Episode 44: Old-Style Filipino Cuisine at Bistro Remedios

It’s been a long time since I last walked down the streets of Malate, Manila. Time and nature have changed this bohemian district. Gone are the days when society’s elite grace the streets, when politicians and artists converge over coffee, ideas, and sumptuous meals, when people wax nostalgic amidst the city’s old landscape.
Despite this, many remnants of its old glory still remain. One such place, standing among the modern bars and grocery stores is Bistro Remedios, an old-style Filipino restaurant along Adriatico Street, near the Remedios Circle.

Bistro Remedios was opened by Larry J. Cruz (the restaurateur who owned Café Adriatico, which is incidentally just across the street) in 1984, at the corner of Adriatico and Remedios Streets. Its menu features an ever-evolving selection of Filipino and Southeast Asian delicacies.
The atmosphere around the Bistro is quiet and comfy, even for groups. The antique designs around the dining area instill a sense of nostalgia. It’s like stepping out of a time machine and into the early ’80s. The staff is also courteous and accommodating, and the service is quite fast.

Filipino food enthusiasts may recognize Kapampangan touches in its menu. One example is their version of fried frog legs served in a bed of onions, tomatoes, and cucumbers. Another is Crispy Spiced Kamaru or sauteed rice field crickets, a seasonal exotic dish sought after by hardcore foodies.

Meat lovers would like Bistro’s version of Kalderetang Kambing, a countryside delicacy of goat meat stewed in tomato sauce, made more flavorful by sauteed onions, olives and chives.

A good suggestion for soup fans would be Sinuwam na Mais, young corn soup with shrimp and chili leaves, as well as classic soups such as Pancit Molo, Tinolang Manok, and Bulalo.

For dessert, there’s Sikreto ni Maria Clara, a plate of suman, vanilla ice cream and mangoes. For a more Filipino-style snack, try Suman na may Mangga at Munggo at Chocolate Eh!, suman with mango and black munggo beans served with a cup of thick, hot chocolate drink on the side.
Other favorites are Picnic Adobo Rice (wrapped in a banana leaf), Rellenong Bangus, Bamboo Rice, Sugpo sa Aligue, and Knockout Knuckle, their version of Crispy Pata.
Bistro recently introduced new dishes in the menu. One such dish is Palos A La Dolphy – eel cooked in coconut milk and spices – said to be a favorite of the Comedy King himself.
Other additions are Manok sa Gata at Kulitis (sautéed chicken with coconut milk and spinach), Bopis Rice, Alimango sa Bawang at Sili (fried mud crab in garlic and chili), and the US Top Blade Bistek, the Filipino beef steak with an American twist.
Bistro Remedios is a guaranteed favorite for Filipino food lovers this side of Manila. This is the restaurant to visit if you’re introducing Filipino cuisine to your foreign visitors, if you just want good country-style home cooking, or if you feel like waxing nostalgic about Malate’s bygone days.
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Bistro Remedios
1911 M. Adriatico Street,
Remedios Circle, Malate, Manila
Business hours:
Monday – Friday
11:00 am – 3:00 pm
6:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Saturday – Sunday
11:00 am – 3:00 pm
6:00 pm – 12:00 pm
Phone: 523-9153 or 523-9153
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