Dubai’s Afford’aCup Restaurant: A Culinary Haven for Authentic Filipino Cuisine

Surrounded by Dubai’s dynamic culinary landscape, where a fusion of flavors reigns, Afford’aCup Restaurant stands as a beacon of genuine Filipino culinary traditions. Founded in September 2022 by the dynamic quartet of Cris Sotto, Ramona Mariano-Sotto, Aiza Mariano, and Jovito Mariano, Afford’aCup began as a modest kiosk with a big dream: to bring the rich and flavorful Kapampangan cuisine to the vibrant city of Dubai.

Fast forward three years, and Afford’aCup has not only flourished but also earned its place among the Emirates Top 100 Entrepreneurs. With two thriving branches in Manila Building Al Satwa and Muraqqabat Kabayan Night Market, and the anticipation of a new branch opening in Al Nahda Dubai, the restaurant has become a household name within the Filipino community.

“Our aim is to provide a taste of home for our fellow kababayans here in the UAE,” shares Cris Sotto, one of the passionate owners of Afford’aCup. “Seeing the smiles on their faces as they savor our dishes is what drives us every day.”

Afford’aCup’s success stems from its commitment to quality, innovation, and a deep-rooted passion for Filipino cuisine. Despite facing stiff competition in Dubai’s diverse food scene, the restaurant has carved a niche for itself by offering traditional Filipino dishes with a modern twist.

“We wanted to challenge the perception of Filipino cuisine as merely ‘cheap’ or ‘fast’ food,” explains Ramona Mariano-Sotto. “Our goal was to elevate these dishes and showcase the depth and richness of Filipino cooking.”

Indeed, Afford’aCup has become synonymous with excellence in both food and service. The restaurant’s dedication to innovation and technology has allowed it to stay ahead of the curve, constantly adapting to meet the evolving demands of its customers.

“Our commitment to staying at the forefront of our industry has solidified our reputation as a leader in the Filipino food scene in Dubai,” says Aiza Mariano proudly.

However, the journey to success has not been without its challenges. Like many entrepreneurs, the owners of Afford’aCup have faced financial obstacles along the way. Yet, their resilience and determination have seen them through the toughest of times.

“Facing financial challenges is inevitable for any entrepreneur,” acknowledges Jovito Mariano. “But with proper planning, determination, and perseverance, they can be overcome.”

Through hard work and sheer passion, Afford’aCup has achieved numerous milestones, with perhaps the most significant being the sense of community it has fostered among Filipinos in the UAE.

“It brings us so much joy to see the smiling faces of our fellow Filipinos as they enjoy the dishes that remind them of the flavors and comfort of our beloved Philippines,” shares the team.

As they reflect on their entrepreneurial journey, the owners of Afford’aCup offer invaluable advice to aspiring entrepreneurs.

“Don’t let fear of failure hold you back,” advises Cris Sotto. “Embrace failure and learn from it. Building a business takes time and perseverance, but it’s important to stay determined and keep pushing forward.”

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