We ate at Aria, a staple dining establishment by D’Mall’s entrance from the beach side at Station 2. Serving up pastas and pizzas, it’s pretty up there with Cantinetta in Manila. Plus the ambience is very Mediterranean and relaxing, so this was the perfect setting to bring ourselves to beach mode.
Since it was scorching hot by the time we arrived, I wanted something light and not steaming hot, so I thought… Greek Salad! I was a little disappointed because, for 405php, it was more salad greens than actual Greek salad. First off, there were too many lettuce greens and not enough tomatoes, cucumbers & olives. Then, the “feta” cheese that should top this salad felt like an impostor cream cheese and not the briny, flaky feta chunks that makes this dish a premium item. Or maybe they used crappy feta, I don’t know. This, was a MISS.
Good thing roomies Cay & Tin had ordered smart and stayed with their tested dishes. Cay had the Tagliatelle Tartufo con Prosciutto. Just as we would order in Cantinetta, and it was perfectly balanced with the aromatic tartufoand the salty prosciutto. My fork would find its way to her place once in a while.
After freshening up, we ended up in Dos Mestizos. I tried to make a reservation for 4 earlier, but it was booked. Then I found out that my very smart and food-motivated brother decided to reserve a table for 20 that night. Great minds think alike.
We were so hungry, we didn’t even notice any signs, or asked for the menu. We sat our asses down. But upon taking a clear look at the setting, it was warm and very personal, with paintings and photos hanging on the wall. It had the same vibe of the first Barcinos tavernas, with live music and dim lighting.
And the best part for me was the abundance of seafood! Steamed Clams & Mussels, Baby Octopus, and Fish Salpicao was enough to make me fork-happy. I was trying to continue my meatless ways even at the beach. I should have paced myself though, because I just came from 2 bouts of stomach flu and made my tummy a bit sensitive.
The one MISS from the Tapas buffet, is the lack of Paella in the spread. So we decided to order some for our table. The Paella Valenciana was brimming with seafood, meat, and veggies. I loved how it was a bit wet and creamy like a risotto, not a big fan of the dry versions. This reminds me of Terry’s Paella Valenciana.
Then my brother, not satisfied with just one, decides to get a ginormous paellera of Paella Negra: Squid Ink Pasta. This was INSANE! Perfectly cooked with just a bit of undercooked rice to make it crunchy, I heard the next day that this became Brekkie for their group.
And later on we figured it out. We MISSED the RIB EYE Buffet that was the same price as the Tapas Buffet! Meat!!!! All 20 of us were so delirious with hunger that we failed to see the BIG sign outside indicating the Meatstravaganza option. My brother’s friends balked and, out of pity, one of the Dos Mestizos men laid down a nice slab of steak to appease their overlooking stomachs. MISS on our part!
Dos Mestizos has got to be one of the best Spanish restaurants I’ve eaten at, by far. Then I observed that the food was so good because they served it in small batches and was replenished constantly. Fresh cooked food always tastes better than mass produced dishes heated for hours on a chafing dish. Either way, I’m glad we had a major HIT for dinner on the first day. Dos Mestizos did NOT disappoint!