One of the things that I really miss in Katipunan is the variety of food choices just outside Ateneo. Craving for some Japanese, Mexican, Italian or Persian cuisine? Can't decide whether you'd like to eat in a fatty sisig diner or a gourmet dessert shop? Like SM Supermalls, they've got it all for you!
As far as I remember, there are at least seven coffee shops - three of them are Starbucks - in Katipunan. One of them is Cafe Xocolat which tops my number one comfort place around Metro Manila. Let me site the reasons why:
The Ambiance. Entering Xocolat is like visiting an old friend's house. The outside is lighted by colorful vintage lamps and when you walk in, there's nothing of that standardized seating arrangement you see in most restaurant these days. There's a very personal touch to the furniture evident in the chairs and tables in varied colors and shapes.You'll also see interesting pieces from specially customized paddles to vintage puppets hanging in just one corner waiting to scare an unsuspecting victim. There's also a bookshelf, though I haven't tried asking the people there if I can borrow their books.
The Food. And it's price! It's hard to find a restaurant these days that offers home made quality meals without having an expensive price tag. What makes food in Xocolat stand out? Chocolate. I've heard that all of their meals have at least one chocolate ingredient in it - from pasta to your favorite creamy dory! And when you visit there, don't forget to order Xocolat Chicken Pasta partnered with Tablea de Xocolat - instant classic!
The Crowd. I don't know about you, but when I visit malls, restaurants or any other public places, I consider the people who also go there. The crowd in Xocolat are very relaxed. There's really no solid age block because you'll see students, yuppies and old folks everywhere. What makes them stay there is the atmosphere that's very conducive for long conversations. These are people who just want to sneak away from the noisy highly commercial city and experience something personal.
Wherever you look, Xocolat gives you that extra special personal touch we find so rarely among other public places around the Metro - from the ambiance, to the food and people around you. It's the place where I go if I need to finish and good book, or where I bring my friends to talk about the most random things. Maybe the magic behind Xocolat is that even if it's your first time there, you'll feel immediately welcome to the place - you don't need to adjust, you just have to be yourself.