Cocina Juan’s Grilled Meats and Chimichurri

I’ve loved chimichurri ever since Terrace at the Fifth introduced me to it.

So, I was delighted to find out that Cocina Juan in Maginhawa St., Q.C. (which specializes in grilled meat) offers chimichurri sauce (Yes!). The owner’s recent trip to Nicaragua in Central America inspired this offering. There, the staple sauce is chimichurri for meats (ex. pork ribs, pork belly or chicken) and sofrito sauce for fish. The rest of Cocina Juan’s menu is Tex-Mex, where they use a lot of sweet white sauce and cheese. With a student-priced menu, you can’t go wrong with having a good food trip with your friends here.


Cocina Juan Menu
– Chimichurri Specials, Sofritos Specials, Mariscos (Seafood) Specials, Burrito Classico
– Tacos “Soft Shells Tacos”, Tacos Flautas, Meat Burrito, Sopa (Soup), Burritos Platos, Pita Pizza, Quesadilla Sincronizadas
– Alitas “Chicken Wings”, Pasta Inspiration de Cocina Juan, Solo Platos, Lunch Specials Poquito Meals, Platos Con Arroz, Fresh Green Salads “Ensalada” and Sizzling/ Fajita
– Tostadas, Postre (Dessert), Bebidas (Beverages), Cafe (Coffee), De Mas (Extras)

I won’t drive all the way from Makati to U.P. for the Tex-Mex dishes, but I would make the journey for the Grilled Meats with Chimichurri.

The restaurant was named after the chef-brother of the owner who already migrated abroad.

The ambiance is simple with cheap tables, plastic chairs and even plastic glasses. Just a warning — if you ask for water, they will serve you tap water. It would be best to specify mineral water if that’s what you want. Most of the restaurants I have been to already have filtered water available, but not Cocina Juan.


Monopoly, Chess and Dominoes are available to entertain the kids.

It takes some time for the food to arrive because they grill the meat on the spot. It is worth the wait. 🙂

While waiting, a complimentary serving of nachos with their signature sweet white sauce is served.

Cerdo Castillo Chimichurri (Pork Ribs) – P225. Pork meat served with a popular Central American sauce called chimichurri – Argentinian origin and adapted by all Latin American countries

I think I love the chimichurri sauce (composed of parsley leaves, oil and lemon) and the hot slices of jalapeno more than the meat itself. The meat was a bit tough, but since it was recently grilled, the smoky flavor was good enough to make this a yummy dish. You have the option of ordering tortillas instead of the rice.

Sofrito Cream Dory Con Blanco Queso – P205. Cream Dory Fish cooked and tenderized in aluminum foil, served with a popular Latin American sauce called Sofrito (“Well Cooked and Fragrant Sauce”, Spanish Original)

The Sofrito sauce was a bit oily and buttery, which overpowered the tomatoes and herbs. The dory came out tender but bland, so the nice topping of melted cheese gave it a more creamy flavor.


Carne Asada (Seasoned Beef) Burrito – P155 for Grandes. Classic Burrito, choice meat, rice, chili con carne, corn, cheese, sour cream, wrapped in a medium or large tortilla.

This burrito was sulit! It was packed with all the ingredients and it comes in a good size and price. They rely on the sweet white sauce instead of sour cream to give it a Filipino-fusion flavor.


Hungarian Sausage Con Queso – P95. Part of the Cocina Juan Poquito Meals — choice meat and sauce rice meals served anytime from lunch to dinner.

If you are still hungry, you can order the Poquito Meals, which are essentially rice toppings for the students. The Hungarian sausage was good with its smoky flavor. The melted cheese and white rice was too much carbo for one night, though…


Carne Asada (Seasoned Beef) Pita Pizza – P155. Cocina Juan-inspired tortilla pizza served with choice meat combinations

Cocina Juan’s version of Thin Pizza, using a toasted pita bread with lots of cheese on top.


Sopa Corracha con Frio Crema – P115. A Panamanian dessert, also known as drunken cake

To end the meal, we tried their signature dessert, which was like a butter pound cake with liquor (tastes like Fruit Cake). Order the one with vanilla ice cream and lemon — they go well with the sauce. You won’t be able to finish the cake, though, because it’s so heavy and compact with lots of butter calories…


After all the orders, our bill came in at less than P1,000 for a group of 3 adults and 2 kids. 🙂 The Central American dishes are impressive but the Tex-Mex Food is something you can do at home. This is a nice place to treat friends for a birthday or a special occasion — good food, unique yet casual ambiance, and easy on the wallet. 🙂


Cocina Juan

100 Maginhawa Street,
UP Teacher’s Village Quezon City
Telephone Number: +632 434 3911



Live An Awesome Life,


Text and Photos by Anton Diaz. Copyright 2009. 
mobile: +63917-LOVEOAP (5683627) 

19 thoughts on “Cocina Juan’s Grilled Meats and Chimichurri

  1. hey anton! you should also try cocina juan’s dinamita, queso con tomate quesadilla and chicken chimichurri cheese (my favorite!). my boyfriend and i have been going there every week for more than 6 months now and we highly recommend the resto to everyone who wants a yummy, filling and affordable meal.

  2. Hi Anton, we were also there the same night you dined in. You have cute kids! 🙂
    On to CJ’s food, it is already given that their foods are delicious. You should have tried the Dinamita. Dynamic! 😀 Though they usually just serve white tortillas, I was surprised that yours have red ones. And your Sopa Borocha has three times more rhum than ours. Have you also noticed that your food arrived earlier than the next table? They were there before you arrived, poor kids. I just wish they treat everyone like VIPS, after all we are paying customers too.

  3. Thanks A for the feedback, rest assured that your comment will help us be better at what we do as we move forward in making sure that everyone feels well taken care off. Feel free to approach my staff for any concerns you might have. Thank you again!

  4. Hi Jong,
    If you are coming from Katipunan via C5 after Petron turn left to CP Garcia.
    From there about 400 meters you will see a UP gate on your right side (2nd
    gate) (Warning the 1st one is going to the math building dont use that as
    reference) go a little further after seeing the 2nd UP Gate and stay on the
    left lane, there you will see a small stop light near the UP Stad Farm. Turn
    left on that stop light and since its a dead end turn right again. Once you
    see an intersection (You will see MINISTOP at your left side), turn left and
    a few meters after that (15 meters) you will see “Cocina Juan” on the Right
    side of the road a few meters before you reach the BDO bank.
    Hope the direction helps!

  5. Cocina Juan is a must-try for everyone who wants to experience the richness of Latin American flavours. The dishes are wonderfully prepared, the servings huge, the ambiance casual, and the price friendly.
    Start with the appetizing dinamitas, then ask for their famous pork ribs con chimichurri and top it off with their Filipino-style burritos.
    Te amo Cocina Juan! It’s certainly a hole-in-the-wall one can’t pass up.

  6. hey anton,
    was just wondering, is it still open, i can seem to find it anymore last time i passed by, thanks.
    btw, great blog!!!

  7. Hey Anton,
    I just ate at Cocina Juan today & I was appalled at what happened — we asked for the bill & the waiter came saying nawala yung order slip namin so he asked for what we ordered again. He gave us a bill amounting to P385 so we paid P405, expecting exactly P20 in change.
    Guess what happened next? Instead of waiting on our table for the change, I went to the FOH & waited there na lang. Biglang our bill changed to P275 and our payment became P255 na lang. I told the girl in the FOH what happened — that we received a receipt amounting to P385 & we gave P405, and in between the confusion, our money “miraculously” appeared (crumpled at that!) in the floor of the dining area. Sabi ng waiter, “lumipad” daw.
    Obviously I guess the waiter was trying to score himself an extra P150 so I wish the owners had a better system of checks & balance there. I told the girl in the FOH na rin about what happened — not sure if she’s the owner though.
    I hope the owners get to read this because I’m not sure how else to contact them & give them this feedback. Quite a disappointing experience, and I sincerely hope it doesn’t happen again. The irony of it was that it happened on the day of the Presidential Inauguration! 🙁
    I had their burrito earlier — not a big fan of the sweet sauce, so maybe I should have tried their Chimichurri! Don’t think I’m ever going back though.

  8. mr. sanchez
    sarap ng pagkain sa COCINA DEL SUR. ”ang galing pa ng staff. ”especially the cute guy na server cause every times we eat with my family he entertain me and they with cute smile and good face. but when we eat yesterday i don’t know where is he. how sad. if i request i hope he stay there. his name is aldrian.
    but the food was good and nice.

  9. Hi M,
    I just read your experience and would like to thank you for sharing and will surely and seriosuly look into this. Rest assured that service before, during and after meals is a priority for me and my Family and that integrity is an attribute We expect with any of Cocina Juan staff.
    Thank you again, this will surely help us improve our process and Cocina Juan.
    Hope you do come back to as we grow and become better at what we do.

  10. Very disappointed with the food. We ordered 3 dishes. The dishes and the chimichurri was bland. The pork ribs was very dry and overcooked. The chimichanga was small for the price and it didn’t taste like anything close to authentic. We had to force ourselves to finish our plates na lang since we didn’t want to waste food.

  11. I wanted to love this restaurant, but I personally find the food here overpriced, given the serving size. I had the chicken and cheese chimichurri and wasn’t satisfied. For 239php, the chicken breasts were small and the rice was even barely half a cup. I believe they were trying to make it seem high end with the nice plating, but for me, it still wasn’t worth the price. My friend had the grilled lamb chops and found it bland and overpriced as well.
    I’m not sure if I want to go back, but I’m willing to give the place another try some other time.

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