My trip companions Ruth & Lei were keen on visiting Liliw because they would like to have another bite at Arabela. Being inveterate foodies, the cafe came with their highest recommendations which aroused my gustatory curiosity all the more. For a while, I thought some haughty Italian owned the place. It turned out to be a venture of a Filipino husband and wife team totally devoted to the twin pleasures of cooking and eating.
Arabela is located in the entresuelo (basement) of a three-storey ancestral house. It has a low ceiling that is why if your height reaches past 170 cms, you’d have to stoop down already. Its interiors are best described as bright and eclectic as it is filled with knick knacks and novelty items culled from flea markets and antique furniture shops. Loads of foreign magazines and cookbooks are freely scattered all over the place which led us to presume that you will never be bored while waiting for your food.
Bobby and Tonet Camello are the couple behind Arabela. Asked on why they put up the restaurant, Tonet casually answered “mahilig kasi akong magluto at ang asawa ko naman ay mahilig kumain (I love to cook and my husband likes to eat).” Little did they expect that their hole-in-the-wall would become so successful that they even get offers to franchise from total strangers. On the other hand, this couple’s so nice and simple that they haven’t even thought of making more money, just continuing something they love to do.
This is the reason why I found Arabela’s fare downright cheap by city standards.We ordered the following: chicken parmigiana (P99), parmesan-crusted chicken (P99), the house salad (P78), sirloin steak (P100) and two kinds of pizza which we ordered by the slice. The servings were generous and you can really feel that the lady of the house didn’t scrimp on the ingredients in order to come up with an (almost) authentic Italian taste.
I really liked their kesong puti mini-pizza (P120) which was pita bread generously topped with Laguna cottage cheese, mushrooms, onions, green pepper, and olives.
The other items on the Arabela menu include waffles, tacos, bread and pasta in various kinds of sauces all priced at an unbelievable P50. Their hot drinks include cinnamon mocha, chocolate eggnog and hot cognac chocolate which I definitely have to try next time. A little more talking to the owner and he gave us a free serving of his wife’s fudge walnut brownies, the house specialty.This proved to be a decadent indulgence of caramel, chocolate and nuts, crunchy on the top and chewy to the bite. Muy excelente!
A meal at Arabela makes the long trip to Liliw very much worth it. Arabela is at 503 Rizal St.,Liliw, Laguna. Please call mobile number 09172041447 for inquiries.