The Little Baguio, San Juan area is starting to feel like Malate and becoming a melting pot of different European and Asian cuisines.
Monchet and Ellen Carballo of Sabor de Espana fame in Salcedo recently opened CALDERON, a Spanish Kitchen and Tapas Bar, together with their partners (including my foodie friend Marmi Perez who is known for her heirloom recipe of Iberian Chicken, and Chef Rafa Ysip who runs the kitchen).
We celebrated our son Raphael's 3rd birthday last Chinese New Year there. Here's our experience:
Little Baguio Food Street:
- Ristras, Mexican Burrito Heaven
- Maimee's Garden Cafe: Little Baguio's Little Secret
- Marko Batricevic's Balkan Express!
- CALDERON: Raphael's Spanish Birthday Dinner
The second floor can accommodate big groups. It can get noisy though, especially when the TV is on, even if they already used egg crates to improve the acoustics.
We enjoyed this plate of cheese, chorizo and ham paired with the Sangria.
(Note: They have a special promo of P999++ for the Tapas platter and Sangria pairing.)
The Sangria was sweet and fruity, and the alcohol content was not too strong — just the way I like it, so that we can still drive safely home. 🙂 )
We were hoping to order the Salpicao but some of the best sellers were already out of stock during dinner. We tried the Calamares, but they were just ordinary.
The chorizo-shrimp combination was a lot better. Although, for the serving size, it's a bit expensive at P444 net.
The Paella was really good! The rice was al dente, it had enough tutong at the bottom, and there were bits of seafood surprises in that sea of black.
This fish in tomato sauce was just OK. We ordered it as a good, healthy alternative.
The highlight of the evening was the Iberian Chicken — slow-baked in the oven for 3 hours with special spices, lots of garlic and baby tomatoes. Yum!
If you love crabs, you've got to try their crab specialty that's cooked in lots of garlic, olive oil, tarragon and is infused with lemon. This is Monchet's recipe, inspired by the Thanh Long Crabs of San Francisco and perfected by Chef Rafa Ysip.
Overall, Calderon is a good neighborhood hangout for Tapas + Sangria pairing, Paella and their specialties Pollo Iberico and Cangrejos ala Calderon. Budget about P500-P800/head (it depends if you just want to graze on tapas or if you want to try their main entrees).
Their menu prices are a bit tricky because the price should include VAT, but if you read the fine print, the VAT is excluded. It's best to arrive for early dinner because they run out of the best sellers at night. Make sure to have a reservation if you are a big group and pre-order in advance.
For dessert, I suggest you hop over to La Creperie next door.
Related Blog Post: Franny Wanny | Calderon Cocina Tapas y Bebidas in San Juan City
CALDERON Spanish Kitchen & Tapas Bar
Authentic home-style Spanish food, Tapas, Sangrias, Wine and Beers in a quaint, cozy hole-in-the-wall setting in San Juan's new restaurant row
Address: 403 F. Calderon Street, San Juan, Metro Manila
Telephone: +632 238-2264
Mobile: +63 926 727-9465 (Globe); +63 919 806-0358 (Smart)
Operating Hours: Tuesday to Sunday 11.00am to 11.00pm
Note: Credit Cards Accepted. Parking is an issue during the peak lunch and dinner hours.
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Full Disclosure: We paid for our meals. The Pollo Iberico and Cangrejos ala Calderon was courtesy of our friend Marmi, who is a partner in the restaurant.
I wrote this blog post myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I have no business relationship with any company mentioned in this post or any organization promoting it. As a policy, I don't receive compensation from food and travel places we feature in the blog.
P.S. If you are going on a date this Feb, check out their set menu for this love month: