Summerlicious is here again (ends tomorrow), and it really is the best time to take in other cultures and find new restaurant gems around the city. I’ve always enjoyed Filipino food, so when my friends suggested we try Casa Manila in the Don Mills/York Mills area, I was stoked.
It was a quaint little spot and from the looks of the decor, it seemed like they wanted you to feel like you were in the Philippines. The decor seemed a little busy in spots and cute in others but overall I think the space was too small for all they had going on.
It was slow service but the servers were very polite and helpful with any questions we had. When we first arrived it wasn’t very busy, yet we waited a while before our drinks arrived. Drink orders were mixed up and this wasn’t discovered until my friend had asked to change hers. Then when it was time for our meals I found it strange that our shrimps dishes arrived before the salads and then we waited several minutes before they showed up.
2 of us ordered: GARLIC SHRIMP / GAMBAS (from Spanish roots, this popular dish is served with lots of garlic, red and green peppers on a sizzling plate). The shrimp were a nice size and the peppers added a nice taste to it. I LOVE garlic, but didn’t taste very much on the shrimp. It was still a nice dish if you’re visiting this restaurant and in the mood for shrimp, but I wasn’t really wowed by it. They weren’t de-veined and we noticed the poop vein in one that I ate around and left on the plate.
The other 2 ordered: KUYA CAESAR SALAD (Caesar salad made with a twist; romaine lettuce tossed with house made signature dressing, crackling pork skin, fried garlic and parmesan cheese). One asked for no pork skin, and they both arrived without – oops? The pork skin is the only factor that made these salads any different from the usual caesar, so they were really just regular salads. The croutons tasted like they were soaked in oil and had an odd taste that I couldn’t finish.
Three of us ordered: CHICKEN ADOBO (Filipino national dish! Garlic soy-vinegar gravy with a spicy twist to fall-off-the-bone perfection, served with garlic rice and pickled papaya slaw). I have had adobo before and loved it, so I was looking forward to having this dish. I was especially intrigued by the pickled papaya slaw, but when my plate arrived there was no slaw to be seen. I was disappointed but didn’t bother to ask for it. My friend did let me try hers, and it’s good! The garlic rice was good, but the chicken was okay. One friend did really enjoy her meal, but I wasn’t blown away by it. Great presentation, though!
My friend ordered: RICE VERMICELLI NOODLES – PANCIT or CHICKEN & SHRIMP RICE NOODLES – PANCIT a Filipino noodle favourite; thin rice vermicelli noodles stir-fried and mixed vegetables. Since she is very particular about what she eats, she didn’t finish the meal or take the leftovers home. Pancit is an acquired taste but just wasn’t for her.
I ordered: Cassava Cake and boy was it ever delicious! It arrived nice and warm and had a good texture; it was moist with the right amount of sweet. You can always count on dessert to save the day, right? The consensus around the table was that it was delicious, but it was a very small piece. The server did offer me a second piece which I did not hesitate to accept. I really liked this dessert.
My friend ordered: Leche Flan (caramel custard) which was also good, but she found there was an after-taste that took some getting used to. I tried it and liked it but Custard can be hit or miss with people.
The other 2 ordered: Coconut Ice cream and enjoyed it. Actually, the ice cream paired nicely with the other desserts!
We only looked at the permanent menus to check out pictures, but the summerlicious dinner was being offered for $25.
We didn’t walk away satisfied because there were so many little things that added up to affect the overall experience. The service was slow and the dessert portions were small (and that was the best part of the meal) but some restaurants do serve “licious” sized portions. Those of us in the group who had tried Filipino cuisine before got the home-made stuff, and it was delicious. There are tons of other restaurants, though, so hope isn’t over.
Casa Manila is located at 879 York Mills Rd 416-443-9654.