Monday, March 03, 2008

Davao Food Trip: Cafe Vivere

Monday last week, I got a call from Ria asking me if I wanted to sub for their by invitation-only segment of the Davao Food Trip at Cafe Vivere. Would I? Of course! Free food is free food, after all; but more than that, I so enjoyed my last visit to Cafe Vivere for the speed dating thang that I was raring to go for a second visit.

Now I am writing this almost a full week after we partook of the sumptuous lunch there; but I think I made up for this delay by taking my date for dinner there last Saturday. No endorsement like a returning customer, I say!

What immediately impresses me about Cafe Vivere is how they've managed to maximize the small space and still come out both classy and comfortable. Cafe Vivere's design is a split-level affair, with a combined counter and lounge area on the ground floor and a more intimate lounge on a floating balcony. The tables are a tad small, but they can be easily rearranged to accommodate larger groups. There are also comfortable sofas both on the ground floor and on the balcony. Cafe Vivere's motifs run towards dark chocolatey brown, suggesting a more mature ambience; the light country touches -- flowered tiles, small picture frames -- lend a homey atmosphere.

On our Tuesday visit, proprietress and chief chef Mauwi gave us the full treatment. We had a combination of pasta and rice entre├ęs, preceded by a serving of garlic bread slices with vegetable spreads. There were six dishes all in all which we split up among ourselves, tempered by a bit of the obligatory Filipino slice-and-share.

I had the chicken parmigiana with fettucine. The pasta was just right, but the chicken? Muy excellente! Cafe Vivere did not scrimp on the cheese at all. It was real parmesan, and it was slathered all over the chicken thigh portion. The white pasta sauce accented the flavor of the perfectly-cooked chicken.

I also had a bit of the baked pork spareribs. Mauwi told us that it took they would bake the spareribs for a quarter hour to make sure that it came out really tender. Top that with her special secret sauce, and mm-mmm-mmmm! I just had to try it in full, so that was what I ordered on my return visit last weekend.

A new dish, too, last Saturday. My date ordered the bacon wrapped chicken (again with fettucine), and she graciously cut me half of the piece. Again, another hit! Tender, fragrant, and cooked just right!

Really, this is what works about Cafe Vivere: they don't scrimp on the ingredients, the presentation is classy, somehow they manage to bring the food out quickly, and yet it's cooked just right. Plus the fact that Mauwi is such a gracious host and will chat you up to make sure everything is all right.

I'll be back for more!


  1. Uyyy... date. Hehe! I looove Caffe Vivere. :)

  2. thanks for the great review & the continued patronage:)

  3. Hello! Caffe Vivere has been relaunched.. Relaunched talaga ang term ko kasi it's under new management.. Visit kau dun! (--,)