Review of Manos Greek Taverna (SM Mall of Asia, Pasay)

Posted on Jan 23, 2013 in Food Reviews | 18 comments

One mention of my office mate that there’s a newly opened Greek restaurant in MOA last month and I was thrilled to go in and try. It has been over a year since I had Greek cuisine on my plate, so I went with my girl friends from DLSU to hang out a bit and have lunch at Manos Greek Taverna or Manos Greek Tavern (just beside Sbarro).

Bit of Insight: Upon hearing “Taverna,” I thought of Anthony Taberna (a.k.a. “Ka Tunying”), a broadcast journalist in ABS-CBN. Then I researched what the word actually means: taverna is a a small, unpretentious café or restaurant in Greece. Now we know!

The idea of building up this restaurant materialized when Manos Sapountzakis and his Filipino wife, Estrella, thought of opening an eatery where both Filipino and Greek people can enjoy Greek cuisine.

Esterella was a great cook back in Greece where they lived for 20 years, so she’s not a newbie in terms of cooking delicious Greek food. Supporting her was Manos as the host who greeted and served customers in their dining experience.

The first branch of Manos Greek Taverna in the Philippines was founded in 2005. It is located at Calamba Road in the greater Tagaytay area. Now we don’t have to go road-tripping and travel that far. If you’re in the city, find yourself a spot in Manos Greek Taverna, MOA and you can go shopping afterwards!

Review of Manos Greek Taverna (SM Mall of Asia, Pasay)

Ambiance: ★★★☆☆

Call me killjoy but I really did not sense the “Greek-ness” of Manos Greek Taverna as the interior walls were painted only in white and fixtures were covered with white and blue sheets as any other ordinary restaurant could have.

Yes, the rustic atmosphere was there but I thought it was only the Greek instrumental music that helped in reinforcing the tradition. Lights were badly dimmed reflecting blue shades, making me feel sleepier than excited to eat.

Service: ★★★☆☆

Service was okay but staff were not so service-oriented. There were only two active tables at that time so I could not have a better judgement.

Food: ★★★☆☆

As an appetizer, we had tzatziki dip (PHp 150) with three pieces of heated pita bread. If you’re not familiar, tzatziki is a Greek and Turkish meze that is made of strained yoghurt, mixed with cucumbers, garlic, salt and olive oil.

Wraps are my favorite version of “fast food or snack.” So when I read that Manos has vegetarian shawarmas on their menu, I felt excited to have a platter full of different ingredients which I can wrap with the pita bread. Actually the vegetable shawarma came in two variants. I went for Vegetable Shawarma 2 (PHp 195), following the waitress’ recommendation. It costs the same as the shawarma#1 and even have more ingredients such as cauliflowers, lettuce (which tasted somewhat like basil), potato fries, tomatoes, cucumber, olives, feta cheese, and tzatziki.

With all these savory classics, this vegetarian dish is not one that will make you feel so stuffed that you can’t walk straight to the front door. As it contained no MSG and preservatives, it will just leave you feeling refreshed after having a fairly healthy meal. Every ingredient had its distinct taste that was not overpowering the other. I do recommend this dish for those who desire detoxification in their diet. But expect it not to be any tastier than your regular food.

Price for Value: ★★☆☆☆

Admittedly, I am a very picky eater and I look at the ingredients and setting of the place foremost to rate the price for value. This meal has its good points but it does not deserve to be a total winner. My friends ordered pasticcio (baked macaroni, minced beef, bechamel sauce with Parmesan cheese) (PHp 255) and Kototpoulou Fournou (oven-baked chicken legs with potato fournou) (PHp 385).

I tasted a bit of both and felt that more content and specialty in taste should be added, else a reduction in price is definitely needed.

Menu:

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An IT person by profession; Foodie by nature; Wushu athlete by training; Dancer by heart; Writer by passion; Hasn't met a piece of cake she didn't like :)

    18 Comments

  1. I love blue and this resto might fit for me.. But for the food, they really have to reduce the price considering the serving size. I also like their combo meals as it can save lots of money but if it’s here in Davao, it’s still expensive.

    • Even if it’s not in Davao, their food prices are not too reasonable. There are other restaurants where you can eat Greek food which are better in taste and presentation overall.

  2. Since I had my Greek Lunch at another Greek resto, I’m craving for some more. I’ll give Manos a try soon.

    • I have not kept up with Mediterranean cuisine; it has just not been on my culinary radar. If you’re fond of Greek food, maybe you can name the most delicious dishes and must-try restaurants in Manila?

  3. Oh I’ve been meaning to try Manos when we went to Tagaytay. Glad it’s now here in Metro Manila! Will give it a try some time soon, although I’m not that big on Greek cuisine.

    PS: Most Greek restos make use of blue and white for their interior which makes me imagine their flag, as well as Santorini, although yeah, I find the color lethargy-inducing too XD

    • Oh so it’s about being nationalistic by the incorporation of the flag colors! Thanks for sharing this information. Now I know. :D

  4. I love greek foods, and i want to try manos next time i went to sm mall of asia… gawd nagcracrave just seeing the pictures above.

    • You should be quite familiar with the tastes of Greek food. Ask for their best-sellers and see if they are truly remarkable. ;)

  5. thank you so much for this review now I know which resto is to avoid when I am in town.

    • You’re welcome. Better check out other restaurants in SM Mall of Asia. There are lot of better ones around the vicinity. :D

  6. The word ‘Taverna’ also caught my attention. I thought of an old song which mentioned ‘tavern’!
    I haven’t tried any Greek dish yet, but your photos made me want to look for a resto that offers one around my place!

    • I don’t know of any song with “tavern” as any part of the title or lines of the chorus. Anyway, yeah, I’m glad you found the photos appealing and inspiring. :)

  7. Kototpoulou Fourno is something that I would love to try. I love chicken dishes kasi! It looks yummy.

    • Every culture probably has their version of roast chicken in the oven, Kotopoulo Fournou is like roasted lemon garlic chicken with potatoes, one of the classic Greek dishes. Yup, nice choice. :)

  8. Looking at the photo of the place, you’re definitely right. I don’t like it that much when the place makes me feel sleepy than craving for their food. I’m not really familiar with greek food or designs but the place looks like any other restaurants. As for the food, they do really need to lower their prices. Thanks for sharing this! :)

    • Now an idea just snapped at me. Perhaps the ambiance and the lighting were put that way because they wanted to emulate the same ones they have in the Tagaytay branch, so the feel would be provincial and you can totally calm down.

  9. I’ve been eyeing Manos for quite some time now whenever im in MOA but my friends and i always ends up on an italian or japanese restaurant. Its great that you made a review of Manos, at least i wont have to drown myself in sorrow for having my friends try Manos when its not exactly delish with reasonable price as i thought it would be. ;)

    • That’s true. Sometimes I also crave for something and because my friends would choose another restaurant, I would feel a certain pang of regret. Reading bad reviews of restaurants we didn’t go to makes me feel better, too. :)

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