Thursday, December 30, 2010

Manila Bay - Philadelphia, PA

Here it is on the eve before New Year's Eve, and what better to do with tomorrow being a federal holiday than head out for a little Filipino cuisine at what I consider the best Filipino restaurant on the East Coast, Manila Bay. We loaded up the car, and headed over to Northeast Philly to get our grub on.

We arrived at Manila Bay about 45 minutes later, only to find the restaurant empty. We were greeted by the owner and our waiter, Caroline, and grabbed a table near the bar. They are always so nice in here, and tonight was no different. I was actually a bit dumbfounded as to why nobody was in here, but then I also realized that it was barely 6PM.  DUH!

Zelda ended up starting off with the Spring Rolls, and I went with the Filipino staple, Lumpia Shanghai! I grew up eating lumpia, and as much as I love to make my own, I have to say that these are better than anything I can make at home. Unfortunately, I have no idea why, as I am sure that I use the same elements as they do. Zelda enjoyed her vegetable spring rolls also, but I didn't get them a try for whatever reason. Both appetizers were huge, and I probably shouldn't have eaten the entire of lumpia by myself, but I did! They were that good!

For entrees tonight, Zelda went the salmon route, and she has yet to be disappointed with a salmon dish at Manila Bay. If I remember correctly, she ordered the Grilled Salmon Medallions, which came out as more salmon than she could possibly eat in one sitting, with a nicely flavored garlic sauce!  The true beauty of this dish, or any grilled item at Manila Bay is the flavor from their grill. The grill is seasoned as perfectly as you could ever believe, and it puts off the best flavors. It just doesn't get any better to me!

For me, 2011 brings eating healthy, so I had to get my grub on tonight, and order a lot! That said, I ordered 2 different entrees, both Filipino staples!

First, I ordered the Tilapia! This is a whole tilapia, cleaned and gutted, then friend whole and served with a vinaigrette sauce on the side. I can't tell you how many times my mother made this as a child, but it was delicious! There is no fork needed for this, and true Filipino's just dig in with their hands. The flavors were awesome, and you can tell that this is fried in good, clean oil! As always, the best flavors came from the cheek meat, as well as the belly meat. This was no different tonight, and absolutely awesome!

I also ordered the pork inihaw, which was spectacular the last time I ordered it here! Tonight was no different, and the great flavor truly comes from the grill! Like Zelda's entrée, the grill puts so much flavor into your dish, and is perfectly seasoned! This was cooked nicely, the sauce was tasty, and it is just damn good! The pork is thinly sliced, and seems to be marinated for a long time as it has nice flavors! Maybe not though!In short, the flavors rocked, and I wish I could eat this once a week!

Once again we were too full for dessert, and once again our bellies left extremely happy! In short, Manila Bay is such a great restaurant, and the owners really know how to make you feel welcomed, and like family! I've'said it once, and I'll say it again: this is the best Filipino restaurant I've found on the east coast! The flavors are awesome, and it's just like eating back home in my mom's kitchen! Kudos to the Manila Bay team!  Cheers!

Manila Bay
6724 Castor Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19149
Phone: (215) 722-7877

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