Isabelo Garden Restaurant

San Roque, Marikina

11 Isabelo Mendoza St., San Roque, Marikina, Metro Manila, Philippines

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Everyone has a dream.

For me, it was to run my own restaurant. I started my professional career in the mighty corporate world of advertising. For a few years, I invested my time and energy into it – even putting up and running my own ad agencies with the help of some partners. The business thrived but I realized the calling for my other passion was too strong to ignore. In fact, it runs in my blood – so surely I could not escape it.

I grew up watching my grandma Felicitas Dee, or Lola Chit to her fondest friends and family, cook up a great menu for everyone to enjoy. Lola Chit had a passion for good food. She certainly loved entertaining guests, whipping up her own signature recipes, making sure all are part of the celebration. She became known in Marikina for her warm hospitality and mouth-watering cuisine.

To this day, Lola Chit remains to be an inspiration to me and the rest of the Dees – leaving the legacy of love for cooking and entertaining, whether it be for family, friends or guests who come to our home.Just a few months back, my mom and business partner Stephanie Dee-Baluyut made this family legacy live on while helping me make my dream come true.Being an artist, my mom was inspired by the idea of putting up an artsy, rustic-style restaurant within our family compound – just like the way Lola Chit welcomed guests in our home. It was perfect. The Dee compound had the makings of a beautiful “one-with-nature” outdoor café, with its decades-old trees standing proudly on the ancestral grounds, the sprawling vines and the cool breeze naturally setting the rustic mood of the place.
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