"Remember that the most valuable antiques are dear old friends."
- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
Amidst the chaotic, busy streets of Malate, there remains a gem of a place where time stood still and Rock 'n Roll Legend Elvis Presley still lives. It is a favorite café of mine named La Scala.
It was a few years back the last time I dined here with friends and colleagues, and I’ve noticed some things have changed or were gone already… like the life-size Spiderman welcoming the diners, the Superman bust by the beer counter, and the beautiful Orchestra Room, where we used to dine like one big happy family. It must have been the fire in 2014 that almost ravaged this place, which brought about the new look (thank God the café did not permanently close but instead got a wonderful restoration!). Despite the changes, I could still feel the air of nostalgia and that “walk down memory lane” shiver, when I walked in.
The café was a former family residence of Chinese businessman Crispin Go. It was named after the grocery store of his father, which used to occupy the same space in the1950s. It was in turn named after the famed 200-year old Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Italy.
The café serves as a mini-museum of the collectibles amassed by Go for more than four decades since he started collecting during his younger years.
LP vinyl records which include some of my favorite classics like The Graduate, Superman, Pretty Woman, The Bodyguard, and Love Story, adorn the walls. Every now and then, music of celebrity artists from the golden era like Elvis Presley, Cliff Richard, Frank Sinatra, Paul Anka, Johnny Mathis, and even locals like Pilita Corales, Sharon Cuneta and Lea Salonga plays in the background. I was happy to hear again “Maybe You Should Know” by Kenny Rogers being included in the playlist.
Go is obviously an Elvis die-hard.
And perhaps Marilyn Monroe too.
His other treasures are the Wurlitzer 1015 Jukebox, gramophone, Remington manual typewriter, Hollywood movie posters, miniature Coca-Cola bottles, comic books, superhero toys and figurines.
There’s a corner dedicated to his late granddaughter Caitlin Soleil Lucas popularly known as “Courageous Caitie”, whose inspiring story touched the lives of many. She was only 3 years old when she lost her battle to a rare blood disease called Juvenile Myelomonocytic Leukemia.
As expected, food is superb, especially the paella.
Shrimp pomelo salad
While La Scala is known for its café, it also offers a sentimental get-away for families and friends who want to stay the night. It’s simply an ideal location, considering that La Scala is located at the heart of Manila, very near the mall and well-known hotels in Malate.
Being at La Scala makes me feel nostalgic.
Although I’m no longer a past dweller. And I’ve decided to always move ahead.
La Scala Café and Residences
#711 M. Adriatico St.
Tel. No.: 243-1771