Filipinos are admittedly “foodies” in nature. We love cooking, we love trying out unusual dishes, we eat out and get inspirations from different foreign cuisines we love. In fact, people from around the world are starting to fall in love with our Pinoy food favorites as well. How cool is that?
Since the market of the food industry is growing fast, it really is fortunate that we Filipinos don’t just love eating, but we are also passionate about leveling up our Pinoy cooking resulting in many innovative dishes offering world-class flavors and quality. Just notice those Pinoy restaurants that are operating for decades already and still attracting new customers while they manage to keep the old and loyal ones. I mean, yes there are lots of new and exciting meals offered out there, but at the end of the day, we’ll definitely look and crave for our comfort food making us feel at home.
What makes a good dish? Finding the best Pinoy dishes in Metro Manila is more difficult than anyone could imagine. “San tayo kakain? (where are we going to eat?)” is probably asked hundreds of times by Pinoys every day, so it really is an advantage that restaurants around the area are inventive enough to add twists to their menu to keep the curiosity among people.
One of those Pinoy innovative restaurants is Mesa. Mesa is a modern Filipino restaurant targeting both traditional and adventurous foodies. They offer very good dishes that we loved ever since they were first launched to the public. Mesa’s traditional menu recipes were actually developed by local cooks. Serving food with high-end style and classy plating, you would never thought the brand started small as other successful restos did that are now well-known.
In their first years, Mesa started as “La Mesa” operating with the concept of cooking on the customers’ table (inspired by Japanese, only in Filipino cooking style). As Filipino culture wasn’t used to such style, the management finally came up with “Mesa” – where food is prepared before serving to customer tables. As of writing, Mesa has grown having 51 branches all over the country, and their first Mesa branch is at Greenbelt 5.
Among the wide options of what to eat, we chose some of our favorites, from heavy meals to quick bites. If you missed dining at Mesa or if you’re looking for something new to try, these are some of our best-recommended (not ranked!) Mesa dishes handpicked from our most recent visit to their mother branch:
Normally, we have lumpiang baboy as one choice for appetizer, but here’s one example twist I tasted first from Mesa: Tinapa Roll (Php175*) wrapped in lettuce filled with tinapa or smoked fish, salted egg, onion, and tomato. Dipped in Pinakurat vinegar, these tasty bites is surprisingly good.
My personal favorite is a platter of Shrimps tossed with Salted Egg Sauce (Php440*). I really love shrimps and salted egg, so this is literally my one must-ordered dish when coming to Mesa. It’s so good I can finish one order without sharing one bite!
Their Chicken Binakol (Php375*) is also good. Simmered in broth young coconut, lemongrass, and green papaya, this bowl of goodness is worth the try – really close to another Pinoy favorite, Chicken Tinola, just upgraded!
Mesa’s Crispchon (Php1700*) is one of their best-sellers. Order even a quarter, and it will be served and chopped on your table. Yep, you ordered it and they will make you crave even for more! Chopped into small strips, the crispchon is also served with small Pandan crepes. Best way to enjoy it? Grab a crepe, top it with strips of your crispchon, add some freshly shredded cucumbers, spring onions and cilantro, sprinkle some of their signature sauces, and ta-da!
Looking for foreign dish with Pinoy twist? Close to a flavorful West Sumatran dry curry is the Mesa Braised Beef (Php385*), perfect for when you’re craving for Beef Rendang!
Another famous Mesa dish (and a must-try) is the Laing 2 Ways (Php205*) which literally is served in two ways – wet and dry. Both are super great, the only difference is the “wet” bowl has more coconut milk (gata) than the other. Want to level this up even more? Request some more chili and feel like a real Bicolano. Yum!
Okay, I mentioned everything here at Mesa is interesting, but here’s another catchy meal perfect for family dinners: Salt-Crusted Apahap (seabass). Another showmanship, you say? Mesa is one of those restaurants who love to see their customers even more satisfied witnessing how their dishes are prepared before serving. Wondering if it tastes too salty? Nawp. The job of the salt crust is to seal moisture which keeps the flavor inside the fish. Surprisingly, this dish is well-seasoned it may become a foodie’s fave.
Who doesn’t want a flavorful plate of Crab in Aligue? If only it’s not too sinful, I’d eat more servings of this in one day.
Finally (but definitely not the least!), one sweet Crispy Leche Flan (Php50*) to wrap up the cravings we set above. Well, that’s another big twist from our usual Leche Flan!
*rates are as of July 2019.
As a certified foodie, I love eating out at different restaurants offering different cuisines. I mean, we all do. But let’s admit it. Pinoy food is still the best, especially if it’s cooked with a dash of creativity, a tablespoon of originality, and a cup of warm love.
The featured branch is located at Level 1, Greenbelt 5, Ayala Center, Greenbelt, Makati City. Interested about the brand? Follow their social media accounts: Instagram (@mesaphilippines) | Facebook (Mesa PH) or view their full menu on Zomato (Mesa Greenbelt 5).
This article also appears on whattoeatph.com