Thursday, December 13, 2018

Gata: Flavors of Bicolandia

Love gata? You have to try this restaurant!

It's been a while since my last Zomato Foodie Meet-Up (FMU). For some reason, it's always somewhere in BGC or Alabang (even farther!!), so when I got an invite to join them in Tomas Morato, I immediately said yes! 
The recent FMU was held at Gata located at The Grandia Place along Mother Ignacia Avenue. It's a Bicolano-themed Filipino restaurant offering specialty dishes from Bicol as well as usual Filipino classics like Bulalo, Crispy Pata, and Pusit Negra.  
Since I arrived almost two hours early (can't help it, I'm always the early bird haha!) I decided to get myself some coffee. At Gata, they serve Drip On Coffee from Key Coffee. You can choose from either special blend or mocha blend for Php 90.
Good thing the restaurant has free wi-fi so I was able to finish three posts while waiting. Naks super productive! ;) 
Soon, people started to arrive. There were a number of new faces (like I said, it's been a while since my last FMU) good thing everyone was really friendly, so we took photos, talked, laughed, and ate. A lot.

To start off, we had the Crispy Okoy with Sukang Tuba (P150). It is the Filipino version of shrimp fritters and tastes really good, especially once dipped into vinegar. You can either eat it on its own as an appetizer or with rice.

To my surprise, I also really liked their Sinantol with Kamote Chips (P190). It was my first time trying this - minced cotton fruit (santol) in coconut cream - a healthy vegetarian dish full of flavor! The sinantol itself is a little sour so pairing it with sweet kamote chips was a great idea, in my opinion.

The Laing Bites is one of the unique dishes offered here at Gata. I love, love anything with gata (coconut milk), so this one was a win for me. My only complaint is that the fried wonton wrapper takes away most of the flavor so maybe they can make it smaller or thinner? Just a thought. Not bad for Php 180 though.

Now if you're a fan of snails, you have to try the Ginataang Kuhol (P220). My foodie friends loved this; personally, I found it okay, mainly because I don't like eating weird things like this. The gata sauce was absolutely divine though. Ang sarap with rice!!

Any legit Filipino restaurant needs to have sisig on the menu, and at Gata, they spice it up with some coconut milk and chili bits! Definitely a must-order!

Other dishes you have to order are the Laing and Bicol Express. I mean if you think Bicolano specialties, these two are the first things that pop into one's mind. Diba? I honestly found it weird that they didn't have us try the Bicol Express. Still, I'm glad to know that the restaurant sources their dried laing leaves as well as other ingredients straight from Bicol.

More gata-filled dishes! Below we have the Adobong Manok sa Gata (P340). I also had this on my recent Boracay trip and it's officially one of my favorite Pinoy dishes. It's super rich in flavor because the chicken is slowly simmered in gata until naglalana-lana.

Here's another dish you have to have at a Filipino restaurant - Kare Kare (P330)! Gata's version has loads of bagnet, a touch of gata, and their own personal bagoong recipe! What a treat!! I swear, you can't pass up on this one!
If we're talking soup, let me recommend their Cocido na Buong Lapu-Lapu (P495). Cocido is the Bicolano's version of Sinigang but less maasim. I was amazed at the fact that they use calamansi for this one so it really tastes different from the usual sour broth, but still very good. I highly recommend the Cocido (can be ordered with fish or shrimps)!
Last but not the least is the star of the night: the Kinunot na Pagi (P295). At first, I didn't know what this was and almost ignored it, until people started raving about it, so syempre ako naman, hey I have to try din!!

The Kinunot na Pagi is flaked stingray with malunggay leaves simmered in gata. Grabe, this really blew my mind. It was a mix of sour and sweet and just really, really delicious. The owners spoke to us about how there are lots of small stingrays in Bicol and that they don't catch these on purpose (the only time they'll have this available is when stingrays get caught with other fishes by accident). If you're lucky, you'll get to try this Bicolano favorite at Gata! Get two orders if you can! Hehe :P 
Thank you to Zomato for the invite and of course to Gata for hosting! Visit them at Unit 3, The Grandia Place, Mother Ignacia Avenue, South Triangle, Quezon City.
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Gata Flavors of Bicolandia Atbp. Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato