Gerry’s Grill, restaurant and bar pioneer turns 23

What comes to mind when one thinks of the number 23? Is it Michael Jordan, the G.O.A.T. of basketball? Is it the age of real adulting for some, a point in one’s life where he realizes he’s a full-grown adult with all the responsibilities that come with being one?

For Gerry’s Restaurant and Bar, more widely known as Gerry’s Grill, the number marks the years it has successfully catered to the discriminating palate of the Filipino people. Twenty-three years ago, on February 14, 1997, the first Gerry’s Restaurant and Bar opened its doors on Tomas Morato, Quezon City. And the dining landscape has never been the same since. Gerry’s Grill pioneered the resto-bar concept that continues to appeal to the Gen X, its original clients, as it does the Millennials of today. Many have followed suit but Gerry’s maintains its uniqueness for a good number of reasons.

Touted as among the few preferred go-to restaurant–bars in the metro, Gerry’s boasts of over a hundred stores thus deserving to be called the “sari-sari store” of resto-bars by virtue of its being found in every major dining and entertainment hub in Metro Manila. And in each branch, one is surely never short changed.

Gerry’s has proven time and again to withstand food fads like the grill wars, i.e., shawarma, samgyupsal (Korean Grill), lechon manok/baboy and numerous experimental and fusion cuisines. This means that their Filipino-themed menu has become ingrained in the food psyche of Filipinos, a tradition no less. Their variety of dishes and beverages represents the whole Philippine cuisine. Its flavorful Sizzling Sisig, Beef Kare-Kare and Inihaw na Pusit have been legendary food staples at every Filipino customer’s dining table. The rest of the menu caters to almost any craving.

Even the beer gulping culture of the country has been shaped and influenced by Gerry’s Grill being a top-of-mind watering hole through the years. Its wide food selection is considered the holy grail of pulutans (hors d’oeuvres) that is perfect for inumans (benders).

Bert Santos, an engineer, waxed nostalgic when he said that he literally grew up with Gerry’s Grill as his tambayan (bar/beer joint) for unwinding during his college years. Today, Gerry’s is a favorite lunch place for his family after hearing Sunday mass. While Buddy Sanchez, a doctor, said Gerry’s holds a special place in his heart because this was where he bonded with his work buddies after a stressful day and where he eventually met his future wife, Sally.

Gerry’s has recently opened its branches in San Diego, California and Houston, Texas, a good addition to its overseas chain which includes branches in Singapore, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. Avenida, a modern Filipino restaurant and bar, inspired by the Avenida Rizal (Rizal Avenue) of the post-war era, is another Gerry’s Grill-owned restaurant that opened in San Mateo, California. With these developments, our overseas kababayans have every reason to celebrate Gerry’s 23 years of great food and great service.

Craving for sumptuous food after reading this? Go to the nearest Gerry’s Restaurant and Bar branch; visit www.gerrysgrill.com.ph to view the complete list of their branches, as well as all the food entries on their 2020 menu. You can also visit their Facebook page, @gerrysgrill.com.ph for more info.

Details and images provided in a recent press release.

A home of gastronomic delights at Tahanan Bistro, Antipolo

As a foodie, I live for those food adventures that just take my breath away.

And my visit to Tahanan Bistro did just that.

Having earned the distinction of being one of Zomato’s Top Foodies Choice in Antipolo in 2019, Tahanan Bistro hosted a food tasting event attended by East-based foodies.

Tahanan Bistro opened in July 2016, the brainchild of Keesha Reyes and husband Kevin Tuason. They turned part of her family’s ancestral home made entirely from reclaimed wood from old houses and bridges into a casual fine dining 45-seat bistro.

Tahanan Bistro, Antipolo

Tahanan Bistro, Antipolo

Tahanan Bistro, Antipolo

Tahanan Bistro, Antipolo

The restaurant showcases creative takes on local ingredients, the masterpieces of her father, sculptor Benji Reyes, and a stunning view of Laguna de Bay beyond the surrounding verdant forest to provide diners with a relaxing and inviting haven away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Tahanan Bistro, Antipolo

Tahanan Bistro, Antipolo

Tahanan Bistro, Antipolo

Tahanan Bistro, Antipolo

Tahanan Bistro, Antipolo

Tahanan Bistro, Antipolo

This place, though impressive in style, is still a home. In fact, guests are asked to remove their shoes upon entering, partly as a form of respect to the homeowners, and partly to help preserve the beautiful wood floors.

Tahanan Bistro, Antipolo

Tahanan Bistro, Antipolo

The kitchen is helmed by Kevin who brings his considerable culinary training gained during his stay in Melbourne, Australia. Tahanan Bistro offers set meals at Php1,350 (+10% service charge) per person. Named after famous mountains in the Philippines (Halcon in Mindoro, Iraya in Batanes and Mayon in Albay), each set consists of five courses with dishes hinged on the produce and flavors found in country, some of which my fellow foodies and I were able to sample.

Gising Gising (included in the Iraya set). An appetizer of prawns and winged bean dumplings, leeks, coconut cream, herb oil, chili oil and house-made crispy pork floss.

Tahanan Bistro, Antipolo

Danggit (included in all three sets). A light and refreshing salad made with quinoa, cherry tomatoes, mixed greens and roasted zucchini in lime vinaigrette.

Tahanan Bistro, Antipolo

Pininyahang Manok (included in the Halcon set). Smoked pan-seared chicken thighs, grilled pineapple, coconut, hasselback potatoes, carrot puree and capsicum.

Tahanan Bistro, Antipolo

Tahanan Bistro, Antipolo

Bistek Tagalog (included in the Iraya set). Braised beef shank, adlai, onion puree, charred white onions, parsley oil and fried enoki.

Tahanan Bistro, Antipolo

Tahanan Bistro, Antipolo

Binagoongan (included in the Mayon set). Crispy pork belly in a sauce made with tomato and shrimp paste puree, Greek yoghurt and Baba Ghanoush in a house-made flat bread.

Tahanan Bistro, Antipolo

Tahanan Bistro, Antipolo

Fruit Salad (included in the Iraya set). A dessert made chia pudding, bits of seasonal fruits in a campange sabayon topped with a cashew biscuit.

Tahanan Bistro, Antipolo

Tahanan Bistro, Antipolo

Ube (included in the Halcon set). Purple yam and white chocolate lava cake with cheese ice cream topped with an Edam crisp.

Tahanan Bistro, Antipolo

Tahanan Bistro, Antipolo

The dishes served combine the familiar and the new: the ingredients are home-grown but made novel with the addition of a few elements and foreign influences. They are also well-complemented by a refreshing glass of Lemongrass Iced Tea (Php95).

Tahanan Bistro, Antipolo

Given that access to this awesome place (and these delectable dishes) are possible only during weekends, and only by reservation, there is a definitely an air of exclusivity and specialness in the dining experience.

Tahanan Bistro, Antipolo

If you’re planning an cozy dinner for two or an intimate gathering for close family and friends where you can enjoy a well-curated and crafted menu as well as breathtaking views, Tahanan Bistro is your best bet.

Tahanan Bistro, Antipolo

Tahanan Bistro, Antipolo

Tahanan Bistro, Antipolo

Tahanan Bistro, Antipolo

Tahanan Bistro also offers ready-made products you can bring home to enjoy with your family such as ground coffee beans and butter spreads, among others.

Tahanan Bistro, Antipolo

Many thanks to Kim and the staff of Tahanan Bistro for the warm welcome and the delicious meal, and to Trisha and Donna of Zomato for extending the invitation!

Tahanan Bistro, Antipolo

Tahanan Bistro, Antipolo

Tahanan Bistro is located at 22 Loresville Drive, Lores Farm Subdivision, San Roque, Upper Antipolo, Rizal, open Saturdays to Sundays from 11am to 4pm and 6pm to 10pm. For inquiries and reservations, call +63 925 8801487. Walk-ins are not entertained.

Tahanan Bistro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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

Check out my posts on other places for your romantic date in the metro:

A taste of home in the South at Serye, Santana Grove

Whenever a group of diverse people need to sit down for lunch, chances are, they would agree to go for Filipino food.

And why not?

The familiar dishes and comforting flavors of Filipino food have an easy appeal to most of us.

That’s what happened when my officemates and I stopped over for lunch at Santana Grove on our way to our fieldwork in Paranaque. Most of us live quite far from this area so we were happy to find a chill place to eat before we go back to work.

After doing a quick scan of the options available, we agreed on Serye as our venue for out midday repast.

Serye, Santana Grove

Serye, Santana Grove

Serye, Santana Grove

Serye’s owner Alvin Reyes Lim is part of the well-known Reyes family of restaurateurs who brought about time-honored establishments and brands such as Aristocrat, Alex III, Reyes Barbecue and Mama Sita’s. In fact, he pays tribute to his heritage through his restaurant’s name as it is an anagram of Reyes.

Serye also means progression, as denoted by his restaurant’s well-crafted menu of classic Filipino favorites, some of which feature strong Spanish influences.

Our lunch that day consisted of:

Hototai Soup (Php195). Light yet flavorful broth with pork, chicken, shrimp, vegetables and wisps on wonton thickened with a fresh egg.

Serye, Santana Grove

Deep-fried Chipirone (Php320). Seasoned baby squids deep-fried to a golden brown.

Serye, Santana Grove

Serye’s Sisig (Php295). Serye’s version of the Kapampangan classic with seasoned pork cheeks sauteed in onions and chili peppers, topped with a fresh egg.

Serye, Santana Grove

Pinakbet (Php220). Serye’s take on the Ilocano dish with choice veggies sauteed in homemade shrimp paste sauce.

Serye, Santana Grove

Binagoongan (Php515). Hearty pieces of crispy and meaty bagnet and steamed veggies on a bed of homemade shrimp paste sauce.

Serye, Santana Grove

Serye, Santana Grove

What a lucky find: a delicious taste of home in the South.

Serye is located at Santana Grove, Dr. A. Santos Avenue, Barangay San Antonio, Paranaque City, open daily from 11am to 10pm. For inquiries and reservations, call +63 2 88269317 or +63 2 88254691.

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

Check out my reviews of other Filipino restaurants:

Manam Comfort Filipino, Trinoma

Comfort food are fare that provide the diner with a feeling of consolation or well-being and are oftentimes associated with the food enjoyed at home or during childhood.

While these evoke nostalgia and sentimentality, they also excite the taste buds and stir anticipation.

After a typical morning at the office, my officemates and I opted to get some comfort and good eats at the newly opened branch of Manam in Trinoma.

Manam, Trinoma

Manam, Trinoma

Manam, Trinoma

We were welcomed by Manam’s friendly and accommodating wait staff as well as its well-appointed yet cozy interiors.

Manam was formerly known as NamNam, and it boasts of a menu that offers both the classic renditions as well as fresh twists on Pinoy cuisine.

That day, we feasted on these dishes:

Adobong Kangkong (Php98). Kangkong (water spinach) shoots sauteed in garlic and soy-vinegar.

Manam, Trinoma

Gising Gising (Php125). Sigarilyas and kangkong sauteed with pork and chilis in coconut cream and bagoong (shrimp paste).

Manam, Trinoma

Pinakbet (Php130). Okra, string beans, eggplant, squash and tomatoes sauteed in with pork bits and shrimp in bagoong.

Manam, Trinoma

Mangga at Bagoong (Php140). Sliced green mango and shrimp paste, this combo is famous for that sour-salty dynamic.

Manam, Trinoma

Caramelized Patis Wings (Php170). A twist on fried chicken, patis (fish sauce) flavors the zesty wings.

Manam, Trinoma

Crunchy Salt and Pepper Squid (Php280). Lightly battered squid pieces tossed in a crunchy mixture of stir-fried garlic and chilis.

Manam, Trinoma

House Crispy Sisig (Php398). Ranked as the No. 1 Sisig in Manila for two consecutive years, this dish features chopped pork jowl and cheek served sizzling.

Manam, Trinoma

Sinigang na Beef Short Rib and Watermelon (Php775 for family size). The sour broth of the beef sinigang is given a slightly sweet twist with the addition of watermelon.

Manam, Trinoma

Manam, Trinoma

Bibingka de Leche (Php125). A layer of leche flan (caramel egg custard) tops a pancake-like rice cake.

Manam, Trinoma

Kape, Sago at Gulaman (Php105). The samalamig (Filipino version of slushy drink) given a twist with the addition of coffee flavors.

Manam, Trinoma

Puto Bumbong with Muscovado Butter (Php80). The classic purple rice cake traditionally steamed in bamboo tubes accompanied by grated cheese, grated coconut and a bar of muscovado-enriched butter.

Manam, Trinoma

What a delicious way to get some comfort on a work day!

Manam, Trinoma

This branch of Manam Comfort Filipino is located at Ground Floor, Trinoma Mall Garden Wing, Bagong Pag Asa, Quezon City, open daily from 10am to 10pm. For inquiries and reservations, call +63 2 79005750.

Other branches are located at:

  • Powerplant Mall, Rockwell, Makati
  • Net Park, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
  • O Square, Greenhills Shopping Center, San Juan
  • South Wing, SM Mall of Asia, Pasay
  • Ayala Malls Manila Bay, Entertainment City, Paranaque
  • SM North EDSA, Bago Bantay, Quezon City
  • SM City Fairview, Novaliches, Quezon City
  • Ayala Fairview Terraces, Novaliches, Quezon City

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

Check out my reviews of other Filipino restaurants:

Pre-holiday lunch at Chives Bistro, Lamp Quarters

It was the start of the holiday break, and my office buddies and I wanted to celebrate this short period of freedom by dining out together and catching up.

Together with my East-based coworkers, I hied myself off to Lamp Quarters in Marikina to have lunch at Chives Bistro.

This restaurant has a rustic industrial design with its combination of wood and metal furnishings and decor, but still retains homey vibe in line with its concept of combining European and Asian cuisines.

Chives, Lamp Quarters

Chives, Lamp Quarters

Chives, Lamp Quarters

Chives, Lamp Quarters

While waiting for our orders, we were provided with complimentary bread to be dipped in olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Chives, Lamp Quarters

Chives currently has Weekday Lunch Specials for only Php195 which consist of a viand plus spring roll, choice between red or white rice and raspberry iced tea. Our orders included:

Set A. Grilled Gangnam Chicken.

Chives, Lamp Quarters

Set C. Grilled Baguio Sausage.

Chives, Lamp Quarters

These lunch specials do offer good value and I appreciate the novelty of the chicken and the longganisa as well as the option for a healthier rice given to the diner. The spring rolls, however, are heavily flavored with tinapa, the smokiness of which clashed with the main viand.

Chives, Lamp Quarters

Chives, Lamp Quarters

Our group also ordered:

Fried Chicken (Php195). Deep-fried chicken pieces coated in homemade sriracha marinade with a cucumber dip.

Chives, Lamp Quarters

Chives, Lamp Quarters

Truffled Mushroom Pasta (Php280). Fettuccine noodles tossed in alfredo sauce flavored with a bit of truffle oil along with shiitaki and shimeji mushrooms. Taking the place of bacon is the the etag crisp which is a type of cured pork made in the Sagadas.

Chives, Lamp Quarters

Turones (Php130). Flambed bananas, chocnut and parmesan cheese in lumpia wrapper.

Chives, Lamp Quarters

Celebrity Cake (Php150 per slice). A moist chocolate cake topped with rich chocolate ganache and and a pinch of pink salt. This dessert has been hailed by Spot.ph as the No. 1 Chocolate Cake in Metro Manila.

Chives, Lamp Quarters

I find Chives’ concept and food curation exciting but some dishes, like the lunch specials, suffer a bit in the execution. Also, some items were not available when we were there which does limit our choices.

Still, I wouldn’t mind coming back and checking out Chives’ other dishes… especially if I could have my friends again with me when I visit!

Chives, Lamp Quarters

By the way, two of us unlocked our Zomato Gold privilege so two of our orders are free! Zomato Gold provides members with 1+1 (Buy 1 Get 1) deals on food or 2+2 (Buy 2 Get 2) deals on drinks. All you have to do is sign up for a Zomato Gold membership here. Use the code JELLYB to get 10% off the membership fee.

Chives Bistro is located at Lamp Quarters, Gil Fernando Avenue, Santo Nino, Marikina City, open Sundays to Thursdays from 11am to 11pm and Fridays to Saturdays from 11am to 12 midnight. For inquiries and reservations, call +63 2 88664158 or +63 927 8591926.

Another branch is located at EM Gems Building, L. Sumulong, Circumferential Road, San Roque, Antipolo City.

Chives Bistro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Lunch Buffet at Vanilla Cafe, Tomas Morato

The Tomas Morato area is definitely a foodie haven. At practically every corner is an old and familiar or a new and exciting food destination, something that will spark a foodie’s curiosity and appetite.

One such destination is Vanilla Cafe along Mother Ignacia Avenue. Formerly known as Vanilla Cupcake Bakery, it has expanded its repertoire from cupcakes and pastries to pastas and classic Filipino food.

Enter its doors and you will be taken to a place of fun and cuteness with pastel-printed walls, plush floral couches and dainty chandeliers.

Vanilla Cafe, Tomas Morato

Vanilla Cafe, Tomas Morato

Vanilla Cafe, Tomas Morato

Guess what: come around lunchtime and you can eat your fill at Vanilla Cafe’s Lunch Buffet where you can enjoy a delightful curation of Vanilla Cafe’s food offerings served with delicate country style flair.

Have a sampling of these dishes:

Prettily prepared canapes and veggie dips.

Vanilla Cafe, Tomas Morato

Freshly made pastas.

Vanilla Cafe, Tomas Morato

Binagoongan and Tinapa Rice.

Vanilla Cafe, Tomas Morato

Vanilla Cafe, Tomas Morato

Classic Pinoy Favorites: Sizzling Tofu, Sizzling Sisig, Bagnet, Fish Sarciado, Chop Suey, Chicken Adobo, and of course, Vanilla Cafe’s famous Kare Kare.

Vanilla Cafe, Tomas Morato

Vanilla Cafe, Tomas Morato

Vanilla Cafe, Tomas Morato

Vanilla Cafe, Tomas Morato

Vanilla Cafe, Tomas Morato

Vanilla Cafe, Tomas Morato

Vanilla Cafe, Tomas Morato

And since there’s always room for dessert, have a cupcake (or two… or more!) because, why not!

Vanilla Cafe, Tomas Morato

Vanilla Cafe, Tomas Morato

Vanilla Cafe, Tomas Morato

This buffet is best enjoyed with pals as a barkada lunch date…

Vanilla Cafe, Tomas Morato

Or as part of a festive celebration!

Vanilla Cafe, Tomas Morato

So check it out: the Premium Lunch Buffet is available at Vanilla Cafe Tomas Morato on weekdays from 11am to 2pm for only Php398 per person (+10% service charge).

Vanilla Cafe, Tomas Morato

This branch also has a Boomin’ Breakfast Buffet available everyday from 7am to 10am at Php228 for adults and Php114 for kids ages four to eleven (plus 10% service charge). Kids below four years old eat for free.

This Vanilla Cafe branch is located along Mother Ignacia Avenue, South Triangle, Quezon City, open Sundays to Thursdays from 7.30am to 11pm and Fridays to Saturdays from 7.30pm to 12 midnight.  For inquiries and reservations, call +63 2 2 83743783 or +63 918 8264552.

Other branches are located at:

  • Second Floor, Garden Wing, Trinoma Mall, Bagong Pag-Asa, Quezon City
  • Second Floor, Evia Lifestyle Center, Daang Hari Road, Almanza, Las Pinas City
  • 20 Villamor Street, Lualhati, Baguio, Benguet

Planning a get-together? Why not order one of Vanilla Cafe’s Party trays? Pastas, entrees, salads and rice trays are available for order at any Metro Manila branch.

Vanilla Cupcake Bakery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Maximize your buffet restaurant visit. Read the tips in my buffet survival guide.

Check out my blog posts on other buffet restaurants in the Metro:

The Alley by Vikings, UP Town Center

It’s great to have officemates who love to eat (not as much as I do, but still).

Before we took our holiday break, my boss decided to treat our team to dinner at The Alley by Vikings in UP Town Center.

The Alley by Vikings, UP Town Center

The Alley by Vikings, UP Town Center

The Alley by Vikings, UP Town Center

The Alley by Vikings, UP Town Center

The Alley by Vikings, UP Town Center

The Alley by Vikings, UP Town Center

What sets this buffet restaurant apart from the others is that it takes the form of a street-style food hall which incorporates concepts from around the world. Walking around the stations, you get a feel of touring the streets of the countries where the featured food items originate.

The Alley by Vikings, UP Town Center

The Alley by Vikings, UP Town Center

The Alley by Vikings, UP Town Center

The Alley by Vikings, UP Town Center

The Alley by Vikings, UP Town Center

The Alley by Vikings, UP Town Center

The Alley by Vikings, UP Town Center

The Alley by Vikings, UP Town Center

The Alley by Vikings, UP Town Center

The Alley by Vikings, UP Town Center

The Alley by Vikings, UP Town Center

The Alley by Vikings, UP Town Center

Instead of filling your plates yourself, you can request for small servings of the dishes from their respective stations, similar to the street food tripping experience. For example, our “food trip” here included the following stations:

  • Hao Chi – for Chinese dimsum and Peking Duck
  • Yatai – for Japanese sushi, sashimi and okonomiyaki
  • O’Sean Eleven – for seafood chowder
  • Just Steak a Minute – for freshly grilled steaks and other meats
  • Ferino’s Bibingka – for freshly made puto bumbong
  • Hunnycomb – for cakes and pastries

Buffet Rates:

  • Weekday Lunch: Php738 for adults, Php188 for kids 3ft for 4ft, Php388 for kids 4ft to 4ft 6in
  • Weekday Dinner/ Weekend or Holiday Lunch and Dinner: Php938 for adults, Php288 for kids 3ft for 4ft, Php588 for kids 4ft to 4ft 6in
  • Kids below 3ft eat for free

There are a lot of food choices, and more food stations than the ones I mentioned, which can be quite overwhelming. Refilling the more popular stations such as the sushi and the muscovado sugar for the bibingka took a long time.

I would also guess that the air-conditioning couldn’t cope with the volume of diners as it was quite warm where we were seated.

All that said, it was still a good time spent with my office buddies.

The Alley by Vikings, UP Town Center

This branch of The Alley by Vikings is located 2nd Level, Phase 2, UP Town Center, Ayala Mall, Katipunan Avenue, Quezon City, open daily from 11am to 2.30pm and from 5.30pm to 10pm. For inquiries and reservations, call +63 2 82771888, +63 2 82772888, +63 917 6735888 or +63 918 9078888.

Other branches are located at:

  • 2nd Level, Ayala Malls Cloverleaf, A. Bonifacio Street, Brgy. Balingasa, A. Bonifacio, Quezon City
  • C1, Upper Ground Floor, Bonifacio High Street Central, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
  • Planning a visit to The Alley by Vikings? Here are some promos you can take advantage of:
    • 20% off Weekday Lunch for every group of 5 pax from January 2 to February 28, 2020
      Birthday celebrants eat for free on the day of their birthday if accompanied by one full paying adult, or within their birth month if accompanied by four full-paying adults
  • (Note: Terms and conditions apply for the above-mentioned promos.)
  • The Alley by Vikings Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

    Maximize your buffet restaurant visit. Read the tips in my buffet survival guide.

    Check out my blog posts on other buffet restaurants in the Metro: