This is actually the perfect Dampa place in Manila because it is near Manila Bay (reclamation area), the parking is spacious, the restaurants are clean, there is open air ambiance better than any of the dampa’s in the whole Manila. There are a few “Dampas” already in Metro Manila: the Original Dampa in Paranaque is soo far for most Manila folks, while the Original Seaside along Roxas Blvd is actually right inside the wet market so cleanliness would be an issue. The other Dampa in Libis is soo crowded that parking and waiting time is a problem. The Seaside Dampa in Ortigas have an awkward ambiance because of its location.

This Seaside along Macapagal Blvd is definitely beside the sea, and addresses the cleanliness, ambiance and parking issue. This place is perfect for the family or friends reunion and for those balikbayans wanting to treat the entire family (cheaply) and at the same time satisfying their craving for Filipino Food. The only criticism is that the wet market seafood is not fresh, but I have a tip for you on how to address this.

Most of the places here are air conditioned and have an open air space to be used at night. This is actually perfect for treating out balikbayans out there who are craving for Filipino Food at a cheap price with great ambiance. It is very difficult to select which place offers the best food. Most of the restos or big stalls here came from Seaside Roxas Blvd and they are used to the “paluto” concept.

Except for Josefina’s who is in the business of fine dining and catering. They are not used to the paluto concept but their food is great! The tip is to reserve and order in advance so that they can buy the seafood fresh. They are the last stall and located in the back. They have a garden setting that would be great at night!

If you are familiar with the Dampa concept, you have to buy the ingredients fish, meat or seafood in the wet market in the seaside. You can choose not to buy it yourself, but you just have to pay for the “wet marketing” for an additional fee. Again, the criticism here is that the fish and other seafood is not fresh.

Take for example this sinigang sa miso, it tastes great but it is oily. When we ask Josefina why is it cooked that way, she said the fish needed to be fried since it is not fresh or else it would not taste this good.

Just to give you a perspective on how it would costs, there was only two of us plus Aidan and here is the breakdown:

1/4 Maya Maya Sinigang (P100)
1/2 Tahong Baked (P100)
Ensaladang Manga (P100)
2 Plain Rice Cup (P40)
Tahong Marketing (P35)
MayaMaya Marketing (P45) Total (P420 for two people) — great value!

Final Advice: Park at the back of the Seaside area and call/ reserve in advance.

Josefina’s Garden Grill Paluto
Jun, Josie and Luz Salamat
U-12 L-5A Hobbies of Asia Complex,
Diosdado Macapagal Blvd., Pasay City
Tel# +632 6404041, +63918 934 2885

UPDATE 12/28/02 — we went back in Josefina’s and we were disappointed with the malansang sinigang and ketchup crab that they served. Maybe its the raw material or maybe they just have too many visitors and was not able to accomodate the volume. Anton