When it comes to exploring food places, I gravitate more towards those that offer foreign cuisines, particularly Japanese. However, if a restaurant is recommended by a trusted foodie friend, then I would do my best to try it even if it serves Filipino food. Don’t get me wrong, I love our local dishes, but because they’re easily accessible, I am in no rush to try every good restaurant that serves Filipino food. Anyway, since I was scheduled for oral surgery last May 25, my boyfriend (Leo) and I decided to visit Antojos Manila the day before, as recommended by our friend Kuya Hubert.
Antojos was originally located in San Juan, but due to some complex matters, they decided to relocate along Banawe. Upon seeing their very classy wooden sign, we were already impressed. They have really beautiful interiors! The place is like a mix of old school and modern, simple yet elegant, classy but not intimidating (well, not so much haha). It is spacious yet does not lack furniture or fixtures. I also like their placemats, which go well with food shots! 😀
And speaking of food, we had a little difficulty in choosing because many of the dishes seem so appetizing! By the way, they have a high-tech menu as we were given a Kindle or a similar device to browse. 🙂 Anyhow, we decided to try the Jalapeño balls (or crunch) first. Oh my goodness! They were so good! Leo and I agreed that it is the best chili-cheese snack we’ve tried so far! The balls had a very generous amount of CREAM CHEESE with the right kick of jalapeño. The breading wasn’t too thick, so we really had our fill of cheesy and spicy goodness! We suggest that they add another ball, though, because we believe that at P290 per order of 4 pieces, it’s a bit expensive. :p
For our main meals, we ordered garlic rice, cheesy beef kaldereta, and seafood curry pasta. The rice was already good for 2-3 people, and I believe P120 is a good price for it. It was really good, too! It wasn’t “fake” garlic rice in which the garlic is only sprinkled on top of the rice. Fragrant and soft, you’ll definitely want to eat a lot! :p
Kaldereta is one of my favorite Filipino beef dishes, and being cheesy is a huge factor for me to like it. Antojos’ version is a deconstructed one as the potatoes and carrots weren’t sliced into cubes; rather, they came in strips. These vegetable strips are not initially seen because they serve as the cushion of the very soft beef and cheesy tomato sauce! The whole ensemble was such a delight to the eyes (or my camera’s shutter haha), and it went so well with the garlic rice! I just wish that the vegetables were cooked a little more. 😀 They are simply blanched pala, according to Kuya Hubert.
Pasta is one of the easiest dishes to cook even at home, but that doesn’t mean I don’t order it at restaurants. Antojos has a variety of pastas, and we chose their best seller, the seafood curry pasta. Upon my initial taste, I told Leo I didn’t like it. I found the taste weird and I thought I wouldn’t be able to eat more. However, I tried it again, and gradually, my taste buds adjusted to the taste. I think the curry flavor “slapped” my taste buds first, and it is quite unusual to have curry-flavored pasta. This curry pasta came with thin slices of grilled eggplant and a tiny serving of bagoong, which made it even weirder! Haha! But yeah, it was actually good enough to be tasted once; I will eat it again, but not anytime soon. My favorite pasta is still puttanesca. 🙂
But wait, there’s more! Kuya Hubert wanted us to try the chocolate binagoongan. What?! Yes! Chocolate and bagoong mixed together to add a twist to a classic Filipino dish! Man, just writing about it makes me want to go back to Antojos right now and order it for myself! 😀 It’s really good! The salty bagoong is still more dominant than the sweet chocolate flavor, but they are a good match, especially when paired with garlic rice! Hay nako, my mouth is watering right now. Hahaha!
Antojos is located at 238 (2nd floor) Banawe Center, Panalturan Street, Banawe, Quezon City (nasa dulo siya hehe). Eating good food in a beautiful place is always welcome, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy your dining experience here! 🙂