Sunday, May 4, 2008

Figaro Coffee

Bonifacio High Street, Quadrant B5,
5th Ave.
Fort Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City

Date of Visit: Apr. 26, 2008

It's a chill out place! The perfect sitting spot can be found just outside the cafe where you can go people-watching or just let your kids play and run around the seemingly wide park area in front of you, while you're enjoying your coffee and a slice of cake.

Their pizzas are thinner than Shakey's thin-crust pizza and the size as big or as small as Pizza hut's personal pan pizza. We tried 3 of their pizza flavors- 5-cheese, pepperoni (but they have another name for this), and the garlic & cheese.

The garlic and cheese was my least-liked b'coz of the overpowering taste of the garlic. We also ordered chorizo sandwich for my hungry husband. It was good! It was packed with ham, chorizo, cheese, lettuce and tomatoes. We should have tried their other sandwiches, instead of ordering 3 pizzas since they have almost the same price (around Php150). Their caramel pudding with vanilla-caramel topping was so-so. Anyway, if you're one of those coffee connoisseurs, just stick to their brewed coffee. It's what they are very well-known for.


432 San Andres cor. Roxas Blvd. Malate, Manila

Date of Visit: Apr. 23, 2008

Straight from watching a Dora the Explorer show at the Aliw Theatre, we headed to Aristocrat for dinner. While waiting for our orders of potato salad, pork barbecue and chicken barbecue to arrive, our toddler couldn't help but taste (with her pointing finger) the signature Aristocrat barbecue sauce my husband emptied from a packet. She loved it!

Their barbecues are still unmatched in terms of flavor and taste. But it's a different story altogether for their Brazo de Mercedes (Php250 half-roll) which we ordered for take-out. It was a surprising letdown. The meringue was too sweet. While the yellow custard filling was way too bland for my taste. Every bite of it was like eating a piece of paper. Walang lasa. For its price, it wasn't worth it at all.

When you want a piece of their cake, try their chocolate cake instead. This one is good!

Komoro Soba

SM Megamall, Upper Ground Level, Julia Vargas Ave., Mandaluyong City

Date of Visit: Apr. 20, 2008

I had lunch here today and I occupied the middle table. As I was looking around and waiting for my order of Katsudon, I found myself surrounded by Chinese-, Japanese- and Taiwanese-looking families. I observed them leaving the place quite satisfied. Well, my katsudon was nothing spectacular. In fact, I thought it to a bit oily, which was weird. The pork was a bit hard, too. Anyway, for a meal worth P79, I guess, that was okay...or was it????


J. Jimenez St. Kamuning, Q.C.

Date of Visit: April 12, 2008

A carinderia-cum-steakhouse somewhere in Kamuning that boasts of having captured the A-Z market. Dinadayo talaga ito! Their clientele includes the nearby townsfolks in plain slippers, middle class, yuppies, families with kids in tow, medical reps in their white uniform, and those in the upper class echelon. You can very well tell from the make and model of the cars parked outside that there are rich people dining here. I heard even celebrities and basketball players frequent this place. Their parking slot is just the vacant space surrounding the resto. The place looks like an old garage converted into a carinderia. Forget about ambience here, there’s none. Expect to sweat a lot because it can get really hot here. Sure, they have electric fans but with the flock of diners during lunch and dinner time, those fans can no longer serve its purpose.

This is quite a popular place for steak-lovers who don’t want to burn their pockets. The place looks cheap, the price of the food is cheap but the quality of their steaks is not. Well, it’s not the best either but for its very affordable price of about Php130 for a big piece of T-bone or Porterhouse, you won’t complain. You will even see how your steak is grilled to its perfection because the griller is located near the tables. So, when there’s something to grill, there’s smoke everywhere. Don’t worry, you’ll get used to the smoke getting in your eyes and the aroma of it all. Aside from the steaks, they also have other beef and pork dishes like liempo and chicken barbecue.

They also offer staples in Pinoy carinderia like papaitan, sinigang, menudo, kaldereta, adobo, apritada and a lot more. If you’re craving for sweets after enjoying their steak, order their saging con saba or mais-con-hielo. Don’t be surprised if all of a sudden you will see blueberry cheesecake as part of their dessert menu. It seems out-of-place but I got to try it once and it was actually good.

Chillis' Gril & Bar Restaurant

Greenbelt, 1st Level
Paseo de Roxas cor. Legaspi St. Ayala Center
867-2727, 812-0225

Date of Visit: April 3, 2008

Chili's designated yesterday, April 3, as National Burger Day. For one whole day, any one of the favorite Chili's Big Mouth Burgers was only P88 (from P265-P320) in all three Chili's outlets. Their newspaper feature said, “The name says it all. They are not called Big Mouth Burgers for nothing. One-half pound of 100-percent US beef ground round chuck patties, grilled to your liking - medium, medium-well, or well-done.” It was partly correct but when I came there (Greenbelt branch) yesterday at 11:20 AM and a waitress took our orders at 11:50 AM, we weren’t asked if we would like our burgers medium, medium-well, or well-done.

As expected, the place was jampacked. The servers couldn’t handle the orders. I wonder what the cook/s were saying. Our free nacho appetizers came in by 12:30 PM. Oh by the way, our orders were served a few minutes before 3 PM. But despite that tremendous delay, I would like to say “well done” to the servers who waited on our table. They kept a sunny disposition and were so apologetic all the time despite all the pressure thrown at them.

Anyway, we just had our orders taken-out. My Mushroom Swiss Burger was loaded and I say LOADED! It was juicy & tasty, too. My husband had Bacon Burger, which was also so good. Our daughter had her own BBQ Ranch Burger and she almost finished it -- a half pounder, wow! We combined all the fries and fried them again (oh yes, the French fries were included in the 88-peso package) ‘coz it was already a bit soggy.

Yes, Chili’s, your burgers are still among the best in town! But please next time, when you announce to the world about your “whole-day-88-peso-burger” gimmick, be prepared for it.

Krispy Kreme

JAKA Bldg. Ayala Avenue

Date of Visit: Apr. 1, 2008

The line was super long the day it opened. So, I opted to go there and have lunch, 4 days after they opened. Surprise, surprise…no more lines! I was served right-away.

Their branch here has the same viewing room (like with their other branches), where you can take a peek on how they make their donuts.

I ordered Kookies & Krème and my favorite New York Cheesecake. Yes, 2 donuts for lunch, hehe, plus I tried their new Very Berry Chiller for 100 bucks. For a sweet-tooth like me, I found it to be very sweet. I even brought it with me back to my office and poured some water into it. I will never order it again. 7-11’s Brain Freeze (large) at less than P30 is far better!

Over all rating for the donuts and chiller I ordered: Too sweet too handle. I believe I developed a toothache right after I finished my lunch.

Hot Rocks

C5 Libis

Date of Visit: March 30, 2008

Hot Rocks rocks!

Imagine a big cargo crate with an enclosed airconditioned 1st floor and an open air 2nd floor, that’s Hot Rocks for you. Instead of pictures posted on their walls, you can see a number of “platographs” (plates with autographs of celebrities who have eaten there). Their locally-sourced steaks (“Angas” beef for Batangas beef), which will not cost you an arm and a leg, dominate this no-frills eatery and rightfully so. Their regular steaks are priced between P150-P180 and are about half an inch thick. Large cut (P270) is about an inch thick. But of course their beef is not as tender as those imported Angus beef. It’s tasty, though and will definitely fill you. They offer 2 sauces, the sweet sauce and the hot sauce. They should add at least one more steak sauce variant – BBQ or the cream of mushroom gravy type. They also offer pizza, pastas, salads and desserts on their menu.

The last time we visited, the place was about to close. We haven’t had dinner yet and we came all the way from Enchanted Kingdom. All of us were famished! Good thing our orders didn’t take long to arrive…or we might have gone amok.

I ordered a regular porterhouse and requested for a beef with lots of fats on the side. My husband ordered porterhouse, a stick of barbecue and 1 stick of isaw and extra order of rice. My daughter had grilled liempo (P100), which was quite thick and long. Didn’t expect that it would taste good either. Our yaya chose daing na bangus in olive oil. For our drinks, we ordered a pitcher of iced-tea. We had an excellently satisfying dinner for just P650.

I recommend this place for steak lovers who are always on a tight budget.

Kooky & Luscious

Ground Floor, Metrobankcard Building
6778 Ayala Avenue
, Makati

Restaurant hours: Monday to Friday, 7:30am to 7:00pm

Date of Visit: March 19, 2008

Kooky & Luscious along Ayala Avenue is my new favorite lunch hangout place. It has a casual & homey feel to it, like a friendly-neighborhood café.

They offer a relatively small menu but nevertheless interesting, creative and inventive. The service is efficient and attentive.

For those with a sweet tooth, like me, you will be tempted to try out their heavenly assortment of cakes and pies.

It was on my first visit that I indulged myself with their Brazo de Mercedes (Php65/slice). To say that it was delicious was an understatement. It was simply to die for! I even ordered 1 whole roll (Php550) as a birthday treat for myself. On my second visit, I knew I had to order their best-seller cake, Dementia (Php125/slice). It was addicting, I should say! Now I know why they named it Dementia. It’ll make you forget your diet! How about a slice of Alzheimer cake next time?

Their Caesar Salad (Php85) is definitely a must-try for Caesar salad-lovers, like me. It was what I had (plus a slice of cake) for lunch for 3 consecutive days.

Another must-try is their Chicken Salad Sandwich served with fries on the side (Php100). The chunky chicken slices complete with lettuce and tomatoes were served on a lightly toasted whole wheat bread. They also serve very good pasta dishes with servings that are good enough for sharing, such as, Scallop Seared Seafood (Php175) and Lemon Black Olive Tuyo (Php140). My recent visit got me to try their Maling & Egg Sandwich (Php35) simply because of curiosity and their Mocha Oreo Cake (Php75).

Luscious means rich, sweet, and delicious. I must agree 100% that Kooky & Luscious lives up to its name. This place is definitely worth a visit!

Banana Leaf Curry House

Level 2, Podium Mall
18 ADB Ave.
Ortigas Center


Date of Visit: March 18, 2008

Ever wonder how they got their name?

On their menu is a mix of Malaysian, Indian, Thai and Singaporean dishes with curry as its house specialty. They have numerous versions of curry dishes, along with a cornucopia of spicy, tangy and flavorful Asian dishes - all superb in taste! Food is served on banana leaves. And you will also eat from a banana leaf laid out on the table.

For starters, roti canai (a softer and thinner version of pita bread) is a good choice. This is dipped into their hot and spicy curry sauce. Ooh, luv it!

For your main meal, you can try any of these chicken dishes: Tandoori chicken (crispy fried chicken basted with a sweet fruit sauce served with a fresh vegetable and mango salad on the side) or Hainanese chicken or their pandan chicken (deep-fried marinated chicken breast in pandan leaves served with either a soy sauce or sweet-chili sauce) or their chicken satay (grilled chicken served on sticks and with a peanut-flavor sauce.)

They also serve delicious seafood dishes like Singaporean mussels, chili crabs, deep-fried squid served with a spicy-garlic sauce. Beef and pork dishes are not that plentiful. If you want to be healthy, you can try the stir-fry Chinese kangkong or stir-fried udon (Japanese noodle with mix vegetables).

For desserts, you will not be disappointed because there are just plenty to choose from: sticky rice, Chinese turnip cake (good!), banana fritter, sweet sago soup (tastes rather bland), sago pudding (I like this, too!), pandanus pancake, among others.

What surprises me is that their servings per order are rather small but we always leave the place so stuffed. I guess the rich flavor of all their dishes has a lot to do with that. So, that’s their secret!

Razon's of Guagua

Ground floor, Greenbelt 1

Date of Visit: March 10, 2008

If you like your halo-halo with just the sweetened saba and shredded macapuno topped with leche flan then Razon’s halo-halo is the one for you. For me, it’s kinda “bitin” ‘coz I like mine with plenty of “halo”. I felt that paying Php75 for their halo-halo was a highway robbery! Although, I like their shaved ice (so finely crushed!) and the taste of the milk they used for the halo-halo. I heard they use carabao’s milk instead of just evaporated milk. I also tried their much-fussed-about pancit luglug at Php75/order. It tasted ordinary. The noodles were a bit fat and the sauce quite lacking in “sahog”. I still prefer Red Ribbon’s pancit palabok. The halo-halo and pancit luglug combination can be appreciated best during merienda time.

You have to “wait to be seated” though, when you happen to drop by during the lunch hours ‘coz the place is no more than 60 sq. m. (my guess). I observed that their servers could get a little confused because while attending to the orders of the other seated guests they still have to look for available seats for their standing patrons.

Their menu carries mostly Pinoy breakfast “--- silog” dishes and favorite merienda dishes like dinuguan with puto, fried lumpia, mais-con-hielo, and the like.

Primablend Bakeshop

325 Gen. Luna St., Guitnangbayan II
San Mateo
, Rizal

Date of Visit: Feb. 25, 2008

Never in my imagination that a bakeshop that sells delicious cakes can exist not in the city but in the far-flung province of San Mateo, Rizal. Famous for its Sansrival, which can rival the best brands here in the city, Primablend Bakeshop boasts of years and years of being at the helm of baking success in San Mateo.

One can swear by the quality and taste of their Sansrival. I have tasted a lot of sansrival in my life and I found Primablend’s to be sans rival (translate: WITHOUT RIVAL!). The first taste of this dessert from Primablend will leave you wanting for more. It’s simply the BEST! Warning: You’ll be addicted to it. It has the right lightness and creaminess – not too heavy or buttery. The cake makes for an interesting play of textures-- a creamy-buttery top with a firm and chewy center and just the right crunch because of the nuts. Those buttercream filling perfectly melts in your mouth. Partaking of this sansrival is of peak experience, I must say.

Aside from sansrival, they also sell delicious butter cakes, caramel cakes, and cookies, all of which have just the right amount of sweetness and will not put you into a diabetic attack. Their smooth and velvety-textured leche flan is a staple in every home in San Mateo during town fiestas or special occasions. These are all sold at a very reasonable price. Their biggest box of sansrival costs a little less than P1,000, and that’s good enough for a party of 20 or even more.

Prima Blend has no other branch in the country that’s why one has to brave the traffic and the narrow road to go there.

Sticking to their all time-favorites
One trivia about Primablend is that they have been in this business since time immemorial yet they never expand their cake menu. The flavors of cakes you see on their display shelves today are the same flavors of cakes they were offering yesterday… before you and I were born. No more, no less!

California Pizza Kitchen

Level 1, EDSA Shangri La Plaza, Mandaluyong

Date of Visit: Feb 23, 20

While I have my own favorite pizza resto, I have to compliment CPK for their unique pizza flavors and still concocting and coming up with more flavors on their menu. We have yet to try their new offerings like their Cajun Pizza P575, Pan Sautéed Salmon Php1,250, Mediterranean Salad Php355. Their signature pizzas -- BBQ Chicken Php350 and Shrimp Scampi Php495 cannot be rivaled.

The place is spacious and very toddler-friendly. You can leave your tots safely roaming around the place while you are enjoying your food and watching your favorite NBA games. Its yellow and black interior reminds me of a big, modern kitchen. However, there’s no doubt that this place is for the privileged pockets.

Must-try dish: Shanghai Garlic Noodles (Php395 full; Php255 half) -The perfect Chinese noodles in a restaurant serving predominantly Italian dishes!


The Brickroad, Sta. Lucia East Grand Mall, Cainta

Dare of Visit: Feb. 11, 2008

I must say that the quality of their food over the years has gone down. Yet food price here keeps going up, up, up. A plate can cost you anywhere from Php300-Php700, and that doesn’t include the drinks yet. We used to marvel at the sight of their hamburgers but when my kid ordered their hamburger last month during my birthday, I was not impressed at all. Their patty and bun have shrunk over the years! They must do something fast or they will lose their loyal customers.

I had the same opinion about the chops we ordered… a bit smaller than what we used to have and if my math served me right, we paid more than Php600 for it. Golly, wow! The only time you will not feel the pinch of spending too much for their food is when you avail of their promos, which was not offered to us, like their Take 2 for P395 only promo wherein you can choose one appetizer and one main entrée for only Php395 and Free Dessert Vouchers, etc. I just found out that they had such promo offerings when we already paid for our meals.

Well, I still enjoyed my birthday meal only because of the nostalgic feeling I had upon leaving the place (we used to frequent this place before when we still had our Friday’s-discount card) plus the ice cream treat they gave (complete with a candle) while the waiters and waitresses were singing to me their signature “Happy Birthday Song” ala Fridays- style.

Discovery Suites' Indoor Pool

25 ADB Avenue, Ortigas Center, Pasig City 1600, Philippines

Date of Visit: Jan. 27, 2008

What I like about Discovery Suites indoor pool:

1) It looks posh.

2) They serve drinks and cookies while you’re taking a dip in the pool or lounging around their beach chairs or simply playing “yaya” to your kids. You can help yourself with a glass of their refreshing iced-tea with a hint of pandan and lemon-vanilla flavor; and their chocolate chip cookies and chewy butter coconut cookies. How I wish I could take home some. You can always go back to their serving table for more. (Take note: All for free).

3) There are cute animal floaters and water toys available for kids to use and enjoy.

4) Their pool attendant is very attentive. He quickly refills the pitcher of iced-tea and trays of cookies.

5) You can request for as many towels as you want. The attendant will just ask you how many you need.

6) If swimming in the pool is not your thing, you can always check out their jacuzzi.

My one request: Make the pool heated so it would be nicer to swim in it during the cold “ber’ months.


Power Plant Mall Concourse Level
Rockwell Drive
cor. Estrella St. Makati City
Tel. 898-0985

Date of Visit: Jan. 27, 2008

Nothing comes close to Cinnabon’s cinnabon.

I was tongue-tied the first time I took a bite of this big cinnamon roll, way back in 1997. The cinnamon came all the way from the US. Imagine, it traveled 12 hours and I remember not heating it then when I first tasted it. Yet it was still so delicious! That was when I first learned what “sinfully-delicious” meant.

When you bite into a Cinnabon, you will feel an unexplainable sensation in your body - - yes, that’s your GUILT-o-meter working. I guess, that’s why you call it guilty pleasure, right?

Visiting any of their stores here has always been a delight. Everytime I treat my hubby and my kids to a cinnabon merienda, I can’t help but be enticed with the smell and aroma of their freshly-baked treat. Their store smells so good! Add to that, is the sight of their oh-so-tempting cinnabons smothered with their rich toppings of caramel, chocolate, cream cheese or whatever. I love the combination of caramel & pecans so, obviously, their caramel pecanbon is my favorite.

There are times that I find their cinnabon too sweet, but I don’t mind. I still enjoy every bite of it.

Kimono Ken

Level 3, Podium Mall

Date of Visit: Jan. 27, 2008

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly Japanese resto and you happen to pass by this place in Podium, chances are you would have second thoughts of dining here. Why? The place doesn’t look like your typical Tokyo-Tokyo Japanese resto. With its tastefully-done interiors, it looks quite formal so you would easily think that their food offerings are no less than Php200 per dish. But hey, looks can be deceiving and boy, were we glad we checked it out. We were surprised to learn that their food is priced at affordable rates.

My husband and I had a decent Japanese meal here and our total bill was less than Php500. For the quality, the price is rather cheap.

What we ordered: Katsudon, Tempura, Gyoza and drinks
Taste: Good
Quality: Good
Food Presentation: Very Good
Servings: Very Good
Service: Fast and Efficient
Price: Very Reasonable

We left the place full and satisfied. So, the next time we visited the place, we brought our whole family along, and they too, were satisfied with the food and the service.

Kimono Ken lives up to its slogan, “Enticingly Japanese for less.”

Brothers Burger

B5 Bonifacio Street , Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City
856-2405 to 06

Date of Visit: Jan. 20, 2008

For just a little over Php500, you and your family can already have an all-American burger feast at Brothers Burger. It was a drizzling Sunday afternoon when we first visited their branch at Serendra. We were so hungry since it was already past 1 pm and hadn’t eaten our lunch yet. We ordered the following: Cheese Steak Burger, Fish Fillet Burger, Brothers Burger + onion rings, fries, lemonade & iced-tea. Their burger patties are really thick and juicy. But the best part of that lunch was that the 3 burgers we ordered each cost less than P150. Boy, we surely had our tummies filled! At a very reasonable cost, you will leave this place satisfied with even a doggy-bag on hand. This is one of the more affordable places, if not, the MOST affordable place to dine when you happen to be at Serendra. What I noticed was that, most had left-overs to take home. Meaning, their burgers (except their Baby Brother and Brothers Burger) are just too big for a person with normal appetite.

The only downside of dining at their branch here is that it can get really jam-packed during lunch hours. I would suggest removing the rows of crates full of burger buns placed before one side of a wall so that they can add some more tables and chairs to accommodate a few more diners inside.

I believe this burger joint is the local counterpart of Inn & Out in the States – they have the same quick service, same burger presentation, same ambience, quite the same taste, which is LIP-SMACKING GOOD!

Harbor View, San Miguel by the Bay

Bay Strip, SM Mall of Asia, SM Central Business Park, Bay City
City, Metro Manila

Date of Visit: Jan. 7, 2008

It was my first time to visit Harbor View at the Manila Bay strip. I used to enjoy their seafood dishes at their former site located near the US Embassy, where we usually dine in the pier instead of their airconditioned-dining room.

Same here in this new location, you can choose either to dine in an airconditioned-dining room or just outside their resto, facing the bay. We chose the latter.

The setting at the bay is romantic but it’s also nice to bring your whole clan for a mini-reunion at the same time enjoying the view of Manila Bay and their food. It’s a good place to take your balikbayan relatives who surely miss the famous Pinoy foods and seafoods, which dominate their menu. It’s a place to be when you want the freshest catch on your table --- oysters, mussels, crabs, prawns, tilapia, catfish, lobsters, shrimps, etc. It’s the perfect place to treat your dabarkads or just have a “one-round” with your office buddies after a tiring week. I swear you will not spend a fortune for their “inihaws” and “pulutans”. Actually, their entire menu is easy on the pocket. In case you wouldn’t know what to order, the servers will help you decide and tell you how the items in the menu are cooked. The best time to enjoy their food and the ambience is during dinner-time or when the sun is about to set.

A must-order appetizer would be their nilasing na hipon dipped into their vinegar with lots of garlic. If you’re not a fan of seafoods, well, you’re missing a lot! But then again they have crispy pata, inihaw na liempo, pork sisig, chicken barbecue and a lot more.

As always, Harbor view never fails to treat you to a gastronomical delight!

Dencio's Bar & Grill

East Wing, Rockwell Powerplant Mall, Makati City

Dare of Visit: Jan. 4, 2008

My husband and I decided to go on a date one Friday night at Rockwell, Power Plant. We were looking for a fancy restaurant that we haven’t tried yet but my stomach was craving for GRILLED LIEMPO since lunch time, so much so, that I could almost taste it by simply imagining it. So, off we went to Dencio’s Grill.

The place, as always, was packed and noisy. That’s Dencio’s atmosphere for you! We were led to the airconditioned room, which I supposed was the non-smoking area. But frankly, I couldn’t distinguish their non-smoking area from the smoking area. I immediately ordered for Grilled Liempo and Pinakbet – the perfect combination. While my husband ordered Pusit Ala Pobre and Sizzling Sisig. That was one of the most satisfying dinner I ever had, haha! The feeling that my craving was fully satisfied was like no other. I could still taste the liempo right now. For a little over P500.00, my husband and I were so happy. What a wonderful date that was!

Old Spaghetti House

Legaspi 200 Bldg. Paseo De Roxas Avenue, Makati City

Date of Visit: Dec. 28, 2007

I met up with a few ex-officemates of mine to have lunch in this place. I found it a bit small with its lighting quite dim. It has an old-pubhouse atmosphere. The moment I stepped inside, I got the feeling that I was meeting a secret-lover, haha! Sort of a lovers’ trysting place.

I was early so I was able to reserve a table for us. Service could get a little slow especially when lunch-crowd would start coming in.

I recommend their Three-cheese pizza -- very tasty! I love how you can taste the distinct flavors of the cheeses in one pizza.

Their menu carries the usual Italian dishes like pasta and pizza but they also have rice dishes like porkchops and chicken.

Restaurant 5 at Discovery Suites

25 ADB Avenue, Ortigas Center, Pasig City 1600, Philippines

Date of Visit: Dec. 27, 2007

Buffet Dinner:

One will not be overwhelmed with the sight, smell and taste of this resto’s food selections since they offer a delightfully small buffet menu (with just about 5-6 viands) but nonetheless quality choices of 1pork, 1 chicken, 1 fish, 1 beef and 1 vegetable dish. Unlike when dining in other 5-star hotel restaurants, which can somehow make your tastebuds work double time and can leave it confused, with Restaurant 5 you get to savor and appreciate the real taste of each food you place on your plate. I just want to suggest that they broaden their dessert selection to include more cakes, pies, and perhaps ice cream and other sweet treats.

Restaurant 5 offers an intimate ambience. It’s a nice place to have a quiet dinner with your loved one or enjoy a tete’-a-tete’ with your long-time pals. It’s good for romantic dates.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf

Unit 1, H06 Building 8, 920 Bonifacio High Street
Bonifacio, Taguig City

Date of Visit: Dec. 16, 2007

What I have tried here:
Sandwich: Pastrami, Roast Beef
Salad: Classic Caesar
Cake: Oreo Cheesecake, Blueberry Cheesecake, Triple Decker Cheesecake, Sansrival
Beverage (Ice-blended): Mocha Mudslide, Caramel, Black Forest, Green Tea

More than having our usual coffee fix here, we find this place to be a good Sunday lunch place for my family. The atmosphere here is charmingly intimate yet suffused with a sophisticated and cozy vibe. The place is not so busy compared to the other coffee shops in the vicinity. You can spend your lazy afternoons here with a good book, a cup of brewed coffee and a slice of your favorite cheesecake or apple pie. Perfect! What’s more, they have friendly and accommodating baristas over here.

Their sandwiches are loaded and so filling, like the Pastrami and Roast Beef. There’s something about their Caesar Salad that demands a second or third or even a fourth visit. Maybe it’s the cheese or the freshness of its lettuce. I just can’t figure out what makes it so good. Don’t forget to try it when you visit this place.

Their display shelves are laden with deeply tempting, utterly delectable cakes and pies like their delicious cheesecakes galore – Oreo, Blueberry, Triple-Decker, and not to forget, their French Apple Pie. We also like their ice-blended refreshing beverages, like Mocha Mudslide, Caramel, Black Forest, Green Tea. Their coffee fraps have just the right blend of sweetness and creaminess and flavor, without being boring!

Tender Bob's

The Ledge, Level 6- EDSA Shangri La Plaza, Mandaluyong

Date of Visit: Dec. 15, 2007

Thank God they now have branches here in Manila. Years ago, you had to travel 3 hours to Subic to have a taste of their unadulterated American steaks and ribs, which dominate their menu. Their branch here in EDSA Shangrila has become one of our family’s fave resto. However, the place can get a bit cramp especially during special occasions like Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, and weekends. Good thing they have chairs and tables lined up along the corridor good enough to sit a family of 12 or more. Kids can look forward to receiving treats like balloons and coloring books with a box of crayons.

Their crispy potato skins, onion rings and calamares are just few of the must-try appetizers.

Hungry or starving? These are the serving portions for their steaks or ribs. But they are more than just a steaks and ribs house, mind you. They also carry on their menu pasta dishes, salads, burgers, appetizers, and a lot more.

What I like about their steaks here is that nothing overpowers the taste of the meat. They are just seasoned with salt & pepper and that’s it! The last time we ate here, my husband wanted his Porterhouse medium-well. When it was served, it looked a tiny bit dry but delicious nonetheless.

Aside from the steaks, we usually order their 2-piece grilled pork chops, which have the perfect smoky barbecue flavor. I get a kick out of seeing grill marks on them, too. Their baby back ribs smothered in sweet, tangy barbecue sauce are finger-lickin good! The meat is so tender that it falls off the bone.

If you’re hungry, a meal here can cost you around Php300. While, if you’re starving, you’ll shell out around Php500 for a slab, which is not bad at all.

Yellow Cab

Ground Level, Insular Life Bldg.
Ayala Ave.
cor. Paseo de Roxas
Makati City

Date of Visit: Nov. 28, 2007

My friend and I decided to treat each other for lunch and we both agreed to have Yellow Cab as our venue. She introduced me to Charlie Chan Chicken Pasta, which I immediately liked. It has a unique oriental taste and it’s spicy. I have no problem with spicy food. In fact, I could very well pass as an Indian native because of my fondness for spicy food. The pasta has chicken strips, shitake mushrooms and roasted peanuts, which are sautéed in a spicy sauce.

And since Yellow Cab is an all-American pizza haven, one cannot go wrong with their New York’s Finest pizza, the pizza topped with all the meat and veggie pizza toppings I like (Italian sausage, ham, pepperoni, ground beef + peppers and mushrooms). Another must-taste is their Roasted Garlic and Shrimp pizza.

If you bring along your kids, they will surely enjoy the spaghetti and meatballs and the NY Classic pizza, which is their version of pepperoni pizza.


Upper Ground Floor Building A, SM Megamall

Date of Visit: Nov. 21, 2007

The first time I tried Italianni’s Angel Hair Pomodoro, I fell in love with it. That was more than 10 years ago. Up to now, it is still the dish we never fail to include in our order list. Another must-try is their Romano Chicken Caesar Salad. It is already a meal in itself. The salads are served in generous portions that can be shared. The complimentary straight-from-the-oven Foccacia Bread and the Tuscan Bread served with balsamic vinegar and olive oil are enough to fill you. They’re delicious!

Italianni’s is a casual Americal-Italian resto with a relaxed atmosphere. The staffers are efficient and well trained. The manager or a staff will check on you every so often during your meal to ask about the food they has just served.

Food here is really great but the price is on the steep side. For a family of 4, dining here is already something to save up for. My husband even asked me why Italian dishes are overpriced like most pasta dishes when according to him, it seems so easy to make them at home. Take for example the pomodoro wherein the ingredients are just fresh tomatoes, some herbs and spices. But honestly, I have tried several times to replicate their Angel Hair Pomodoro at home but my version seems to lack something -- that Italianni’s zing! So, I guess it’s not that easy…since it’s pretty hard to capture that distinct Italian flavor.

Dining here is always something to look forward to.

House of Minis

Greeenhills Shopping Complex Shoppesville Level 1, Unit 75/76/77
Ortigas Ave.
, San Juan, Metro Manila
721-1410, 721-5056

Date of Visit: Nov. 9, 2007

Loyalty, a very rare attribute nowadays. Yes, the waiters of their Greenhills branch deserve a loyalty award. As far as I remember, the waiter who served us the last time we were there (Nov. 2007) has been there, serving us for more than 10 years already.

Nothing has changed in this resto for the past years.

Even the ambience and the sound of the organ playing in the background, were so yesterday. If this place were a personal computer, it would still be running under an MS-DOS environment. I think it would be best to upgrade and renovate the place.

I think the only change they have made over the years was on their menu price. Although the price hike was gradual. And yes, the dinner bread served before the main meal became smaller.

Anyway, their steaks, which are the restaurant’s main attraction, are still worth the trip and the tip. Their porterhouse, T-bone or tenderloin steaks cooked to your liking, do not disappoint. You will leave the place feeling bloated.

I only have one complaint and a major one at that: The last time we dined here, there was a small cockroach walking on the wall near our table, that my husband shooed away. Oh well, they really better renovate their branch or they might just evaporate, sayang naman.

My dilemma is how to give them a fair rating so I’ll just categorize:
Food (steaks)- 4 stars

Service- 3 stars

Place- 1 star

Overall Average- 2.67 stars

Kaya Korean Restaurant

Concourse Level, Power Plant Mall, Rockwell Drive cor. Estrella St.
City, Metro Manila

(02) 898-0934 to 35

Date of Visit: Sept. 21, 2007

As our group of more than 10 was looking for a place on the 1st level of Rockwell to dine in, we ended up in Kaya only because it was the only place that could accommodate a large group like us.

The only Korean dish I’ve tried is kimchi, which I liken to our native atchara. If bulgogi is an original Korean dish, then I’ve tried that, too. You know what? I don’t remember anything I ate in Kaya or the name of the dishes we ordered, for that matter. So, I guess, that says a lot about the restaurant…… or maybe about me --- think, forgetful Lucy. Oh yes, there’s one thing I remember, their servings were so small that we had to literally count the number of pieces of pork or beef, for example, in the dish, and divide it equally among ourselves, making sure that everyone would get to taste the dish, at least. Our bill totaled Php3,300. When we went to a bowling alley after that, my husband ended up ordering…..dinner no. 2 at the bowling center’s eatery – a set meal of porkchop with rice and a drink for less than 100 bucks. Busog!


SM MegaMall, 4th Level, Bridgeway
Edsa cor. Julia Vargas Ave. Mandaluyong City
636-3785, 636-3782, 636-3780

Date of Visit: August 4, 2007

Dad’s Merienda Buffet:

It’s sulit! For P130++, you’ll definitely get your money’s worth!

They’re buffet table is loaded with all the Filipino merienda you could ever think of– pancit malabon, pancit bihon, ginataan halo-halo, a variety of kakanin, kamote-que, banana-que, turon, arroz caldo, tokwa’t baboy. Add to this list are some Chinese dimsum like siopao, siomai and mami. Head first to the siomai counter, the line here could get really long. Believe me, getting your siomai fix first before anything else can save you lots of time to enjoy your merienda. If you’re not a fan of Pinoy delicacies, don’t fret, they also have baked macaroni, spaghetti, cakes & pastries like brownies, cheesecakes, etc. By the way drinks are not included in the price.

It’s best to try their merienda buffet any day from Monday to Friday the weekday. It can get pretty crowded during Saturdays and especially, Sundays.


432 San Andres cor. Roxas Blvd. Malate, Manila

Date of Visit: July 2007

This place brings back so many special memories. I get a little nostalgic writing about this place. Our parents would often bring us here when we were still kids. The place may not be known by our youth of today but it’s the only restaurant I know that has survived the test of time. They have maintained the quality of their food and the affordability of their price.

Here is where you will find the inimitable Pork and Chicken Barbecue served with its signature yellow rice or Java Rice, atchara, and that famous, one-of-a-kind barbecue sauce. Their barbecues are the best!

Their Lumpiang Shanghai is also one of the best Lumpiang Shanghai but when I was still a kid, I would often ask my mom or dad to order Camaron Rebosado with the perfect sweet and sour sauce that goes with it. By the way, their barbecue sauce is now being sold in bottles so you can have your own “ala-ristocrat” barbecue meal right at the comforts of your home. But frankly, there’s nothing like eating Aristocrat barbecues in the restaurant itself. Maybe because for me, the restaurant has been a part of my childhood life. It’s like it has become an extension of our home.

Aristocrat is one of those restaurants that I will not tire of visiting over and over again just to satisfy my craving for pork or chicken barbecue. This place will always have a special place in my heart.

Shanghai Bistro

Eastwood City Walk 2, Libis, Quezon City

Date of Visit: June 17, 2007

It’s our favorite fine dining Chinese restaurant. Shanghai’s atmosphere is comfortably sophisticated that’s why the place may come as intimidating at first. In fact, I think it’s one of its main draws. Food options are numerous, the service is attentive and menu prices are a bit high but the high quality of food and service more than compensates for the price.

It's the perfect place to celebrate any special occasion. Don’t forget to make reservations, though. It was Father’s Day the last time we dined here. For starters, we had the house tea and this Spicy Seaweed appetizer. Then came the main entrees: Stir Fried Shrimps with Green Vegetables, Beef Tenderloin Chinese Style (our favorite here! It’s just soooo good!), Sweet & Sour Pork, Deep Fried Chicken & Crispy Noodles.

We thoroughly enjoyed the food here. Super! The meats and seafoods are cooked perfectly. All vegetables in main dishes are also excellently cooked – never soggy and always a bit crunchy.

My verdict: 5 stars. Recommended 100x.

Pink Pepper Steak

SM Mall of Asia

Date of Visit: May 12, 2007

The place is a bit small but nonetheless classy. They have large sofa chairs where you can lounge around while enjoying your steak with a glass of wine. It’s a nice place to unwind with your best buddies or to have a relaxing and quiet dinner date with someone.

This place was where we celebrated mother’s day last year. The promo steaks we ordered were delightfully good! It was reasonably priced at P295 per order. The steak was big enough for my standard. Even the mashed potatoes were so tasty.

For appetizer, you can’t go wrong with their baked tahong. The shells are big and the melted butter and cheese topping is just irresistible.

The place and food is definitely worth another visit, and still another visit….