San Juan’s newest food and nightlife destination – Varra Restobar

The workday is through and you’ve earned yourself a little bit of a respite, wouldn’t you say?

If you’re looking for a place to meet with friends, enjoy good food and perhaps have a drink or two, then this newly opened and somewhat hidden restobar in San Juan would be just the thing.

Varra, San Juan

A namesake of P. Guevarra Street where it is situated, Varra Restobar offers food lovers new reasons to make Little Baguio in San Juan their next foodie destination.

Together with my foodie friends, I ventured to Little Baguio in San Juan to check this resto out.

Getting to the resto is quite easy (it’s already on Waze, peeps!), but finding the entrance may be a challenge. Here’s a tip: go straight to the back of the building (where the car wash is) and climb up the stairs straight to the third floor. And then, you’re there!

Here’s what you can look forward to:

One: A chill place to hang out

The place has a relaxed vibe that is conducive for friendly get-togethers or chillin’ out with your favorite drink and bar chow.

It has a sprawling dining area with an abundance of power outlets. If ever your gadgets are low on battery, you can easily juice up again without having to leave your table.

Varra, San Juan

Varra, San Juan

Want to party in style? Reserve the stately Lounge and hold your celebrations for up to 40 pax for Php35,000 (fully consumable).

Varra, San Juan

Or you can let loose with the gang in privacy and comfort in the VIP Room for just Php20,000 (fully consumable). Aside from the well-appointed interiors, you and your friends can enjoy your own private comfort room and a buzzer to summon the service team for your requests and orders.

Varra, San Juan

Varra, San Juan

Two: Mouthwatering comfort food

Whether you’re after a feast or a snack, Varra offers you a well-curated array of sure-win familiar dishes or fresh twists on the classics.

Varra, San Juan

Varra, San Juan

These include:

Crispy Shrooms (Php130). Deep-fried and crispy oyster and enoki mushrooms that you will want to pop into your mouth again and again.

Varra, San Juan

Spam Chips (Php210). Thin slices of spam deep-fried to crisps accompanied by garlic aioli.

Varra, San Juan

Messy Fries (Php150). Fries served with beef, lots of cheese and garlic aioli. It’s the kind of mess I certainly wouldn’t mind!

Varra, San Juan

Varra’s Nacho Overload (Php350). Crunchy nacho chips doused in cheese sauce and overloaded with beef, tomatoes, onions, peppers and olives. Perfect for munching while chatting with friends.

Varra, San Juan

Soy Garlic Chicken Poppers (Php240). Fried chicken balls served with coleslaw, rice and fried egg.

Varra, San Juan

Beef Tapa (Php240). A classic breakfast staple, this consist of garlicky marinated beef served with salted egg, salsa, rice and fried egg.

Varra, San Juan

Chicken Pesto Marinara (Php380). A tomato-based pasta topped with grilled chicken flavored with pesto sauce.

Varra, San Juan

Classic Carbonara (Php290). A creamy iteration of the carbonara loaded with ham pieces and served with poached egg.

Varra, San Juan

Wings Basket (Php230). Six pieces of juicy and flavorful fried chicken wings flavored with your choice of sauce – Buffalo, Sou Garlic, Garlic Parmesan, Hickory BBQ, Chili Cheese and Honey Sriracha – that go so well with rice. We got two baskets each of Soy Garlic and Garlic Parmesan.

Varra, San Juan

Varra, San Juan

Varra’s Steak Salpicao (Php380). Ooh, this is definitely the star of the show! Tender and flavorful slices of steak sauteed in garlic and oil and served on a sizzling plate.

Varra, San Juan

Three: Refreshing drinks

As you enjoy the tasty viands and bar chow, quench your thirst with Varra’s Signature Cocktails (Php200 each) which include: Blue Cruise (white rum, lemon and triple sec), Rosee el Varra (tequila, sour mix and Hoegaarden Rosee), Varra Mountain (gin, gin de cacao, sour mix and triple sec) and Basil Slush (blended basil leaves, rum, lemonade and sugar).

Varra, San Juan

Varra, San Juan

Varra, San Juan

If you don’t feel like imbibing alcohol ot if you’re the group’s designated driver, you can also opt for non-alcholic drinks such as Varra Iced Tea (Php80), Frozen Peach Iced Tea (Php100) and the cranberry and citrus-y Sunset Spritzer (Php130).

Varra, San Juan

Varra, San Juan

Varra, San Juan

Varra, San Juan

Well, it sure looks like San Juan just got itself a new go-to place for munchies, drinks and chillin’ out!

Varra, San Juan

Varra, San Juan

Varra, San Juan

Many thanks to Ms. Lovely Tan and the crew of Varra Restobar for the invitation!

If you and your gang can’t get enough of wings, take advantage of Varra’s Unli Wings & Rice Promo for only Php359 per person, available from Sundays to Thursdays.

Varra Restobar is located at 333 P. Guevarra Street, Little Baguio, San Juan, open from Sundays to Thursdays from 6pm to 2am, and Fridays to Saturdays from 6pm to 3am. For inquiries and reservations, call +63 916 5870345.

Varra Resto Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Disclosure: Together with other foodies, I attended a foodie meet-up held in this restaurant.  All the food items mentioned here were served to allow us to sample the fare to facilitate honest reviews and were not paid for by the attendees, including myself.

Check out my reviews of other bars and watering holes in the Metro:

Upscale dinner at St. Marc Cafe, UP Town Center

St. Marc Cafe is a Japanese brand of cafe with presence in Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia, aside from here in the Philippines. The resto’s concept is centered on the promise of providing diners with friendly service and a vibrant environment with which to enjoy their delicious food.

When my daughter #ExhibitA spent a day with her UP friends, we met up for dinner at St. Marc Cafe’s UP Town Center branch.

The cafe has a hip vibe, with a cozy and upscale dining area accented by its avant-garde ceiling lights. The counter also serves as a showcase for the desserts and sweets available, so I found myself considering dessert while I was still looking at my options for our main viands.

St Marc, UP Town Center

St Marc, UP Town Center

St Marc, UP Town Center

St Marc, UP Town Center

To feed a group of four (myself and three young ‘uns), I ordered:

Carbonara (Php300). Pork stock flavored carbonara topped with bacon, parmesan and fresh egg yolk.

St Marc, UP Town Center

Sepia Nero (Php320).  Squid ink infused pasta with fresh squid, cream and cherry tomatoes.

St Marc, UP Town Center

Menchi Katsu Burger (Php245). Deep-fried patty of ground beef and pork, with sliced cheddar cheese, fresh shredded cabbage and the resto’s secret sauce, and served with crispy fries.

St Marc, UP Town Center

Original Crotoast (Php180).  Homemade French croissant toast served with vanilla ice cream and drizzled with maple syrup.

St Marc, UP Town Center

Who would have thought that these would be enough for me and the kids to dine on?

It was great meal spent getting to know and hanging out with my baby girl’s pals.

What’s even better is that the whole meal actually cost Php1,045 but I had a Php400 discount because of a Metrodeal offer gives Php500 worth of food in this cafe for only Php299 (I bought two vouchers).

St Marc, UP Town Center

This St. Marc Cafe outlet is located at Ground Floor, UP Town Center, Katipunan Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City, open Mondays to Thursdays from 10am to 10pm and Fridays to Saturdays from 10am to 11am.  For queries and reservations, call +63 2 6254065.

Other branches are located at:

  • Ground Floor, Mega Fashion Hall, SM Megamall, Ortigas, Mandaluyong City (open daily from 10am to 10pm | Tel No: +63 2 5318062)
  • Greenbelt 3, Ayala Center, Greenbelt, Makati City (open daily from 10am to 10pm | Tel No: +63 2 7518456)
  • Ground Floor, UP Town Center, Katipunan Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City (open daily from 10am to 10pm | Tel No: +63 2 6254065)
  • Upper Ground Floor, Main Building, SM City North EDSA, Bago Bantay, Quezon City (open daily from 10am to 10pm | Tel No: +63 2 3721026)
  • Ground Floor, Robinsons Place Manila, Ermita, Manila (open Sundays to Thursdays from 10am to 9pm and Fridays to Saturdays from 10am to 10pm | Tel No: +63 2 2421483)
  • Evia Lifestyle Center, Daang Hari Road, Alabang, Muntinlupa City (open Mondays to Fridays from 10am to 10pm, Saturdays from 10am to 11pm and Sundays from 10am to 11.30pm | Tel No: +63 2 7768548)
  • One Parkade Building, 7th Avenue Corner 28th Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City (open daily from 10am to 10pm | Tel No: +63 2 5050245)
  • Ground Floor, Main Mall, SM Mall of Asia, Mall of Asia Complex (MOA), Pasay City (open daily from 10am to 10pm)

St. Marc Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

A feast with a view at The Nautilus Whiskey Bar, QC

I’m not much of a drinker but I understand the appeal of hanging out somewhere scenic or cozy, favorite concoction in hand and just chat with friends.

Last Friday night, together with fellow Zomato foodies, I did just that at The Nautilus Whiskey Bar. Named after the submarine helmed by Captain Nemo in Jules Verne’s classic adventure novels Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and The Mysterious Island, the bar boasts of an extensive wine list, steampunk-inspired interiors made to look like the inside of the famed submarine designed by artist Ram Mallari, Jr., and a roofdeck that provides a breathtaking view of Quezon City.

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Sunset drinks.

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For this gathering, The Nautilus brought out more than just the regular bar chow:

  • House Buffalo Wings (Php275). Spicy chicken wings drenched in hot sauce and melted butter with a side of blue cheese dressing. Nothing like something hot and spicy have one go looking for drinks!
  • Wagyu Cubes (Php450). Melt-in-your-mouth cubes of tender wagyu beef served on a hot plate.
  • Tuna Carbonara (Php275). This dish featured the Mega brand of tuna flakes cooked with mushrooms into a white cream sauce.
  • Roasted Spiced Chicken Au Poivre (Php445). A spice-infused roasted half-chicken served with crisp steamed vegetables and fries.
  • Baked Norwegian Salmon (Php495).  Cheese-topped salmon fillet served with onion links, shiitake mushrooms and steamed vegetables.
  • Nautilus Signature Cheeseburger (Php325).  Homemade quarter-pounder beef patty drizzled with melted cheese, topped with deep-fried onion rings and served with crisp potato fries.
  • The Nautilus Sling (Php302.50). A blend of orange juice, lime juice, triple sec, blue curacao and bourbon whiskey.

The Nautilus Whiskey Bar is located at the roofdeck of Prime Hotel, No 70 Esguerra Street, Brgy. South Triangle, Quezon City (across Hi-Top Supermarket).  It is open Tuesdays to Thursdays from 5pm to 2am, and Fridays to Saturdays from 6pm to 3am.  For inquiries and reservations, call +63 998 8680324.

Also, catch performances by singers Paula Bianca, Ana Ramsey and Aileen Udtog on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays respectively from 8pm to 12mn.

Special deals include:

  • Buy 1 Get 1 on local beers and selected cocktails as well as 10% discount on bottles during Happy Hour, 5pm to 8pm Tuesdays to Thursdays.
  • 10% off on all bottled whiskey with a free Coke or Sprite carafe every Friday and Saturday.

Disclosure: Together with other Zomato foodies, I was invited to attend a foodie meet-up 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.

The Nautilus Whiskey Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my reviews of another bar in the area – Vitto’s Wine Bar & Restaurant.

Breakfast at BenCab Museum’s Cafe Sabel

Part of the family’s Baguio vacay itinerary is a visit to the BenCab Museum. After hearing rave reviews about the place from friends for so long, and having an art geek for a daughter, I was glad to finally step foot in it.

Well, the 30-minute travel and all the walking around that we did took its toll on me and I got so hungry. The fam then decided to take our breakfast at Cafe Isabel, located at BenCab Museum’s lowest level.

Similar to the museum’s upper levels, Cafe Sabel offers fantastic views of the mountainside. It also leads to an organic farm and garden that, sadly, we weren’t able to explore due to the rain. The farm supplies fresh and organic ingredients for the cafe’s food offerings.

Our food orders were:

  • Basil Pesto (Php200). The pasta has a fresh flavor and is adequate as a snack. You might want to add to your order if you’re really hungry (like we were!)
  • Bagnet Rice (Php350). The crispy bagnet with melt-in-your-mouth fat went so well with the mountain red rice and chili eggplant salsa. After seeing me finish off my plate, hubby ordered his own.
  • Carbonara (Php200). A bit on the saucy side but good, nonetheless.
  • Strawberry Shake (Php120). It still has a bit of natural tartness from the fresh strawberries but my little boy loved it.
  • Hot Caramel Coffee (Php150). It was a good pick-me-upper and helped energize me for the rest of the tour.

Hopefully, I get to visit the cafe again in the near future to try out its hot choco!

Cafe Sabel follows the same hours as the museum: 9am to 6pm Tuesdays to Sundays (closed on Mondays, Christmas and New Year’s Day).

For more info on BenCab Museum, click here.

Work-related hang-out at UCC Park Cafe, Glorietta Complex

Whenever I’m Ayala Center and I pass by this free standing resto amidst the park greenery, I always thought of it would be a great place to hang out in after a bout of shopping.

So far, I haven’t been able to just chill here as during both instances I’ve been are work-related.

Still, I have been able to try its sandwich offerings:

  • Grilled Cheese Sandwich (Php280). Three different kinds of cheese (cheddar, gruyere and mozarella) on buttered toast.
  • Cliffhanger Sandwich (Php250). Chicken, bacon, scrambled eggs, mozarella cheese inside fried custard-coated bread.

I didn’t care much for the side of marinara sauce that came with the sandwiches but I found the sandwiches themselves rich and filling.

The Cafe Americano (Php120) gave me a good pick-me-up. The muscovado sugar gave it a different kind of sweetness.

Thanks to my generous workmates, I was able to sample its other dishes:

  • Pasta Carbonara (Php260). Spaghetti noodles in a white sauce with sauteed bacon and onions, topped with a poached egg and parmesan cheese. I found this pasta a little too wet for my taste.
  • Garlic Seafood Pasta (Php450). Spaghetti noodles with shrimp, cuttlefish, mushrooms and scallops sauteed in garlic and olive oil. This seems to be a light and more preferable alternative to heavily sauced pasta dishes.
  • Crispy Wings (Php320). Fried marinated chicken wings served with garlic dip and fries. A bit forgettable but at least I got some more meat to go with my sandwich at the time.

I wouldn’t mind coming back to try out some of its more unusual food items such as its Cheese and Spinach (Php280) appetizer and Pulled Pork Grilled Cheese (Php320).

This UCC branch is located at Glorietta 3 Park, Ayala Center, Makati.

UCC Park Café Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Italian Food Trip at Friuli Trattoria

My coworkers and I decided to take advantage of the relatively lighter traffic and held one of our (in)famous happy lunches in Maginhawa Street. We opted for Friuli the consensus among the group was in favor of Italian food. We ordered Bacon and Egg Carbonara, Tuna Carbonara, Puttanesca, Mushroom Pizza and Cheesesteak Pizza. IMHO, the pizzas are ok but I’ve tasted homemade pasta better than those served here. Plus, I can’t believe they charge P10 for 2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese!


Check it out on Zomato!