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 passedβ€”with flying colors. πŸ˜€

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:

Service: β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

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 respectfulβ€”someone who deserve continued success.

Food: β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

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 goodβ€”the best way to end and complete a Filipino meal, aside from halo-halo and ice cream.

Price for Value: β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†

If you decide to order a la carte / paluto dishes at Josefina Garden Grill and Restaurant, then you’re in luck. πŸ˜› 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.

Seaside Market, Diosdado Macapagal Blvd Manila Bay Reclamation Area, Pasay
For inquiries, contact (02) 5159130, 0908-1669496
Date Published: 12/03/2013
14 / 15 stars

Operating hours: 10AM-11PM daily


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

38 Responses

  1. Joy

    people have different taste buds, what is delectable to you may not be delish to others πŸ™‚ so more often than not different ratings were given.

    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Right. We all have different taste buds depending on how we grew up and what the culture is. In addition, our perceptions of taste are uniquely our own because of personal variances in the distribution and density of our senses.

  2. Rossel

    I love Filipino dishes most especially seafoods. The baked oyster and ginataang kangkong would be suffice to make my day.

    • Rochkirstin Santos

      It’s a no-brainer in Manila to find some food to remind where you are-in the Philippines-once in a while. When craving for Pinoy classic food in a somehow modern presentation, Josefina Garden and Grill has got you covered.

    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Yup. Eating with family is priceless; it’s so important because you talk, eat more slowly and less! πŸ˜› Kidding aside, it is a wonderfully important ritual for bonding and strengthening the relationship with good food.

  3. Janine

    The place is very simple… And so their food presentation. Pero kahit na ano pa man, yung lasa naman talaga ang mahalaga. πŸ™‚ Patikim!

  4. Teresa Martinez

    This is why restaurant owners should listen to customers as truthful negative views when addressed properly can only lead to improvement. Now I’m raring to try this place.

    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Reading blogs and trusting real people for comments and reviews is the trend now and there’s no going away with that. Most bars and restaurants today are using popular social media tools like Twitter, Facebook, etc. to connect and engage with their customers.

  5. leira

    I am super excited to try this restaurant as I live in Makati. Studied in Pasay so kind of familiar in the area

  6. Marie

    Oh! I love kangkong but it’s quite pricey where I am so I seldom cook it, haven’t tried it with gata….Yummy display of seafood…so everything on the table would be a big YES! πŸ™‚

    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Thanks, Fernando. πŸ™‚ I agree. You can get your perfect Filipino cuisine meal also with the accompaniment of a paradise setting, with both friends and family.

  7. Ericleen.Com

    Rochkirstin, the images are so engaging and stimulates my appetite. It’s almost dinner and I am craving for filipino foods. I would like to try the fried hito with spicy sawsawan… πŸ™‚

    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Nice choice. The hito with spicy sauce gave a refreshing burst of flavor with the heat from chilli yet it could be pleasantly soothed by eating vegetables (another dish) side by side.

  8. joy | chemist2writer

    First of all, you look great! πŸ™‚ Anyway, the foods look delicious and quite familiar. It would be like eating something cooked at home pero level up ang taste πŸ™‚

  9. lito john seril

    my staff and i will try their food today lunchtime. hope we won’t be disappointed.

  10. Jaye

    hmmmm…just a bit wary about complimenting the food this time since it was the owner who personally prepared the food. On any regular day & with us regular buyers, i don’t think she would be personally cooking the food.

    If they wanted a fair review, then they should have the regular cooks do the their own thing since that is what we, ordinary, non bloggers would be getting.

    Sadly too, after that terribly bad experience with the vouchers with Metro Deal, I am sure that even less than 1 out of 10 people would risk their money there. They had their chance at winning us ordinary, regular people during that buffet. Had we been happy with that purchase, I guarantee that even more than half of those who bought the vouchers would return.

    I write from my bad experience with them & with view point of someone also in business. When you have that 1 single change to win over a client – do everything you can to please them as that chance may never come again. And sadly, that is the case for Josefina’s

    • Rochkirstin Santos

      You’re right – normal occasions would be different. I share the same sentiment for regular customers. At this point, I doubt if there are those who were happy with the deal because all I received as well were negative comments.

      The MetroDeal experience just goes to prove that not all promotions are meant to boost the company in a way that would be beneficial for them. In some cases such as this, the more customers get to try, the more they learn that it’s not worth it. The best thing could be a sigh of relief that they did not shell out for the actual (whole) price but rather the promo rate.


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