La Latina, by Spanish chef Isabel Calvo of La Picara fame, celebrates all the best flavors of Mexico, Peru, Argentina, Colombia, Venezuela, and more. It is arguably the best restaurant in Manila for Latin American cuisine, culture, and community. A sister restaurant to La Picara, La Latina represents Chef Isabel’s challenge to learn the flavors and techniques of Latin American cuisine.
Here is what we love at La Latina:
ABOUT LA LATINA
A family-friendly lunch spot by day, it transforms into a cool salsa and DJ bar late at night, especially on weekends.
Menu: Starters | Platos Frios, Ensaladas, Tacos | Mains, Sides | Extras, Desserts, Cocktails
Drinks: Non-Alcoholic Drinks, Cold-pressed Juices, Cafe | Beers, Other, Spirits | Spirits | Spirits, Happy Hour | Red Wines | White Wines
The menu features Mexican tacos alongside other Latin American dishes and cocktails.
Tuna Ceviche (₱640) with cilantro and coconut milk
This is the best! Look at the vibrant color of the tuna swimming in creamy coconut milk.
Tiradito de Salmon (₱890). Peruvian dish of raw salmon, Leche de Tigre with passion fruit and ahi Amarillo. Served with patacones.
Savor these spicy, citrusy, and milky salmon slices with fried plantain chips.
Tequeños (₱390). From Venezuela, rolls filled with cheese and served with a rum sauce.
Order this unique starter of cigar-shaped cheese sticks dipped in rum sauce.
Burrata (₱890). Filled with roasted pepper, matcha sauce puree, served with marinated cherry tomatoes.
This salad is also good. Break open the burrata with its soft, cheesy middle and mix it with the cherry tomatoes, matcha puree, and microgreens. Sarap nito.
Tacos Gobernador (₱360). Sauteed shrimp with veggies & melted cheese served with salsa mocha
Among the tacos, we like the sautéed shrimp with melted cheese and salsa on fried tacos.
Quesabirria (₱340). A beloved classic, slow-cooked beef short ribs and melted cheese, served with a side soup for dipping.
Their quesabirria tacos are one of the best in town, with a crispy taco shell filled with generous portions of marinated and tender beef short rib, served with a side of consommé for dipping. A bit messy to eat but delicious in 2-3 bites.
Carnitas Tacos (₱340). Slowed braised pork served on a corn tortilla topped with chicharron and salsa verde.
This open-faced taco, served on a soft corn tortilla and topped with chicharron and salsa verde, is a great third option for those seeking variety.
Jungle Piquin (₱390). Fresh watermelon, tequila, elderflower liqueur, lime juice & tajin
Love the refreshing watermelon drink spiked with lime juice, tequila, and elderflower liqueur, and rimmed with Tajín for a spicy-salty contrast. Aside from the nice presentation, the monkey playfully offers you a pairing of pandebono, a cheesy Colombian bread similar to Brazilian pão de queijo.
Caipirinha Con Lychee (₱380). The traditional Brazilian cocktail, with lychee, cachaca, lime juice and muscovado.
This Caipirinha is refreshing and made with lychee and a Wednesday-inspired hand glass.
SALMON TIKIN XIC (₱790). Yucatan style grilled fish, marinated in achiote & orange juice, wrapped in banana leaves & served with rice.
The grilled salmon, wrapped in banana leaves and served on a bed of rice, retains its Yucatan flavors. Unboxing it reveals the appealing presentation of the banana leaf serving.
LOMO SALTADO OF PRESA IBERICA (₱920). A traditional Peruvian dish made with the most flavorful part of an iberico pork, served with yuca puree.
The flavorful Iberia pork meat is served with a yuca puree made from the root of the cassava plant, instead of the usual rice or potato mash.
ARROZ A LA TUMBADA (₱680)
Traditional Mexican dish prepared with brothy rice & seafood
A cross between paella and risotto with broth, this soupy dish is infused with the flavors of shrimp and clams.
TRES LECHES (₱320). Sponge cake soaked in three kinds of milk, topped with torched merengue
Kids love the presentation of this milky sweet dessert, which resembles tres leches brains.
Overall, I like that you can enjoy the flavors of Mexican tacos, Peruvian ceviche, and other Latin American flavors all in one restaurant. Kids can enjoy the food, but it can also open them up to Latin flavors that they may one day experience if they visit the region. I recommend going for lunch, as the atmosphere is usually more family-friendly at night.
I would recommend the Tuna Ceviche, Tiradito de Salmon, and Burrata Salad for a healthy start. The tacos are delicious, and I would recommend the Tacos Gobernador and Quesabirria. The cocktails are creative, but the Jungle Piquin and Caipirinha Con Lychee are good. If you want a heavier main course, I recommend the Salmon Tikin Xic or Lomo Saltado of Presa Iberica. Budget about ₱900/person plus drinks.
Live an Awesome Life with Christ,
Founder & Digital Creator, Our Awesome Planet
Disclosure: Thank you to Chef Isabel and the La Latina team for the experience. I wrote this article with my biases, opinions, and insights.
P.S. On weekends, after the mall closes, this restaurant transforms into a cool DJ bar spot where you can meet friends who love Latin American food and culture. Be sure to check out their salsa nights!