Adarna Food & Culture – The Magic of the Rich Filipino Heritage

Currently, I’m inspired to promote really good Filipino restaurants. Technically, this is not part of the series 10 Restaurants We Love But Never Blogged Before. LA from Studio 23 News Central raved about this when we were in Sitio Remedios, Currimao. This is so far away from where we live but the trip was worth it! Check out Adarna Food & Culture 🙂

Adarna Food & Culture was conceptualized by partners Beth Angsioco and Chef Giney Villar showcasing Filipino antiques and different Filipino flavors around the country. The restaurant is a reapplication of Beth Angsioco’s Adarna house and the first resto for AHA-graduate Chef Giney Villar. The food and ambiance is quite unique so you got to check this out and let me know what you think.

Adarna Food & Culture Menu:
Soup | Salads & Vegetables | Appetizers | Historic Regional Dishes 1 | Historic Regional Dishes 2 | Historic Regional Dishes 3 | Rice | Dessert | Drinks | Cold Drinks | New on the Menu | New Desserts | New Cold Drinks | Heirloom Recipes 1 | Heirloom Recipes 2 | Old & New World Pinoy Plates |
(Don’t be intimidated with the menu, I’ll give you some recommendations below)

Coincidentally, we bought a book from Adarna House (in the recent book fair) about the Ibong Adarna. We read the story to Aidan regularly and we promised him that we will bring him to see Ibong Adarna. He would love to see that painting of the Ibong Adarna above. Adarna is a Filipino magical bird that can cure sickness just by listening to its songs and can turn you into stone with its poop. The restaurant was named Adarna to proclaim its Filipino heritage and the “magical” dining experience it offers.

I love to see old newspapers and this one with a headline about Magsaysay’s inauguration and later on his funeral.

Felicidad (P 120). A luxurious drink made from eggs, cream, milk with a splash of rhum and vanilla. Nice with a naughty streak. An unauthorized deviation from a secret originally wholesome family recipe.

This is something unique that you got to try. It is like drinking sweet cream that is very addicting.

Seafood Special (P471). A true-blue Manila family shares an Iberian style seafood dish of shrimps, scallops and fish in a flavorful tomato-olive oil suace topped with bell pepper, fried onions and parsley.

This is one of their best sellers. Adarna specializes on unique sauces like this oily tomato sauce that is sweet with a spicy kick in the end.

Piassok (P304).From Mindanao, experience this exotic Sulu dish of beef chunks cooked slowly in smoked coconut cream and ten spices till tender then buttered and grilled just before serving.

With a description like exotic Sulu dish, we decided to try this. The coconut cream is not offensive. The sauce is rich and complicated.

Batanes Yellow Rice Family Size (P130). From up north, a rice dish that is so simple it is elegant. Turmeric, garlic and a bit of pork flavors the rice for a special treat.

A different treat from your usual garlic or paella rice. I didn’t know they have this rice in Batanes…

Platanillos con Mangga (P150). Light cream on crepe twirled into a cone and finished with rhum-flavored mango slices.

Technically it is mango crepe but the light creme and rhum gives it a different yummy treat and a fitting end to the magical meal.

Room of the Stars

Adarna has two special rooms that you can reserve with a minimum consumable of P5,000. The first room showcases the partner’s collection of old movie stars.

Can you spot Vilma Santos and Tirso Cruz (see Bigger version)?

Check out these old Filipino Movie Actors and Actresses.

Room of the Carnival Queens

Before Miss Philippines, there was the Carnival Queens of the Philippines. It is the first time I heard about Carnival Queens and I’m starting to learn a lot about our rich Filipino heritage.

Check out the different Carnival Queens in their majestic poses.

Collection of Old Long Playing Discs… Too bad the LP player is not working…

Old Bottles Collection

I can’t identify any of the old bottles on top.

FREE old Sari Sari Store

Live out your childhood memories by grabbing any of the FREE goodies in this sari sari store!

Old Pinoy Comics, Old Softdrinks Trays, Takalan ng Kanin, Tirador and many more…

The Space Balloon is the best seller so it is often out of stock. You can get chocnut and white rabbit for FREE before you home.

Adarna Food & Culture
119 Kalayaan Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City
Telephone: +632 926-8712
Mobile: +63 917 961 8113


Text and Photos by Anton Diaz. Copyright 2008.

18 thoughts on “Adarna Food & Culture – The Magic of the Rich Filipino Heritage

  1. Thank Goodness Anton! I thought you lost your foodie touch with all the other blogs about musicals and what not. OAP used to be my most visited web site because of the informative yet somewhat exclusive restaurant guide, but up until now i would have given up. I couldnt even access your ‘best of’ list which i frequently reference for i trust that your taste with both food and ambiance was up to par even at the expense of higher prices. Any guy that asks me where to bring his date i always tell them to checkout your website for the latest and the most secluded of rendezvous. I hope in the future you feature more resort/hotels from the different vacation spots in the Phils. More Power! Oh, and yeah, will try out Adarna soon.

  2. we recently learned about carnival queens in our class too. according to our brilliant historian of a professor, only the most beautiful, intelligent and charismatic women from prominent families get the prestige of getting the “Miss Carnival Manila” crown. He even showed us a photo of The Manila Carnival Arcade which boasted of grandeur, and sculptural intricacy.. a far cry from the campy Enchanted Kingdom and Star City we know today. It looked like the love child of Paris’ Arc de Triomphe and Washington D.C.’s Capitol Building.
    that place seems pretty interesting and your food photos are beautiful as usual. 🙂

  3. we recently learned about carnival queens in our class too. according to our brilliant historian of a professor, only the most beautiful, intelligent and charismatic women from prominent families get the prestige of getting the “Miss Carnival Manila” crown. He even showed us a photo of The Manila Carnival Arcade which boasted of grandeur, and sculptural intricacy.. a far cry from the campy Enchanted Kingdom and Star City we know today. It looked like the love child of Paris’ Arc de Triomphe and Washington D.C.’s Capitol Building.
    that place seems pretty interesting and your food photos are beautiful as usual. 🙂

  4. the food looks good…..sayang i wasn’t able to join you guys. tinatamad na kasi ako lumabas nun time na yun eh 🙁

  5. hmm….
    the resto look good and eye love it.
    during my 9 days stay at Manila, i insisted my friend that i want to eat Filipino food. i instantly fall in love with the food. my friend manages to convinced me to packed few cans of Laing..because I love it when i tried at Aristocrat.
    wish i have long2 holiday fly again..(God willing)
    add on my list Adarna..thanks…
    I miss Tagaytay Leslie’s as well…..*sigh…
    How can i move to Manila???

  6. I was able to try traditional yellow rice when I was in Batanes earlier this year. It was in Itbayat, at a small cafeteria called Lara’s Cafeteria where we had all our meals.
    They sell the turmeric ginger powder at the pasalubong shops in Batan too.

  7. I was there before new year with my family. The place was quite unique and the food taste ok but the serving SUCKS!!!!I’s been to other Pinoy Resto during my vacation and my over all rating was fair to good. I don’t expect Adarna to have servings like the American way,I was just so disappointed about their serving.
    I’ll give them 2 years in business if they continue to offer that very small size serving.
    Bitin na Bitin!

  8. I totally agree.The place is nice but serving size was so disappointing for the price. I am not going back there.I will discourage my friends too.

  9. I totally agree.The place is nice but serving size was so disappointing for the price. I am not going back there.I will discourage my friends too.

  10. Ok sana ang place, pero LOSER ang service. NOT GOING BACK TO THIS PLACE.
    First time we went, may event yata at nagchikahan na kami, wala pang waiters so we left na lang.
    Dahil nagandahan naman kami sa place, bumalik kami recently. Umorder kami ng Piassok.
    AY NAKO, 40 YEARS BAGO DUMATING ANG ORDER. Ewan kung nakalimutan ba kami o ano. Nakapagkwentuhan na kami at lahat, puti na ang mata ko sa gutom, wala pa rin. Ilang follow up na, wala pa.
    Sa sobrang kagutuman, di ko na napansin kung masarap ba o ano, basta kain na lang.
    Nung kinuha ang bill, jusko po, ganun din katagal ibigay. Naka limang follow up na kami ata.
    Tapos nagkamali pa sila sa bill, hindi nainclude ang drinks. Akala ko naman nagmagandang loob na at hindi na ininclude, but no, nagkamali sila. At another 5 years ang tinagal namin doon.
    Hinid kasalanan ng waiters, mukha silang mababait at hardworking. Prublema ng management iyun kulang ang staff nila at di maaccommodate ang mga tao.

  11. just ate here last Saturday. Contrary to Bagot’s experience, my GF and I had a wonderful time in this resto. We ordered the Batanes yellow rice, pork chop, gambas, Chicken Mole Soup, and a sago and gulaman drink. While waiting for our orders, a waiter asked if we wanted a quick tour around the resto to which we said – YES! The waiter was like a museum curator pointing out and explaining one artwork and antique after another. He even showed us the 2 function rooms that were behind closed doors.
    The food came out right after we had the quick tour which was roughly around 15mins. The only dish that struck a note with me is the Chicken Mole Soup. I found the other dishes quite normal and average.

  12. I had the most unpleasant experience in Adarna last Friday.
    I made reservations for 24 people for merienda in Adarna last Oct. 23, 2009. I ordered Platong Malolos, Fried Vegetable Lumpia, Pancit 1913, Kesong Puti and Langka Fry, Platanillos con Mangga, and Banana Peanut Roll. All except for the pancit, tasted good, but the serving size of each dish was very disappointing. The serving size was so small that it wasn’t even enough for one child. Also, I think the ingredients of the pancit were not fresh.
    Customer service in this restaurant needs a lot of evaluation and improvement. I had problems while finalizing my reservations because the staff who attended to me was not competent. When I asked for their manager or someone I could give my feedback to, the staff wont give me any names and said that he was the one in-charge. I checked the archives of OAP to check who the owner is and I searched her name in Facebook (thank god for FB).
    When I emailed my complaints to the co-owner, instead of just simply apologizing, she became very defensive about the whole incident and was trying to insinuate that I was also to be blamed.
    I agree with Bitin na Bitin, Lily M., and Bagot. I will NOT recommend this restaurant to anyone! Try this restaurant out at your own risk.

  13. I actually tried out this restaurant last friday, even after reading the (mostly) negative comments here. I figured I wanted to see the place more than the food. To prepare, my partner and I ate sandwhich while in transit there and briefed him that the food might take some time.
    When we got there, the resto was relatively full. Well, it was a friday. I was thinking we will wait an hour for the order to come. In all fairness, when we got the menu, there was actually a note there that some delicacies will take around 20-25mins of cooking time. Atleast, there is a notice naman pala.
    The place certainly triggered curiousness (nora aunor and even erap and fpj looked so young in the pictures) and nostalgia (magnolia bottles!) in me.
    The order came 30 minutes after. NOT BAD. Since the place offered viewing pleasures to kill the time. Our waiter was very kind and attentive as well and took us to the function room where more memorabilias were displayed. I didn’t mind the serving size as well, since I didn’t expect an american serving size here; The food was meant to be eaten leisurely naman.
    I like the ambiance definitely. The food didn’t ‘wow’ me as much as I would like, still, to try the different delicacies from many of our provinces is a privilege.
    I still would suggest this restaurant to friends.

  14. Will type this rant/review in bullets cause this restaurant does not even merit nicely composed sentences. Service was incredibly lousy!!! They don’t even have a host! We had to ask several waiters where our reserved table was. Our orders finally came after an hour. The food was mediocre. Waited for the flavor of the Gambas to kick in which it never did. Porkchop was too dry and thin. To be fair though, my brother and mom enjoyed the Seafood Special and Pancit. The Caldereta and Sinigang na Sugpo were also okay lang. Ordered for fruit shakes but we were told they ran out. Only to see them serve 2 fruit shakes to the other table! My dad felt bad tuloy! (He’s old na so he feels na parang he wasn’t treated well/ parang the other order was preferred over him) When we asked them about it, they said they really ran out and that the other table ordered first -which was a stupid lie/excuse since we arrived and ordered ahead of them. I doubt also that they pre-ordered cause we saw them perusing the menu and ordering from it. Table was too crowded with our orders, we had to move everything around, fix the kubiertos, extra bowls, extra plates ourselves. Which don’t get me wrong, would be fine if we were at home, but we were at a restaurant so hello, a little service please? In other places, they would have the initiative to see that their diners are comfortable and enjoying their food. So many oversights that took away what should have been a hearty meal. Btw, I agree with one of the comments above, the2 servers naman were hardworking they were actually running all over the place, but they were undstaffed so bad! Didn’t see any supervisor/manager who kept an eye on the diners to make sure nothing was amiss.
    We rarely eat at Filipino restaurants for Sunday brunches/dinners so we were really looking forward to eating here. Such a letdown! I’ll suggest Café Juanita na lang next time or Fely J’s! The quaint décor does not make up for the slow service and mediocre food. Sure the artifacts were interesting but I could just go to a museum for that and after just eat somewhere I can enjoy excellent (and fast) service and good food. Sorry for taking up a lot of space but really would not recommend this restaurant! Btw, dessert (some peanut thing and parang mango crepe) took 20 more minutes to serve. Legendary like Adarna? I don’t think so.

  15. Nov 26, 2011 – My first time to go to Adarna. LIKA, DALOY, ISIP – an unusual celebration of Filipino Arts and Culture =)
    From the looks of it, I have a lot to look forward to =)

  16. Just tried the restaurant a few hours ago.. My memory is still fresh.
    Getting there is quite convenitent, we didn’t get lost or anything. We were able to get a decent table without a reservation (i don’t think it’s uso here in qc).
    The waiters are yes, quite untrained. They made us feel they were fastfood personnel. They didn’t give us that warm vibe, the waiters aside from the lady assigned to our table would not even look at you in the eye. They are not sophisticated servers.
    The experience was quite disappointing. The tindahan has free candies, yes… But the old magazines inside the tindahan that are still in their plastic case, will forever be inside that plastic bag-because they are not for reading. There is a shelf nearby of old magazines but they will not open the shelf for you, even if you tell the waiter that you are interested to read them. There were LP discs on display but there is no player. There is a jukebox lit, but you can’t play any songs. In other words: the experience is more of: LOOK, BUT DON’T TOUCH. In gay language… Hindi mo pwedeng maexperience.
    I find the food serving modest. It’s not bitin. We ordered the morcon and it wasn’t the morcon i know.
    The food was so so. Although i like the experience that it’s not your conventional filipino restaurant that only serves a kind of food from a specific region like: ilonggo, kapampangan, etc. there is variety.
    The atmosphere: i give it a 4. Aside from the “look, no touch” experience, it is also aesthetically deceptive. The antique clock doesn’t work. For a restaurant that promotes culture, the music they play is… Surprise! Surprise!: Village People??? Eww. I wish they played old songs nalang from the 40’s or 50’s… It would have been better. Or perhaps OPM?
    i was quite entertained by the memorabilias… But it didn’t reach my expectations. I didn’t learn anything culturally substantial. I also didn’t get the connection of Adarna, of a mythical creature of filipino literature… To memorabilias of movie stars and Ms. Universe titleholders. Walang connect. It’s no culture cafe.
    I recommend cocina de tita moning better than this one. In retrospect, a trip to cubao expo is more culturally rewarding than visiting here. But then, it’s still worth a visit. Their menu is quite interesting.

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