El Chupacabra in Poblacion, Makati is a Mexican restaurant which earned its credo to be serving really good street tacos and cheap local beers. I remember stumbling at this joint back in 2012 while my former date and I wanted to still hang out and look for a place that sells good grubs and open til’ late.
Named after the legendary cryptid El Chupacabra which accurately means Sucker (Chupa) and Goat (Cabra) that sucks the blood out of livestock, particularly goats.
This Mexican concept restaurant is the brainchild of Dixie Mabanta of Mexicali. The still current location is the commissary of Mexicali, which they thought of turning into a “street taco” dining place just like those that are in San Diego and San Francisco are in the States.
El Chupacabra’s Role in the Poblacion Scene
Before Gen Z’s call this Poblacion “Poblah” (Please kids it doesn’t really sound cool) Poblacion was the hidden outskirt location in Makati for most of us when people started realizing that Ayala centers don’t give that much experience value rather than generic and overrated international franchises. The Poblacion dining scene is its backdoor hipster counterpart offering an unparalleled haven for those seeking to peek into another world.
Traditionally, it was known for years as a red-light district, Poblacion is trading its spunky reputation for seediness and skewing itself to be a place where cool is redefined. Heavily wheeled by white-collar Filipinos and expats, they infiltrate the mushrooming dining and drinking scene. Burgos is humid, has sketchy roads, one to none parking space yet its community kept on growing progressively. El Chupacabra is one of the very few who silently ignited that fire.
Infiltrated initially by foreigners due to the surrounding cheap backpacker hostels around the area. As it started to pick up a local dive bar called Heckle & Jeckle transferred from Polaris and rooted its place also in Felipe street right in front of El Chupacabra. The two started complimenting each other ever since.
El Chupacabra remains dimly lit, cheap light bulbs peppered at its open dining area. Its vandalized wall and loud Latino reggaeton give much character to the place.
As much as I missed the open air with no air-condition humid/smoke infused vibe the recently renovated La Cueva del Chupacabra (cave of Chupacabra) is a solid good addition to us patrons who still love their menu roster yet seeks the comfort of being the closest to becoming the next Tita and Tito’s of Manila.
New facilities, perfect air-conditioning. and not too loud reggaeton (of course, the playlist should still compliment the place)
Our dearly love street tacos. Cheap Tacos.
We recommend that you get these staples:
- Carne Asada (grilled steak taco)
- Baja California Fish Taco
- Pollo Asado (chicken)
El Chupacabra’s tacos, in their most basic form. Dry griddled corn tortilla, a grilled protein of some kind, salsa, cilantro, onion, and lime. Unlike most Tex-Mex “fusion” places you see nowadays where they totally f*** up a taco because of too much playfulness. They focused so much on the aesthetics that forget to forget the truest taste of what a street taco should be.
Their proteins are well brinned as you can taste strong flavors with every bite. Generous toppings for tacos are onion, cilantro, and Pinoy lime. Like any good taqueria they finely minced onion and chopped non-wilted cilantro. Drizzle with their housemade salsa and sour cream for added texture and tartness to each bite.
These colorful small plates always remind us of years of good times that we’ve been having with El Chupacabra. Chunky, greasy, and ever so tasty.
We want our street tacos oily, flavourful, and unapologetic. They still serve the best value for money Tex-Mex food in Metro Manila (so far).
Visit their Facebook Page for updates on their promos.
Poblacion is the new “IT Kid” of Makati with numerous new concepts sprouting randomly from its side streets. However, El Chupacabra will always be the notable to us as being one of the cheapest places to get a drink in the neighborhood with a solid promise of good no BS street taco.
Our CX Rating:
EL CHUPACABRA (Flagship)
Address: 5782 Felipe Street
Operating Hours: 11AM-4AM, Mon-Sat / 11AM-12MN, Sun
Local Beers: Approximately PHP 55 per bottle
Expect to Spend: Around PHP 350 per person
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