My friend, Anton, celebrated his birthday with us in COCA Restaurant in SM Aura last week. I came straight from work hurriedly, in the hope not to miss much on both food and conversation. Unfortunately, I failed to arrive in time for the appetizers, blaming the heavy traffic along EDSA.

On other news, the mini get-together with my college friends has been fun like always. I also felt glad to be in the company of people who care deeply about what they eat. With that preface out of the way, get ready to dig in!

To give a brief overview, COCA Restaurant was founded in 1957 by Mr. Srichai Phanphensophon and his wife, Mrs. Patama, in Soi Dejo, Thailand. The husband-and-wife tandem started the food business with a small restaurant that could accompany only 20 seaters. But look at how COCA has grown through more than half a decade! It has branches in Singapore, Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan, Laos, Myanmar, South Korea and China and just last year (2013), the Philippines.

The name “COCA” is derived from Mandarin “kekou” (可口), which means “appetizing.” In writing, it’s the same “COCA” as in Coca-cola, which in Chinese is “kekou kele” (可口可乐). COCA Restaurant is pioneering in Thai-style “Suki” steamboat dining. With COCA sauce that’s made by the owner himself, customers may rest assure to enjoy a truly mouth-watering experience.

Review of Coca Restaurant (SM Aura Premier, Taguig)

Ambiance: ★★★★★

The inviting, warm tones of the dining room spells romance and privacy, bested by the matching dark wood furniture and sheer green curtains. The place looks as outlandish and elegant as ever! It’s easy to judge that COCA Restaurant is a high-caliber, modern place featuring a mix of Thai and Cantonese cooking. At a glance of its chic interior design, I was in awe.


Service: ★★★★★

The thing I don’t like in eating crabs is that it has to be messy, and getting its white meat out with spoon and fork or chopsticks proved to be a challenge. COCA Restaurant already knows that, so the waiters often approached us as they offered wet tissue and pincers.

Other good points worth to mention: The attending waiter helped in cooking food in the hotpot and as well helped in moving us from two separate tables to a bigger table where 11 of us could fit. He refilled our empty glasses with water and even replaced mine as requested immediately. He also took our group picture repeatedly in a friendly manner, until we were all satisfied with the quality of the shot. Yay!


Food: ★★★★☆

We started with the Emperor’s Platter with Ojiya (PHp 2750). Okay, let’s say it all together: it had assorted meat, seafood, vegetables and glass noodles. It’s an admirable execution of shabu-shabu or steamboat-style course. All the ingredients were in the proper size without any of them being overwhelming. My favorite among the bunch has to be the enoki mushrooms! It was a decent foundation of our meal.


Perusing the list of soup bases, we vetoed clear chicken broth (quite bland in taste) on one side and tom yum (sour and spicy) on the other. Both were prepared with fresh ingredients, herbs and spices. The induction plate was right in the middle of our round table. Without the long wait, the broth bubbled away and we began dropping the ingredients into it.


Packed with various items, the hotpot broth had developed more flavor. Some ingredients like the tofu benefited from a longer soak. Soon enough, we got them out using the wire strainer, careful not to overcook.

Along with our pot of steaming broth, we also enjoyed the Pacific Sunset (PHp 1700), which consisted of live king crab, squid, tiger prawn, pork sausage, corn with a hint of spice and aromatics. I could hardly rank the various seafood in order according to my liking, since everything was equally delicious indeed.


The Pacific Sunset came with this platter of garlic bread which was not crunchy as expected. You may forget it and opt for rice instead.

On the menu, COCA offers rice in different variants: Shrimp Fried Rice (PHp 200, Small; PHp 300, Large), Roasted Duck Rice (PHp 280), Roasted Pork Belly Rice (PHp 280), and COCA Yang Chow Fried Rice (PHp 200, Small; PHp 300, Large). I bet the first three are super strong in flavor, so the best, if you still intend to eat flavored rice rather than just plain white rice, would be the Yang Chow. And that’s exactly what we had. The judgement? I loved it, more than David’s Tea House‘s version.

Sliced thinly, against the grain, the tender slips of Steamed US Prime Striploin in Soy Sauce and Ginger (PHp 650) were a chamion. The meat was lean, supple and well-seasoned, like Maru Korean Restaurant‘s beef hash. It gets beefier when you get your second piece. If there’s one complaint to be made, it’s that it runs a tad on the greasy side. But sometimes, that’s exactly what makes it more appealing. In any case, white rice will be a great accompaniment.


Price for Value: ★★☆☆☆

A reliable, recommendable Thai-Cantonese spot is a hard to find these days, so I’m happy to point you to this one. However, unless you’re a gambling man, a meal here (or most other restaurants in SM Aura, for that matter) can feel a little unnerving because of the prices. With exceedingly expensive amount tagged to each dish on COCA Restaurant’s menu, the ordering process is most difficult. You have to make sure to get the right stuff to get your money’s worth, of course.

Then again, if you want to skip navigating the list for long, feel free to order the same dishes we had as these represent a portion of sure-fire hits that are guaranteed to result in return visits.

5/F SM Aura Premier, Sky Park, McKinley Parkway McKinley Hill, Taguig
For inquiries, contact (02) 218-1110
Date Published: 03/10/2014
16 / 20 stars

About 

Digital marketing strategist. Health and technology freak. Food and lifestyle blogger with a large appetite for food and travel.

Related Posts

78 Responses

  1. Stacy |tsinoyfoodies

    I’ve been wanting to try COCA but the price factor is what’s pushing it down the list as new restaurants to try keeps on going. You’re so lucky to have generous college friends =D

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Haha yup, I’m lucky! 😀 It was actually my first time to also know about COCA. I wonder why I’ve never seen it before in Takashimaya, Singapore when I was always there.

      Reply
  2. Robi

    I’ve heard that traffic in Metro Manila is getting worse now although our government is doing their best to find a solution. Despite of the traffic jam, I’m sure it all went away after arriving at COCA restaurant. Everything looks delicious!

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      There are road constructions ongoing here and there that make the traffic worse. Sigh. But of course, I’m still thankful to have arrived safe and sound. 🙂 Yup, everything looked enticing and this is one of the few instances when the appearance matched the taste.

      Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Considering the seriously delicious food, COCA is a good choice but not for the prices. So it’s wise to bring your friends in so you can share the bill. 🙂

      Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Shoutout to Gelleesh’s date: take her there. 🙂 Hehe restaurants in SM Aura are not exactly cheap, but those prices match up pretty nicely with the sort of places that I, for one, live in fear of: long lines, poor customer service, and average or low quality of food.

      Reply
  3. Kaye

    I love the ambiance of this restaurant. The place looks clean and the interior is nice. The Pacific Sunset looks so delish but it’s indeed hard to eat crab on restaurants.

    Reply
  4. shine

    I’ve been to SM Aura only once and saw this restaurant,.,. I wanted to try but I think its expensive,., Maybe next time I wont miss,., thanks for the idea about the foods., 🙂

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      When you do visit, don’t forget to order the steamboat course. It’s classic and it’d be a shame to go to COCA without getting its specialty. 😛

      Reply
  5. Rhea Bue

    OMG!! This looks super delicious!!! I miss SM Aura.. ang dami na palang bago sakanila 🙂 will visit soon! 🙂

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      In fairness, the portions are big and 11 of us got to share everything here. If the bill, for example, is PHp 5490 (include the service charge), then budget allocated for each person is PHp 540. In itself, that’s a tremendous value for a la carte courses, but considering the quality of the ingredients, it’s quite okay. 🙂

      Reply
  6. Irish

    I like the atmosphere of the restaurant but the prices are bit expensive. I like crabs too but I rather eat it in the comfort of my home than in a fancy restaurant like this.

    The Emperor’s Platter with Ojiya really looks like an Emperor’s food.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      COCA Restaurant is the type of place that you feel warrants a more serious exploration. No doubt, the ambiance is pretty and sleek. As for eating the crabs…my thoughts exactly. 🙂

      Reply
  7. Yette

    Their food looks really yummy. They’re a bit pricey though but from your photos & your review it looks definitely worth it. 🙂

    Reply
  8. Maya

    Your posts always make me so hungry! Gosh that King Crab looks delicious. Shame that it’s pricey

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Haha I think I’ve just accomplish my job here – to make you feel hungry even when you’re not. 😛 Crabs are always expensive but this one’s priced really higher.

      Reply
  9. Chasing Jayce

    I’ve never been to SM Aura so I haven’t seen this resto yet. And the place seems really pricey. But you gave some good tips so I might try this when I do venture into SM Aura.

    Reply
  10. Debarpan

    Get together with your college friends plus such an wonderful dinner in a great resturant,wow!!you had a lovely night.

    Reply
  11. Kath Rivera

    Wow, that’s a feast!How do you stay sexy with all the restaurant reviews your doing? Naku, ako konting kain lang nag gain na agad ng weight. From the photos above gusto ko lang yata yung US prime striploin.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Hahaha I don’t eat a lot but I see to it that I try them all kahit kaunti kaunti lang. Also, I don’t get to eat at restaurants every single day. I pack lunch from home and I am very conscious of my diet. Fitness exercise (everyday workout) also helps. 🙂

      Reply
  12. Deann

    Wow! The place is just perfect! I hope I could try their food someday! It looks really delish! 😀 Thanks for sharing this restaurant.

    Reply
  13. Alyssa (@heyitsalyssayu)

    The place looks really nice! This is the first time I’ve heard about this but will definitely add this to my list of restaurants to try! 🙂

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Yes. Great restaurant design and great craft in cooking and presenting food are always two factors on getting price point value. Prices are a drawback for most people, but maybe spending one time big time for a lunch or dinner here won’t cost an arm or leg.

      Reply
  14. joy

    my husband mentioned to me that he wants us to dine in this bistro, but because it was too far from our place we have to schedule it maybe by next month when schedules are no longer hectic 🙂

    Reply
  15. Janine

    Grabe ang mahal nung Emperor’s Platter! (emperor nga eh, haha) Seriously.. I havent tried anything Thai fine cuisine yet. mga turo-turo Thai carinderia near my school lang. And as I was saying, Im impressed with Coca’s ambience.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      I also like the sauce in the crab dish. Once you’re done, don’t let them take away the plate of sauce that’s left over. Pour it over your white rice. 🙂 You’re welcome!

      Reply
  16. Anne Mary

    Yay, the pictures starves me so early, all the foods are presented are all delish. And the ambiance is superb for a get together. The color is vibrant that you could stay for hours.

    Reply
  17. lalalapatricia

    The food looks delicious. I missed this mall. I want to go there kaso bago lang yun nagopen. You need to try our specialty here ung curacha (crabs). For sure magugustuhan niyo un 🙂

    Reply
  18. Jonas Labagala

    I could smell the food from here in Davao! Whew!

    The Pacific Sunset is so expensive! I could drain my wallet just for that dish! 😀

    Reply
  19. Kaye

    I’ll take note of this restaurant and ask my brother to celebrate his birthday here too. All the dishes look so delish.

    Reply
  20. Mindy

    Hmmm, we have a similar (very old) restaurant called COCARI in our town, i wonder if it’s the branch (because you mentioned that it has restaurants in Indonesia too). It sure serves the same type of food and all. Used to be very famous back in the day but sadly it’s not anymore… The one you featured here seems to be faring a lot better 🙂

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Oh. I’m not sure if they are the same. Probably yes ’cause as you mentioned that they serve similar type of food. If COCARI was booming and popular back in the days then it must just have changed management or something had been made different (acquired by a larger group). Haha all assumptions here.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.