different dining experience, I would recommend you try La Cocina De Tita Moning and walk back in time to those olden times in our beloved city. For more details and reservations, you can visit their website at

Again my thanks to Ivan Man Dy for his “Power, Palace, and a Shot of Beer” tour around historic San Miguel district (which includes Malacañang) for the opportunity to dine in a place I would not be able to dine in, hehe. You can join Mr. Man Dy’s San Miguel tour as an alternative to get the chance to have that unique dining experience at La Cocina. Just visit his site at

© The Urban Roamer

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