The Lib is the study place we wish we had in college

Finally, a study place that has real food


The running joke among its residents is that no restaurant lasts long enough to prove its worth in Katipunan. The same goes for its relatively obscure neighbor Esteban Abada Street, which has seen a number of food joints come and go throughout the years.

What remains of the Katipunan and Abada once-college goers know of, are shops who compromised by splitting its once expansive space with commercial businesses, high-rise residential towers where a once booming business stood, and well, some storied institutions like the Center for Culinary Arts which continue to thrive despite the fast-paced turnovers in the area.

The secret for CCA is the constant reimagining of its spaces which occupy an expansive lot in between Katipunan and Abada. Apart from running a culinary school, the CCA compound also houses its restaurant chain, Cravings and a cafe called The Coffee Beanery.

The Lib has a wide selection of dishes and drinks in their menu, which shouldn’t come as a surprise since it is after all associated with a culinary school

The newest addition to the CCA’s growing business of restaurants, The Lib, however, is one that caters to a younger market, specifically ones who are looking for a place fit for studying and has a good selection of food.

Where The Lib stands now used to be where the CCA Library was once located, thus the name. But more than that, it is also CCA’s answer to the growing demand for food establishments that double as a study place for students and young professionals alike.

Natural light floods through their floor-to-ceiling windows
The Lib is big enough to accommodate more than 50 guests

Boasting of its floor-to-ceiling glass windows and minimalist interiors to match, The Lib can easily fit more than 50 customers in its expansive and well-lit space complete with a mezzanine.

Instead of appropriating what was once a library to culinary students to fit the usual cafe setup, it’s owners, sisters Bea and Pia Trinidad chose to work around it. They retained most of the interiors including a bookshelf that runs the alongside the counter. It is filled with personal favorites from the owners, from self-help books to autobiographies, a wide selection of books in fictions, to a stack of Monocle magazines.

Book selections on display from the owners’ personal collections

But what really stands out from all the Instagram-worthy aspects of The Lib is the wide selection of dishes and drinks in their menu, which shouldn’t come as a surprise since it is after all associated with a culinary school.

Strawberry Beets Smoothie bowl offers a fruity boost to students looking to start their day the healthy way

They have a selection of healthy food options which consists of smoothie bowls, and green salads which are customizable along with their rice bowls, with which you can choose what kind of rice to pair with your chosen meat, sauce and even additional topping to go with your bowl.

Tapa Bulgogi rice bowl is a complete meal by itself with sides such as atsara, nori strips, bean sprouts and cabbage all on top of kimchi rice
Soup & Salad. Mami’s Pork Ramen, side by side with The Crispy Chicken Salad with Sriracha Caesar dressing

If you are the kind who snacks while working or studying, The Lib also offers an assortment of finger foods perfect to munch on while you’re busy or waiting for your mains.

The Lib’s Palabok-flavored Popcorn Chicken comes with an Anatto Mayo and oil dip reminiscent of the bright orange-yellow saucy noodle dish
Ham and Cheese toastie ups your usual sandwich fix by adding a bed of pimiento-like filling that perfectly complements the creamy cheese

According to their servers, the place fills up with patrons at around lunch time and at 4 p.m., when customers prefer to eat a light meal of bread toasts to go with their choice of drinks, coffee, fruit, and milkshakes, or juices. Not that their offerings are specific to a certain time of the day like breakfast. You can have pasta and or noodles, which they have, too, in the middle of the day or early in the morning, their chefs will be just as happy to cook for you.

The Lib also has a dedicated coffee barista. While for their cakes and desserts, they source from the CCA kitchen and bakery which also supplies other restaurants under The Cravings Group.

Since opening their doors roughly two months ago, The Lib has since tweaked their menu and widened their offerings. This includes expanding their amenities to include their rooftop that used to be a bar, aptly named The Rooftop which moved to Antipolo shortly after closing last year.

The second floor is open for private functions, meetings, and workshops

Plans to open the rooftop for events and private functions, as well as a co-working space, are underway. The Lib also has a few events like an outdoor film viewing at the rooftop and photography and art classes, lined up in the coming weeks.

Establishments may come and go around Katipunan and Abada, but innovative spots like The Lib that continue to grow to cater to the needs of the time will always have a place in its ever-changing business landscape.


Read more:

The views and the booze at Katipunan’s first rooftop bar

Co-working spaces where people won’t kick you out for studying

The traveling library is now at the CCP

TAGS: books Center for Culinary Arts co-working space comfort food Esteban Abada St. healthy options katipunan nolisoli eats reading study place The Lib