I've loved chimichurri ever since Terrace at the Fifth introduced me to it.
So, I was delighted to find out that Cocina Juan in Maginhawa St., Q.C. (which specializes in grilled meat) offers chimichurri sauce (Yes!). The owner's recent trip to Nicaragua in Central America inspired this offering. There, the staple sauce is chimichurri for meats (ex. pork ribs, pork belly or chicken) and sofrito sauce for fish. The rest of Cocina Juan's menu is Tex-Mex, where they use a lot of sweet white sauce and cheese. With a student-priced menu, you can't go wrong with having a good food trip with your friends here.
Cocina Juan Menu
- Chimichurri Specials, Sofritos Specials, Mariscos (Seafood) Specials, Burrito Classico
- Tacos "Soft Shells Tacos", Tacos Flautas, Meat Burrito, Sopa (Soup), Burritos Platos, Pita Pizza, Quesadilla Sincronizadas
- Alitas "Chicken Wings", Pasta Inspiration de Cocina Juan, Solo Platos, Lunch Specials Poquito Meals, Platos Con Arroz, Fresh Green Salads "Ensalada" and Sizzling/ Fajita
- Tostadas, Postre (Dessert), Bebidas (Beverages), Cafe (Coffee), De Mas (Extras)
I won't drive all the way from Makati to U.P. for the Tex-Mex dishes, but I would make the journey for the Grilled Meats with Chimichurri.
The restaurant was named after the chef-brother of the owner who already migrated abroad.
The ambiance is simple with cheap tables, plastic chairs and even plastic glasses. Just a warning -- if you ask for water, they will serve you tap water. It would be best to specify mineral water if that's what you want. Most of the restaurants I have been to already have filtered water available, but not Cocina Juan.
Monopoly, Chess and Dominoes are available to entertain the kids.
It takes some time for the food to arrive because they grill the meat on the spot. It is worth the wait. :)
While waiting, a complimentary serving of nachos with their signature sweet white sauce is served.
I think I love the chimichurri sauce (composed of parsley leaves, oil and lemon) and the hot slices of jalapeno more than the meat itself. The meat was a bit tough, but since it was recently grilled, the smoky flavor was good enough to make this a yummy dish. You have the option of ordering tortillas instead of the rice.
Sofrito Cream Dory Con Blanco Queso - P205. Cream Dory Fish cooked and tenderized in aluminum foil, served with a popular Latin American sauce called Sofrito ("Well Cooked and Fragrant Sauce", Spanish Original)
The Sofrito sauce was a bit oily and buttery, which overpowered the tomatoes and herbs. The dory came out tender but bland, so the nice topping of melted cheese gave it a more creamy flavor.
This burrito was sulit! It was packed with all the ingredients and it comes in a good size and price. They rely on the sweet white sauce instead of sour cream to give it a Filipino-fusion flavor.
If you are still hungry, you can order the Poquito Meals, which are essentially rice toppings for the students. The Hungarian sausage was good with its smoky flavor. The melted cheese and white rice was too much carbo for one night, though...
Cocina Juan's version of Thin Pizza, using a toasted pita bread with lots of cheese on top.
To end the meal, we tried their signature dessert, which was like a butter pound cake with liquor (tastes like Fruit Cake). Order the one with vanilla ice cream and lemon -- they go well with the sauce. You won't be able to finish the cake, though, because it's so heavy and compact with lots of butter calories...
After all the orders, our bill came in at less than P1,000 for a group of 3 adults and 2 kids. :) The Central American dishes are impressive but the Tex-Mex Food is something you can do at home. This is a nice place to treat friends for a birthday or a special occasion -- good food, unique yet casual ambiance, and easy on the wallet. :)
100 Maginhawa Street,
UP Teacher's Village Quezon City
Telephone Number: +632 434 3911