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 “Miguel & Maria”, 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, Miguel & Maria is a swanky restaurant located in Marikina’s famous Lilac St. which serves American, Spanish and Filipino food.
To start things off, we were both intrigued and looked forward to try and dine at Miguel and Maria after all the rave reviews we’ve heard from friends and family alike.
Before going to Miguel & Maria, I checked their menu online and found some really salivating choices on their menu. Being a sucker for pasta, I opted to go with their Lasagna. Upon serving the dish, I was particularly underwhelmed with how the dish was presented. However, being the foodie that I am, I knew all too well not to judge the book by its cover.
Taking my first bite out of the dish, I relished how the pasta, cheese and Bechamel sauce tasted. The pasta was good; it was cooked right. The cheese was melted, just how I love it on my Lasagna. The sauce gave off that subtle kick on your taste buds.
The main gripe I have on this dish however is the beef, or lack thereof. After gorging through the dish I was often found wanting as the beef was barely there.
Here’s the thing, when I think of Lasagna, I often picture it having a healthy amount of beef or pork or what-have-you. The sad part here is that their lasagna did not meet that standard for me.
The other dish we tried was the Buffalo Wings. And if you’ve read our previous articles you’d know that we at try at least 3 dishes to fully judge the quality of the food.
So, with the Buffalo Wings it was aesthetically pleasing. The presentation was at par with the restaurant. I did like their wings as it was beautifully cooked and it had that even coating of glaze. However, the dish did not reach the level of spiciness that I was expecting. Nonetheless, it is a good dish.
And lastly, for dessert we had the Butterbeer ice cream. It was a no-brainer since Phoebe is a huge, I mean really huge fan of Harry Potter. And lo-and-behold, it stole the show for us. Obviously this was the restaurant’s take on the famous butterbeer, and it was how I pictured it would taste like. There was a symphony of flavors ranging from salty caramel to peanuts (I think) to it being the ice cream equivalent of the Butterfingers chocolate bar. For me the Butterbeer saved the day.
Gino’s score: 2.75/5
Like Gino, I also checked the restaurant’s menu in Booky, and my mind was set on their Chicken Parmigiano and coleslaw. With my mind set, I ordered the dish, and was slightly disappointed with the parmigiano. Yes, the chicken was moist and juicy, but it’s a little bland. The mashed potato underneath it was good, but I still find it lacking. The sauce was good, especially with the chicken, it somehow compensated for the lack of flavor in the chicken. The coleslaw is good, it wasn’t sweet nor sour, it was just right. The cabbage was still crispy and the sauce did not overwhelm the whole thing.
Phoebe’s score: 3/5
The ambiance is really a make or break deal for me in terms of the whole dining experience. Usually, even if the food is great but the ambiance is lacking, I’d end up deciding that the place is not worth it. Miguel & Maria, on the other hand passed this category with flying colors.
The restaurant gave off that pub/restobar vibe that you seldom see in the country. The restaurant was beautifully decorated with some portraits of famous celebrities and personalities. It really gave off that sense of class and elegance that few restaurants could offer.
Personally, I’d peg the restaurant for a family/group of friends type of dining place, rather than a place to bring your date. But that’s just me.
Gino’s score: 3.75/5
The first thing that caught my eye when we entered the restaurant was the bar counter. I told Gino that I want that counter in our kitchen someday (hehehe). The whole place gave off a bar feel, but not so much that you would regret bringing your date there. The lighting was soft and mellow, makes you feel at home, lounging in front of the fireplace, and sipping coffee (assuming fireplace is a thing here). It’s not exactly a date place but it could be a start, if your date is into that kind of feel in a restaurant.
Phoebe’s score: 3.75/5
Service at Miguel & Maria was good. The waiters were very courteous towards the guests (not only us), and were attentive enough while taking orders. Food was likewise served within reasonable waiting time, or until I could get some pictures of the place. Food was also served freshly off the stove/grill/oven/pan. Likewise, getting the attention of the waiters for billing-out was easy. It also helps that the restaurant has a buzzer to catch the attention of the servers.
Gino’s score: 4.5/5
Service for me is a big thing, after the food of course, it could actually make or break the whole dining experience. The waiters in Miguel & Maria were kind, friendly and courteous, they’re not intrusive and were attentive and patient enough to take out orders. The food was served hot and the waiting time was short.
Phoebe’s score: 5/5
Once again I’m stuck with the bill (not complaining Phoebe). The good news is that the food is reasonably priced. For the entire meal, it only cost me roughly P950.00. Truth is, the prices here are fairly cheaper than the other restaurants we’ve tried. The typical dish would be around P180.00 to P250.00, except for the tomahawk steak which costs a whopping P2500.00.
Gino’s score: 4/5
And once again free food! (I paid for the chicken wings, Gino. I think so.) Price in relation to the food quality is very reasonable. With a price range between P180-P250, I would say it’s fairly affordable.
Phoebe’s score: 3.75/5
Miguel & Maria is a haven for foodies who would love to treat their friends or family out for drinks or dinner. It offers an atmosphere suited for the yuppies looking to make a splash with their peers. Also, if you want to catch a game or match this would also be a safe haven for you as they have their own TV above the bar.
Gino’s score: 3.5/5
Miguel & Maria is not your average restaurant. You can bring your significant other, your family, and friends. It’s a place for everyone and anyone who loves good food and great company.
Phoebe’s score: 3.75/5
The total score: 19/25
Like stated above, the restaurant is an ideal place for people who love the pub/bar vibe. The food is decent and the service is excellent. Overall, reality didn’t quite live up to expectation, but nonetheless, we still recommend Miguel & Maria.
Miguel & Maria is located along Lilac St., Marikina City.
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
Phoebe is a lawyer wanna-be by day and moonlights as the Gladiators’ all around girl. She dabbles in arts and crafts and loves writing about the dark side of the moon. #Awesome