I was surprised one day, when I say our favorite business lunch place Chef Ed’s was converted into Fig & Olives Mediterranean and Spanish Restaurant. The story is Chef Ed decided to concentrate on his other restaurants (Filos in the Fort, Teak Bistro in Rockwell and managing the Splendido, Tagaytay Resto?) and Chef Canoy took over. However, what’s great is that they kept the spanish cuisine menu intact and Chef Canoy introduced Mediterranean cuisine specialties. I’m a great fan of mediterranean food because of its unique taste, the availability of couscous in the menu and it has healthier food options than Filipino cuisine. The ambiance was kept intact, the great service of the waiters, and unfortunately, the expensive pricing too (Hummus for P180?!) But I love the healthy name of the restaurant — Fig & Olives!
Ever since I’ve tasted Greek cuisine in Australia three years ago, I’ve been looking for an authentic greek cuisine in Manila. The first time, I saw Manos Greek Taverna with its inviting blue and white structure, I hesitated to try it out because of the fear of being disappointed with a Filipino-style Greek cuisine similar to Mati in Rockwell. I was waiting for raves about this place before I try it out. AJay’s first blogged Manos Greek Taverna in Nov 2005, and I recently read a poetic tribute by Dr. Honrado Palugod on his hellenic dining experience to this place that made me decide to check it out. On our way back from Playa Calatagan, we decided to have this as our last stop before finally heading back home. I’ve tried the best sellers in the house: Tzatziki, Hellenici Salata-Greek Salad, Mousaka, and the Baklava dessert which are indeed very good. On the contrary, the kebabs were ordinary.
I love this place because the food is healthy, ingredients are freshly made by the owner, and Manos is almost always there to entertain his guest — very hospitable fellow. Manos claims that everything is cooked in Greek virgin olive oil which comes from their olive plantations in the island of Crete 🙂
I got a sudden urge to check out Fat Michael’s Place again and I missed the ambiance more than anything. This used to be an Intel secret years back, but after 5 years, I’m sure this is not a secret anymore because of the thousand dinner dates it hosted and the word-of-mouth raves/ rants. Carlos also uses this as his starting point for his Evangelista tour. The food is better than the usual restaurant, they offer intercontinental cuisine not filipino surprisingly. My only issue about this place is the cocky service embodied in their motto “We cook slow, live with it!” Also, by now Fat Michael is already Fit Michael who is all grown up already (Michael is the son of the owner). In a nutshell, it is a cool homey place to have an intimate dinner with a special someone or your barkada or office teammates.
I have glad and sad news for you. I’m glad that there are bakeshops now that are catering to the healthier lifestyle trend. Sugarnot along South Super Hiway is a blessing for us. I first heard of this from Carlos’ who recommended it in his blog. Their bestseller, Last Temptation Cake is sugar-free and they are using maltitol powder instead. This powder is a sugarless sweetener and green food with pure sweet taste. The sad news is, the taste needs a lot of getting use to and there are no crowd every time I pass by this place. So I’m worried that this might not survive specially in the Philippine’s high-carb diet scene.
Kaizen Gozen (P250) — one of the set menu best seller in the house 🙂
I’m back! I have a hectic travel schedule lately and will be out in March. Before I go on a blog leave again, I want to give you another food delight — this time a Japanese restaurant in Little Tokyo. It is a modern japanese resto and have been less than a year in operation. I’ll rave about their food presentation that makes the food soo appetizing when you see it. I judge all the japanese restaurant I’ve been to based on the taste of their Kani Salad, California Maki and the Wasabi. Only the Kani Salad failed the test, the maki was good and soo is the wasabi — not too strong but it has that kick in the nose when you eat it. So generally the food is OK but since there are a lot of Japanese eating here which is a testament of its authenticity. We averaged around P300/person so not too bad for a japanese resto with a good ambiance and good food! This is one resto that I’m going back for more…
Happy Valentines Day to all of you! Valentines’ used to be a big day full of anxiety because of preparation of a wonderful surprise gimmick for my loved one. These days, it’s about planning an escape to spend an evening dinner together at a secluded restaurant. I actually don’t mind traveling all the way to the end of South Super Highway and visit Esperanza’s Farm Dining in Calamba, Laguna. However, what I do mind is traveling all the way and be disappointed with the taste of the food. So, there won’t be any food shots in this post 🙁 I know that there are risks sometimes for visiting places for the first time and not yet tried and tested. Oh well, since we paid for the ambiance then we will just shoot the ambiance and build our collection of couple pictures 🙂 On normal days, they serve ala carte for P550 (which should be better than the buffet we had) and by reservation only.
UPDATE Feb. 8, 2006: Finally I was able to complete this Antonio’s article in time for Valentines. Although, if you are just reserving just now, forget about it because the valentines day and valentines weekend is fully booked!
Almost every year, I have the privilege of having dinner at Antonio’s @ Brgy Neogan, Tagaytay by renowned Chef Antonio Escalante. It continues to be the best special dinner you could ever have in Manila. This is the food paradise place where you won’t complain about how expensive it is (P2,000+/person) because you are paying for the dining experience with perfect food, perfect ambiance, and perfect service from Antonio’s and his staff. You would even appreciate how slow they would serve the food because they make sure that they it is cooked fresh when you order it. For those who have not been to this place or planning to go on any season, here is a guide on how to have the best Antonio’s experience.
Finally, I was able to schedule a Tagaytay trip and check out the highly recommended Fire Lake Grill by Paul Huang. At first, you would think that this is yet another steakhouse in Tagaytay. The food is really good at this place from the steak house to the grilled fish, to the salad and the desserts. This is a small cozy restaurant so you need to reserve in advance and it would be difficult to walk-in here. This shot was taken almost at 1pm+ already so dining al-fresco at this time is not ideal. Although it is so windy at this time and eating outside is perfect for Aidan since he can walk to his heart’s content.
Let me walk you through a Fire Lake Grill Sunday Lunch!
Buon Giorno’s Opium Bed is starting to be one of the most reserved spot in Cliff House, Tagaytay. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, then you are missing on the latest discovery in Tagaytay. I got the tip from Grace last November who was kind enough to share with me her review (Thanks alot Grace!). Here’s an excerpt:
“The food in BuonGiorno is okay. I guess it’s nothing compared to Amoroma or L’Opera, but for the price, it was well worth it (Which made it great! hahaha)! We ordered two glasses of white wine, parma ham antipasti, their specialty salad, salmon and asparagus risotto and chicken saltimbocca and only paid 1k. I’d recommend the food except for the dessert and the wines. (the risotto was around 250, the chicken was 400 [but that’s their specialty], but on the whole, the dishes cost around 150-250 each) (pls don’t get the desserts! The sansrival had too much butter, while the panna cotta was runny). The nicest thing about it was my boyfriend reserved the “opium bed.” It’s this wooden chair that had hanging curtains overlooking the view which was absolutely beautiful and romantic. If you’ll eat in BuonGiorno, you SHOULD have that seat reserved.” (review by grace)
We decided to eat @ Fire Lake Grill (I’ll share in a separate post) instead and we had a firm resolution to go back and reserve this Opium Bed when we eat here @ Buon Giorno. By the way, I was surprised that the valentines weekend is still open versus when I ask a reservation in Antonio’s. That tells me that not a lot of people still know about this place which has been in operation for 6 months+. By the way, Cliff House Tagaytay is just along the main highway in Tagaytay right before the fork road @ Petron Gas Station. See more detailed photos…
Single Meal of Bulgoki / Korean Traditional Bulgoki and Kimchi Fried Rice (P600).
Here is another recent discovery in my favorite Manila Bay place in Harbour Square. The place is called So Woo which means little cow in Korean. It is owned by Korean Ms. Danny Chong who is living in the Philippines for 10 years now. According to her, it was called little cow because it is unique and did you know that the beef of little cows are juicer and taste a lot better than big cows. The food tasted like the authentic Korean food similar to the authentic Korean restaurant we normally visit at the back of Barrio Fiesta along Makati Avenue (I can’t recall the Korean name). So Woo serves authentic Korean-style dishes and the owner is there to entertain the guest. They just opened last January 1, 2006.
I’ve been on my low carb vegetarian quest for 5 days now and we were looking for a vegetarian place. Surprisingly, we found it in this Korean place on the second floor of Harbour Square which boast of meat as their specialty . The Bulgoki is really good. The Kimchi Fried Rice is worth to try. The meal already has an iced tea and unlimited refill of the vegetables side dishes — woo hoo! The kim chi, spinach, squash omelette, mashed potato and onion leek salad was very good — fresh, crispy and tasty. I’ve finally found vegetarian heaven: Eat-all-you-can vegetables!