Binondo maybe the last place to think of as grand. Busy, crowded, colorful, vivacious . . . but not grand. So seeing this old, colonial-era building turned to this cafe called 1919 Grand Cafe was a surprise . . . at least for a first-timer like me.
For Rizal travelers, ride a PUJ or a PUV going to LRT-2 station. Go down at Recto (last stop). Ride a jeep going to Divisoria and tell the driver to drop you off near Binondo Chinatown Arch (or “arko”). Walk along Plaza Cervantes. Use Google maps for your convenience.
The walls were decorated with wine bottles, which made the place look more like a bar than a cafe. The high ceilings and mirrors amplified the whole place, with wonderful chandeliers hanging atop the kitchenette.
The second floor was similar to a regular coffee shop, excluding the rooms that seemed to be for meetings.
My favorite part was the comfort room: cemented, neat, and simple. And for the picky ones, you must not worry—there is a bidet.
While the place may seem majestic, there was not much to explore in terms of food. I ordered their cafe latte and their carbonara, which are “too ordinary” for a cafe as grand as this. Both tasted good, a fair 8/10, but I hope they would consider including more food in their menu that would complement the cafe’s grandeur.
1919 Grand Cafe
11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
117 Juan Luna Street, Binondo, Manila