This Quezon City restaurant with old-world charm serves kare-kare so good, you can do without the bagoong—and it’s not even on Instagram.
Iago’s on Tomas Morato is partly hidden among residential houses and often mistaken for a fine-dining place.
The Spanish archways and latticework windows have a hacienda vibe, but once diners get over the perception, they’re in for a good, homey experience.
“Iago’s, which opened in 2017, used to be the Cabrals’ ancestral home, one of the oldest families in the area,” founder Jojo Salomon said. “Dining in Iago’s surrounded with centuries-old trees is like eating home-cooked food with one’s family.”
Kare-kare is a personal dish. Like adobo, every family has a take on it. Salomon said it was the one Iago’s dish he could eat every day.
Manager Eva Bronce created the kare-kare recipe, and most of the other items on the menu.
She described them as “heritage Filipino food with a twist.”
Simple and tasty
The menu consists of familiar Filipino food.
There are variants of the classic Crispy Sisig with Egg that Bronce developed when she joined a cooking contest: Southwestern Sisig Salad and Sisig Dynamite rolls.
Starters that double as pulutan are Gambas al Ajillo, Crispy Kangkong, Kilawing Tanigue, Sizzling Bangus à la Pobre.
Iago’s has function rooms and a sprawling garden for celebrations.
Families dining on weekends usually order the Special Bulalo, Callos, Crispy Pata, Lengua with White Mushroom Sauce, Morcon, Beef Kaldereta, Tortang Giniling and Iago’s Whole Fried Chicken.
“There’s an Iago’s Grill in BF Parañaque which is a bar and events venue. We also offer grilled items in the QC restaurant,” Salomon said.
We liked the Inihaw na Lumot—tender grilled squid that didn’t get rubbery even when it got cold. Herb Buttered Porkchop is another crowd pleaser. Grilled Porkchop with fries and charred corn is Bronce’s version of a dish from an upscale American chain.
Grilled Chicken Butt, Chicken Liver and Pork Isaw tick off one’s inihaw street-food cravings.
The restaurant is open for merienda, too, serving pasta and pancit, coffee and cocktails.
Bibingka and puto bumbong are offered all year round.
The desserts we loved were Turon à la Mode, Halo-Halo, Leche Flan and Maja Latik. We also enjoyed the Sago’t Gulaman and the refreshing Kukumbarock citrus-cucumber drink.
Customized buffet packages start at P550 per person, inclusive of lighting and sound system, because what’s more Pinoy than a videoke party with a stage?