Provenciano – Filipino Restaurant

The signage of Provenciano, an all-Filipino restaurant along Maginhawa Street, Teachers’ Village, Quezon City, is obscure and unassuming, that we would have missed the place had we used our eyes to look for it and not our phone. Even the horseless kalesa (carriage) that adorns the walkway is almost swallowed up by the greenery that surrounds it. However, the staff welcomed us immediately, even though we arrived ten minutes their scheduled opening time. That is a good signal, and the good quality of service remained constant throughout our almost two-hour lunch.

Truth to be told, Provenciano was not my first choice of restaurant to dine with Yulia, a Russian visiting the Philippines. A friend suggested it, and I decided to go for it since I have not been to that part of Quezon City since I transferred near San Juan City.

I was happy with the choice because of the conversation pieces in the restaurant that I could point out to Yulia. I was impressed with the kalesa and even with the not-so-good imitation of a bahay-kubo where bibingka and puto bumbong are cooked.

We were seated right away and were given four beautifully-bound menus. Food arrived 15 to 20 minutes after we ordered, and they arrived at the same time! Each dish is good for two to three persons.

These are the dishes I chose for Yulia, what I thought was a virtual tour of the Philippines through food:

The kalesa in front of Provenciano restaurant

The bahay-kubo that sells bibingka and puto bumbong

This long table dominates the dining area of Provenciano

More tables in the right side of the entrance

Sawsawan bar (dips)

My empty plate waiting to be filled to the brim

Binakol na Manok, P330.00 (US $6.60). Bacolod’s (and Iloilo’s) native chicken soup with lemon grass and coconut meat. I wanted pinikpikan, but it was not available so I settled for this. The server informed us that native chicken was not available, so we had a “regular” chicken. I grew up eating this at home but without the coconut meat. I remember that it gave me a good feeling slurping the sabaw because it was soooo good. In their version, I did not taste the lemon grass and it was too salty. All four of us were turned off by it after just a few spoonfuls. Yulia said that in Russia, if the chef put too much salt on a dish, he is in love. The person who cooked our binakol must have been over the moon.

Lechon Kawali at Alamang (shrimp paste ), P360.00 (US $7.20). It is crisp fried pork belly sautéed in Provenciano shrimp paste, topped with green mango relish. The lechon kawali was truly crisp and went well with the alamang, which was not overpowering. It was my second favorite part of the meal.

I asked the server to serve the alamang separately because it might turn Yulia off. The alamang was sweet and the green mango was (thankfully) almost on the ripe side. The most important thing is, the alamang did not give any bad smell that might have turned off the uninitiated.

Adobong Pusit, P295.00 (US $5.90). It is baby squid sautéed in garlic, turmeric and atchuete. Adobong pusit was one of my favorite dishes growing up, and this did not live up to expectation. It was a little bland. I asked them to make it a little spicy, but I could barely detect it.

Pinalutong na Hito, Mustasa at Balaw-balaw, P295.00 (US $5.90). It is Kapampangan’s pride – crisp fried catfish served with fresh mustard leaves and “balaw-balaw” (fermented shrimp). The catfish was crisp without being overcooked.

Kilawing Puso ng Saging sa Gata, P195.00 (US $3.90). It is sautéed banana heart simmered in vinegar, coconut cream and atchuete oil. This one is more colorful that the puso ng saging with gata that I ate in the past. It was okay but not memorable.

McArthur’s Rice, P240.00 (US $4.80). It is garlic fried rice with aligue (crab fat) and tinapa (smoked fish flakes). It is named as such because “I shall return for more!” After reading the description, I was afraid the aligue would be too oily and tinapa would be too overpowering, but I was wrong! The rice was soft but not lugaw-soft. The taste was indescribable; it was neither garlicky nor oily. It just tasted very “clean”, which made it greatly compatible with the viands.

Ube Halaya, Macapuno at Pinipig, P250.00 (US $5.00). It is homemade halaya (purple yam jam) topped with shredded macapuno and pinipig (toasted rice crispies). It was not as sweet as the halaya one would normally buy at bazaars and it was dryer than the ube jam of Mountain Maid (Baguio City). The rice crispies added a new layer of texture to the otherwise soft dessert, but they were not toasted enough for my taste.

The backyard of Provenciano restaurant along Maginhawa Street

Tables and chairs abound for those who want to smell the fresh air in the metro

Remnants of the holiday season were still evident

The view of the dining area from the backyard

The complete menu of Provenciano Filipino restaurant:

Provenciano restaurant menu, Mga Inumin (Beverages)

Provenciano restaurant menu, Pampagana and Sopas

Provenciano restaurant menu, Sopas (continued), Luntian and Baboy, Manok, Baka at Iba Pa

Provenciano restaurant menu, Baboy, Manok, Baka at Iba Pa (continued)

Provenciano restaurant menu, Baboy, Manok, Baka at Iba Pa (continued)

Provenciano restaurant menu, Baboy, Manok, Baka at Iba Pa (continued) and Espanyol

Provenciano restaurant menu, Adobo Espesyal and Ihaw-Ihaw

Provenciano restaurant menu, Gulayan and Kanin

Provenciano restaurant menu, Kanin (continued), Meriendahan and Panghimagas

The food were not as good as I hoped for, but the service was excellent. Throughout the meal, waiters never failed to refill our glasses with water and they came promptly to our table despite the blockbuster Sunday lunch they had. By the time we finished and left the restaurant, there was a long queue of people outside the restaurant waiting for their turn to eat.

Provenciano Address: 110 Maginhawa Street, Teachers Village East, Quezon City

Provenciano Telephone Number: (02) 9222-736

 

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