What else is great about being a Filipino? The food. According to Doreen Fernandez, one of the greatest official Filipino foodies, authentic Filipino food is a modification of different flavors fused with our culture. This week, we will reveal where to find some of the best Filipino dishes around the Metro.
19 West Capitol Drive, Pasig City
Cafe Juanita offers a classic take on Filipino dishes. Customers are presented with hefty food choices - from traditional to Hispanic. From the outside, one may think the restaurant is a bit small and cramped due to the little entrance door, but once inside the establishment, it's as if another world has emerged. The interior gives off a bohemian and eclectic vibe - from the walls that are mounted with a bunch of trinkets, to ceramics and statues that are in every corner, to hanged up tapestries giving off an impression of a canopy, and to vintage chandeliers and lamps on the ceilings and walls.
Kare-Kare ni Juanita - the meat is always so tender and the flavors all go together.
329 Katipunan Ave., Loyola Heights, Quezon City
Chef Sandy Daza, the son of the renowned gourmet chef and restaurateur Nora Daza, showcases his menu with personal captions on every item which tells the story behind their conception. The Katipunan branch is a bit small-scaled, although when in luck, customers can enjoy the view of the Katipunan strip by the big window while enjoying their meal. Wooden Spoon serves simple, straight-forward Filipino food with Sandy's own twist. Though portions may be small, every bite gives comfort without the worry of emptying anyone's wallet.
Lechon Kawali - it may be a bit small in portion, but the burst of flavors will leave anyone in shock and wanting for more.
Reyna Blanca - a rich coconut custard topped with pinipig.
Seafood Kare-Kare - a great variation to the traditional dish and also note how fresh the seafood is!
32 Scout Tuason corner Scout Lazcano, Tomas Morato, Quezon City;
148 Jupiter St., corner Comet St., Bel-Air, Makati City
Owned by the descendants of the late UN President Carlos P. Romulo, Romulo Cafe serves hearty, old-fashioned Filipino comfort food. The Quezon City branch is dedicated to the late diplomat, while the Makati branch is dedicated to Virginia Romulo, the person liable for the recipes that made Romulo sought-after by families and foodies. By day, the restaurant gives off a homey feeling. By night, the place makes you want to dress up and look forward to a classy dinner. The walls are decorated with photos of Carlos P. Romulo and different dignitaries, giving a short history lesson for everyone. Romulo's most famous literary work, "I Am a Filipino" is prominently displayed by the staircase on the way up to the function rooms on the second floor of the Quezon City
Boneless Crispy Pata Binagoongan - incredibly crispy and tender. The fact that it's boneless gives more serving for the meat and reduces the struggle of having to gnaw it off the bone.
Branches all over NCR.
Cafe Via Mare is one of the longest running restaurants in the country. I have been to the Rockwell branch and it is is a bit small, but the ambiance is good. After shopping around the Powerplant Mall, sit down and have some merienda at Via Mare. They are known for their bibingka, a rice cake traditionally eaten during the Christmas season. Via Mare's bibingka will make it seem as if it's already Christmas! There won't be a need to fight for the center part of the bibingka (because that's where the good part is, usually) since every bite has a fair amount of salted egg and cheese.
Puto Bumbong - another traditional Christmas delicacy. But who has time to wait another 6 months to enjoy these purple, cylindrical, and glutinous rice topped with brown sugar and shredded coconut? Via Mare offers either queso de bola or parmesan cheese to go with every order.
387 P. Guevarra St., corner Argonne St., Addition Hills, San Juan City
For those who like to dine buffet style, celebrity chef Rolando Laudico, with wife Jackie Laudico, runs this place filled with authentic Filipino food. What was once a heritage home built in the 1920's is now a restaurant with a 5-star dining experience without the expensive bill. The current dining halls used to be the old bedrooms. The house faces a big garden where customers could also dine in. A sweet idea for a date!
Pork Sisig Baskets - This bite-sized, crunchy rice baskets filled with juicy pork sisig in garlic aioli can make anyone run back to the buffet table. One will never be enough.
Angus Beef Kare-Kare - the pot is full of the tender beef and the peanut sauce is very rich.
- Daniela Regis
(click photos for sources)