My friend and I recently found a really, really good restaurant residing on the 4th floor of UNIQLO bldg along High Street, Bonifacio Global City.
At first glance, Alegria Cozinha Moderna looks like that intimidating, fancy restaurant that would make you walk away when you see the menu—but it’s not.
Let me introduce some facts: Alegria Cozinha Moderna is the first sangria bar in BGC that opened just last year. They serve some of the best Latin eats in town.
For first-timers of Latin cuisine, one thing you should know is that there’s really something distinct about it. It’s not your typical Filipino food, but it’s exploding with flavors promising a gastronomic treat (much like Lampara in Poblacion).
What to try at Alegria Cozinha Moderna
Since I didn’t know what to order, I asked Chef Charles Montañez, who is also one of the owners, for his recommended dish. He, without any second thoughts, suggested trying the tacos.
Alegria Cozinha Moderna’s signature dish is Alma Koreana (PHP165), which is really, really, really good. I can’t even explain how much I enjoyed every bite. I don’t think I ever loved tacos as much as I did after tasting this one.
At first, you’d think it’s some kind of burnt dish because of the black part, but it’s really just a prawn coated with squid ink batter. To be honest, I was expecting some kind of seafood finish only it’s a bit far from that. I cannot put into words how much I LOVED it. I generally can’t explain its taste maybe because it’s new to my palate. It’s so satisfying and addicting at the same time, I would eat this over and over!
The Barbacoa (PHP180) is just as savory. This one boasts that meaty taste that will linger in your mouth. What surprised me is that it uses a purple yam tortilla, which Chef Charles explained is actually his brainchild. Yes, Alegria may be the pioneer of purple yam tortillas in the country so better grab it from the OG.
Other mouthwatering dishes
We tried Agua Chile (PHP290), which, again, will make you rethink your life decisions as it’s served on a platter with dried chilis. BUT, again, it’s so so good! It’s delicately crafted to perfection with shrimp, grilled corn, pineapple, and lime. The seafood aftertaste surprisingly complements the citrus flavors.
For the drink, however, I skipped the wine (although I had second thoughts since it’s established they have the best sangrias), and tried the national cocktail of Brazil—Caipirinha (PHP250)—instead.
This one uses cachaça, which is the most popular spirit in Brazil, made from fermented sugarcane. Not sure but by the looks of it, it may be the same as palek in Batanes. It’s then mixed with lime and sugar, creating that fruity finish that resembles that of a mojito although this one is slightly sweeter.
Alegria Cozinha Moderna is surely one of those best-kept secrets along High Street. Food aside, you’ll also love the interior. The lightings scream intimacy while the furniture has that hip vibe because of the colors used. It has a huge mural made by Kuku Ramos and paintings from Ryza Cenon (who is also a co-owner), too.
You wouldn’t want to pass out on this especially if you’re sick of the party crowd in Uptown and Fort Strip. The majority of the customers are young professionals maybe in their mid-20s to early 30s.
Food and ambiance-wise, I’d definitely recommend Alegria Cozinha Moderna.
Here are other restaurants you might like: