Galilea Cafe and Restaurant: The Hidden Treasure along the Highway
Galilea Cafe and Restaurant is well worth the detour on your long trip along Halsema Highway. Have you ever eyed a place whenever you walked or drove by it oftentimes and always wondered what it was all about but never really had the “time” to go in and see it? Well, I listened to my intuition this time and finally gave in to visit Café Galilea and Restaurant, and thank goodness I did. It is located along the highway of Caliking, Atok, Benguet, where people would usually drive by on the way to the higher part of Atok, Benguet.
Galilea Cafe and Restaurant
Since we were stuck in traffic that day, we had the overwhelming urge to find someplace away from the City and La Trinidad so we decided to send them a message via Facebook to ask if they’re open. Lucky enough, they answered and were very accommodating to our queries. They also took our orders in advance with the understanding that we were very much hungry being stuck bumper-to-bumper.
Since we came in for a late lunch, there were not many people which allowed us to take pictures and explore the area. When walking in, the ambiance felt very relaxing and peaceful. Although we sat outside with the view of the highway and overlooking the mountains, I was able to get a sneak peek of the interior, which looked very simple and had an indigenous kick to it due to the wooden benches, walls, and creaking floors. It included minimal decorations as well as a calming stone fireplace where people can sit around it and have conversations. It had a warm atmosphere overall. When we sat down, the staff greeted us with our menus and I noticed there happened to be only a few of them that day.
What surprised me was the fact that sure enough, the food that we preordered came just as quickly as we sat down, which is something I would consider a plus in terms of their service. They were also very accommodating as they would check up on us and serve us our needs right away.
Galilea Cafe and Restaurant Food
As an appetizer, we were given the egg soup, which was a great way to warm up since the area was pretty chilly at the time of December. The soup also tasted great with the red rice that we had. And yes, it wasn’t white rice which was something different and a nice change. The red rice had a distinct taste, unlike white rice. It actually got me thinking of maybe alternating my white rice to this on a day-to-day basis.
Along came the Chinese Pakbet. This isn’t your normal pinakbet made of assorted vegetables. This dish is comprised mainly of sauteed eggplant, onions, chili, and minced meat. This dish is good for two people. I really liked how chewy each bite was, making me really appreciate every taste. The eggplant had a rich and mild flavor, while the chili gave it a good amount of spice at the same time. Although the minced meat was a good addition to the chewiness, the vegetables alone intensified the flavor of the whole dish.
Another viand that we ordered was the Sizzling Pusit and was served on a sizzling plate. This dish is also good for two people and consisted of sauteed onions, green and red peppers, minimal sweet sauce, and of course the star of the show, the squid. Now, have you ever tried something and expected the outcome to be exactly that, but in a disappointing way? Well, the squid did the opposite of that! I expected the squid to be overcooked because squid can be easily overdone but to my surprise, it was not rubbery where it took forever to chew but it was so tender that I can taste the sweetness of the sauce seeped into it with every bite.
The sauce gave the same effect as the vegetables however, the vegetables stayed quite crunchy still so it was the perfect mix with the tender squid. I just loved how the whole dish overall stayed succulent and full of flavor.
The main dish that we were all so eager to try was one that we kept hearing about from our friends so we decided to taste and see for ourselves. The Manok Kinulob is one of the many reasons why people make a stop at this place. It is a charcoal-roasted chicken stuffed with arroz valenciana. Galilea uses an enclosed, thus the name kinulob, oven-like equipment to roast their chicken which I think is very clever knowing that they give full attention to making their food in a clean setting even though customers may not really think about how it would be made.
The dish was served with onion rings, savored with chopped carrots and their special ginger sauce, which was quite sweet and complimented the whole chicken very well. As many of my friends know, I’m one big chicken lover and I must say that this was an extraordinary one, something I will never forget. As the chicken absorbed the ginger sauce, it gave it so much flavor making the inside very juicy while at the same time, the outside stayed crispy. It was the perfect balance of softness and crunchiness. I had to cherish every bite because it was phenomenal! I can see why many people would stop at this place just to have this particular dish.
Now, what is the point of visiting a café without having some coffee? There were plenty of choices of coffee drinks but we got arabica, brewed black coffee. It was served in mugs I did not expect to be quite big but I can’t complain, it was perfect for the cold weather. I liked the fact that there came a cute tub of brown sugar on the side because it allowed me to put as much as I want since I like my coffee sweet at times, depending on how I feel, really. A small cup of milk also came on the side.
I did not expect my late lunch to be this fulfilling! From the relaxing aura to the services provided. I loved how affordable all the meals were which ranges from 120php to 350php and served us a reasonable amount of portion. I’m grateful that I listened to my intuition to finally try this restaurant out because I do not regret anything about it. It’s like finding a hidden treasure that I will keep coming back for! This would certainly be a great rest stop from a long drive along the highway as well.
Galilea Cafe and Restaurant Location
- Address: Galilea Cafe and Restaurant is located at Km22, Atok, Benguet
- Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday 7:00 AM–8:30PM
- Facebook Page
- Contact Number: 0917 118 1233