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)
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 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.
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.