When one reads of Intramuros, or the Walled City, the images that immediately come to mind are those of narrow streets winding between old houses or alongside statuesque churches, all crammed within centuries old fortifications still housing artillery. Over the years this part of the City of Manila has drawn in students, scholars, tourists, or just anyone curious about a certain chapter in Philippine history, but this does not mean that foodies are completely out of the scene. In fact, right across San Agustin Church, is Ristorante delle Mitre, a place that provides delicious nourishment for the bodies that house the pious (or not quite) visitors to the Walled City.
The feeling of ‘going back in time’ whenever visiting Intramuros is still present when one visits Ristorante delle Mitre, as the furnishing and ambiance are reminiscent of the interior of the sala or dining room of a 19th century bahay na bato. As the name implies, this establishment is also a loving tribute to the clergy of the Philippines; various dishes on the menu are named after prominent cardinals, bishops, and other figures in the Philippine church. Yet the fare is a far cry from ascetic both in terms of variety and quality. One can stop by for a quick merienda of empanaditas (tiny empanadas) and coffee, or linger for a leisurely full course meal all the way to dessert.
We have had the opportunity to drop in for lunch twice at Ristorante delle Mitre. On our first venture there we tried two rice meals: fried tawilis, as well as beef salpicao. Now one of the best ways to cook tawilis is to fry it crisp such that one can crunch it, bones and all. Ristorante delle Mitre does exactly that, and so well to the point that we did not even need their delicious vinegar sawsawan to enjoy the fish. The beef salpicao was tender, with just enough garlic to give the dish its characteristic flavour without overpowering one’s tastebuds. Both of these meals were very affordable, within the price range of a lunch out in other popular restaurants.
Our second trip to Ristorante delle Mitre was slightly more decadent; we picked their pesto pasta and their grilled sole with mashed potatoes. Much to our delight the pesto was very well blended and flavourful, a far cry from simply minced basil leaves extended with lots of oil. The grilled sole was the highlight of the meal. In this restaurant spices are used judiciously, and this fish dish was no exception.
However, Ristorante delle Mitre is definitely not the place to go if one is in a rush. The service here is leisurely, and during peak hours it may take a while till one’s orders get served. However like most good things, the food here is definitely worth the wait.
The Food Score: 5/5. The selection and execution of the food in our two trips has been downright heavenly. Seasoned just right with a touch of clean presentation, can’t go wrong with that.
Ambiance/Service Score: 3/5. While it does try and come close to resembling a Spanish-era living room, it does go overboard with the number of statues and reliefs around it which make moving around slightly challenging if you have a backpack.
GERD Score: 4.5/5. As long as you refrain from drinking wine and picking something spicy (maybe a trigger food in your case), you’re pretty good to go and order most anything here.
Epilepsy Score: 4.5/5. While not all the items here are free of preservatives, such as the Vienna sausages on the breakfast menu, there are enough options for diners with restrictions. Desserts, coffee and other drinks are also not made with artificial sweeteners.
Team Glasses Score: 4/5. All in all, great food and mostly health conditions-friendly selections serve Ristorante delle Mitre quite well as a foodie stop for a decent, filling, and comforting meal.