Opening Hours: Monday to Thursday (10:00 A.M. – 9:00 P.M.), Friday to Saturday (10:00 A.M. – 10:00 P.M.) and Sunday (10:00 A.M. – 9:00 P.M.)
Phone Number: (+63 2) 752-7330
When you look at a Figaro branch, "Filipino" isn't a word that immediately comes to mind. After all, the name comes from the main character of an Italian opera called Il barbiere di Siviglia, ossia L'inutile precauzione ("The Barber of Seville, or The Futile Precaution"). It seems highly unlikely that a Filipino owner — if, indeed, the owner is Filipino — would come up with such a name.
Nonetheless, Figaro is a Filipino coffee shop through-and-through. Founded in November 1993 by Pacita "Chit" Juan, Reena S. Francisco and five other friends, Figaro was meant to be "a café where (people) could lounge and entertain friends and business associates – an Outlet that can fulfill their demanding taste for great coffee, delicious pastries and excellent service." Indeed, that's what Figaro is — and more.
Since Figaro first opened in Glorietta (then known as "Makati Mall"), it's only fitting that we base this review on that premier branch. The place is easy to spot, as it's on the intersection of the Glorietta 3 entrance (from Ayala Avenue) and the rest of the Glorietta Complex.
Once you get to it, you'll notice that — barring the chairs and tables outside — the place is rather small. But don't let that fool you: Figaro strives to be as homey for coffee lovers as possible. It has a warm, well-lit interior, so if you're lucky enough to get a seat inside, you'll want to do so.
Also, like most coffee shops, Figaro has stacks of "readables" on the side — ranging from periodicals like The Manila Bulletin, to light fare like Candy Magazine. No matter what kind of reader you are, you're bound to find something that interests you.
The moment you enter the shop, the servers will greet you with a hearty "Welcome to Figaro!" If you're a foreigner, they'll speak to you in fluent English; if you're Filipino, they'll also speak to you in the national language. As you can see, Figaro is reflective of Philippine restaurant/outlet culture in general.
Unlike a certain other coffee shop, however, you won't be asked for your name. Instead, you'll be given a number to designate which customer you are, and what order should be served to you. This may seem like an impersonal touch for certain coffee junkies, but it suits this writer just fine.
Besides, your orders will be served fast, no matter how many other people are with you. If you need anything else, like an extra glass of water, the servers will be glad to assist you. Granted, you can argue that this kind of service is par-for-the-course in coffee shops, but it's still a nice display of Filipino warmth and hospitality.
Aside from the standard offerings by coffee shops, Figaro is famous for its Café Barako — a variety of coffee grown in provinces like Cavite and Batangas. Like the people who plant and harvest it, "Kapeng Barako" is strong in every sense of the word. You have to try it to believe it!
Fortunately, if you have a coffee maker at home, you can make Figaro's famous beverages from it. Just purchase one of the packs of coffee beans sold in every Figaro outlet, and you're done. It's as easy as that.
You might be asking: "Well, are Figaro's products any good in the first place?" To answer that question, this writer tried out a couple of products from the coffee outlet (or, rather, "coffee company," as the founders would prefer it).
First up is the Café Latte pictured above. Priced at Php100, this beverage is topped with a piece of art so quirky, you'd almost be disappointed to ruin it. The coffee that comes with it is great too: It's neither too bitter nor too strong, which makes it perfect for days when you just want to lounge around.
To balance out the acidic feel of coffee in the stomach, this writer ordered one Fruit Loaf Mini for Php70.
Actually, "Fruit Loaf Mini" is simply a fancy name for "small slice of fruit cake." Not that it's a bad thing: This fruit cake thankfully did not taste as though it's been in storage for at least 10 years; in fact, it tasted like it was fresh off the oven. Also, it was nice and sweet without being crumbly, which is exactly what you'd expect from a well-made fruit cake.
With all the coffee shops popping up lately, you'd think Figaro would get lost in all the noise. However, it's arguably a classic brand that will stand the test of time. We hope we're right, because we give this café a 8.5/10.