Quick and affordable Chinese food at Causeway, Tomas Morato

My officemates and I were on our way to Le Ching for lunch when we spied the lack of parking space in that resto.

So off we went to look for another place to eat. Since we were already in the mood for Chinese food, we settled on Causeway Seafood Restaurant.

Even with the number of cars parked in front of the restaurant, the parking attendant still found a way to fit our car in.

Inside, there is the usual hustle and bustle, the busy energy, usually found in Chinese restaurants. The place is not swanky, it may even be considered dingy, but judging from the sizeable lunch crowd and the busy wait staff, Causeway seems to have established itself among a loyal following.

Our group of four shared these Chinese dishes:

Beef Hofan Noodles (Php300 for small). Stir-fried beef with noodles that is oh so greasy but also oh so good!

Fried Spareribs with Salt and Pepper (Php330 for small). Such a simple dish but I seem to find myself ordering this in every Chinese resto I go to.

From the Dimsum Cart: Crab Roe Siomai (Php80), Asado Siopao (Php80), Kutchay Dumpling (Php90) and Seafood Roll (Php85)

It seems like Causeway’s combination of quickly served dishes and affordable pricing is a winning formula, as evidenced by its lunch crowd. The wait staff could be a little quicker in fulfilling refill requests though.

This Causeway Seafood Restaurant is located at 24 Timog Avenue, Bgy Laging Handa, Quezon City (Tel.: +63 2 3762559) with operating hours from 10am to 12mn Mondays to Saturdays and 9am to 12mn Sundays.

Other branches are located at:

  • 8th Acropolis Center, 53 E. Rodriguez Jr. Avenue, Libis, QC (Tel.: +63 2 6389374) with operating hours from 11am to 12mn Mondays to Saturdays and 11am to 11.30pm Sundays.
  • 7 Congressional Avenue, Project 8, QC (Tel.: +63 2 4269032) with operating hours from 10am to 10pm Mondays to Sundays.
  • Banawe cor Linaw Street, Sienna, QC (Tel.: +63 2 5221690) with operating hours from 7am to 12mn Mondays to Sundays.
  • 883 Banawe Street corner Del Monte Avenue, Sienna, QC (Tel.: +63 2 4108690) with operating hours from 11.30am to 2.30pm and 5.30pm to 12mn Mondays to Fridays and 10.30am to 2.30om and 5.30pm to 12mn Saturdays and Sundays.
  • 1266 Benavidez Street, Tondo, Manila (Tel.: +63 2 2304381) with operating hours from 9am to 11pm Mondays to Fridays and 7am to 11pm Saturdays and Sundays.

Causeway Seafood Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my reviews of other Chinese restaurants:

Want to learn more about Chinese cuisine? Check out these books on Amazon.com!

Want to try some recipes today? There’s no need to leave home to shop for ingredients.  With Honestbee, just order your groceries online and you’ll get them delivered right at your doorstep at your preferred time. Sign up using this referral link and get Php500 off for a minimum spend of Php2,500.  You can download the Honestbee app on iTunes or Google Play.

If you’re in the US and an Amazon Prime member, sign up for a free trial of Amazon Fresh to get your groceries delivered to you.

DIY Taco Bar at Encima Roofdeck Restaurant, Makati

The appeal of Tex-Mex cuisine for me is the interplay of the fresh and tangy flavors of citrus, tomatoes and onions with the earthy and hearty fullness of its meat dishes.

Tex-Mex cuisine is front and center at City Garden Hotel’s Encima Roofdeck Restaurant with its first anniversary offering. I was invited, along with fellow bloggers, to experience Encima’s Taco Bar, which will be launched to the public on July 2.

Encima Roofdeck Restaurant has come a long way from its beginnings as a mere alternative to the hotel’s bistro downstairs, carving out its identity, adopting the name Encima (meaning “above”). The roofdeck resto does live up to its name, giving its diners a spectacular view of the Makati skyline and the city lights.

According to City Garden Hotel’s PR and Marketing Manager, Jo Ruales, the roofdeck restaurant’s Tex-Mex Menu was developed by the hotel’s powerhouse chefs: Chefs Mario Basig, J-Ann Fernandez and Dennis Peralta. Rinna Reyes, the hotel’s F&B Manager proudly shared the resto’s Tex-Mex offerings were hailed by the cities of Makati and Manila as one of the best in the country.

The twist to Encima’s Taco Bar is in giving the guests free rein to create their taco however they want. For only Php499, diners can mix and match from the ingredients found in the bar: crisp and soft tacos; a richly-flavored Mexican Rice; beef, pork and chicken filling; grated cheese and cheese sauce, chopped onions and tomatoes, and a host of other ingredients you can add to your heart’s content.

This unlimited do-it-yourself taco bar comes with bottomless margarita and sangria, two of the restaurant’s most popular drinks.

For non-drinkers like me, the resto also offers non-alcoholic drinks like the fresh mango shake they served me.

The Taco Bar will be open every night from July 2 to August 5.

The restaurant also has a happy hour from 4pm to 8pm wherein shooters are served for only Php50 and cocktails at Php99. Beers are also paired with Tex-Mex sampler plates.

Encima Roofdeck Restaurant is located at City Garden Hotel, 7870 Durban Street corner Makati Avenue, Poblacion, Makati. For reservations, call +63 2 899 1111.

Disclosure: Together with other bloggers, I was invited to attend a Thanksgiving Dinner held in this restaurant.  All the food items mentioned here were served to allow us to sample the fare and were not paid for by the attendees, including myself.

Encima Roofdeck Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my reviews of restos offering Mexican food:

Lamonfest at Vikings, SM Megamall

Vikings seems to be the default buffet resto for celebrations and family gatherings.  Known for its lavish decor that display sumptuous spreads of mouth-watering dishes from various cuisines throughout the world, Vikings can generate long waiting lines of avid diners.

The fam, together with the in-laws, recently dined at Vikings at SM Megamall’s Mega Fashion Hall for bro-in-law’s birthday celebration.

With an all-you-can-eat arrangement at the rates below, the family is definitely in for a #lamonfest:

  • Adults: Php738 (weekday lunch); Php938 (weekday dinner, weekends and holidays lunch and dinner)
  • Kids:
    • for kids below 3 feet: FREE!
    • for kids 3 feet to 4 feet: Php208  (weekday lunch); Php938 (weekday dinner, weekends and holidays lunch and dinner)
    • for kids 4 feet to 6 feet: Php418 (weekday lunch); Php618 (weekday dinner, weekends and holidays lunch and dinner)

Note: Rates not yet inclusive of the 5% service charge.

For this #lamonfest, I focused on some dishes that I don’t usually have the opportunity to taste that often: the Seafood Paella (I guess I’m going through a paella phase now), the Lengua Estofado (went so well with the paella for a great taste of Spain) and the Leg of Lamb.  The Ebi Tempura is always a good bet (and always nearly depleted by the time I get there, hehehe!), but some of the meats in the carving station fell short of my expectations: the Stuffed Turkey was a bit dry and the Angus Beef was tough and chewy.

For dessert, no one can tear my away from my favorite Puto Bumbong (since it always reminds me of Christmas; I even went to the Cheese Station and sprinkled some grated premium cheddar on it) and Avocado Ice Cream (as it’s hard to find ice cream of this flavor in the supermarkets).  I also tried the Caramel Dip for the Churros and the moist Carrot Bar.

Overall, it was a great dining experience for the family.

To make the most of your #lamonfest at Vikings, you might want to make sure you do the following:

  • Make your reservation. This way, you avoid waiting outside and can just walk right in as soon as you arrive. To make your reservation, you can call +63 2 8454647 (this hotline covers all Vikings branches), book via the Booky app (you may get some discounts at selected branches), or book online via the Vikings website.
  • Check out Vikings’ current promos.  You just might get big savings.  For example, birthday celebrants get to eat for free on the day of their birthday so long as they’re with one full-paying adult, or any day of their birth month if they’re accompanied four full paying adults.  Until June 30, members of the graduating class of 2018 can eat for free as long as they’re with three full paying adults (which is why my daughter snapped a photo of her diploma before we left the house).  Just make sure that you bring all the necessary documents.  For more details on these promos, click here.
  • Pace yourself.  Scope out the spreads first and pick the ones you want for your gastronomic explorations, be they your tried-and-tested favorites or some new cuisines you want to sink your teeth into (literally and figuratively!). Sample a bit of of the food and just come back for seconds to avoid leftovers.  There are an awful lot of food here and you don’t want to already be in a food coma just when you get to the stuff you want.

For tips on how to survive a buffet, check out my blog post: Buffet Survival Guide: All-You-Need-to-Know to Eat-All-You-Can.

Check out my blog reviews of other buffet restos:

Vikings Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Buffet Survival Guide: All-You-Need-to-Know to Eat-All-You-Can

Family gatherings and get-togethers are best celebrated with food, lots and lots of it.  Good thing there are all-you-can-eat buffets!

Originally, the term “buffet” referred to the sideboard table where dishes are served during family meals or parties.  The word later evolved to refer to the format of serving food wherein diners generally serve themselves.

It’s no wonder that all-you-can-eat buffets have grown in popularity in recent years.  Diners get to have their fill of whatever food they choose at a fixed cost, while being able to try out new dishes that they don’t normally order.  And since the food is already served and just refilled, diners do not have to wait to enjoy their meal.

Savvy all-you-can-eat diners have come up with various techniques to make the most out of their buffet dining experiences  Take these tips to heart to maximize your own buffet adventure.

  • Check for additional savings through discount promos.  Some restaurants, like Vikings, offer promos wherein celebrants get to eat for free their birthday as long they are accompanied by a minimum number of guests paying the full rate.  Other establishments offer discounted buffet rates to cardholders of partner banks such as BDO, or via restaurant booking apps such as Eatigo, or through deal sites like Metrodeal.  Also, lunch buffet rates tend to be lower than dinner buffet rates so if you can schedule your meal during the lunch period, you can save a few bucks.
  • Make sure the food offerings are in line with your tastes.  Whether you want to stick to classic favorites or you’re in the mood to be adventurous, make sure that the dishes served in your chosen resto are to your liking.  An eat-all-you-can buffet of food that you don’t like is not a fair deal.
  • Get hydrated before eating but ease up on the drinks during the meal.  Drinking some H2O, particularly lemon water, before starting your buffet quest will help in digestion while minimizing bloating and heartburn.  However, drinking lots of liquids, especially fizzy ones, during the meal will use up some precious tummy room.
  • Don’t fill up on fillers.  Pasta and grains can be quite filling so minimize the carbs to make room for dishes that would normally be expensive ala carte such as seafood, sushi, steaks and roasts.
  • Pace yourself. Take some time to savor each bites will let you maximize your dining experience while minimizing the feeling of bloating later.

Consider buffet dining a treat so don’t overdo it and make sure you enjoy the meal with great company.

Check out my reviews of all-you-can-eat buffet restaurants:

All-time Pinoy Favorites at Cabalen, Ayala Malls Feliz

What is the appeal of Filipino restaurants? We normally get to taste their offerings via our own lutong-bahay or during fiestas, anyway.

This is a thought I recently pondered as Hubby and I decided to venture out to the newly-finished Ayala Malls Feliz in Marikina for a pre-New Year wandering and we chanced upon a now-open branch of Cabalen. The resto’s regular buffet of classic Filipino dishes is quite a good deal at only Php298 (service charge not included).

Among the flavors we sampled are:

  • Prichon Wraps. Lechon bits wrapped with carrot, cucumber and green onion strips in tortilla with 3 choices of sauce (hoisin, garlic and lechon sauce).
  • Crispy Kangkong
  • Fresh Lumpia (vegetable rolls with a peanut and garlic sauce)
  • Pancit Puti. White noodles sauteed with meat and veggies and simmered in flavorful chicken stock.
  • Kare Kare. A stew made of oxtail, beef offal or tripe with a thick sabory peanut sauce.
  • Bico (sweet rice cake or kakanin with coconut milk) and Ginataang Mais (corn kernels in glutinous rice with coconut milk) for dessert.

We were able to get our fill of these dishes except for the Kare Kare which ran out of meat and was not refilled in time.

Now back to the question on the appeal of eating Filipino dishes when dining out: for me, it brings back childhood memories of what my mom used to make (particularly ginataang mais for merienda in the afternoon) or a way to enjoy childhood favorites without the hassle (the making of some Filipino delicacies are a bit labor-intensive).

Cabalen, in particular, has the added appeal of being a buffet restaurant. If you want to treat your balikbayan relatives to the flavors they have been missing, dining at Cabalen will allow them to load up on great flavors and great family memories.

Check out my reviews of other Filipino restaurants:

Want to learn more about Filipino cuisine? Check out these books on Amazon.com!

Want to try some recipes today? There’s no need to leave home to shop for ingredients.  With Honestbee, just order your groceries online and you’ll get them delivered right at your doorstep at your preferred time. Use this referral link and get Php500 off for a minimum spend of Php2,500.  You can download the Honestbee app on iTunes or Google Play.

If you’re in the US and an Amazon Prime member, sign up for a free trial of Amazon Fresh to get your groceries delivered to you.

Unlimited Korean BBQ at Samgyeopmasarap, Greenhills

During our Christmas Day foray into Greenhills (because we knew the holiday crush of people would be gone by then and also because we didn’t want to eat Noche Buena leftovers for lunch), the family discovered the newly opened Samgyeopmasarap. It offers unlimited Korean barbecue pork (Php399/pax) and beef (Php499/pax), both with marinated and unmarinated variants.

Being Korean food lovers, we welcomed the opportunity to dine here.

The place is clean and quite big with the signature table-top Korean grills with exhaust tubes leading to the ceiling. Oddly enough, it is furnished with Tiffany chairs which are at odds with the Korean aesthetic (but what do we care! Unlimited Korean barbecue!!!).

Our group of four ordered 2 sets of unlimited beef BBQ (bacon slice and beef ribs) and 2 sets of unlimited pork (bacon slice and pork belly). These come with unlimited side dishes as well.

My daughter and I also split an order of Bibimbap (Php250) which, sadly, though served in a clay pot, was not dolsot style since the clay pot was not heated. We would have loved the resulting toasted rice in a dolsot bibimbap.

The resto is still on soft opening so there are a few kinks that the staff would have to solve at some point such as being prompt with orders for refills or requests for utensils.

Other than that, I’m pretty satisfied with our experience here (although Hubby isn’t).

This Samgyeopmasarap branch is located at the Connecticut Carpark Arcade in Greenhills Shopping Center, San Juan.

Samgyeopmasarap Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my posts about other Korean restaurants:

Why not try your hand at cooking Korean food at home?  Check out these recipe books on Amazon.com!

Want to try some recipes today? There’s no need to leave home to shop for ingredients.  With Honestbee, just order your groceries online and you’ll get them delivered right at your doorstep at your preferred time. Use this referral link and get Php500 off for a minimum spend of Php2,500.  You can download the Honestbee app on iTunes or Google Play.

If you’re in the US and an Amazon Prime member, sign up for a free trial of Amazon Fresh to get your groceries delivered to you.

Unlimited Korean BBQ at All4U, Century Mall

My problem with unlimited Korean BBQ restaurants is that you expend so much time and attention to cooking your food that you don’t get to enjoy and savor it as you should.  Such a shame, considering my (well-known) love of Korean food as evidenced by my Korean foodscapes at Samgyeopmasarap, Arariyo, Jang Ga Nae, Masil, and Han Grille, among others.

In All4U, a Korean restaurant located in Century City Mall in Makati City, you can get unlimited beef, shrimp, Korean-cut pork and rice all for Php699/head (reduced to Php599 thanks to an ongoing promo) as well as several refills of side dishes. You also get a some ramyun which you cook shabu-shabu style, as well a Melona ice cream to cap your meal.

My family, together with my in-laws, went here on Christmas Day so the place was packed and we had to wait for around 20 minutes for our table.  The staff was also a bit overwhelmed and was not able to immediately address a lot of our requests for refills.

I would suggest taking turns with someone from your group when cooking so that everyone will get a chance to enjoy the food. Also, be sure to bring a hearty appetite to maximize all the inclusions in the buffet package.

All4U is located at the 4F Century City Mall, Kalayaan Avenue, Poblacion, Makati.

All4u Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my posts about other Korean restaurants:

Why not try your hand at cooking Korean food at home?  Check out these recipe books on Amazon.com!

Want to try some recipes today? There’s no need to leave home to shop for ingredients.  With Honestbee, just order your groceries online and you’ll get them delivered right at your doorstep at your preferred time. Use this referral link and get Php500 off for a minimum spend of Php2,500.  You can download the Honestbee app on iTunes or Google Play.

If you’re in the US and an Amazon Prime member, sign up for a free trial of Amazon Fresh to get your groceries delivered to you.