Update 12/21/2018: As featured in 10 Best New Restaurants in Manila (2019 Homegrown Edition)!
Manila is known to have some of the best Spanish restaurants in Asia. Thanks to the Bistronomia Team, the people behind Las Flores, Rambla, Tomatito and now BCN by Rambla.
BCN is a continuation of the Rambla story—the latter is like the restaurant you would go to in Las Ramblas in Barcelona, the former would be the restaurant you’ll find in El Born or Gracias where the locals would hang out for drinks with friends and family.
BCN reminds us of Estimar in El Born with its emphasis on grilling and seafood, but at the same time of La Pepitas in Gracias with its fun tapas. A bit hidden, it is just the type of Spanish restaurant for foodies looking for better Catalan-inspired food in Manila.
First Things First
The place is hidden along the restaurant row of Grand Midori hotel where most dining establishments have closed their doors except for the lone survivor, the Indian restaurant Mantra.
BCN is located at the spot where the Girl + The Bull Makati used to be.
BCN Menu: Tapas (Small Plate) | Tapas | Tapas (Small Plates) | De Nuestras Brasas (From our Charcoal Oven and Charcoal Grill) | Arroces a La Lena (Charcoal Oven Rice Dishes) | Side Dishes | Postres (Desserts)
BCN specializes in fun tapas, charcoal-oven and charcoal-grilled specialties.
Love the Makati neighborhood ambiance and the highlight on their selection of more than 100 wines.
The most coveted seat is the semi-oblong table with the couch on the second floor ideal for intimate bonding with friends or family.
There are three (3) tables available. Select the one near the front if you can because the one at the back is beside the toilet.
You can check out the wine cellar on the second floor.
A sommelier, at your request, will help you with your choice of Spanish wines to pair with the meal.
Wine Menu: Cocktail Specials | Classic Cocktails | Gin & Tonic | Wine by the Glass | Champagne, Cava, Rose, Red Wine 1 | Red Wine 2 | Red Wine 3 | Red Wine 4 | Red Wine 5 | Red Wine 6 | White Wine 1 | White Wine 2 | White Wine 3, Sherry | Cerveza, Gin, Blended Whisky, Bourbon, Brandy | Cognac, Rhum, Vermouth, Single Malt, Tequila | Vodka, Liquers, Etc.
We decided to try their house and entry level wines with our meal (with 3.3 – 3.8 ratings in Vivino).
Tapas (Small Plates)
Jamon Iberico de Bellota con pa Amb Tomaquet (50 gr – ₱995).
Bellota Iberian Ham 48 months with bread and tomato sauce.
Like in Barcelona, you can start with slices of Jamon Iberico and Pan con Tomato-inspired bread served with tomato salsa on the side.
They serve Jamon Iberico de Bellota from La Prudencia in Segovia, Spain.
The boys loved the complimentary pandesal with three kinds of butter—Spinach, Beetroot and Butter-flavored.
The chorizo criollo, which is off menu, is like botifarra but leaner and less spicy.
It is served in a grill presentation with sweet potato and chimichurri sauce.
The Invisible Man, Tempranillo, Rioja, Spain (₱2,000).
Nice aroma of red berries with a touch of chocolate, coffee and pepper with medium acidity and pleasantly lasting tannins.
We started with The Invisible Man, a lighter tempranillo but with higher acidity and a dry finish.
I prefer full-bodied wines I realized, and this one is better paired with fatty dishes.
Pulpo Gallego a la Brasa con sus Patatitas (₱995).
Charcoal-oven Grilled Spanish octopus with confit potatoes and paprika sauce.
Love this tender octopus dish with a good bite and grilled smoky flavor. A must order.
Txangurro Al Horno (₱495).
Charcoal-oven Baked crab stew in shell.
The Txangurro is locally sourced, himay-ed but a bit dry when cooked in the charcoal oven.
Tartar de Salmon al Aroma de Trufa Blanca (₱575). ?
Salmon tartar, white truffle dressing, yuca chips, crab roe.
A healthy serving of raw salmon with all the right umami from the truffle and crab roe, topped with a crunchy texture.
Conos de Tartar de Atun (₱380).
Tuna tartar in cone with Japanese dressing and crab roe.
An ice cream of raw tuna. We had to fight with the kids over this one.
Arroz de Ibericos y Setas (₱1,800).
Iberian meats and mushroom rice.
It’s technically not a paella because it is not cooked in a paellera.
We don’t eat rice anymore but this is one dish we can’t resist.
It’s paella rice served with tasty Iberian meats in a mushroom saucy consistency with mushroom bits and aioli sauce.
Good to share with 6-8 people.
BBQ Costillar de Cerdo Iberico (₱1,120).
Grilled Iberian pork ribs with sweet corn and BBQ sauce.
Order their best seller, Iberian pork with 6 ribs that’s just right for the family.
I like it that the sauce is not dripping; and the flavor, integrated into the tender meat.
Patatas Fritas Con Pimientos (₱185).
French Fries with peppers.
Always a hit with the boys (except for the green peppers).
Matsu El Picaro, Tempranillo, Toro, Spain (₱325/cup /₱1,000).
Highly concentrated and juicy with a mouth-watering mix of liquorice, blackberry, boysenberry, cedar and chocolate flavors.
Love this bolder tempranillo pairing with the meats and saucy arroz. Best of all, it’s drinkable and affordable.
Check out the premium Matsu El Viejo version if you are having steaks.
Pescado del dia a la Parrilla.
Fresh fish of the day. Whole fish from Europe cooked on charcoal grill, good for sharing. Ask your server for available sizes and market prices.
We tried a whole sea bass imported from Europe. This was grilled whole on charcoal and deboned in front of you.
You’ll enjoy the quality of the fish, cooked just right and still smoky when served.
It would be nice to have local fresh fish options cooked Spanish style.
Macho Man, Monastrell, Jumilla, Spain (₱2,000).
Impressive plum. An expression of strawberries, licorice, chocolate.
Love the label. This one pairs nicely with any food.
First time I tried 100% Monastrell and I find it an enjoyable drink to the last drop.
Torrija de Pan Brioche con Helado de Tiramisu(₱275).
Caramelized warm bread brioche with tiramisu ice cream.
A classic Spanish dessert, a torched brioche with tiramisu ice cream and caramel.
Can we have espresso to go with this, please?
Piña Asada con Helado de Coco y Grand Marnier (₱300).
Baked pineapple with coconut ice cream and Grand Marnier flambe.
This is like the famous baked pineapple dessert from Estimar served flamed with coconut ice cream on the side.
Can we also have a really good cheesecake please like the one in Estimar?
Petit Four, compliments from the chef, include brandy chocolate truffle, cashew orange twill, alfajores and choco chip cookie.
BCN by Rambla is a great place for Sunday lunches with the family or dinner celebrations with friends.
I like the focus on Charcoal-cooking similar to Savage and the emphasis on Seafood more than meats as in Estimar.
Order the Pulpo Gallego and Tartar de Salmon for starters. You can just savor the tapas while waiting for your friends or family to arrive.
For the mains, order a grilled whole Sea Bass or the grilled Iberian pork ribs with the Arroz of Iberico pork and mushroom. Check out their steaks and Chuleton from USDA meat.
Order a bottle of their house wine of Matsu Tempranillo to truly enjoy a Barcelona-inspired meal.
End with classic Catalan desserts to complete the BCN experience.
Love the casual Spanish restaurant feel and the fine tapas and main dishes, not to mention the extensive selection of wine, gin and your favored alcoholic drinks.
It’s a bit hidden in the corner and you have to be in the know to find the place.
Make sure to reserve because they are fully booked during dinner. For me though, Sunday Lunch is the best because it is less quiet and you can have a long lazy Spanish lunch.
Budget about ₱1,000/head for tapas + drinks or ₱2,500/head if you are ordering the main dishes and a full 3-course Spanish meal.
Live an Awesome Life,
Disclosure: Our meal was courtesy of our friend Uri Singla. I wrote this article with my biases, opinions, and insights.
P.S. Service is the best! Love the warm welcome from Maria and the good wine recommendation from Thea.