Buffalo’s Wings N’ Things (213 Banawe St, Quezon City, Metro Manila)

PhotoGrid_1402128067685Date visited: November 2013

What we ate:

Champion Buffalo Wings in Garlic Parmesan and The Rookie sauces (~PhP280/pound) and Nachos N’ Salsa (~PhP100)

 

Taste = 4.5/5

–          When we were travelling for the nth time along Banawe St., we wanted to try a restaurant on the far side of the street. We saw that there was a wings place in the area so we tried their chicken wings. The wings were juicy and the coating of the flavour on the wings was even. The taste of the wings was good and the Rookie sauce had the right amount of spiciness for us. The Garlic Parmesan flavour was also a delight to eat. The amount of flavour was just right – not too little that you can just barely detect it but not too much that it would make you not want to eat any more. The nachos were crisp and very crunchy though we would have wanted it to be warm when served. The salsa was the usual one but it was still good and tasted fresh and not from the can.

 

Service = 5/5

–          They had attentive servers and they gave good service to their customers. It didn’t take much effort in getting their attention to get service and they moved fast enough.

 

Ambience = 4/5

–          There was an indoor and an outdoor dining area and both felt comfortable. This particular branch was relatively new when we ate there, everything was neat and clean. The atmosphere was friendly as well.

 

Value for money = 5/5

–          The serving sizes, quality of the food and the service were really above average. Good thing their prices were very reasonable and we hope they continue to do well.

Click here for their Facebook page.

I-Bagnet Resto & Bar (12 Sct. Borromeo Cor. Mother Ignacia, Quezon City)

PhotoGrid_1401455816800

Date visited: November 2013

What we ordered:

Open Wanton Tacos (~PhP240) and Bagnet (deep fried pork belly) Value Meal (~PhP170)

 

Taste = 4/5

–          Lyn wasn’t really hungry during this night but I was. We wanted to eat at Napa but when we got to the area, we found out that it had already closed for good. I-Bagnet was the next-door restaurant so we decided to eat there. The Bagnet value meal was composed of the bagnet, rice and fried egg. The bagnet itself was good. The skin was very crunchy and the meat had the right tenderness for a bagnet. It was a good “value meal”. The only downside was that their vinegar was not the kind of vinegar from Ilocos that we preferred (which best compliments any bagnet). The surprise of the night came from the delicious Wanton Tacos. It had tomatoes, sweet ground beef, onions and lots of grated cheese on top of a crunchy wanton taco. It was so simple yet so delicious. We’ve had tacos from other places but for some reason, theirs was just yummy and fun to eat (messy). A dash of hot sauce only made them so much better.

 

Service = 4/5

–          The servers were friendly and made eating there so much better. They provided good service and looked like they enjoyed what they were doing.

 

Ambience = 4/5

–          There was an enclosed area that was good for family or group diners and there was an open area that was more conducive for friends who want to hang out and drink while eating good food. Somehow, it was comfortable on both the indoor and open dining areas.

 

Value for money = 4/5

–          The serving sizes and quality of their dishes were good and the prices were reasonable. Their dining area was welcoming and their service was good as well. We hope they continue or even improve so they gain more regulars.

Click here for their Facebook page.

Pinac Heirloom Capampangan Cuisine (2nd Level, U.P. Town Center, Katipunan Ave., Diliman, Quezon City)

PhotoGrid_1400334952010Date visited: November 2013

What we ordered:

Ensaladang Pako with Fried Itik Floss (fiddle fern with salted egg, green mangoes, cucumber and tomatoes served with Pinac vinaigrette and topped with deep fried quail floss) (~PhP130), Manibalang na Manga at Hito Ensalada (salad of green mangoes with cucumber, eggplant, red onions and tomatoes, served with fermented shrimp paste and catfish) (~PhP130), Sinigang na Ulo ng Salmon sa Miso (salmon’s head miso sour soup) (~PhP220) and Smoked Tadyang with Yellow Mango Chutney (fall-off-the-bone smoked beef ribs with yellow mango and native corn salsa) (~PhP650)

 

Taste = 4.5/5

–          We were looking for a place to eat in the (then relatively new) U.P. Town Center and we chose to eat at a Filipino-themed restaurant. Good thing we did. Everything was yummy. This must be because the dishes of restaurant hail from Pampanga, where, people have the reputation of being excellent cooks. The Sinigang was definitely yummy and sour to our liking. We believe that the best fish meat is in the vicinity of their heads and the fish parts that were in the soup were definitely good, flaky and flavourful. The ribs were a bit on the tough side but they had much flavour and the chutney was the perfect accompaniment to the dish. The salad had a little too much flavor going on but overall, it was interesting. The fiddle fern was good. The combination of flavors was excellent: sour, sweet, salty, savory and fresh (because of the cucumber).

 

Service = 5/5

–          Even though they were literally full of diners and we were seated near the edge of the restaurant, we still received excellent service and we never felt that we were being neglected.

 

Ambience = 5/5

–          The place had a modern feel with a very clean brown-beige-white motif. There were a lot of interesting pictures on the walls which could easily be conversation starters for those on dates. The place was brightly lit and felt like a very good place to eat and chat with family and friends.

 

Value for money = 4.5/5

–          The service we received and quality of the food were superior in its class. However, their serving sizes could use a little improvement. Having said this, this restaurant can still easily become our favourite in U.P. Town Center.

Sorry, we weren’t able to find any page or website for this restaurant.

Outback Steakhouse (35 E. Rodriguez Jr. Ave, Acropolis, Libis, Quezon City)

PhotoGrid_1398964954557[1]Date visited: November 2013

What we ordered:

Crispy Calamari (~PhP350) and Outback Special (~PhP1000) with complimentary bread

 

Taste = 4.5/5

–          This Aussie-style restaurant has been on our dining plans for a long time already and at the time, we were in the area and hungry. The Crispy Calamari (deep-fried batter-coated squid) was served really quickly. It was still piping hot when we took a bite and it was delicious. The better part of the dish was the salsa. It had tomato chunks, onions, a little chilli and Lyn’s favourite, cilantro. It was one of the best salsa we’ve tasted and it was so good we asked for another bowlful. Lyn didn’t like the tentacles but it was ok for me. The steak looked almost too good to be true. It jiggled a little when we poked it with a fork and it was as tender as it looked. It had the right amount of chewiness almost like a chunk of chewy fondant. The taste was good but for me, it was a bit low on saltiness. I would have preferred a unique sauce for the steak since the A1 steak sauce they had overpowered the taste of their good steak.

 

Service = 4/5

–          They provided ample service and the servers were attentive enough though they weren’t the smiling types, we think.

 

Ambience = 4.5/5

–          The dining area was divided into sections, there was a non-smoking area, a smoking area and a bar, which made it really pleasant for non-smokers and families. The place had neat-looking wooden furnishings, knickknacks all over and Aussie-inspired decor. The floor spacing was also nice and made manoeuvring easy despite the number of tables.

 

Value for money = 4/5

–          The dishes were on the expensive side but the good taste of the food and the quality of the meat made everything worth the price. They could try to improve on the serving size and service to make the whole experience better.

Click here for their website.

Tiago (85 Sct Fuentebella St, Sacred Heart Quezon City)

Date visited: October 2013

What we ordered:

Pinausukang Chicken and Pork

 

Taste = 3.5/5

–          The menu describes the dish as Smoked Chicken in Mindanao Adobo Sauce, Quail’s Egg and Pork Trotters.  While the chicken tasted great and was very juicy and the pork meat was as delicate as it can get, the menu led us to believe that it was adobo but it wasn’t. The vital ingredient in any adobo is vinegar. It is the one ingredient that has to be there. Or if it was there, the diners should be able to taste it. The relatively low rating we gave for the taste isn’t really to say that it wasn’t delicious but more on not meeting expectations set by the description of the dish.

 

Service = 3.5/5

–          They were on their first month of opening so it was expected that they did not accept credit cards yet. However, the poor service we got was something we did not expect. It was really hard to get the server’s attention and it seemed that “discipline” and “impressions” are not words they value – one of the uniformed servers was comfortably seated in a large couch with both his hands stretched across the back rest and it seemed like he can’t be bothered.

 

Ambience = 4.5/5

–          This is probably where they invested a lot. The place looked great. There was an area where a part of the ceiling was made of glass and it added a nice ambience to it. Some of the walls, even the restroom walls, had a blackboard type of material and the designs were made with chalk, which matched the interiors and the black-and-white menu. The plates had nice designs, the lighting fixtures were great and the overall design had a good flow to it. However, I noticed that the restroom sign had some Braille writing on it and when I touched them, they weren’t embossed or raised. Too bad.

 

Value for money = 3.5/5

–          The price of the dish was a bit expensive even if the serving was for sharing. It also didn’t help that we got poor service. They have the potential to being one of the good Filipino restaurants in the area but they have a long way to go to get there.

Click here for their Facebook page.

 

Gaucho Cocina y Vinos Argentinos (3rd Floor Al Fresco, The Park at Robinsons Magnolia)

Date visited: September 2013

What we ordered:

Fuguazetta (Spinach and Italian Prosciutto Argentinean thin crust Pizza) and Falda a la Cruz (Slow Roasted US Beef Shortplate)

 

Taste = 4.5/5

–          The Fuguazetta was a very nice appetizer. It was thin crust pizza made with chickpea flour and provolone. We chose prosciutto and spinach as toppings and the result was a good pizza. The spinach was on the sweet and chewy side while the provolone cheese was a fresh taste from the usual mozzarella. The taste of the prosciutto was not really detectable probably because they only placed one strip per slice but it was still a good pizza. The serving of the US Beef was outrageous. We weren’t able to finish half of the deliciously-seasoned beef. The beef was so tender and had a delicious dry rub on it. Plus, the fat gave the beef slices a lot of juiciness. The dish came with Chimichurri sauce which tasted like parsley with avocado which went really well with the meat. The organic pickles included: shallots, which were sweet; chopped eggplants which were sour; and zucchinis, which were mildly sweet and sour. All of the sides went surprisingly well with the beef.

 

Service = 4.5/5

–          When we got there, it was really late in the night and all of the staff’s attention was on us. We had great service at first but when some of the employees went home already, the remaining servers were focused on housekeeping duties. But we still received good service overall.

 

Ambience = 5/5

–          There was a fine dining atmosphere from the outside to the dining area. The look and feel of the dining area was refined even if there was a roasting/fire pit near the middle of the floor.  The atmosphere was romantic but relaxing but I’m sure it would have been a lot different if we came during their Milonga (tango) nights.

 

Value for money = 4.5/5

–          If we knew how big the serving was for the Beef Shortplate dish, we wouldn’t have ordered an appetizer. Ordering that dish alone would have been more than enough for us since it was served with unlimited garlic rice. The only thing that put us off a little was that while our Fuguazetta was almost as expensive as the main dish, they were worlds apart in terms of serving size.

Click here for their Facebook page.

New Orleans Bourbon Street Ribs, Steaks and Oysters (Upper Ground Level, Robinsons Magnolia)

Date visited: September 2013 (The update is at the end of this review)

What we ordered:

Oyster Rockefeller, Paul Prudhomme’s Seafood Marinara and Kansas City Ribs

Taste = 4.5/5

–          We were looking for a restaurant that was open late in Sta. Mesa area and we thought of going to Robinsons Magnolia. We were lucky that this restaurant was open until 12mn and even had a live band that day. The waiter said we should try their ribs and oysters and good thing we listened to him. The oysters were excellent. It actually tasted more like pizza and the oyster taste was not strong at all, which was perfect for us. The bacon, cheesy crust, barely bitter spinach and the fresh-tasting oysters blended so well with each other. We knew that this restaurant wasn’t known for their pasta but the sauce of the Seafood Marinara was excellent. It had the right amount of sourness and sweetness that really complimented the mixed seafood and the linguini. However, the squid was a little overcooked and some of the other seafood tasted a little too fishy. Their specialty was the Kansas City Ribs. The taste was delicious and the serving was large. The “dirty” rice that was served with the ribs reminded me of good shawarma rice and was really good. Though the ribs were not really fall-off-the-bone tender, the meat had a very nice sweet and a little bitter barbeque flavour to it that made eating it really pleasurable.

Service = 5/5

–          We were practically the only customers when we went there so we got great service. Even when 4 more customers arrived, the level of service did not change.

Ambience = 5/5

–          Since we were practically alone when we arrived and they had a live band, we felt as if it was a very special private date night. We really liked the songs they were playing and it made us enjoy staying in their restaurant. The couch seats were very comfortable and everything looked well-maintained.

Value for money = 5/5

–          Because of the good-tasting food, large serving sizes and great ambience, the prices they charged were really reasonable. This is a nice place to go to if you’re hungry in the Aurora-Gilmore area late in the evening. Unfortunately, this branch has already closed down as of this posting.

Click here for their Facebook page.