CANTINA SICILIANITA – A Taste of Sicily in Manila?


Cantina Sicilianita is a quaint Italian cafe inspired by Mark Buhain’s travels to Sicily in Italy. All we know about Sicily is that it is the place of the Mafia and only the adventurous tourists choose to explore the island.

Mark, a 3rd-generation family member of the Rex Bookstore empire, was so impressed with Sicily specially its food that he decided to bring Sicily flavors to Manila and share it with foodies.

It’s a promising Cafe, and check it out when you are in the Shaw Blvd. area.

It’s very difficult to see the Cantina Sicilianita signage because it is “overshadowed” by the Rex Bookstore banner. 

CANTINA SICILIANITA: Antipasti/Appetizers, Insalata/ Salad, Panini | Pasta, Dolci | Drinks

The Cafe features the sights and flavors of Sicily with 5 specially designed tile-glass tables.  

The Cafe took over the front area of the Rex Bookstore pushing the store at the back.

Here’s a good infographic map on what the sights and flavors of the island of Sicily are:


Sicily is known for its Blood Orange Trees so make sure to order this drink.

Polpette Al Sugo (P150). Lip-smacking traditional Sicilian meatballs topped with thick tomato sauce and special spices.

I like its home-made taste using their own special spices. Order this for appetizer. 

GAMBERETTI FRA DIAVOLO (Spicy Shrimp Linguine) (P175). Fresh spicy shrimps marinated with the Godfather’s secret recipe. Tossed in linguine pasta with red wine.

They are best known for their pastas with recipes Mark learned from his Sicily trip. The serving is small, just good for one, and not intended to be shared. 

PENNE AL’ARRABIATA (P150). From the Italian word “arrabbiato” meaning angry. The pasta gets its name from its spicy sauce made from garlic, tomatoes, and red chili peppers cooked in olive oil.

I tried the Penne with red sauce and I like my pasta – spicy. The pasta was cooked al dente and the flavors are just light with good tomato sauce and spices. Ask for extra parmesan cheese.

VONGOLE CON POMODORINI (Clams with Cherry Tomato) (P150). A traditional Neapolitan dish with cherry tomatoes, white wine, garlic, clams, and parsley sauteed in olive oil.

Hannah ordered this and most of the pasta looked good with fresh ingredients, tomato and good quality pasta.

If you are looking for something uniquely Sicilian, order the Pesto Siciliano because their pesto version usually comes with tomato sauce.

SMOKED SALMON w/ Salad Portion (P140). Our take on the classic combination of smoked salmon, cream cheese, capers and dil.

You can also order Panini which is good as an alternative option. I do wish they have more lunch dishes and serve it family style – good for sharing.

CANNOLI with CAFFE AMERICANO COMBO (P115). Sicilian delicacy is meant to be enjoyed with freshly roasted coffee.

For dessert, don’t miss to order the Cannoli made from cream cheese with pistachio bits on the outside. Mark said this can beat the taste of Nolita and My Kitchen’s Cannoli versions.

Limoncello Shot (P50).

To end the meal, Mark gave us a shot of his home-made limoncello as a good digestive!

Mark is also proud of his freshly roasted arabica coffee letting us smell how good it is. Thanks to my foodie friends, Tina and Hannah, for choosing a nice restaurant for our meeting.

Overall, I like the concept and its Sicily-inspired food by a passionate cook. The location is not ideal but if it keeps the rental cost low then it is okay. The pasta, coffee, cannolli and limoncello are very good.

Mark should integrate the Rex Bookstore and Cafe rather than separate it. Also, the menu needs to be expanded to include other Sicilian-inspired entrees and the serving sizes should be bigger so that they can be shared. 

Unit N, Facilities Center Building, 548 Shaw Boulevard, Mandaluyong City
Telephone: +632 570-2905 
Facebook: Cantina Sicilianita
Operating Hours: Mondays – Saturdays: 10:00 am – 9:00 pm
Note: Credit Cards are now accepted 

Related Blog Post: Between BitesCantina Sicilianita

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Full Disclosure: We paid for our meals. I wrote this blog post myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I have no business relationship with any company mentioned in this post or any organization promoting it. As a policy, I don’t receive compensation from food and travel places we feature in the blog. 

P.S. It’s located in the building where Babyland is along Shaw near the Summit building.


5 thoughts on “CANTINA SICILIANITA – A Taste of Sicily in Manila?

  1. The prices are so cheap for 2013 standards. If the prices are this low, I’d rather spend it here than at a fastfood joint. At least I know in this resto the food is less processed. 😀
    – Ray

  2. Was here last week, more food items have been added! Check out the chalkboard for the week’s specials. 🙂 Good job, Mark. Keep it up! Hurray for Cantina Sicilianita. 🙂

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