Japonesa Restaurant Review: When I hear of Poblacion, the first things that come to mind are usually bars, drinks, and overall late-night inuman with friends. During the first time that I went back to the area since the pandemic, I realized that it has now transformed into a foodie haven – almost like Maginhawa in Quezon City or Kapitolyo in Pasig. New restaurants in Poblacion have sprung up in 2022, and this new identity as a foodie hot spot has made the area active not only at night but in the daytime as well. When I went restaurant-hopping in Poblacion, one of my nice discoveries is Japonesa.
Japonesa Restaurant in Poblacion
Japonesa is a restaurant that offers Japanese-Peruvian cuisine. It opened April 2022, and is one of the three restaurants under the Notorious Concepts Group, the other two being West 32 and Alamat Filipino Cuisine.
The interior of Japonesa is quaint yet cozy. They take pride in the 14-seater table that has an aesthetic inspired by Japanese Kintsugi technique of repairing broken pottery with resin and gold. To the right are large windows that allow an ample amount of natural light to come in – the perfect spot for foodies who want to take nice pictures for the gram. On the left side is a bar, which I imagine becomes packed during nighttime.
Japonesa Restaurant Review (Best Sellers)
I visited Japonesa with my friends during lunch to experience their dishes. We asked the gentleman serving us for their best sellers and specialties, and these are what he recommended:
For starters, we had the Bomba Camarones (Php 575), which is essentially shrimps with aioli. I liked this because it’s crispy, garlicky, and a bit spicy too!
The Salmon Tartare (Php 550) is also pretty good. The salmon has a fresh and full flavor that goes so well with the avocado. I’m not a fan of the potato chips though.
We finished all of the starters we had, with the exception of the Entrejo Shimeji (Php 395), but only because we’re not that much into shimeji mushrooms. To be fair though, the squash puree tastes really good, and kinda reminds me of the potato mash in Ooma’s Hanger Steak.
Now onto the mains. I like the Peruano (Php 450) because of its subtle sweetness, which I think is because of the miso-marinated salmon. It also has avocado, cucumber, and crispy shallots. I enjoyed the added texture of the crispy potato shreds to your every bite.
The La Japonesa (Php 650) is another favorite. I love the crispy rice on the exteriors of the sushi roll. Just the right heat from the spicy tuna and green chilis.
I wasn’t that excited with the Pescado y Gambas al Ajillo (Php 975). Unfortunately, the flavor wasn’t very memorable, and honestly, I thought that it was quite expensive too.
The Maguro Gremolata (Php 695) on the other hand was really nice. The seared tuna belly goes so well with the zesty gremolata.
Lastly, the cocktails are hands-down 10/10. I loved each and every one of the cocktails we had. If you like sweet drinks, I recommend the Amaretto Sour (Php 400), Sakura (Php 395), Watermelon Hai-ball (Php 380), and Grapefruit Hai-ball (Php 395). You can request to lessen the alcohol content too if you like.
I had a really pleasant experience at Japonesa. My friends and I enjoyed our conversations over great food. The staff is very accommodating too, and they answered all our questions about the food that was served. I’m looking forward to coming back to Japonesa to experience what it’s like at night, and judging by the delicious cocktails, I’m quite sure it’s going to be great time.