I’ve heard good things about Mañosa Panciteria from punkednoodle, so when my mom started raving about it too, I knew I should investigate. My mom and I decided to lunch there so I could try their Crispy Hito (P100) (Catfish); since it was nearer her office (it’s a 15-minute walk from mine), she ordered for us as soon as she arrived.
The place was packed to brimming, all the tables where occupied with large groups of people. I figured it was the lunch rush, but my mom told me that the crowd was bigger than usual. Large tumblers of Black Gulaman was served as soon as I took my seat. Cold and just lightly sweetened with slivers of glass jelly slithering down your throat, it was very welcome after that 15-minute walk. It was a sign of good things to come so I was readily awaiting the feast that would follow.
Fifteen minutes passed, then thirty. I was getting fidgety. But it was a big crowd and while I could see them steadily bringing food out of the kitchen, it was always for this one big group which seemed to never have enough food! When we asked about our food, the server apologized because the crowd was larger than usual and said he’ll look into it.
He then came back to our table to reassure us that the food will follow soon, then served us bowls of Maki, on the house. I gave it a suspicious glance. It looked thick and syrupy and utterly sweet. My mom reassured me that it was good so I took a sip. Surprisingly, it wasn’t how I expected it to taste. It was more meaty and full-flavored than sweet, and it was surprisingly light despite the thick, thick soup. The pork was tender and easily gave to the bite. Hearty it was, but never too heavy.
Our food followed minutes later; large platters containing a whole fish, a cup of rice, a couple slices of tomato, and a sauce dish containing sliced siling labuyo (spicy chilis) and calamansi (Philippine Lemon). I promptly filled my sauce dish with soy sauce then held my breath. Judgment time! Was it worth the wait?
My first bite was a mix of crisp brown fish flesh with tender, moist insides. One bite and you knew that the fish was very fresh, with just a slight sweetness that comes from fresh fish naturally. It was the kind of fish that you could eat whole—no exaggeration, fish and some bones included, simply because everything was crisp and crunchy.
The rest of the meal went by in a blur. A nagging thought at the back of my head was the need to get back to the office. Still, I don’t regret trooping to Panciteria Mañosa for lunch. It was surely well worth the wait. And I’m looking forward to coming back, I would like to find out if the Pinaputok na Pla-pla (Exploded Tilapia) is just as nice.
Carpark 1 Dela Rosa St.
San Lorenzo Village, Makati City
387-2253 / 386-1625 / 0915-9362073
Unit 20 Valencia Hills Condominium Tower C
Dona Juana Rodriguez corner N. Domingo Quezon City
532-2793 / 721-3381