And just like that we are on the last month of the 1st quarter of 2019! The holiday feel has worn off, work has started to pile up again, and you think of how good it would be to destress with your barkada this week. To those working in BGC (or willing to meet in area), here’s my suggestion – Alegria Cozhina Moderna & Sangria Bar. Or simply, Alegria.
First, where is it? Chances are you’ve never seen this place during one of your High Street strolls. This is because it’s tucked in at the 4th floor of the Uniqlo building along 7th avenue (cor. 30th street). It opens at 11 AM and closes at 3 AM and whether you go there for lunch or for dinner, you get rewarded with a terrific view of BGC’s skyline.
Before this visit, I have been to Alegria thrice. Menu aside, you go to Alegria for the ambience. The design of the place encourages relaxed and lengthy conversations with comfortable seats and long tables. I’ve been here with grade school and high school buds and our nights always ended in the morning.
Now, ambience aside, you’ll find the menu of Alegria to be equally worth the visit. Here are some of the dishes you’re sure to enjoy at this Latin American restaurant –
For starters, I would suggest the Agua Chile De Camaron (P290) which is a combination of shrimp, lime, chile water, corn inflada, mango chutney, and smoked pineapple salsa. One thing you’ll notice about the food in Alegria – it doesn’t skimp on ingredients.
If you’re feeling extra hungry, go for the carbo-loaded Calabresa Brasileira (P290). The heaviness of potatoes and sausages would be quick to fill you up. A good choice for a night of drinking if I may say!
Given it’s focus on Latin American cuisine, it’s no surprise that Alegria has a great selection of tacos. My personal favorite is Pescado (P180) since it has a mix of grilled pineapple and corn salsa plus guajillo powder (chili powder) that my taste buds like (a lot!). You can also go for Alma Koreana (P165) which is a chef’s recommendation dish, or El Mexicano (P165) and Japonesa (P165) if you like your tacos meaty.
It was tough to choose which among the main dishes served that night was my favorite. Actually, I still haven’t chosen! I would definitely get the Posta Negra Huarache (P670) if I find myself craving for meat. The Black Angus Roast Beef looks big and tough but is really soft to cut. It’s sweet, salty, and spicy – tastes you’d get from marinating it in Cola, Pinto Beans, and Pickled Shallots, to name a few ingredients. The Grilled Yucatan Corn that comes with it was very complementing. It made me think of buttered shrimps from Dampa; a richer more refined version.
I like my seafood. Shrimp dishes like Conti’s Baked Prawns, Max’s Sinigang na Hipon, and as mentioned earlier, Dampa’s Buttered Shrimps, always hit the spot for me. With this, it wasn’t a shock for me to like the Camarones (P550). Grilled Tiger Prawns with Harissa Verde (know about this condiment here). Their Harissa Verde is spicy but so flavorful that you endure the heat to taste more. As a condiment, it highlights the taste of excellently grilled prawns.
Speaking of condiments, I am sucker for them. And Alegria does them sooo well. Throughout our meal we had on our table a party of condiments that go well with any of the dishes we were having. Hot sauce, roasted salsa, chimichurri, red hummus, and my favorite – fresh salsa. I enjoyed the Pollo Peruano (P445) 5 ways with these sauces!
Easily the most interesting dish of the night is the Moqueca (P415). It struck me as a different nation’s version of Sinigang, like how Thailand has it’s Tom Yum or Singapore has Bak Kut Teh. It is unique and delicious and was personally easy to like as one of its ingredients is cilantro. YUM.
The only unfortunate thing for me that night was that I was still recovering from viral gastroentiritis which means I had to avoid alcohol. (Well I had to avoid spicy food too but come on, so pitiful if I do!) Everyone on the table was raving about the drinks though – the tastes as well as the fun presentation!
So, how about it? Hit up that chat group and say “Let’s try Alegria!”. It might just be your new go-to place. Trust the one that went home with some take out! 😉