Manila Maki: Makati's Hidden Pinoy-Japanese Fusion Gem (Elizabeth's Place HV De La Costa)

My bestie Eric and I have this weird habit of inviting each other as spontaneous or impromptu as possible when we know we're in each other's convenient zone.  A few days ago, I was in Makati where he works so I invited him to have a lunch break at an instantaneously found place called "Manila Maki" at Elizabeth's Place Condominium.  If you're unfamiliar with the location, it's wiser to ask the name of the building instead so people can guide you towards it. 

In case you're wondering why Manila when it's in Makati, we asked that too.  Manila symbolizes Pinoy food and not the location.

manila maki

Eric was smiling as soon as  he saw their happy hour poster by the entrance.  I, on the other hand, was allured by Manila Maki's unique decor and interiorIt was a certainly a mix bag of creativity that blended well with each other.

The lights were made from laminated Japanese newspaper sheets.  Some parts of the place also had Japanese newspaper as a wallpaper.  Tables were either made of solid wood or wooden planks formed into a picnic table.  The chairs had a lot of variety too from modern plastic ones to steel garden types to wooden stools made of planks and picnic benches. 
manila maki

Seeing their wooden framed food shots and glancing on their menu filled with their Pinoy-Japanese dishes made me feel a bit skepticI mean who does Pinoy-Japanese fusion?  I've always considered myself to be an adventurous foodie but never have I encountered such a bold twist.  I'm fearing that I might end up forced to finish all our ordersEric is a good friend but he is such a picky eater.  If he doesn't like the food, no one can ever make him eat even if it means saving his life.

manila maki
Each table had Japanese newspaper wrapped chopstick, napkin and soy sauce holders.

manila maki
And, plates were set up with soy sauce holders so you're ready for a whole new maki experience!


seared tuna kinilaw
Seared Tuna Kinilaw (245 php)
As you can see, the Seared Tuna Kinilaw is cooked with precision.  Other than that, the preparation doesn't seem too technical as it is topped with peppers and sesame seeds and served with spicy vinegar dip.  Yet, the delivery of the dish  was surprisingly splendid!  We both thought it was ingenious!

Premium Rolls
manila maki
Manila Maki (255 php)
Our server recommended their best-selling Manila Maki.  It appears like an ordinary topped tuna-topped maki but it's actually very complicated.  It's drizzled with a light mango dressing, the sushi rice is rolled in garlic bits and filled with fresh Philippine mango, kani salad and nilasing na hipon.  I found this to be a more interesting version of the usual California Maki

adarna roll
Adarna Roll (225 php)
To be honest, we loved the Adarna Roll more than the Manila MakiCan you guess what's on top?  It really looks like Unagi but it's actually their crisp bangus belly fillets braised in teriyaki and topped with sesame seeds.  They were wonderfully tasty.  The rest are common sushi complements such as: kani salad, mango, cucumber, lettuce and topiko duo.

spicy tuna salad
Spicy Tuna Salad (265 php)
Manila Maki's Spicy Tuna Salad makes all the spicy tuna I've tried in the past pale in comparison.  Despite being so saucy and flavorful due to the interesting pinoy twist of using taba ng talanga, the tiny tempura flakes successfully delivered a sensational crisp in every bite.  It is spiced with chili flakes which you can request to be milder or spicier depending on our preference.

Ala Carte
Longgiyoza (125 php)
I love the classic gyoza but boy, the Longgiyoza has swooned me to a whole new level.  Aside from the perfect skin thickness, smoothness and meat juiciness, cabanatuan longganisa amazingly adds an explosive savoriness to it.

bon bon chicken
Bon Bon Chicken (185 php)
The appearance of the Bon Bon Chicken is similar to the Korean fried chickenBut, this is way better!  Upon trying a piece of these boneless crunchy chicken coated in sweet garlic-ginger sauce and drizzled with Japanese mayo, Eric and I just couldn't stop ourselves from munching on some more.  We finished this bowlful even to the last crunchy sauce-coated batter

Sisigdon (215 php)
The highlight of our meal was the Sisigdon.  It's a bowlful of pork sisig with beaten egg, sweet shoyo sauce, chili powder, green onions and chicharon bits. Gosh! My words can never be enough to expound on this.  You just have to try this out for yourself to appreciate the magical sensation of taste and texture of this dish.

molten lava
Molten Lava (165 php)
I wanted to try the Coco Mango which was not available at the time but I always have to have my dessert so I settled for the Molten Lava instead.  Unlike other lava cakes which had hot fudge splurging from the center, this one just has a center that's more moist than the other parts but lots of chocolate fudge is found on the outside.


buco lychee
Buco Lychee (140 php)
The Buco Lychee is a tall glass of very refreshing thirst-quencher and palate cleanser.  

Manila Maki Specialty Drinks
calamansi saketini
Calamansi Saketini (195 php)
The Calamansi Saketini is Manila Maki's take on the Martini by substituting sake.  Sake has a very bold flavor but this drink masks its perfectly by delivering a nice tangy and mildly sweetened calamansi blend.

the maki cooler
The Maki Cooler (225 php)
The Maki Cooler is a sweet and delicious four seasons and dalandan juice mixed with coconut rum, vodka and sake concoction that so smooth you'll forget you're having alcohol.

Tsinoy Foodies Verdict
Manila Maki is Makati's hidden Pinoy-Japanese Fusion gem.  I have to hand it to them.  They really know what they're doing.  Every dish is a masterpiece.  We couldn't help but swipe everything clean... everything sticky grain and to the last drop of our beverage.  Price is affordable.  Serving size is great for sharing especially their SashimiPinoy Maki and Premium Rolls.  The drinks are just as good so go ahead and pair them with your food.  They also offer a reliably fast WiFi.

P.S. Saw on their menu a pamphlet that they also do catering with more dish options.

Tsinoy Foodies Review Rating Manila Maki Menu
Ambiance Nigiri Sushi | Sashimi | Pinoy Maki | Premium Rolls 
Salads | Sushi Katsu | Ala Carte
 Tempura | Teriyaki Inasal | Teppanyaki |  
Noodles | Donburi |  
Rice | Desserts Drinks 1 | Drinks 2 |
=Favorites or Recommended 
Manila Maki
Business Address Elizabeth Place Condominium
332 HV Dela Costa, Salcedo Village, 
Makati, Metro Manila
Business Hours Lunch: 11am-2pm
Dinner: 5pm-11pm
Payment Options Cash
Service Charge N/A
Budget/Person 200-500
Free WiFi Yes
Unlocked Foursquare Perks None
Contact (02) 822-7319
Other  Facebook Fan Page
Manila Maki Map  Like This Post? Subscribe here                               

Little Asia: Asian Cuisine at Its Best (Lucky Chinatown Mall)

Our shopping spree at Lucky China Town Mall got us hungry but we didn't mind waiting in line for Little Asia that night.

little asia lucky china town mall
Having good experiences at Little Asia in the past made us enticed to come back for more.

little asia lucky china town mall
As you can see, the interiors are quite luxurious with chandeliers and beautiful wallpaper prints.  But, the tables are cramped with little spacing and you can hear the chatter all over the place.  That's quite typical for Chinese restaurants so we're comfortable with that.

What we love about Little Asia is that they continuously add new dishes so we are always assured of something  new to try in every visit aside from our old favorites.

kung pao chicken
Kung Pao Chicken (275 php)
The kung pao chicken is a family favorite.   Little Asia's Kung Pao Chicken has big chunks of chicken in spicy kung pao sauce with peanuts, leeks and black chili.  It was a pretty good rendition!

coconut fish fillet
Coconut Fish Fillet (275 php)
Our new and well-loved discovery was the Coconut Fish Fillet.   It was soft and slippery fish fillet in a mildly spiced coconut cream sauce with a hint of basil. 

shanghai spinach tofu
Shanghai Spinach Tofu (245 php)
The Shanghai Spinach Tofu is also a must try!  It is a pan fried tofu topped with finely chopped spinach with oyster sauce, rice wine, shitake mushroom ginger and onion leeks.

yang chow fried rice
Yang Chow Fried Rice (255 php)
The Yang Chow Fried Rice was recommended by our server.  We regret ordering this because it was too common.  Next time, we'll go for the Salted Fish Fried Rice or their noodles instead.

Tsinoy Foodies Verdict
When it comes to Asian cuisine, definitely put Little Asia on top of your list.  Their pricing is affordable and serving size is good for sharing.  They also have a wide-range of selections to choose from.

Tsinoy Foodies Review Rating Little Asia Menu
Ambiance Menu
=Favorites or Recommended 
Little Asia Lucky Chinatown Mall
Business Address G/F, Lucky Chinatown Mall,
Reina Regente St cor Dela Reina, Binondo
Manila, Metro Manila
Business Hours 10am-9pm
Payment Options   Cash
Service Charge 10%
Budget/Person 300-800
Free WiFi No
Unlocked Foursquare Perks None
Other  Facebook Fan Page
Little Asia Lucky Chinatown Mall Map  Like This Post? Subscribe here                               

Curry Bee Japanese Curry Shop: Family Favorite Japanese Curry and Ramen Shop

My family has been raving about Curry Bee Japanese Curry Shop for quite some time.  In fact, they've been there several times already.  It just so happened that I'm always unavailable. 

curry bee japanese curry shop
Luckily, last month, I was able to try it out for myself with the family.

curry bee japanese curry shop
It had a minimalist casual flair with its yellow cushioned booths and space saving dividers.


Omelet Curry
hamburger omelet curry
Hamburger Omelet Curry (273 php)
The Hamburger Omelet Curry is a must try!  I'm rarely impressed with Japanese burgers and this is one of those moments.  Based on the burger alone, I still think Arafu cafe's version is better but this is a real steal for a much more affordable price!  Judging by the Japanese curry, this is by far the best one I've tried yet.  The omelet is plain but fluffy.

Curry Noodles
sliced beef curry ramen
Sliced Beef Curry Ramen (310 php)
I had the Sliced Beef Curry Ramen.  I loved this so much I finished it to the last bit.  The ramen noodles are not that special but they are really enhanced by the curry broth and the tender and tasty sliced beef.

Udon w/ Hot Soup
mushroom udon
Mushroom Udon (238 php)
The Mushroom Udon is a soothing clear broth that brings out the delicious flavor of the enoki mushrooms and seaweeds.  This is a common favorite of the family.

Bee Ramen
pork ramen soup
Pork Ramen Soup (230 php)
A big thumbs up for their Pork Ramen Soup.  For it's substantially low price, it is at par with authentic ramen brands that are franchised from abroad. 

Tsinoy Foodies Other Ramen House/Shop Reviews
Akira Restaurant 
Hanamaruken Ramen 花丸轩  
Hokkaido Ramen Santouka
Ikkoryu Fukuoka Ramen
Kitchitora 1 | Kitchitora 2
Kokoro Ramenya
Menya Genki Tonkotsu Ramen
Mitsuyado Sei-Men
Moshi Koshi 1 | Moshi Koshi 2
Rai-Rai Ken Ramen House
Ramen Bar
Ramen Cool
Ramen Ichiban-Kan
Ramen Nagi
Ramen Sora
Ramen X (Closed)
Ramen Yushoken
Ukkokei Ramen Ron
Wrong Ramen

Tsinoy Foodies Verdict
The family rarely visit the same restaurant more than twice.  I rarely do too unless of course, there are new interesting offerings.  But, after we had our dinner at Curry Bee Japanese Curry Shop, we all agreed that we'll be back again.  I've read the poor ratings are mostly due to poor service.  The service was actually very good on during our visit.  It was on a Sunday evening and the place was packed. 

Tsinoy Foodies Review Rating Curry Bee Japanese Curry Shop Menu
Ambiance Fried Dish Curry | Omelet Curry | Stewed Dish Curry |

Fried Rice | Noodles | Grilled | Donburi |  
Salad | Snacks | Drinks |
=Favorites or Recommended 
Curry Bee Japanese Curry Shop
Business Address Bluebay Walk, EDSA Extention, 
Pasay City, Metro Manila
Business Hours 10am-12am
Payment Options   Cash
Service Charge 10%
Budget/Person 250-500
Free WiFi No
Unlocked Foursquare Perks None
Contact (02) 7850737
Other  Facebook Fan Page
Curry Bee Japanese Curry Shop Map  Like This Post? Subscribe here                               

Swensen's Philippines: Ice Cream Night (SM Mall of Asia MOA)

Most addicts don't admit that they are addicts.  But, I'm really honest so I'll confess I'm an ice cream addict!   To prevent myself from stuffing up on too much ice cream (I used to eat a pint/s a day), I have a personal policy of not eating ice cream unless someone else invites me.  So one usual malling night, the family decided to try Swensen's

Of course, I was so excited! 

I quickly checked out the flavors at the counter even though all the diners are seated as they have a menu so no need to stand up lol.

As I counted, they have 16 different flavors available.
They had a large seating capacity but it was a bit crowded.

Apple Cranberry Sorbet (95 php) and Blueberry Cobbler (95 php) (Add 20 php for the Waffle Cone)
Yogen Berry (95 php), Mango (95 php) and Blueberry Cobbler (95 php)
We really love that they have tarty options.  The flavors are also out of the ordinary.  

Tsinoy Foodies Verdict
Swensen's Philippines offers delicious ice cream that will cool you down anytime you need to chill.  They have lots of flavors to offer so you'll sure find one to your liking.  However, I find their pricing a bit steep. 

Tsinoy Foodies Review Rating Swensen's Philippines Menu
Ambiance Menu
=Favorites or Recommended 
Swensen's Philippines
Business Address G/F SM Mall of Asia, South Wing, Seaside Drive,
Pasay City, Metro Manila
Business Hours 10am-9pm (mall hours)
Payment Options   Cash
Service Charge

Budget/Person 100-500
Free WiFi No
Unlocked Foursquare Perks None
Contact (02) 804-0046
Other  Facebook Fan Page
Swensen's Philippines Mall of Asia Map  Like This Post? Subscribe here                               

Fresh Buffet: Seafood and More at Solaire Resort and Casino

As much as the family wants to enjoy buffets as often as we can, we'd like to pace ourselvesSince my cousin recommended Fresh Buffet at Solaire Resorts and Casino upon its opening, it's long been on our hotel buffet list.

fresh buffet solaire resorts and casino
Finally, we got to try it... not once but twice!  I'll just share both experience here if you don't mind.  Our first visit was on a Thursday night and the second was on a Monday night so it's the same weekday rate.  But, the former is way better than the latter.


Cheese Station
fresh buffet solaire resorts and casino
Goat Cheese, Goat Cheese, Bleu Cheese, Jams, Honey and Preserves
This was constant on both visits.

Cold Cuts Station
fresh buffet solaire resorts and casino
Cold Cuts with Pate
So are these...

Mediterranean Station
fresh buffet solaire resorts and casino
I love their Mediterranean section.  They not only offer more than just the basic hummus, I noticed that some of the selections vary as well.

Fresh and Smoked Seafood Station and Japanese Sashimi, Sushi and Maki Station
fresh buffet solaire resorts and casino
Fresh Seafood During Our First Visit
During our first visit, we were so delighted with their Seafood Station.  It has large King Crab.  Look at the size of those claws!  There's also huge Alaskan Crab LegsI had to come back for a second serving of those!  The Oysters were large and fresh so we ate them raw.  The Smoked Salmon, Smoked Mackarel and Smoked Tanigue were all great too.  The Shrimp Salad and Squid Salad were also satisfactory.  From the Japanese Sashimi, Sushi and Maki Station on the side, the Salmon Sashimi, Tuna Sashimi and Red Snapper were all so fresh as you can observe from their vibrant colors.

fresh buffet solaire resorts and casino
Fresh and Smoked Seafood and Sashimi During Our Second Visit
We obviously had an excellent first dining experience so we came back with a party of over 20 and we ended up disappointed with the Fresh and Smoked Seafood and Sashimi offerings.  The Salmon Sashimi looked pale and frozen. The Fresh Oysters were not only small, they were slimy and tasted yucky.  We requested them to be baked in butter (they don't have cheese!) but the experience was just the same.  Only small Crabs and Mussels were offered along with the Squid Salad and Mussel Salad.  The Smoked Selections were the same.  

Prepared Salads
fresh buffet solaire resorts and casino
Plate from Our First Visit and Offerings on Our Second Visit

During our first visit, we there was Lobster Salad!  It was prepared the same way as the Shrimp SaladIn addition, they offered the Tuna Nicoise Salad, really good Coleslaw and Potato and Ham Salad.  On our second visit, they had the Tuna Nicoise Salad, Beef Salad, Tomato Mozzarella Salad and Coleslaw.  Sadly, the delicious Lobster Salad and  Shrimp Salad was not offered.

Bread Station
fresh buffet solaire resorts and casino
Bread Station
Lots of choices for pastry lovers!

During our first visit, they had a delicious Barley Soup.  The next visit, they had Curry Soup which was exactly the same as their Filipino Curry Chicken from the Filipino Station without the toppings.  I didn't like it.

Namul Station
They also offered variations of Namul such as Fresh Lettuce, Kimchi and Japchae plus Korean Sauces.

Main Dishes
fresh buffet solaire resorts and casino
Main Dishes During Our First Visit
We loved the Truffle Macaroni and Cheese, Red Snapper, Arabic Style Lamb Shoulder with Cous Cous, Duck with Orange, Vegetable Gratin and wait for it... Sweet Chili Lobsters!

fresh buffet solaire resorts and casino
Main Dishes During Our Second Visit
I didn't try much from our second visit except for the Roasted pork with Sauerkraut.  Other were pretty much like ordinary party catering dishes like the Tagliatelle Bolognaise, Pancetta Rissotto and Mini Beef Sliders.  Good thing they also offered the same Vegetable Gratin which my nephew indulged in.

Dimsum, Noodle Soup, Chinese Cold Cuts and Filipino Sections

They had the same offering on both visits.  The Dimsum Selections were pretty good.  They Pork Siomai was tasty.  The Noodles Station allows the Chinese chef (speaking English with a typical Chinese accent) to serve your Noodle Soup according to your preferred noodle type, vegetables, sauces and broth: beef, chicken or pork.    The Chinese Cold Cuts had two offerings: Hainanese Chicken and Peking Chicken.  From the Filipino Station, constant offerings are the Liempo and Chicken Inasal.  There are also variations of cooked Filipino dishes and soup like Sinigang.  I tried the Filipino Chicken Curry.   It was pretty good.

Fish Station
fresh buffet solaire resorts and casino
Lapu Lapu in Sweet and Sour Sauce (first visit) and Tilapia in Sweet and Sour Sauce (second visit)
The delicious Lapu Lapu in Sweet and Sour Sauce was downgraded to Tilapia in Sweet and Sour Sauce on our second visit.

Grilled Station
fresh buffet solaire resorts and casino

fresh buffet solaire resorts and casino

fresh buffet solaire resorts and casino

fresh buffet solaire resorts and casino

fresh buffet solaire resorts and casino
Lamb Quesadilla and Prawns Pil-Pil
The Lamb Quesadilla and Prawns Pil-Pil were our favorites from the Grill Station.

fresh buffet solaire resorts and casino
The items are pretty much the same on both visits even the Vegetarian Pizza.  I didn't mind trying that for the second time though because it was really good!  Also try the Chicken Teriyaki.

Roast Station
fresh buffet solaire resorts and casino
The Roast Station does not disappoint!  On our first visit, there was Suckling Pig.  Our second visit there was Roast Beef which always had a waiting customer.

fresh buffet solaire resorts and casino
Fruits During Our First Visit
On our first visit, there were a lot of Fruits Selections.  Only Melons and Bananas were offered during our second visit. =(

Gelato Station
gelato station
Of course, I wouldn't miss the Gelato and had them on both visits.  I love the Mango flavor so I had it twice. 

Cake Station
dessert station
They have a lot of delicious cakes!  In this area, they are one of the top on my list amongst hotel buffetsOn both occasions, the offerings were essentially the same.  They even have Sugar-Free ones.  My favorites are the Signature Chocolate Cake, Pistachio Opera Cake, Tiramisu, Raspberry Cheesecake and Coconut and Mango Mousse.  

Chocolate Fondue and Candies Station
chocolate fondue
Aside from the Chocolate Fondue, they also have a Chocolate and Candies Station which was also impressive!  On our first visit, they have a Chocolate Lollipop Filled with Chocolate Ganache .  It was really good!  On our second visit, they offered Chocolate Bits.  They also have some candies like Polvoron and Ube.

After-Meal Coffee
solaire drinks
The buffet rate is inclusive of free hot drinks: Cappuccino, Latte or Tea.

Tsinoy Foodies Verdict
I really can't conclude much on Fresh Buffet because of the great disparity between my two visits.  Since they offer them at the same rate, I'm expecting high standard of quality which they would maintain consistently especially since there were a lot of people dining and most of them were tourists. 

How about you?  How was your experience?

Tsinoy Foodies Review Rating Fresh Buffet Rate
Ambiance Breakfast: 
Adult: 1,100 ++
Child (7-12 yrs.old): 500 ++ 
Adult:1,900 ++ 
Child (7-12 yrs.old): 950 ++ 
Sun & Holiday
Adult:2,400 ++ 
Child (7-12 yrs.old): 1,200 ++ 

Adult:2,100 ++ 
Child (7-12 yrs.old): 1,050 ++
Fri & Sat:
 Adult:2,600 ++ 
Child (7-12 yrs.old): 1,300 ++
*Children 6 yrs. and below: FREE 
=Favorites or Recommended 
Fresh Buffet
Business Address 1 Asean Avenue, Entertainment City, Tambo, 
Paranaque City, Metro Manila
Business Hours Breakfast: 6:30am - 11am
Lunch: 12pm-3:30pm
Dinner: 5:30pm-11pm
Payment Options   Cash
Service Charge 10%
Budget/Person 1,800-2,500
Free WiFi Yes
Unlocked Foursquare Perks None
Contact (02) 888-8888
Other  Website | Facebook Fan Page
Fresh Buffet  Solaire Resort and Casino Map  Like This Post? Subscribe here                               

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