Exactly 6PM I was here at Tia Maria's Cantina Mexican Grill and Bar just across Ateneo de Manila University. Hitting this place was quite easy using LRT. I came from J.Ruiz Station and alighted in Katipunan. from there I have the option to walk or ride a tricycle but I chose to ride because I don't want to catch colds due to possible downpour. I never knew how to get to this Mexican restaurant before as I just used my charm in asking strangers how to get there making sure as well that I googled the place for some idea. This cantina is situated beside Shakey's yet not that conspicous coming from the street where the tricycle parked. There were lots of customers from the outside area compared inside where airconditioning was quite high. As time passes by it became jampacked already so I had a hard time getting snapshots of the interior.
Here's the captivating mural of the famous Mexican Grill and Bar. Asking why I said famous? Because as per my parents and relatives Tia Maria's used to be very popular during their teenage years. Right now it narrowed down to two branches - Tia Maria's Mexican Grill and Bar in Katipunan and Tia Maria's in Dela Rosa Carpark Makati City. They used to have other branches in Manila like in SM Megamall and Malate Manila before. Have you noticed the word 'cantina' in the fist branch that I mentioned? At first I thought it was like a canteen where students from Ateneo, Miriam and ISCHAM could kill their meals.
Now let's talk about food. Dishes served were Mexican-inspired and the following plates are not the actual serving sizes of their specialties. The operations manager who was with us that night was all-smiling as she decided to have it the dishes served in a way we'll enjoy it. Here they are:
Cheese Flautas with Ranchero Dip
Nachos with Salsa Fresca
These two appetizers were good starters to whet your appetite. Mexican food is always bursting with flavors. Cheese Flautas was really cheesy combined with jalapeno and cut in a way that your palate will taste it big time. The nachos was topped with mexican beef, cheddar cheese sauce, fresh salsa, black olives, jalapenos and drizzled with luscious sour cream. I suggest you order for Nachos Grande for you and your friends or family to enjoy should you hit this place in the future.
Margarita! Tempted to order this alcoholic drink but declined to do so as my health won't permit it. Tia Maria's is having the Bottomless Margarita for only PhP375 which comes with free Taquito Wedges. and Bottomless Zombie for only PhP275 which comes with free Cheese Flautas. Something to look forward after hard day's work. Vodka, Brandy, Wine and Whisky are very much available too.
Others preferred to order Banana Shake and Pineapple Juice
While I just settled for Chocolate Ice Cream Shake which tastes like heaven. I want it bottomless too like the Margaritas
Still another Tia Maria's most popular Pica-Pica was served called Vegetarian Quesadilla. A big platter of stuffed Quesadilla made with their home-made flour tortillas filled with cheese and jalapenos. Salsa and sour cream on the side as two types of dips. You could order the quesadilla as regular or stuffed but I would always go for stuffed ones. Other choices are Chorizo, Picada and Vegetarian. So far Tia Maria's quesadillas are the most unassuming and genuine recipe that I've ever tasted. I think this is an heirloom recipe that no one can deny its superior taste and quality.
Tia's Mexi Grilled Grande
A fastidious platter made of Mexi-Pork Barbecue Grande, Mexican Chicken Inasal, Mexican Fried Chicken minus the Grilled Squid and Tex-Mex Spareribs. Served with Pico de Gallo also known as salsa. This one breaks the ice. All meat cooked and drenched in special mexican spices that you'll surely like. Calling guys out there and grilled food aficionados. . .attempt to order this and see it for yourself :)
To me they are like Japanese rice mixed with mexican spices. Drool-worthy.
Carne Asada Burrito with chips and salsa
Grande Burrito (also available Junior Burrito). With all honesty I barely grab a bite of this one due to fullness. Imagine their serving portion and hearty dishes! You'd be awestruck too. This soft flour tortilla filled with flavorful Mexican rice, pico de gallo, refrieed beans, chili ali-oli and served with chips and salsa was totally amazing in size, both height and width. When you try to compare it with burrito-selling restaurants like that of Army Navy and Mexicalli this one of Tia Maria's is way better or should I say best among the rest. I bet a piece of this Grande Burrito is already good for three persons.
Crunchy squid rings with homemade ali-oli. One of the best pica-pica that this cantina could offer. The more fried squid rings in the plate the better. Best matched with beer or vodka.
Baja Baby Back Ribs
As I am tryping I am drooling . . .Aww! Can't help it. A big plate of a half slab of super tender baby back ribs coated in a flavorful barbecue sauce and served with nacho chips and buttered corn and kernels. Half slab is good for 1-2 persons whereas the full slab is for 3-4 persons. Try ordering this one and you'll be surprised with yourself getting hooked with its extraordinary taste. Also good with Mexican Rice.
TIA MARIA'S CANTINA
Katipunan Avenue corner Alvero st.,
Loyola Heights, Quezon City
Monday to Saturday 11AM to 2AMSunday 11AM to 12MN