Before anything else: that’s a really long name. We all know it’s just gonna almost always referred to as Alegria.
This “hidden” sangria bar is tucked away up on the top floor of the Uniqlo building on 7th Avenue (and 30th Street) in BGC. Not kidding! We went up and passed through three levels of Uniqlo clothes. There’s a back entrance by the elevator which gets you in from the parking lot area of Bonifacio High Street where Beyond the Box service center is at.
That stark contrast between three levels of Uniqlo basic colors and Alegria’s Latin American vibe somehow resembles the transition from your office life to your after-office drinking sesh, only faster. Once you get there, you’ll be greeted by awesome dimly-lighted interiors and a painted wall or two.
I almost never have the right adjectives so I normally describe through comparison. So for ambiance, I’d say it’s better than Barcino, but not as well put together (not to mention instagrammable) as Tomatito. They also have an al fresco area facing 7th Avenue; smoking is allowed in this area.
As a group of five wanting a night of social dinner and drinks, we initially ordered a couple of items off the menu to share.
The serving size is for one person–in a multi-course meal.
That being said, your average after-office hunger will need at least an appetizer, an entrée, and then maybe some picas or dessert to share after to pair with your drink as you chitchat the night away.
But don’t let the small servings drive you away. Everything we ordered was tasty, gorgeously presented, and leaving us wanting more. (Quite psychological, too, probs because of the small serving?) As a restaurant on soft opening, that’s still an awesome feat. That experience alone makes you mentally bookmark a restaurant to re-try once they’re on normal operations.
El Mexicano was a perfect mix of pork, salsa, cilantro and jalapeño. I’m sure there were more things inside that I was too hungry to notice. As this was only one small tortilla, I find it’s not worth its price and re-order another for P180.
Borracho came soon after, which I found to be my least favorite. The combination of its ingredients was quite confusing to my palate. Out of all the items we ordered, I’d definitely skip this one if we come back. I mean, also considering how inexpensive local mussels are, and the fact that I can’t tell the difference between Chilean ones anyway.
Okay, enough starters.
When you read Marinero’s description on the menu, paella instantly clicks, and part of why we initially thought we’d share food is because of that mental picture of a cast iron pan of densely packed paella topped with lots of seafood. We got the portions wrong but paella it is!
Steak Misono off the Churrascaria section of the menu also threw our guesstimating abilities off. For its price, I thought it’d be like a typical churrasco order that usually satisfies about two diners. Tender, sweet and savory. I’m not sure though why they chose to offer misono-style steaks for a latin American restaurant. On a side note, the Arroz Alegria is always a good pairing to most of their dishes.
The 48-hour apple brined Pork Chops, one of our additional dishes when we realized we ordered insufficiently, turned out to be awesome; it reminds me of Greek pork chops, only sweeter. Charred yet so tender and flavorful.
My favorite dish had to be La Fideo, which consisted of chicken and a side of jalapeño aglio olio. Here we go again with the I-can’t-describe-this-awesome-dish, but that it just is.
One of the things I try to remember when dining in a restaurant is to always trust the chef who created a dish, and that everything on the plate should be all you need for that dish. Trust that unless there are condiments served on the side, you don’t need those. While it held true for La Fideo, Marinero, and even for El Mexicano, I thought that the chimichurri and salsa that came with our Steak Misono and Pork Chops weren’t enough. A bit more, please?
There were no local beers, so while half of our group started with white wine sangrias (Sangria Branca), which I found too sweet, probably really best for the not-wine-lovers. Glad the beer-guzzling me got a Corona, which later on was sold out so I switched to Stella Artois.
The rosé sangria La Quica which they got later on didn’t look like it was made with rosé wine; it was probably made with the bartending hack of mixing red and white, unless there was grenadine, of course.
Yay or Nay?
All in all we paid about P6,000 for five people, with about three drinks each, and ending the night still a tad bit hungry. So it is on the pricier side. Will we go back? YES but probably after dinner, next time.
ALEGRIA COZINHA MODERNA & SANGRIA BAR – 4th Floor, UNIQLO Building, C3 Annex, Bonifacio High Street, 9th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City
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