For most of us in the Philippines, Christmas is not just about any religious holiday. A lot of extravagant meal plans come with it! Wrestle with festive food and you’re set. On Christmas Day, we chowed down with a variety of seafood in Sharmila Ihaw-Ihaw Paluto Restaurant located at Dampa.
Why not? The Seaside Market in Macapagal Boulevard, Pasay City is one of the nicest places in the metro where you can find affordable seafood. It houses a seafood market and many Filipino and Chinese restaurants that cook and serve up dishes according to your preferred style.
My dad and sister stayed at the restaurant, while my grandfather, mom, boyfriend and I went to the market to get food for “paluto.” Several Asian foreigners were roaming for a food trip that night and it was funny when vendors thought we were among them. Take this lady for instance, who was so willing to have her picture taken holding the crab. 😀 She repeatedly said “Picture picture!” till I finally took a shot.
Review of Sharmila Ihaw-Ihaw Paluto Restaurant (Dampa, Pasay City)
Sharmila Ihaw-Ihaw Paluto Restaurant’s ambiance recalls that of a cafeteria where wide and bare tables are dominated by families who are prepared to eat like a maharani. This place is often visited by large groups who get a bit of every seafood that’s sold in the Seaside Market. The interior design is pretty simple, suitable for both daylight and evening dining, but not one that could serve as excellent inspiration for a relaxed home.
We have dined here about three times in a span of five years. I just wondered why the pertinent acoustic band did not play and was not at all present in our most recent visit. On the positive end, it wasn’t noisy so we could hear ourselves talk and converse while dining. Also, I say hooray for there was also not even one toddler in sight racing around! 😛
The deal-breaker was that air conditioning was not enough to keep the area cool. To compensate, staff put up and turned on standing fans as they were highly requested as necessary.
Our food came out almost an hour after we arrived. But that’s quite reasonable since the place was busy with customers and cooking these many food which are not from the menu require much cooking and preparation time. What’s not acceptable was that waiters were not attentive and even rice and tempura sauce were only served after we asked for them in like over five times. The trappings of professionalism was quite missing. 🙁
In a city full of mediocre shrimp-and-grits preparations, Sharmila’s version of Buttered Shrimps is the only one I have tasted that I regard as a must-try. Big word, yeah. These shrimps in orange sauce are the best! There’s no polite way to eat and slurp the sauce. It’s either you take the hard way of removing the shrimps’ shells using spoon and fork or go comfortable by using your hands. And no, there should be no shame in scraping the bits off the plate after you demolish the seafood. But first, make sure you’ve cleaned your hands thoroughly. (Feel free to walk into the faucet just outside the restaurant near the entrance.)
The Spicy Crab did have a lot of punch in terms of flavor. The crab’s meat ran silkily paired with the spicy red sauce that practically begged to be eaten with plain white rice. By the end of the meal, our dinner table was like a scene of horrific crustacean wreckage, where discarded shells and hollow crab claws litter. Well, it won’t count as a dignified meal if you leave without sauce under your fingernails. 😛
Filling enough to knock hunger, the Shrimp Tempura was delightful. This is the dish that deserves an obligatory nod to dining customers who don’t know what to order. The fried tempura was well-executed but was not exciting because they tasted like traditional. The crumbs were crisp with enough substance to make their presence known.
The Steamed Lapu-Lapu (Chinese Style) was equally crave-able. It was seasoned in salt, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, oyster sauce and maybe sugar (because I sensed sweetness in the sauce). It was cooked just right and tasted fresh and gingery without the fishy odor. The leeks enhanced the dish with a complex savory aftertaste in each bite. The sauce was so nice with rice as it sank in and imbued its flavor.
The Baked Oysters arrived last. The picture-perfect oysters’ exterior gave way to a silky inside. It was a lovely dish where the cheese blended with the butter where we needed a moment to appreciate all of it. And we did; every last drop!
Price for Value: ★★★★☆
Sharmila Ihaw-Ihaw Paluto Restaurant is a likeable restaurant in Dampa area. The smell of their food is incredible as it passes through the dining room. This is the kind of eating you want to associate with the holidays — the kind that makes us feel good for years to come. Cooking fee depends on the weight of the seafood and the cooking style. It usually clocks in under PHp 300 for a viand, a true deal for the quality of food you get.
Operating Hours: 8AM-12MN
Seaside, D. Macapagal Avenue, San Dionisio, Paranaque City | +63 9499036931
Dona Julia Vargas Ave Pasig, Metro Manila | (02) 515-0326