Contributed by J & C (the tell-it-as-it-is food critics)
Ed’s Note: Food Finds is a review segment by our contributors — Metro Manila-based entrepreneurs, J & C.
Voucher/s Used: None
Number of Diners: 2
We visited this place during brunch time at around 10:30 am. The first thing that greeted us after stepping inside the restaurant was the carpeted floor which was a bit of a turnoff. Carpets need a high degree of maintenance to keep them looking clean, so we think they have no business being in any type of food establishment. The mishmash of antique and collectible décor that adorned the place also seemed a bit overwhelming and intimidating at first. However, we were pretty impressed at how each one of those items was kept dust-free. Kudos to the staff’s dusting skills!
What We Ordered:
Clam Chowder in Sourdough Bread @ PhP150
Served in a bowl-shaped sourdough bread, this clam chowder was a very nice meal starter. It was served piping hot in a vessel that also filled our already growling stomachs. There were no visible clam chunks, but the taste was definitely there. The serving size was just enough for one person, so since there were two of us sharing one bowl, we were both left feeling bitin! It was a good thing though that the second dish was served even before we finished our last few spoonful of this wonderful soup.
Panizza with Pepperoni and Ham served with Arugula and Alfalfa @ PhP244
This panizza (roll-up pizza) was almost as good as the ones served at C’s even if they were made very differently. The smoked meats in this dish were very tasty. You’d instantly know that they were not grocery-bought, which were those that lacked the smoky flavor. The pizza sauce in this dish was a revelation. You can taste and smell the real tomatoes. It was nothing like the mass-produced kind, which usually tends to be too sweet or too sour. The crust was softer and a little thicker (somewhat bread-like) than the ones usually used for panizzas, but it somehow worked very well in this case. Curiously however, the alfalfa sprouts and the arugula we had lacked the nutty and the peppery flavors that they should have. We wonder why. Sayang tuloy…
TIP: Try a few bites of your panizza with some sriracha sauce for a totally different, but equally pleasant experience.
Grilled Pork with Asian Salad @ PhP250
Even with the extreme level of heat (notice the chopped bird’s eye chilis in the photo below) and the lack of any form of carbs in this plate of dish, we still can’t help but give it the full 5 stars. The pork was cooked very well. It was both tender and well-seasoned. The salad, which was intentionally placed on top of the grilled pork to hint the diners to eat them together, complemented the protein very nicely. The dressing was very well-balanced with all the sweet, salty, sour, spicy goodness. Plus the incredible aroma from the cilantro and pickled red onions, and the crunch from the crispy pork flakes that went with every bite – Wow! Close your eyes and you’d feel like you are in the streets of Thailand only without the noise and humidity. Truly, every bite was a delight.
Total Damage @ PhP 676.20 (inclusive of 5% service charge)
Food here took the center stage. Forget about the quirky design and the intimidating ambience of the place and just really immerse yourself in the good food that this place has to offer (clearly the trademark of all Juanita restaurants).
The servers were very knowledgeable about the dishes. They were also quick to attend to our needs and requests. Our glasses of water were never empty (considering the amount of water that we had to consume, because of the spicy-as-hell Asian salad).
Value for Money:
If you take into account the quality of food being served here, we are sure that you will not find their average serving size a letdown. Since we felt that everything we ordered was reasonably priced, we left this place with big smiles on our faces.
Will We Go Back?
As long as we can find a decent parking spot within a 200-meter radius of this place, we will certainly be back. Heck, forget about the parking! We are even willing to visit here by foot! The food here was so good that this restaurant can potentially become anyone’s go-to-place. It has definitely become one of ours.
BREAKFAST @ JUANITA
Location: 19 West Capitol Drive, Kapitolyo, Pasig City
Contact Nos.: +63-2-6320357, +63-2-6569081
Hours: Tue-Sun @ 7am-10pm
Let our palates and our pockets be your guide,
J & C