Here at Geekend Gladiators, we are not only passionate about our comic books, TV shows, movies and video games, we are also insanely passionate about our food! In this edition of Geekend Destinations, Gladiators Gino and Phoebe went out and tried “Salliano’s Restaurant & Bar”, in Marikina.
As with every Geekend Destination review, ratings are divided among five categories, with five points each and totaling 25 points, namely: food, ambiance, service, affordability, and level of geekiness.
As a brief background, Salliano’s Restaurant & Bar is “a modern country, casual dining restaurant located in the heart of Marikina.” It specializes in Spanish and Filipino comfort foods, with a dash of American cuisine.
You must understand that Gino has already eaten at Salliano’s twice, the first one was with his family and the second one was with me. That’s why there would be too much food here. I’ll be reviewing the ones that WE both ate, because we were so hungry that day.
I ordered the BBQ Pork and Beef Ribs, served with Spanish Rice, Gino ordered the Meatballs ala Salliano.
The BBQ Pork and Beef Ribs was, amazing. The meat was fall-off-the-bone tender, and it has the right tangy, sweet and smoky taste to it. It is served with Spanish rice, which was equally amazing. Gino and I were both wondering what spice was used in the rice, I figured it was either cummin powder or oregano, Gino said it was kimchi (because why not -_-). There were also a salsa and a spicy slaw like condiment of sorts, and yes I didn’t bother to find out what it was because it works well with the meat.
The Meatball ala Salliano was another story. It is composed of three humongous meatballs smothered with sweet tomato sauce and served with grilled pita bread. And by humongous I mean HUMONGOUS, its that big, I believe it can feed 3-4 persons, Gino said it can feed 6 because it has 6 pita bread on the side. I wasn’t really a huge fan of this one, but it was good, its just that I was expecting a tomato-ey tang to it, but Cooper the Storm Trooper was eager to slice it up with a “borrowed” lightsaber, so who am I to judge. The minced meat was cooked to perfection and it tastes like a cross between a conventional meatball and a meatloaf (and not the meatloaf that we know).
For dessert we had the Tablea Chocolate Cake. If you notice we were THAT hungry. This dessert should be considered as a contraband, it’s that addictive. Imagine a moist chocolate cake with chocolate icing with chocolate drizzle and a dusting or two of tablea. I mean, one cannot go wrong with TABLEA, CHOCOLATE, and CAKE, put them together in one plate and you’ll have a new addiction.
Phoebe’s score: 4/5
As stated above, I absolutely loved the place that I had to visit and eat there twice in one week. I’m going to let that sink “twice in one week”.
Moving on, on my first visit I tried Salliano’s Slab Bits on Waffle, while I tried the Meatballs ala Salliano on the second trip.
To be honest I really didn’t know what to expect with the Slab Bits on Waffle, and when it finally arrived it was heaven on a plate. The bacon bits were perfectly seasoned and cooked. The infusion of the sauce with the poached egg, bacon bits, salad and the waffle was perfect. I never really imagined having veggies with waffles but truth is it was top-notch. The chili powder sprinkled over the egg brought that oomph to the dish that simply elevated it. My only qualm is, and its rather a pity one at that, is that the waffle was not crispy. Aside from that the dish is totally worth a try.
As for the Meatball ala Salliano, this too was a hit for me. And when they say its a big meatball, it is a big meatball. The size itself could be compared to the size of a fist, and then think about 3 meatballs of that size being served before you, and you get meaty awesomeness on a plate. The ground beef was really tender and seasoned well. Unlike Phoebe, I actually enjoyed the taste and the sauce of the meatballs. And yes, I really think that the whole dish could be enjoyed by 6 people.
The main highlight for me though is the Tablea Chocolate Cake. For starters I really loved the cake! It was so good it should be made illegal. Kidding aside, the cake was moist and oozing with flavor. I’m not one to combine everything on the plate but for this dessert I really went for it. The cake, glaze and the tablea “dust” worked perfectly on this dish. You actually get different types of chocolate flavors that chefs rarely get right. Kudos to the chef for this. And if you don’t believe me, then go order the cake. That alone would make your day. It’s. that. good.
Gino’s score: 5/5
Here’s the thing, outside it looks like it’s just another restaurant and bar, with tables and chairs for eating ‘al fresco’, Gino said the place was big, I wasn’t expecting that it was BIG. According to my estimate (correct me if I’m wrong) it can comfortably seat 100-150 guests. The dining place outside has that ‘bar’ feel to it, which I believe is the whole point of the set-up. The dining place inside is another thing, as you step inside you’ll get that ‘sophisticated’ vibe, without the ‘snobbish’ feel. The lighting makes the place look elegant, the seats were comfortable, and there’s a wine bar in the corner. What actually strikes me (of all the things that was there at that time) was the palm tree in the middle of the place. Mind you it’s not a bad thing, I was just amazed that they placed a palm tree in the middle of the dinning place, I was telling Gino, why not Japanese bamboo, but that’s just me.
Phoebe’s score: 5/5
If you’ve read previous editions of Geekend Destinations, then you’d get the feeling that we are big on the whole Ambiance thing. Salliano’s not only delivered on that, but went over our gauge. The whole place was stunning. It evoked that classy feel that you’d rarely find in the Metro. The modern design of the restaurant proper felt classy. It gave you that “Date Night Feel”. It also gives that vibe of being a place to hang-out especially with the al fresco dining place and the bar section. And I can’t help but say that the place is HUGE (Insert Donald Trump voice).
Also, the main dining area is well-lit, during daytime and nighttime (since I got to see both). During the daytime, natural light illuminates the whole dining area, and at night time a group of filament lamps give you that rustic charm.
Gino’s score: 5/5
We arrived at the place at around noon, when we came in there were already a group of diners and only two servers. Despite this seeming lack of manpower it did not hinder the quality of service that was expected of them. The servers were efficient, helpful, and polite, and they were smiling, and that for me is a plus, because it makes the whole place more welcoming and comfortable. From ordering to having the food ready and brought to your table took about 10 to 20 minutes, which is to be expected because the food were made to order, and because it’s not a fast food place (yes people there’s a huge difference).
Phoebe’s score: 5/5
Service was superb. Both times that I went there, the service went without a hitch. The servers were extremely polite and that they also wore a smile throughout the dining experience. They were also very responsive with our queries on what exactly the dish is, showing that they know their stuff. Another plus is their honesty. The first time I tried the place my parents ordered the paella, and kudos to the staff for informing us that the dish would take at least 30 minutes to prepare. With small things like that you could really feel that they care for their customers.
Gino’s score: 5/5
To be honest it’s not as affordable as the other restaurants that we’ve been to, but it was worth every peso, that I promise you. The BBQ cost Php 370 the Meatballs was Php 380, and the cake was Php 145 per slice, not bad considering the size of their serving and the taste. There were also less expensive foods offered in the menu, all of them, I believe is worth it.
Phoebe’s score: 5/5 (I didn’t pay so they got a perfect score here :p)
The moment I gazed upon their menu my initial thoughts were “It’s kinda pricey”. But with the whole dining experience, the taste of the food and the intangibles, I’d say it’s worth every centavo you have. The dishes are judiciously priced as the taste and the preparation were really taken care of. For me the price really doesn’t matter when the food tastes like this. And just a heads up for would-be diners, Salliano’s has a service charge on top of your bill, so just make sure you to do the math.
Gino’s score: 4.5/5
For those people who want to impress their significant geek (see what I did there :p) bring them to Salliano’s, and I guarantee you that they’ll love it. It may not be a specialty restaurant or a themed restaurant but it offers that satisfaction and comfort that we geeks deserve.
Phoebe’s score: 4/5
Definitely second Phoebe’s statement. Salliano’s may not be a geeky spot, though a case may be made for foodies who are also food geeks, but it really is a great spot to hang-out with your S.O., family, or even geeky friends and have a good time.
Gino’s score: 5/5
The total score: 23.75/25!
It’s obvious isn’t it? We loved the restaurant and would definitely return in the near future. The food is amazing, the ambiance is perfect, service is top-notch and its easily accessible. If there is a Geekend Destinations Hall of Fame, this would easily be inducted.
Phoebe is a lawyer wanna-be by day and moonlights as the Gladiator’s all around girl. She dabbles in arts and crafts and loves writing about the dark side of the moon, or in this case, the other side of the Wall. #Awesome
Gino is the Gladiators’ resident TV and Comic Book reviewer. He is a lawyer in the making at day and full-on geek by night. He believes that the lightsaber is the best weapon during a zombie apocalypse. #AgeOfTheGeek