When I got an invite from Joy of Gastronomybyjoy.com to spend an afternoon at Chef Laudico Guevarra’s for the launch of Philip Lifestyle Guy! Season 2, I just felt ecstatic. I would not not only get to meet Philip Abadicio, but I would also have the chance to dine in at one of the most wonderful house-turned-restaurants in the city right now! 😛 Some might call me lucky—and they’re right.
Chef Laudico Guevarra’s in P. Guerra Street, San Juan is a buffet restaurant showcasing Filipino food with a twist. This place was once a heritage house built in the 1920s and was transformed into an elegant restaurant which opened to the public last July 16, 2013.
Chefs Roland and Jackie Laudico thought that Guevarra’s would be known as an upscale buffet restaurant where diners can feel like they’re dining in a five-star hotel without the expensive bill afterwards. And yup, they’re successful at that. My foodie experience here has been great enough for me to want to tell the world about it. 😉
Chef Laudico and Me : )
Review of Chef Laudico Guevarra’s (San Juan City)
Since Valentine’s Day is fast coming, Chef Laudico Guevarra’s was decorated with hearts all around. Inside the restaurant, several private dining areas that serve as function rooms can be found. They are named after famous personalities that made mark in the history of the Philippines, namely: Guevarra (main hall), Recto, Ortega, Mabini, Abad Santos and Pilar.
Small gatherings, important meetings and celebrations can all be held in these rooms. If you’d notice, the walls are decorated with signed plates by celebrities and known people as well as paintings by local artists.
The heritage house’s layout was retained as in the original, and the overall design may just leave one feeling oddly nostalgic. The lights? Oh wow, they’re enchanting. Hats off to the Laudicos for the spectacular theme.
Guevarra’s also offers an outdoor setting suitable for having a nice cocktail in a serene ambiance. This garden in front of the restaurant looked perfectly romantic for a couple’s pictorial. This is the kind of place you can bring a date without worrying about anything.
Staffs were warm, hospitable and responsive, embodying a platonic icon of a neighborhood restaurant’s good customer service team. They took out our used plates and refilled our glasses with water quickly.
We came at 3PM just in time for “afternoon snacks,” so note that these food below are not those served similarly in lunch and dinner. Nevertheless, they were filling and quite satisfying.
On the appetizers section were Fresh Ubod, Salad Greens and also [not on the picture] Radish Cucumber Salad, Creamy Salted Egg, Kuya Caesar Dressing, Spicy Sardines and Freshly Baked Pan De Sal. Pile them on your plate without shame, as nobody should come to a buffet restaurant to judge. 😛
My favorite has to be the Fresh Ubod. Each piece was crafted beautifully with a consistent number of pleats. After dipping one in peanut sauce, the flavors of fresh veggies in the remarkably delicate lumpia skin burst in my mouth. Mmmm!
The next round is about getting the lay of the land: a little of Pork Sisig Baskets, a taste of Camote Croquettes (I can’t hardly pass up these), and Pork Shanghai with sauces: Vinegar, Toyomansi and Pinakurat. My sister had grown an obsession with the sweet potatoes croquettes (Croquetas de Batata) and it’s easy to understand why. Each ball was like a fancy hash brown with crispy crumbs on the outside and moist in the inside.
Three pizza flavors were available: Seafood Pizza, Karnievorous Pizza and Vegetarian Pizza. Their pizzas are not the best. With thin and light crust, the pizzas didn’t appeal much to me. The toppings were scarce and the sauce was not flavorful. Presentation was as well mediocre. You can skip these and move on to the mains.
Satisfy your love of meat and poultry with Liempo, Grilled Chicken and Fried Chicken or “Filipino pasta” with Pancit Canton, Spaghetti and Palabok. While I can’t comment much on the meaty choices, I can attest that the texture and flavors of the three different pancit/noodles were good. They reminded me of my mom’s cooking!
At this point, my tummy was full and I was not particularly hungry to try the other food. Then again, having a small bite of each won’t hurt. Next on the line for the taste test were: Lechon on the Carvery, Chicken Ham, Squid Law, Ginataang Bilo-bilo and Roasted Chicken. It’s not an unpublished secret in this blog that I’m not a fan of any of these meat in general. All I can say is that their flavors were rich in their own humble way but not exciting as they dared to be. The complementary sauces for the lechon and chicken can make up for the shortcoming.
For desserts, we had the Vegetable Platter, Banana Cake, Suman Balls, Palitaw, Chocolate Crinkles and Maruya that were all pleasing to the eyes and taste buds. We also tried sticking some of them to the Latik Fountain, a cool “Pinoy” version of the chocolate fondue. Everything in this section was awesome.
At the two opposite ends of the buffet were the vendo machines for ice cream (vanilla and chocolate flavors with toppings) and different kinds of beverages (sodas and iced tea). I had the red iced tea which was not too sweet for my liking.
Price for Value: ★★★★☆
If there’s one thing that’s perpetually true about Filipino restaurants, it’s the one about how hard it is to find a decent buffet restaurant serving Filipino food that you can confidently bring your foreigner friends for them to get a glimpse and appreciate our local cuisine. Chef Laudico Guevarra’s can be an ideal spot to spend happy moments with your loved ones. Considering the selection and quality of food, buffet rates are affordable. Rest assured, you’ll definitely get your money’s worth. (We’ll be back for the lunch and dinner proper next time.)
Weekday lunch (Monday to Friday) 11AM – 2PM: PHp 399 + 12% VAT
Weekday dinner (Monday to Thursday) 7:30PM – 10:30PM: PHp 499 + 12% VAT
Weekends and Holidays (Friday dinner, Satuday and Sunday lunch and dinner): PHp 599 + 12% VAT
Operating hours: 11:00am – 2:00pm, 7:30pm – 10:30pm