Archive for January, 2013|Monthly archive page

suzhou in san juan – hooray for holes in the wall!

In eating in manila on January 27, 2013 at 7:12 pm



by the time we remembered to take a photo of the dumplings, they were all but gone. steamed kutchay dumplings. very good – still not up to dong bei – but worth going for in their own right. we also appreciate that suzhou is one of the few (actually right now the only one i can remember) places that serves ginger as a condiment to go with the black vinegar as a dipping sauce for the dumplings. yum.

we ate at suzhou along mabini street in san juan – one of the more popular chinese holes in the wall. what we wanted was something cheap and hearty and delicious and we certainly were not disappointed. one of the dishes they recommend is their spicy beef brisket noodle soup

beef noodle


most flavorful. one of those dishes where everything just tastes good. not to be missed by noodle soup lovers.

but for us the star (and revelation) of the meal was the spring onion pancake



in a word, terrific. it was thin and crisp and all the flavors were intact – the onion, the egg, the seasoning. yum.

in all we paid a little over P300. easily great value.

suzhou is popular for other dishes – in particular we hear their spare ribs get mentioned a lot. so this is on was just the first of hopefully many many visits. each time we plan to try something different. but that pancake… it just might become a staple.

ninyo. it’s good, but this can’t be the only option in QC

In eating in manila on January 20, 2013 at 4:03 pm

ninyo sushi

one day, we were looking for a nice, quiet, elegant meal. it was a friday night so we didn’t want to have to go through traffic. we were in quezon city – near UP. even morato seemed a little hectic. and so we decided on ninyo.

this was our appetizer. a baked prawn sushi with a side salad. it was good. not a stunner. but very satisfying. and conceptually certainly a winner. best with the side salad which provided the fresh kick it needed.

then we had our main dishes. camille had pasta vongole

ninyo vongole

and i had a hanger steak

ninyo steak

so these were, again, good. maybe even very good. the cook who executes these is very competent. for a meal with these 3 dishes and a bottle of wine we paid P3,000 (!)

and that’s where my beef (yes, i know) with ninyo lies.

it’s a good restaurant, don’t get me wrong. again, it might even be very good. but it isn’t great. it isn’t superb. and it is very expensive. the ambience is charming, yes, but it’s showing signs of wear. the staff is also not bad, but not excellent. so ninyo has the feel of an almost fine dining restaurant, but it isn’t there yet. or has passed its peak already.

the unfortunate thing is, there’s nothing around that area of QC that can fill the void. but maybe the next time we get the same desire, we’ll just brave the traffic. or stay home.

nolita – a restaurant for feeling stuffed

In eating in manila on January 18, 2013 at 12:35 pm

nolita pizza


these are slices of nolita’s pizza. the white one is spinach and artichoke and the other one is italian sausage. and they are both quite good although camille and i lean towards the italian sausage because of its spice. they are both big and hearty. and heavy. true to the restaurant’s name – north of little italy, a community in new york – the food is more american-italian than local italian.

so while this still won’t be our go-to pizza place (personally we prefer the lighter, fresher pizzas), nolita certainly caters to particular cravings. like with their potato chip fries

nolita chips


a more upscale version of shakey’s mojos. if you like fried potatoes, you’ll love this.

they also have burgers and dishes like chili

nolita chili


while this wasn’t as complex or had optimum depth of flavor, it was still a very satisfying bowl of chili.

nolita is also reputed to have one of the better cannolis (if not the best) available in manila. agree it was very good and certainly worth trying here. actually, it’s not a terrible idea to come here just for dessert.

the first time we went to nolita we got a seat inside and came out smelling too much like food. not very pleasant. and the food didn’t seem good enough to entice us to come back. but then we had occasion to come back to the fort and figured a slice of pizza would be nice so we decided to give nolita another chance. this time we sat outside and it was way way more pleasant. it made the overall dining experience much better.

each time we spend something like P300,400 per head. overall this is still something we won’t be looking for a lot – especially given meals are rather pricey. but nolita is one of those places that’s always a safe choice. and, when it comes down to it, who doesn’t like pizza.