I have considered Tacloban City as my fourth home. The six months that I have stayed there for a temporary work assignment were made awesome by the local food places that I have visited, and one of which is Cafe Lucia. It is a chill place you can stay in, whether you feel like introverting so hard and be by yourself, or maybe, you want to catch up with old friends or socialize and meet new people.
About Cafe Lucia
Cafe Lucia was found by brothers Jason and Mark on December 28, 2008. Jason was in charge of the kitchen since he’s a graduate of a culinary school in Manila and worked as a barista for the very first Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf in Glorieta. They started as a typical coffee shop offering hot and cold coffee drinks, cakes, sandwiches, and pasta, and after talking with their friends and family, the majority suggested that they offer rice meals as well. So for the next couple of months, they played with the menu and, eventually, found a balance between what their regulars wanted and what they could offer. Their carborana, spicy sausage pasta, and baby back ribs became their best sellers.
When Yolanda (Typhoon Haiyan) came, the cafe was completely destroyed, and it took them more than a year to reopen. Since their reopening on November 18, 2014, business has been steadily growing. Although they are considered as a “second wave” coffee shop (similar to a major coffee franchise on what they offer), they differentiate themselves by being unique in their ambiance, food pairings, and by supporting local artists to provide them with a place where they can showcase their artwork and crafts. In doing so, Jason and Mark created a niche that no other cafe in the city can offer.
Location and Ambience: 9/10
The store is located along Real Street in Sagkahan, Tacloban City. It is very accessible from the downtown area or from Marasbaras, where Robinsons Place is located. Being along the road, it can easily be seen from both sides of the streets.
Now let us talk about what makes the place unique. Cafe Lucia faces the ocean, and they have this “broken fourth wall,” allows customers to enjoy the view. Whether you are inside or decide to sit outside, you can see enjoy the sunset and the golden sea.
The interior of the place is decorated by local art exhibit: from the walls to the doors. Their exhibit changes from time to time to showcase more local artists’ works.
Food Selection and Price: 8/10
There are plenty of drinks and food to choose from in the store. They offer coffee, tea, and alcohol. They have burgers, pasta, rice meals, meat, cookies and other pastries as well (one that caught my attention was the pastillas rose). Their product price range from 85.00 PHP to 230.00 PHP, which is not bad.
Service Quality: 9/10
I went there on a payday Friday night, and needless to say that there were a lot of regulars. Despite that, the servers were smiling all the time, and none of them acted irate at all; they were all very friendly and polite. They helped me decide which one to get by patiently explaining each choice—what they are, what they are made of, and how different they are from one another. My order was served within ten minutes—an amazing speed given the number of pending orders they took before mine. They also bus the tables really quick after their regulars leave to give room to the ones waiting.
Food Quality and Quantity: 7/10
I am a fan of Irish cream based coffee, and the closest that I found in the story was the Irish Cream Latte. And since I felt a little bit adventurous that night, I decided to pair it with their bestseller spicy sausage pasta. The coffee flavor was amazing; just as how I imagined an Irish cream latte would be. The pasta? The flavor was superb! The mix of salty and spicy flavour was ecstatic for me (since I live salty and spicy at the same time), with a little hint of sweetness to tickle that Filipino sweet tooth. Now why am I giving it a seven?
The coffee’s serving size was a bit too small for its price, and the same goes with the pasta. Aside from that, some parts of the pasta were a little bit overcooked, and the sausages were too soft (I am not sure whether it was the sausage quality itself or it was overcooked as well). Its texture was rather different from the usual sausages used in pasta. I understand that there were a lot of people when I visited; at the same time, that should not be a reason to compromise the quality of their products. Flavor-wise, Cafe Lucia offers great food; at the same time, their serving size could be better.
Overall Review: 8/10
My experience with Cafe Lucia was a good one, and I will always go back to them given the chance. Their unique interior concept and the view that it offers are just two of the reasons for my revisit. At the same time, I want try all their best sellers since their spicy sausage pasta piqued my interest. Given their location, their food selection, and service quality, they are definitely a Tacloban must-try!