Located not too far from the food hub Box Park along Congressional Avenue Extension in QC, this Mexican restaurant very much holds its own against the more popular food stops in the said road. The small yet cozy dining area together with the excellent service certainly ticks the right boxes, but what about the food? Read on for me & my SO’s taste of Guisados.
THERE ISN’T A RIGHT ANSWER, IS THERE??
Universally the hardest question in the history of man that is asked by a woman: Saan tayo kakaen? Over the years filled with hundreds of these “Saan ba kakaen? – dito nalang” moments, me & my SO have had our share of the unexpected great eats & the disappointing mehh meals. From experience (I’m level 99 at this BTW), settling for a place to dine with my SO short of any sort of gameplan is a bit like playing poker… or Russian roulette. Whether going for the cheapest one, most interesting one, or simply the closest one as she’s seconds away from going full Hulk on me (hence, Russian roulette), it’s a bet I’ve learned not to take 😀.
RESEARCH IS SEXY
So 2 weeks ago on a Saturday, a few hours past lunchtime, armed with the most adventurous sense of enlightenment (via Facebook feeds) & the deepest comprehensive research work even greater than my thesis (Zomato), I picked up SO from their house and blew her mind with just my first word: Guisados. OoOoh… Decisiveness. 😀 We headed out for a quick drive & yes! we were the first ones there. It would’ve been interesting to see how the small restaurant fills in with a crowd, but it was a nice incentive to have been able to take snaps freely, ergo our maarte pics.
From the more popular Mexicali, to the delight that is Silantro & the gem that is Mexican Express/Miggys, Me & my SO have casually developed a liking to Mexican cuisine over the past few years. The always altered yet consistently zesty, fresh & uniquely Mexican taste have grown quite a bond with our taste buds. So it was natural that I was drawn to Guisados the first time I saw it mentioned on my newsfeed. After a few more reads & finding out that I’ve been passing by this diner regularly for the past few months without noticing it along Congressional Avenue Extension… I knew we had to try this bebé out.
3 SAMPLER TACOS
The very first items listed on the menu are their taco samplers which are available in sets of 5 & 3. At Php239 & Php179 respectively & are served with Mexican rice & beans, these are pretty much no brainers. We went for the 3 piece set only, choosing the meat flavors of Beef Barbacoa, Pork Carnitas & Pork Belly, leaving out Chicken, Chicharon & Chorizo w/ Egg. I know Our choices were pretty much the more common viands, but I just had to step aside & let SO pick for this meal – really would’ve loved to taste the one with Chorizo though :(. With the lack of visual diversity in our chosen flavors, it was pretty hard to identify which was which, thankfully ate server named them outright after serving.
I won’t be able to pinpoint the flavors via my photos as I simply can’t distinguish them now, but I do remember what they tasted like. Gold: Beef Barbacoa – Basically tasted like an altered version of Caldereta, but worked deliciously with the onions, silantros & other greens mix (which all tacos had). Seasoned very well & is the most noteworthy of the 3. Silver: Pork Belly – In some ways did taste like the Beef Barbacoa too, but had Pork as the protein. Same as the aforementioned, the soft corn tortillas’ slight sweetness mixes nicely with the ulam-like flavor. If it were not for the protein, I could’ve easily mistaken this to be the same as Beef Barbacoa. Bronze: Pork Carnitas – This was honestly a bit disappointing as it tasted nothing like how it was described on the menu (Stewed pork in orange & beer). If anything, I can depict it as a watered down/diluted version of any Filipino red sauced ulam.
Serving wise, portions of the tacos were on the smaller side (hey, they’re samplers!), but I guess that is why the stomach-heavy Mexican rice & beans are bundled with them. I personally liked the rice with its strong smoky flavor, SO on the other hand, didn’t like the pungent after taste. The side of beans is paste-like & did mix nicely with what I’m assuming is a tomato sauce base. Overall, Guisado’s 3 Sampler Tacos meal should fill one’s belly pretty well & does equal a great value for the price. It’s a decent order from our experience, but I’m left wondering if I maybe would’ve enjoyed it more had we gone for the more peculiar flavors as the 3 we went for were a bit too similar in taste.
Typical Mexican restaurant dips/sauces are also available to be had for whatever flavor adjustments you prefer. I found the Jalapeno sauce lacking in spice for my pepper loving taste buds, the Salsa though was probably one of the best we’ve had as We agreed it had just the right amount of sourness. Plus, it did make my least preferred taco flavor better!
Just like our other foodie ventures, SO & I have always stayed within a proper budget which usually comes to somewhere around Php300 to Php500. Having decided right upon menu reading that We were getting the 3 Sampler Tacos, & with probably just enough budget to spare for one more dish, we just had to taste Guisados’ Quesadillas (We just love ’em cheese filled tortillas!). Without reading about the description on the menu, I was pleasantly surprised that Angus beef was their version’s protein of choice. And yes, if you are wondering, this tasted just like how it photographed: Yummy.
Not to take away from the basic iterations of a quesadilla that are filled with cheese or cheese plus chicken, I’ve somehow grown more fond of versions that feature beef, cheese &/or gravy(?)… & their take is just another reason why. The Angus beef (as they say) was very savory that it was still dominant in taste even with the generous amount of cheese. The slightly toasted pita had a bit of a crisp & didn’t disappoint when we ate it hot. Serving portions were generous as you get 8 cuts that are filled thoughtfully. Even the white sauce was a good complement & didn’t overpower the beefy & cheesy goodness that this Guisados’ Mexican dish was. This was the definite highlight of our visit.
A GOOD PLACE
We only got to try a couple of dishes but there wasn’t much not to like with Guisados. The only fuss that I had was that the sampler tacos we tried had similar tastes, negating the choice aspect of the meal. Then again, SO chose the more common flavors out of the 6 that might have been too close in their basic protein taste anyway. Our other meal, the Quesadillas was very well worth the price of the (Angus?) beef it was filled with.
The service was great, the place was nice, their serving size was good, & the food we ate were mostly delicious. Overall, I have no qualms about recommending Guisados to anyone who wants to have their Mexicano urge indulged. A good option indeed!
Approx. budget for 2: php450; FB: Guisados; Address: #1 Salinglahi Homes, Congressional Ext., Brgy. Culiat, Quezon City
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Note: My write-ups are made in relation to specific item/s only & doesn’t necessarily apply to other item/s in a menu, unless specified. Also, they’re my own ramblings & may differ from yours. 🙂