We were at C&B Mall in Marikina Heights one morning and were looking for a good place to have lunch. We spotted Antonio J and decided to eat there.
The place had good air conditioning, was well lighted, and although the space was quite small, the dining area was comfortable. The wooden furnishing and the vintage pictures added to the homey appeal of the place.
We tried two of their bestsellers: the Baby Back Ribs and Bagnet Sweetened Kare-Kare.
The Baby Back Ribs (Php 275): tender and moist baby back ribs flavored with a tangy and spicy sauce, served with turmeric rice and vegetables (side salad, carrot and jicama sticks). The meat was juicy. The sauce had the right sharpness and saltiness. It had no hint of sweetness (which Filipinos might not like). The rice complemented the taste of the sauce. The side salad was served with a dollop of Caesar salad dressing that had the authentic egg flavor and anchovy saltiness.
The Bagnet Sweetened Kare-Kare (Php 175): fried bagnet, vegetables (eggplant, puso ng saging, string beans), both smothered with a meat-and-peanut based sauce. The bagnet was seasoned and fried perfectly. The skin was crispy. The meat though was too fatty. The vegetables were fresh and retained their natural tastes. The sauce was sweeter than that of the usual kare-kare because of the extra sweet peanut butter. This extra sweetness mixed well with the saltiness of the pork.
For dessert, we had the Wicked Oreos (Php 95): deep-fried Oreo cookies coated with batter, served with vanilla ice cream and strawberry sauce. The batter tasted like doughnut. The ice cream was smooth and not too sweet. The strawberry sauce ruined the treat a little because of its artificial flavor.
Waiting time for the food was acceptable. And our servers were attentive and knowledgeable about the food and the history of the restaurant.
Based on our experience, we would definitely come back to Antonio J to have some more delicious food.
Antonio J is at the C&B Mall Annex, Liwasang Kalayaan St., Marikina Heights, Marikina City.