December 9, 2010

Café Juanita at the Fort

            Filipino food served at Café Juanita at the Fort is worth sharing to the world.

            On our way home from Manila, we decided to stop by at Bonifacio Global City for lunch. Driving around the vicinity led us to Burgos Circle, another center of good food at The Fort.

            As soon as we parked, we strolled around the area and checked the menus of the different restaurants. I think we wandered around the area twice, checking Henry’s Place by Good Earth, Cantinetta, L’Entrecote, Melo’s Steakhouse. Frankly, we can’t seem to choose among the restaurants. Just then, I remembered that the recently concluded Manila’s Best Kept Restaurant Secrets awarded Café Juanita as the Best Filipino restaurant in town.

            Café Juanita has a unique interior, a mixture of Asian traditional and modern decors with a gypsy folkloric feel—colorful and positive.

            2 large chandeliers made of rectangular capiz shells in the high-ceilinged area captures your attention as soon you enter the restaurant.

            Calamares Fritos. Deep fried crispy tender squid rings with tartar sauce. My youngest brother is addicted to Calamares so if it’s on the menu, then it’s a definite order. As for his say on Juanita’s Calamares, it’s tender but lacks in taste.

            Pasta Filipina. Angel’s hair pasta with “Taba ng Talangka” sauce. The angel hair, with its thin pasta really brings out the remarkable flavor of the Taba ng talangka or Crab roe paste. This is a good dish and I would recommend it—that is if you’re not afraid of the fat and cholesterol you’ll be ingesting.

            Garlic Chicken. Fried chicken breast marinated in herbs and soy, topped with golden brown garlic chips with green salad and vinaigrette dressing. I’ve taste a lot of Garlic Chicken in the country, and mostly it’s fried but Café Juanita’s Garlic Chicken is a winner. First, it’s not fried; Second, the sauce has a strong flavor; and last, the chicken itself is infused with the garlic’s flavor that you don’t have to dip it in the sauce to assure yourself that you’re eating garlic chicken.

            Special Dinuguan. Or Pork Blood Stew topped with green mango strips and chicharon. I love Café Juanita’s dinuguan. The green mango balances the stew’s oil and strong flavor while the chicharon bits gives the crunchy experience.

            Kare-Kare ni Juanita. Ox tail and tripe stewed in peanuts and toasted rice with tropical vegetables. The generous serving of ox tail and tripe, the smooth peanut sauce plus the tasty bagoong makes it truly a bestseller. Although my sister complained that it’s not thick enough, I still find Café Juanita’s Kare-Kare good.

            Sansrival. There’s nothing fancy about their Sansrival. My sister even said that it tastes like Goldilocks. I should have ordered Sticky Tofu Pudding or Cassava Cake instead of this.

            Iced Milk Tea. Not too sweet and the taste is just right, comes with a generous sprinkle of cinnamon.

            My Café Juanita experience is really satisfying but what’s puzzling is that it makes me want to go back. Maybe it’s the gypsy, merry feel of the restaurant that pulls me back or simply the delightful food they serve.

Café Juanita at The Fort: Burgos Circle, Forbes Town Center, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. Also try Café Juanita’s original branch at #2 United Street corner West Capitol Drive, Barangay Kapitolyo, Pasig City.

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