Binondo is a heaven for everything Chinese including Food and I’ve been to several food shops and restaurants in the past invited by either my family or friends. But let’s all admit that sometimes, we wanted something different in one point or another. There’s fast food, but it’s also tiresome to eat even if you travel outside of Binondo for good food. So one night, my family invited me to come into a dinner party at one of the friend’s ‘Modern European Restaurant’ at Binondo. At the first time I looked it up, I was skeptical since there’s a Mediterranean Food inside Binondo? And here my family and I discovered Taverna Europa, it’s a small restaurant along Masangkay Street, City of Manila.
You’ll be surprised at first that I’m doing a Food Review on a website that’s originally centered for Tech and Geek, we’re trying to implement new niches while maintaining the Tech and Geek goodness we bring to you. But being a Tech and Geek writer can be tiresome and from time to time, you’ll crave for new places and food to eat. Although I’m not a certified ‘Food Critic’ of any means, even being known as a Tech Blogger, Music Producer, Streamer, and Influencer (or whatever you knew me better for) wanted to show love on food on an unusual place.
It’s night time, so I didn’t get a proper photo of the whole ambiance and it’s pretty crammed considered the size of the restaurant. But even at night time, once you’ve entered, it felt that you’re in someone’s dinner table than a native restaurant. That kind of ambiance is kinda bizarre at first, but service is like being part of the family in that dinner.
[Taverna Europa’s Menu]
Obviously, we’re not going to pick anything on the menu since they got all their specialties prepared for us. The Prices are pretty reasonable for Mediterranean Food and it’s most likely best to enjoy it with a company which I’ll tell more about later why.
Let’s kick this off with their House Blend Iced Tea. I love it, hands down. The taste is just right, not too sweet where it felt like you’re drinking syrup, and not even bland like you’re just drinking water. They also claimed that this is sugar-free and I assume this is what to be expected especially at the sweetness that it gave you on your first sip. I assume they used honey on this one which is a good sweetener if you’re conscious about having sugar in your drinks.
The Starter / Appetizer they showcased is called Gambas (or Gambas al Ajillo,) a Spanish-Style Garlic Shrimp complimented with some Bread. If you’re a garlic lover, this is one thing you should try. They really filled the shrimp full of flavor and can be eaten at its own. The sauce is also spot-on if and that’s where the bread comes in to sop it off and eat. No worries at sopping out oil since they use Olive Oil than Corn Oil.
Going to what is to be the ‘Star of the Show’ at this dinner party, their Paellas! (They got the bigger ones served to us but they also serve a smaller portion for 1 person.)
Let’s start with their Special Paella. At first glance, it’s a normal healthy portion of paella. But I judge too quickly despite the presentation at its own is already making you hungry and have a bit, the taste surprised me big time. I tried dozens of Paella before and some are too spicy, too salty, and even the ones that I rather eat regular fried rice. This Paella will bring the savory at the top of your taste buds. And the fun thing about eating paellas is you can be some kind of ‘Food Archeologist’ and get some seafood surprises like mussels and scallops! The thing that I like about this Paella is they brought the savory flavor and the ocean flavor at the same time. Digging and tasting to this will add the complexity and this is going to be like “Meat, Seafood, and Veggies in one” that a paella should be. But this is not my favorite Paella they have in store.
Paella Negra is their another version of Paella with a different blend, this somehow more focused on Seafood and Poultry. The Special Paella I mentioned earlier has that Meat and Seafood balanced taste, this one felt like a Seafood version of it (but they still have meat in it if you don’t want it to be excluded on your paella.) It’s smokin’ hot and fresh at its smell, It somehow tastes like you’re eating seafood, and if you’re not in fond of the Special Paella’s spiciness, this one doesn’t have it and it only focuses on the flavor of the Mussels and Scallops. It’s a bit salty to my taste, but that’s just me. This is my personal favorite Paella. I also want you guys to try it out for yourself (but best to taste their Special Paella first.)
Their Pata Estofada‘s blend is noticeable. This is where savory blends it with some bit of sweetness. The meat is also pretty tender, the potatoes and carrots are soft and a good compliment to their already tender meat. Best served with Rice! The sauce is top-notch!
Now going back to the ‘Savoury’ train (which became the recurring theme of this Mediterranean Food Joint,) Beef Salpicado is also my favorite besides Paella Negra. The spiciness is just right for my taste (which is mild,) and it’s pretty firm like you’re eating huge chunks of corned beef. This could also be a candidate for a chaser (or pulutan.) with the alcohol of your choice.
Also one of my favorite (that now completed my top 3 favorite dishes) is their Baked Chicken! The three key points you’ll notice when you took a bite is the crispiness of the skin, the tenderness of the meat (since this is baked,) and the juiciness. This is actually my first time eating Chicken that’s ‘Mediterranean,’ and I gotta say that the juiciness of the chicken at every bite is spot-on and I really love the smell and taste!
And lastly, Pan-fried Lapu-Lapu! The taste felt like their Baked Chicken but with the taste of the ocean! The fish is so tender and it just melts into your mouth which is pretty great together with its taste.
‘The Best Mediterranean Food in the Heart of Binondo?’ Absolutely! And the blend tasted premium that you’re going to normally get at an expensive Mediterranean Restaurant.
So, if you want to get over with Chinese Food around Binondo, and/or wanted to try the Mediterranean at a reasonable price, this could be it! It’s still kinda bizarre to find a Mediterranean Restaurant at the heart of the Manila’s Chinatown, but their concept is really cool and I would recommend you guys to try it out for yourself. I’m looking forward to trying more dishes there in the future with my family and/or friends.
(And do me a favor, please tell I sent you there. Enjoy some quality Mediterranean Food!)
Taverna Europa is located at 1410 G. Masangkay St., Sta. Cruz, Manila City (In front of East West Bank)
If you’re nearby or within Sta. Cruz, they also deliver! – Tel. No. (02) 254-1077 / 09178059046 / 09209622578
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/TavernaEuropa/