The Poblacion neighborhood is filled with the burgeoning food scene and grungy bars where the crowd is rowdy and the ambiance is gritty. This neighbourhood is humid, has sketchy roads, and close to one to none parking space. A whole new dining world resurgence comes strongly into play and their playground is Poblacion. Amongst these numerous concepts, one interesting European bistro caught our attention- this Spanish-Italian restaurant called La Collina. Where both food and ambiance is KING. The kind of space that Poblacion needs to have that counterbalance.
La Collina is both Italian and Spanish, which means “The Hill”. The owner, Anita Celdran shared with us that originally they were opting to open in Tagaytay City, but due to unforeseen delays, she decided that put up the restaurant in Poblacion Makati and thank heavens she did.
A Beautiful Space
La Collina resurrected an old dormitory house and injected a whole new life into it.
Drive towards the upper west side of Brgy. Poblacion area where Siargao famous- Kermit Pizza is its neighbor alongside Chuck’s Deli and this beautifully revamped house turned into an oasis. Elegant, posh, and yet welcoming. The perfect counterbalance by B&C Design.
We went up to the 2nd floor and we were amazed by how open and beautiful everything is. Solid wood furniture, rattan lighting fixtures from Bicol, and lots of greenery both inside and out.
The spacious second floor is bright and airy thanks to large windows.
Slow Food Movement
La Collina is driven by its owner’s vision and passion for the environment. They practice the Slow Food adaptation by which in its very essence getting ingredients as a close radius from the restaurant as much as possible. Thus, a low carbon footprint impact and they get the freshest ingredients possible. Where it is sourced and how our food choices affect the world around us.
Celdran shares that cooking has always been her passion, even as she worked in environmental research. She shares her love for cooking and how the Celdran household would always be surrounded by Spanish-Italian food. She’s been exposed and has been re-creating the family recipe for years and she knew that one day she’d be putting up her own restaurant.
Spanish and Italian food is very festive in every sense and is engineered to be shared amongst loved ones. Plates that are star flavor-packed, salty ingredients, thanks to frequent cameos of umami-rich anchovies, piquant cheeses, and the nutty salinity of jamóns.
Start your meal with a glass of their Red or White Sangria. Mind these glasses as these sangrias are actually pretty strong.
Fritto Misto (450php)
The name of the dish roughly translates as; “Mixed Fry”, by which encompasses all sorts of frying sweetbreads, meats, and vegetables. La Collina’s version is the Venetian style of just using seafood. Lightly battered Frutti di mare – “Fruits of the Sea”. Lightly battered and you can taste how fresh these seafood assortments are. A squeeze of lemon juice, but it’s also wonderful with tartar sauce.
Arancina (350php). Risotto balls with mozzarella
A classic Sicilian snack. Arancini are a necessity for all good Sicilian cafés in Italy. Savory risotto stuffed with melted mozzarella cheese.
Cochinillo Black Pig-roast suckling pig ( price varies)
Organic and naturally raised black native pig from Sambali Beach Farm in Botolan, Zambales. All livestock from the farm is naturally raised and fed with natural food and other supplements. Wood vinegar products are also applied to the livestock to ensure that their pens are clean and without any pest. Learn more about Sambali with Hertz PH Travel Guide.
The act of cutting through the meat of the roast with a plate instead of a knife is meant to illustrate just how crispy the skin is and just how soft the meat is inside. The meat is so tender, juicy, smokey, and because it came from an organic farm.
Fabada Asturiana (320php)
This is comfort food in a bow. Rich Spanish bean stew with assortments of hams and chorizo.
A heritage recipe of the Celdran Family using Jamon Serrano from Pamplona and secret ingredients which made it stand out compared to other Fabadas.
Hearty, satisfying, and hits the right spot. The buttery, smooth beans have an uncanny ability to absorb the flavors brought in by the chorizo and sausages.
Blue Crab Ravioli with Picant Cherry Tomatoes (495php)
First, we noticed that La Collina’s ravioli is tender and delicate. These pillows of pasta perfectly pocket the fresh and sweet blue crabs. This pasta dish is truly stellar in every aspect. It’s drizzled with a light butter sage sauce. We wouldn’t mind ordering our second plate.
Linguini Vongole (380php)
Lightly crushed tomatoes and simmered in white wine, fresh Manila clams are added to its pan, then flavors are broken down to release each elements profile to the sauce. The pasta is al dente and the overall dish is so vibrant.
Paella Mixta (4 pax – 2,000php)
Creme Catalan with Strawberry Topping (230php)
A Spanish meal is not complete without crema Catalana to clean the palate and end on a sweet note.
The people behind La Collina radiates how passionate they are in advocating the Slow Food Movement, ensuring that every ingredient they use are sourced nearby. They are also thoughtful in every sense that each element used to build the restaurant from the tables, chandeliers, and even the coasters are all sourced locally from different provinces or cooperatives.
The next time you’re in the Poblacion neighbourhood look for that bright La Collina on quiet Molina Street. Eat well and be merry!
LA COLLINA RESTAURANT & BAR
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- Zomato Reviewer Profile
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