There’s quite an absence of good Spanish restaurants in my regular rotation lately, so when I received an invite to visit Tapella by Gaudi in Greenbelt 5, Makati to test out dishes by Executive Chef Robert Spakowski, I felt excited about Spanish cuisine again. 🙂 Tapella specializes in tapas and paella.

It was interesting to learn that while Chef Robert looked totally like a foreigner (Polish-Kapampangan on his father’s side and Spanish-American-Lebanese-Chinese on his mother’s side), he speaks Filipino fluently without a weird accent. He shared that he was born and raised here in the Philippines and has earned his Diploma in Culinary Arts and Technology Management from the Center for Culinary Arts Manila (CCA).

How did he become the executive chef in Tapella? The former executive chef of Tapella (his family friend) decided to return to Spain and asked if he can take her place. To prepare and equip himself better, Chef Robert took an intensive Grand Diplome in Spanish Culinary Arts course at the International Culinary Center in New York, USA and the rest, as they say, was history.

Review of Tapella by Gaudi (Greenbelt 5, Makati City)

Ambiance: ★★★★☆

Tapella by Gaudi has been established since 2009. The rectangular dining room is well appointed and large enough, so getting a table should not be a huge pain in the ass, especially if you have reservation. Ambiance is pretty cozy, one that’s great for a date night or an amazing hangout with friends.

At the back is a rack of wine bottles that serves as a good focus point of the interior design, versus muted brown walls bordering neutral beige that accentuates class.

There’s also an al fresco setting which houses the bar, a change of pace from the inside. Grab a seat here to experience a more informal and chiller vibe magnified by the beautiful landscapes and garden in Greenbelt.

Food: ★★★★☆

I have a love-hate relationship with salads, and Tapella’s Mixed House Salad Drizzled With Special Dressing (Ensalada Tapella) (PhP 200) fell somewhere in between. Usually for me, salads are not exactly a can’t-miss-item from the menu, but it’s worth to mention that the ingredients of this house salad formed a good combination not just on the plate but also in the stomach. Mixed up with olives and corn kernels, the lettuce leaves were well seasoned with the dressing, ought to help you survive the meat and heavy rice dishes later.

The Octopus with Paprika, Sea Salt, and Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Pulpo a la Gallega) (PhP 525) may look like a large order and intended for sharing between a group, but sometimes you need to overindulge a bit even for a party of two. As the star, the octopus was delicate and tasty, fork tender and not at all chewy.

Fluffy and generous with filling, the Open Faced Omelette with Chorizo (Tortilla Abierta con Chorizo) (PhP 235) was wicked good, one of the best versions of omelette I’ve ever had.

As something to whet the appetite, the Garlic Sauteed Shrimps (Gambas al Ajillo) (PhP 325) would be an excellent choice. It’s basically shrimps in garlic. What could go wrong? The shrimps tasted great and simple enough. I also noticed how the dishware was beautiful and meticulously selected for the course.

Another appetizing dish was the tender and juicy Basque Chorizo Sausage (Chistorra Vasca) (PhP 235). The chorizo sausages in oil were packed in so much flavor that eating a piece will make you reach for some bread for plate cleanup.

Next, we had Croquettes of Ham, Salami, and Mushroom (Croquettes Variadas) (PhP 175)—crispy turnovers with a variety of fillings. They looked great as finger food so I ditched the utensils to get proper-sized mouthfuls. Tapella’s croquettes were a bit salty and comforting wrapped into one.

As pitch-black as coal, the Squid with Black Ink Batter (Calamares, el Bulli) (PhP 385) was cooked well, however I didn’t think there’s anything distinctly special to it other than how it looked differently from the regular fried squid in golden brown color. Simply put, there was no hint of complex flavor from the squid ink.

Beef Salpicado, Chef’s Way (Salpicado a Mi Manera) (PhP 375) was oily but very delicious, so it would be hard to turn it down. I bet the chef used the juiciest morsel and used the choicest cut of beef for this.

If there’s one item that you can order with confidence at Tapella by Gaudi, it’s their Prime Rib Grilled Villagodio Style (Chuleton de Villagodio) (PhP 300/100g). Arriving on a clay dish heated by a burner on the table, the certified prime angus beef that’s only speckled with sea salt and quickly seared to preferred doneness was a revelation. Yes, it was really good! For steak lovers, it can be impossible to eat it without making faces of satisfaction. This piece of meat hits home, a rightfully celebrated stroke of “steak genius.”

Now, featuring the different kinds of paella…The Black Paella (Paella Negra) (PhP 595) was not the most outstanding, but it’s a special treat that can be best paired with gambas. I just thought that a variety of seafood to complement the squid ink would make a better contrast rather than chopped squid alone.

Soft and risotto-like, Rice with Chicken and Vegetables, the Valencia Way (Arroz a la Valenciana) (PhP 450) came as a one-dish meal of poultry and veggies. For the most part, the bell peppers’ taste was responsible for the depth of flavor. Give it a shot if that sounds good to you. 

Made with elements that create appealing color, Paella de Cocido (Cocido Paella) (PhP 400) was loaded with a good assortment of meat and vegetables as well. It’s a must-try, as it’s one of the national dishes of Spain.

Out of all the paella we tasted, Chicken, Asparagus, Shrimp, and Manchego Cheese Paella (Arroz Manchego) (PhP 675) was the best! I’m all for seafood and veggies any day, and this rice dish blew my mind a bit—with cheese on top! I’m counting down the days till I can get another. 😛

After tasting the previous winning paella, the Seafood Paella (Paella de Marisco) (PhP 600) failed in comparison. It was still good but not one I would be thinking about for days to come.

For desserts, we had Tarta con Lave de Chocolate (PhP 150). It was sinful, with warmed rich chocolate oozing out of the cake. Checking all the criteria of a good chocolate lava cake, this was indeed calories worthy.

Smooth and luscious, the Leche Flan (PhP 75) was equally enjoyable. It was creamy but still firm.

Drawing contrast from the traditional leche flan, Bacon from the Sky (Tocino del Cielo) (PhP 75) from South of Spain was thicker and it was made with a whole bunch of egg yolks, sugar, and water (and not whole eggs, milk or cream as in leche flan).

If you like cheesecake, go get the Tarta De Queso Dulce De Leche (PhP 150). A heavenly marriage flan and cheesecake, this dessert was so yummy that I could hardly resist the indulgence. 🙂

We washed all the food down with cocktail drinks: Ronin Lychee Sangria (PhP 295) (sake with lychee) and Don Roberto Sangria (PhP 225) (red sangria with red wine and fruits that have been marinated for 24 hours). Both sangrias tasted bright, refreshing, and fruity, but I prefer the red over the white.

Price for Value: ★★★★☆

We came in for lunch and after the end of the meal, I can say that all the food we tried were solid and reasonably priced. Items on the improved menu are not a crazy departure from familiar Spanish plates but are just more interesting.

Chef Robert has done a fantastic job with the restaurant and with his creative menu of culinary excellence. If you’re looking for some good Spanish comfort food in Makati, I suggest you hit Tapella by Gaudi right quick for a hearty pile of food with tons of different flavor going on.

Level 1, Greenbelt 5, Ayala Center, Makati City
For inquiries, contact (02) 757-2711
Date Published: 03/31/2015
12 / 15 stars

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82 Responses

  1. Robin (Masshole Mommy)

    It looks like a fresh, modern place to eat. I am loving all the food photos, too. Everything looks delish.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Through its gustatory offerings, this place introduces the diverse culinary traditions of Spain as well as the warmth and hospitality of Filipino culture. 🙂 Nice combo!

      Reply
  2. Fi Ní Neachtáin

    I really like the decor of this place, it looks so clean and stylish. The food looks absolutely delicious too!

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Yes, if considering the ambiance and food alone, overall this was another impressive meal. Though with any menu, there is always some odd dish that is less successful than others, here the standard across was high.

      Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Hehe I was just fortunate enough to be invited to check out interesting restaurants in the metro. Hopefully I can travel to more places and also post a review of the food and establishments in other parts of the world. 🙂 Thanks for always reading!

      Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Yeah, Tapella has been in Greenbelt for years but sadly it was only my first time to try their food. Now I know where to find great paella dishes to recommend to friends and family!

      Reply
  3. Nickle Love

    Everything looks good! I’m lying here in bed and I suddenly feel starved. I love tapa and my mom’s friend makes this awesome paella, which I also love, sadly they migrated and I miss her cooking. This place looks totally worth checking out.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Oh yes, that is true especially if you are craving for Spanish food here in the Philippines. The interior is quite spacious and simple, conveying a grounded feeling and homely style of dining.

      Reply
  4. Jeanine

    Wow! Now this is a restaurant. This all looks absolutely amazing. I need to pay this place a visit! Yum

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Sure, if you are ever within the vicinity of Makati, try to check out this restaurant and order a complete meal and eat heartily with friends over a large variety of tapas dishes. 🙂

      Reply
  5. Terri Ramsey Beavers

    All foods make me hungry right now ugh! I want to grab it from my screen lol. I love all foods and deserts I really love it now. I wish I could get it ahaha

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Haha you can choose to eat like a true Spanish family. With interesting versions of paella and other Spanish courses featured here, the choice is all yours. 🙂

      Reply
  6. Nancy

    Yup! As always, the food you ate at this new-to-me restaurant is once again making my mouth water. Way to go 🙂 🙂 haha

    Reply
  7. Alli

    Now I’m really hungry! All of the food looks amazing. The desserts, especially the Tarta con Lave de Chocolate, really caught my eye. Yum!

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      I want to reorder that in the coming days. 🙂 The thing is that people may wonder whether or not Tapella tweaks the authentic flavors to a more localized level. I guess that it is a business call and I don’t care about authenticity too much. As long as it’s locally palatable, I’m all for it.

      Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      This is some of the best modernist food that I have eaten in Greenbelt. The location, staff, wine list, and pricing all add up to a great dining experience.

      Reply
  8. Olivia Schwab

    This looks like a very interesting place to eat. I’m not sure if I’ll ever make it to the restaurant but I’m sure I’ll like some of it!

    Reply
  9. Danielle K

    I absolutely love good Spanish food. If I’m ever in that area I will definitely have to try this place because it looks amazing!

    Reply
  10. christina aliperti

    I would be happy to try anything in this post, especially those desserts! However, my absolute must try would be the steak. I am a steak lover and your description has my mouth watering.

    Reply
  11. Roselynn

    I don’t know what I am more drawn to, the food or the decor of this place! All of the dishes sound amazing to try out, I would love the Croquettes of Ham, Salami, and Mushroom. And flan for desert, be still my beating heart.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Haha! There’s definitely no magnet in this restaurant but I agree that anyone can get drawn to it with their exciting set of dishes and cozy interior. 🙂

      Reply
  12. Chubskulit Rose

    I am visually full but now I am hungry! I was going to say, wow a foreigner chef.. It’s nice that he chose to serve there and not outside of Pinas!

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Haha I love that “visually full”. 😛 It’s really admirable of him to choose the Philippines in serving and offering his great, delicious dishes. And thanks to him, any Filipino can now get to try unique flavors found in Spanish cuisine while having a hint of the local taste.

      Reply
  13. Elizabeth O.

    I’ve been there during a recent vacation. I am definitely crazy about the gambas there!

    Reply
  14. breann

    Those look so good and exquisite. I would dive right in to that omelette. Yummy. There is so many choices that I don’t think I could just choose one!

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Their dishes are really different from one another but nonetheless, each of them offers an exotic and pleasant taste that makes this place a worthier restaurant to visit.

      Reply
  15. Franc Ramon

    I know that this is a food post but let me start by saying, you look great in your outfit. Anyway, I like to try their Beef Salpicao here. it looks really tasty.

    Reply
  16. Kori

    Finding a good tapas restaurant is one of my goals. And so far, I haven’t had any luck. This place looks amazing.

    Reply
  17. Erin Kennedy

    Oh my goodness! This restaurant looks amazing! I am so happy to see food pics and these are all amazing! I want to eat all of it!

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Speaking of the omelette, I actually didn’t recognize it as an omelette at first because the idea I had was an egg wrapping some food or other ingredients inside. But this, this omelette is really surprisingly good and extraordinary not only for its presentation but also with its flavor. 😀

      Reply
  18. Lisa Bristol

    The food looks delicious. I love the decor of the restaurant. I will try it out if i am in the area.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Thank you! This is definitely a great find to dine with your friends or family and I’m sure you’d also be amazed with their interesting set of dishes.

      Reply
  19. Ann Bacciaglia

    These photos are making me so hungry.The food looks amazing. I would love to try the Open Faced Omelette with Chorizo first.

    Reply
  20. Stephanie

    What a wonderful restaurant – so beautiful and the food looked amazing! Great pics.

    Reply
  21. Sharon

    Daaaang…outstanding place for sure! Gotta be honest, I’ve never had any form of Spanish cuisine, but most of it looked really tasty!

    Reply
  22. mindy

    Wow the Squid with Blank Ink batter sure looks interesting! Too bad it’s nothing special, but it sure is Instagrammable *LOL*. The Black Paella reminds me of our local Black Fried Rice (made with squid’s ink too), my husband loves everything with squid’s ink but i’m not really a fan. And how cute is the name “Bacon from the Sky”???

    Reply
  23. Aldous

    The Basque Chorizo Sausage is just what we need for that inevitable sausage party! Hahaha. In other news, I am loving the looks of all that steak.

    Reply

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