We have been to Josefina Garden Grill and Restaurant in Seaside Market before. That was when we used our MetroDeal vouchers to unravel a gastronomic native treat with the buffet.
The review ratings I submitted turned out to be bad. I wrote with honesty as usual and I was not alone; many readers shared their own sentiments and some even sent affirmation. Facebook users tag the restaurant’s fan page to raise their concerns, and we were all together in the hope to see improvement.
At last, after a month, I received an email from the owner. Ms. Soraya Salamat herself humbly invited us to Josefina Garden Grill and Restaurant to sample their regular items on the menu (not buffet). I accepted the offer and gave the restaurant another chance to prove their worth. She personally prepared a full six-course meal plus desserts for us and this time, if you ask me whether or not they were successful at pleasing and tickling our taste buds, the answer would be: yes! Totally. They passed—with flying colors. 😀
Review of Josefina Garden Grill and Restaurant – A La Carte (Pasay City)
Note: I am not writing the Ambiance review portion since they did not have drastic changes on the placement of fixtures, restaurant theme and all. So allow me to immediately proceed with the other three important items here:
Once we arrived, I called the attention of one of the staff near the kitchen and introduced myself to be the blogger who made reservation for dinner. The staff acknowledged my presence and escorted us to our seats. Shortly, Ms. Soraya appeared, welcomed us and said she’d start preparing the food.
The dishes arrived fast, one after the other. Waiters were notably much more attentive to our requests this time around as well. After dinner, we talked to Ms. Soraya and enjoyed her company a lot. She’s a nice, understanding and considerate person after all. Very accommodating, down to earth and respectful—someone who deserve continued success.
For a starter, we had the Clam Soup with Tofu (PHp 300). The flavor of the soup base was mild and delicate. There was a hint of sweetness that complemented the faint bitterness of the clam shells accented by the salt. Fading almost with the background, the tastes of aromatic vegetables dissolved into the broth. The soup could have tasted better by adding a good grind of black pepper and a bay leaf or two.
We told the owner that my dad is a vegan. So a vegan version of the “Clam Soup with Tofu” was also prepared specially for him. It consisted only of tofu but tasted as good.
First in line on the main courses was the Crispy Hito (Catfish) with Different Sauces (Cooking Charge: PHp 100-140). I’m pretty picky about sauces for the fish because they either only enhance or ruin the crucial original taste. It was a good thing that four sauces were presented on the plate, giving the customer his/her call. Luckily, every option was okay. I could not choose which one though was most agreeable.
Second was the Sizzling Spareribs in Barbecue Sauce (Cooking Charge: PHp 180-220) which I barely touched (because it was pork and I could not get a nutritional nod out of it). My mom and boyfriend both liked it, and they almost finished the beast. As I’ve heard, there’s nothing like sizzling Filipino-style roasted pork belly to bring all friends and family out of from every crack and crevice. These sizzling spareribs can be one of our country’s most recognizable culinary export.
Third came the Baked Oysters (Cooking Charge: PHp 140-200), which was much unlike the “baked tahong served at the buffet.” Seeing and comparing the two pictures would definitely make the difference visible. This version was really fine, without the pungent smell. These baked oysters were baked with garlic, butter and cheese. I suggest pairing the shell with a crunchy-on-the-outside-but-soft-on-the-inside piece of bread to sop up all the juices.
The ever-popular Asian Adobong Pusit “Squid Adobo” (Cooking Charge: PHp 140-200) was stewed in soy sauce, vinegar and spices. This squid viand boasted a dense silken gravy with a purplish-almost-blackish hue. With rice, it was scrumptious! The texture of the finely chopped squids was not so chewy, and that mattered to me a lot because I wear braces.
The Ginataang Kangkong (Swamp Cabbage in Coconut Milk) (PHp 200) was made for Daddy, but we also took the taste test. Good enough to slurp, the coconut milk lusciously coated the fresh and authentic greens. The chili lend a pleasant spiciness to the affair. My dad absolutely liked it and described it as a comfortable meal he can get used to eating every day.
Their Pancit Canton (Stir-fried Noodles) (PHp 150) taken from the buffet table as asked by my mom was okay. It consisted of sliced meat, carrots, other veggies, and all it missed were the quail eggs.
The desserts (mangoes, watermelon, banana fritters and biko) were not made from unicorn tears and not much to look at but were plainly good—the best way to end and complete a Filipino meal, aside from halo-halo and ice cream.
Price for Value: ★★★★☆
If you decide to order a la carte / paluto dishes at Josefina Garden Grill and Restaurant, then you’re in luck. 😛 Everything we had was delicious. These food, unlike the ones in the buffet, were properly executed. This restaurant is where you should go when craving for conventional Filipino comfort food that’s “universal.” Just make sure to have lots of napkins and a big appetite. You can view more of the cooking charges here and here.
Operating hours: 10AM-11PM daily