Phat in the Phillipines: Cafe Juanita

Cafe Juanita is like the Spanish-Filipino version of NYC’s Serendipity. It’s decorated in a maximalist fashion, with all sorts of kitschy knick knacks and unique furniture and light fixtures providing a visual feast while you dine. You go for the eclectic interior decor as much as the fine food.

We started with a few bottles of San Miguel Light and a salad of shrimp and wingbeans dressed in coconut milk-based sauce. Wingbeans are a Southeast Asian specialty. Like snap peas, they have a mild flavor and excellent crunch, which went well with the tender shrimp and coconut milk in this dish.

We also tried an order of the crispy lapu lapu, or local grouper. Is it me, or do all Filipino restaurants turn out perfect fried dishes? This lapu lapu was still tender and moist, while the batter was superbly crisp. Paired with a sweet tamarind sauce, this dish was excellent.

Sinigang is a Filipino soup flavored with guava and tamarind, resulting in a complex sweet and sour flavor. The version we tried was made with corned beef – cooked until it was amazingly tender and fell apart when touched. Okra, chilis, tomatoes, onion, and corn rounded out the flavors.

Cafe Juanita
2 United St
Pasig City, Manila
+68 036 632-0357