After a long day of jam-packed traffic and going thru the motions of everyday life. You want to experience something different yet familiar. Something a bit out of your comfort zone yet something homey at the same time.
That’s the great thing about Pura Vida Manila, it’s a laid-back reggae bar that brings Costa Rican cuisine here in the Philippines. The interior uses consistent color pattern of yellow, green and red that is seen throughout their bar. The fusion of these two countries evident in the theme, ambiance, and food of Pura Vida Manila.
The seats are made of wood that’s spread apart and open. The swing sets in front of the bar was an ingenious play on the theme.
For those who are unfamiliar, Costa Rican cuisine, like us, takes a lot of influence from Spain with an Afro-Carribean touch. Their food is known to be mild with an abundant use of herbs and fresh fruits and vegetables. Here in Pura Vida Manila, they serve you what you will typically find in a Costa Rican homemade food. They bring to Manila the common ingredient used in Costa Rica, the Salsa Lizano, a tangy full flavored sauce, which they put in most of their dishes and can be compared to a sort of Worcestershire sauce.
For starters, we had the Surtido de Bocas (750 PHP). It’s the Costa Rican version of a sampler platter that consists of Chicharrones con Yuca (pork rinds with cassava fries), Patacones (fried plantains), Enyucados (fried cassava balls stuffed ground beef or cheese), and Dados de Queso (diced fried cheese balls) served with pico de gallo, guacamole, refried beans, cilantro dip, and Carribean sauce. Each of the different textures of each of the elements of the dish is just further elevated by the accompanying sauce. Our favorite was the Dados de Queso and Enyucados.
The Desayuno Tico (300PHP) In Costa Rica, their traditional breakfast consists of Gallo Pinto, fried or scrambled eggs, sour cream, crispy slice of white cheese, plantains, and sliced avocado. This hearty meal is well put together and has varying textures, this was really good and satisfying.
The Chifrijo(250 PHP) is a bowl of rice, beans, chicharrones, avocado, chips and pico de gallo. This dish is typically eaten as bar chow. We loved the rich flavor of the rice when you mix it with the other ingredients and the sauces. The complex play on flavors and textures are sure to get you thru that craving after a long night of drinking.
The Ceviche de Tiquizia (250 PHP) makes use of blue marlin as their raw fish then coated in a mixture of lime juice, onions, cilantro, ginger ale and some other local spices. The fish is smooth and refreshing. Definitely one of our favorites.
Most of Costa Rican dishes are accompanied by rice and beans cooked in coconut milk and different spices then matched with different toppings. Here in Pura Vida Manila, they give you the option to have the following accompaniments for their main courses:
The Con Pollo Caribeño (350 PHP) This Chicken is cooked in a Carribean sauce with habanero with a side of patacones, a green salad, and rice and beans. The chicken is well cooked and is coated with a full-bodied sauce that is perfect with the rice.
The Arroz con Camarones (330 PHP) is shrimp cooked in local spices served with a side salad and fries. The full flavor of the shrimp can be tasted in every spoonful of rice that we had. It truly highlights the Shrimp in each bite. The sides were also a good contrast in texture and flavor.
They also had a number of Casados or Costa Rican-style lunch(350PHP) where you choose from either Carne en Salsa(Beef Stew), Pollo con Salsa Queso(Grilled Chicken), Bistec Encebollado(Onion Beefsteak), Fajitas con Pollo(Chicken Fajitas), Fajitas de Carne(Beef Fajitas) or Fajitas Mixtas(Beef and Chicken Fajitas). All meals came with rice and beans, plantains, picadillo, salad and white cheese.
For dessert, you can try the Churchill(150 PHP), it’s a snowcone served in a tall glass with powdered milk, condensed milk, and ice cream. It’s similar to our Filipino treat iced scramble.
What got us to Pura Vida Manila was the food, what made our stay were the drinks. They have several cocktails inspired by the Carribean. You ought to try the Summer melted, and the Mojito.
The inviting atmosphere in Pura Vida Manila will draw you in, you start with superb food, excellent service, and strong drinks. It’s a recipe that ultimately will keep you there for hours and thinking when you’ll be coming back.
*Special thanks to John Bunag of Ilovetoeatph for Food Styling.
Note: This article is a partnered post with Pura Vida Manila and Zomato PH.
Pura Vida Manila
Address: Don Pedro Street, Poblacion, Makati City
Contact No: 02 2469069 ext:897
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