You know how we often find ourselves searching for a new place to dine that’s not crowded, has a variety of choices, and has that homey feel of a neighborhood, only to settle with the usual because, well, maybe such place doesn’t actually exist. Apparently, we’re wrong. One afternoon, we found the perfect spot in Pasig City: The Grove by Rockwell, the venue of Food Tastings: Gastrofest. During this gastronomical event organized by FOOD magazine and The Grove by Rockwell, we found four dining gems that are just too good not to share. And whether you’re in the mood for Japanese, Indian, or Spanish, there is a place in this list that will surely satisfy your cravings. Armed with our huge appetite (no judging!) and our “passport” cards in hand, we strolled along the different booths and discovered must-try dishes that's worth the trip to this side of the North:
Asakusa. Bestseller: Salmon Tempura.
This version of one of the most popular Japanese dishes is deep-fried to perfection bringing out the natural flavors of the salmon without it being too greasy.
Open from 11:30AM to 2:30PM, 5:30PM to 9:30PM every Monday to Thursday, 11:30AM to 3PM, 5:30PM to 10PM every Friday to Sunday. Contact number: +632-9410157, +63928-3142590
Backyard Kitchen + Brew. Bestseller: Salted egg cheese pimiento.
Backyard takes the classic cheese pimiento to another level by giving it a twist with salted egg, which surprisingly complements the sweetness of the pimiento with its salty flavor.
Open from 8AM to 2AM every Monday to Sunday. Contact number: +632-9411895, +63917-9169638
Burger Pub. Bestseller: Croquettes
Cripsy on the outside, creamy and tasty on the inside, Burger Pub's croquettes makes the ideal pulutan if you're out with your friends catching up over a glass of wine or a bottle of beer.
Open from 11AM to 11PM every Sunday to Thursday, 11AM to 1AM every Friday and Saturday. Contact number: +632-5466864
The Gardens. Bestseller: Rum glazed pancake
The fluffiness of the pancakes topped with rum syrup and banana is just heavenly good. It makes the perfect breakfast or brunch if you're up for something light yet tasty to keep you pumped up for the day.
Open from 7:30AM to 10PM. Contact number: +632-9415835 or +6393-06657762
Hanamaruken. Bestseller: Happiness Rice bowl
Here's something you can never really go wrong with: Rice toppings. Hanamaruken's Happiness rice bowl is literally just that. The tenderly braised pork rib atop a bowl of steaming rice will no doubt leave you satisfied.
Open from 11AM to 11PM every Monday to Sunday. Contact number: +632-6953643
Om. Bestseller: Samosa
Think of this classic Indian dish as their version of empanada. It has a crispy outer layer stuffed with your choice of vegetarian (spiced potatoes and green peas) or non-vegetarian (pork keema) filling. And just like empanadas, Om's Samosa makes one yummy treat for merienda.
Open from 11AM to 2PM, 5PM to 10PM every Monday to Sunday. Contact number: +632-5327694, +63917-4057475
Pi Breakfast and Pie. Bestseller: Monkey bread
This soft bread with the added goodness of the perfect balance of cinnamon and sugar is just too good that you would've gobbled it all up before you know it.
Open from 7AM to 10PM every Monday to Sunday. Contact number: +63915-2583314
Sunrise Bucket. Bestseller: Sunrise original wings.
One of the more popular items in their menu of comfort food, Sunrise Original gives you a taste of authentic New York buffalo sauce that's bursting with combined sweet and spicy flavors, that's good for sharing, or maybe not.
Open from 11AM to 10PM every Sunday to Thursday, 11AM to 12AM every Friday and Saturday. Contact number: +632-2341382, +63906-4558249
Alley. Bestseller: Grilled Cheese Pimiento.
Alley's Grilled cheese pimiento sandwich tastes as good as it looks. Instead of going for the usual regular cheese, Alley decided to add pimiento into it thus adding more flavor to the popular classic grilled cheese sandwhich.
Open from 11AM to 11PM every Sunday to Thursday, and 11AM-12AM every Friday and Saturday. Contact number: +63916-4933136.
ALSO READ: Dining Delight: This Is the Place to Be for Intriguing Japanese Dishes—Sushi Pizza, Anyone?
Photographs are courtesy of ABS-CBN Publishing, Inc.