My type of quaint haunt - Cantina Sicilianita

Friday, April 12, 2013

Tucked in an obscure building along Shaw Boulevard, Nix and I headed to Cantina Sicilianita in Facilities Building for our lunch date. Thing is, it’s rather easy to get to the restaurant, it was just tricky because even though I lived along Shaw most of my life, I didn’t know where Facilities Building was located. I don’t remember seeing that building name. If directions I saw online just said “Babyland”, I would know it instantly.

Anyway back to the restaurant. It’s owned by the same family behind Rex Bookstore which explains why the restaurant shares the space with the bookstore. We had lunch on a weekday and we didn’t have a problem getting seats. Cantina Sicilianita seats 20-25 people so if you have plans of going on a weekend and will be coming far from Mandaluyong, I suggest making a reservation.

Why the attraction to Cantina Sicilianita? Terrific food. I read good reviews about the place and was ecstatic to try it for myself. I visited during lent which meant no beef and pork for me. When I asked Mark Buhain, the owner, what they were known for he said one word that made me sad, meat. Ahk! There were 3 meat dishes I had my eyes on. That only meant one thing, I needed to go back. The Chicken Cacciatore was my hands down choice for this lunch date but it was unavailable. Boo….. 

Smoked Salmon Sandwich with Pumpkin and Cashew Soup (P170)
I was ravenous so I ordered this to share with Nix on top of my pasta. The hearty soup had a hint of heat which worked splendidly. The sandwich was a tad on the sweet side which isn’t my favorite way of preparing salmon.

Pesto Siciliano (P150)
A different take on the heavenly herbaceous concoction with the addition of fresh tomatoes to basil, garlic, cashew, pine nuts and olive oil. Just how the Sicilians love it.
A simple dish packed with uncomplicated flavor. The pesto overpowered the dish in a good way but I would have loved the dish more if it had protein in it.

Pasta Alla Norma (P140)
Named after the famous opera “Norma” by Vincenzo Bellini, this Italian classic is made of penne pasta, roasted eggplants, slow stewed tomatoes, fresh basil and ricotta cheese.
There’s only one way I like my eggplant, parmigiana style. Now, I can add another way I love eggplant – alla Norma. I adored this vegetable dish as if it were made of meat. 

Cannoli (P140)
I’ve never had cannoli thus I had nothing to compare it to. I would have to say, I enjoyed this first. 

Café Bombom (P65)
A piping hot, rich dark coffee with condensed milk reminiscent of my favorite Vietnamese coffee was compliments of the owner. It matched well with our dessert but deserves praises for its own merit. The bitterness of the coffee kicking with the sweet condensed milk was heavenly and effective. I had trouble sleeping that night but still loved it nonetheless. I am not the biggest coffee junkie but the Café Bombom has found a place in my heart.

The restaurant serves single serving portions so gauge your level of hunger to match the amount of food you order. Dishes are priced fairly considering the portions and quality of food. Nix and I probably spent a good 4 hours catching up and we never felt like we overstayed our welcome. 

I don’t know how the place looks at night but it exudes a wonderful charm during the day when the rays of the sun peer in. Cantina Sicilianita is one of my favorite discoveries for 2013 right next to I love you for being near me and for being amazing without pretentiousness. I will be back over and over again. I can’t wait to try your meat dishes soon!

Cantina Sicilianita
Facilities Center Building, 548 Shaw Boulevard, Mandaluyong City
(Your main landmark is Babyland, they're housed in the same building. Facilities Center is sandwiched between Governor's Place and Palladium)

Hola! Thank you for passing by and checking up on me. Get my blog posts straight to your email by subscribing to the newsletter here. Never miss an article again, booyah! Gracias!

You Might Also Like


  1. Thanks for dropping by :) Hope to see you again soon.... I will definitely add more special dishes in a few weeks...

  2. Hi Mark, I've since come back since the first visit. Looking forward to returning again. =)


Add me on Facebook