Some people may see me as a foodie with safe choices. However, believe it or not, I've had my fair share of exotic dishes -- from the common frog legs, to the rare kilawing langgam (ant ceviche). So when I was invited to try out Les Tadeos, an exotic and Filipino fusion restaurant in Don A. Roces Avenue, Quezon City, I didn't pass up the chance.
Les Tadeos is a fairly new restaurant with a simple yet homey interior, one which somehow reminds me of a small local resto bar especially with its dim yellow-tinted lighting. It might not have the ambiance of a full service restaurant, but it definitely has a wide menu of Asian, Filipino and even Italian dishes aside from its selection of exotic food items.
To start off the dinner, we didn't immediately jump in to the exciting dishes. We first had a safe choice for an appetizer, Nachos Four-Way (P180) which is your regular nacho chips topped with 4 kinds of dips -- spinach, meat sauce, cheese and salsa.
Like any other nachos, Les Tadeos' are crispy and savory. Though I usually prefer just cheese and salsa on my nachos, the Nachos Four-Way tasted good and was really packed with lots of flavors. Serving is quite big and is definitely good for sharing.
We also got to sample the Les Tadeos Jalapeño (P160), deep-fried jalapeño coated with tempura batter and stuffed with meat and cheese. Although I usually have a low tolerance for spicy food, the Les Tadeos Jalapeño had just the right amount of heat for me. I actually enjoyed it, especially the crunchy batter and savory filling.
To whet our appetite even more, we had the Kilawin Duo (P178), Les Tadeos' own version of tuna and tanigue (sea bass) kinilaw. I honestly haven't eaten a lot of kinilaw in my life, but I very much enjoyed this duo of fish ceviche which definitely tasted of strong vinegar and spices.
We also got to try a new item on Les Tadeos, the Crocodile Kebab which was served with a garlic sauce. It was my first time to try crocodile meat, and I have to say that it tastes like a combination of fish and chicken but with a tougher texture. It doesn't taste bad, but I still prefer my soft, juicy and tender pork, beef and chicken meat so I was very thankful with the Honey Garlic Chicken (P170), tasty chicken wings marinated in a special honey-garlic sauce.
Taking a visit to the West, we also had the Les Tadeos Baby Back Ribs (P170) -- a chef's special marinated ribs served with Les Tadeos' own take on potato chips. Being a baby back ribs lover, I can say that this was a hit. The meat was tender and the sauce was oh-so-flavorful.
We also had the Shrimp & Basil Chiffonade Pizza (P170), thin crust pizza topped with shrimp and strips of basil. Even if I am allergic to seafood, I just couldn't say no to this Italian shrimp fest. And I can't help but commend Les Tadeos for not scrimping on the shrimp, and for making a crunchy pizza crust.
After taking a trip to the West, let's go back to the Philippines with a famous Ilocano dish called Dinakdakan (P140). This dish is basically grilled pork with onions, calamansi, mayonnaise and spices, served with a tomato salsa on the side. Although it was my first time to try Dinakdakan, I was definitely sold! It tastes a little similar to kilawin, but had more harmonious flavor.
I'm sure you're eagerly waiting for the more exotic dishes, so without further ado, here is the Crispy Balot (P150), a trio of good ol' balut but fried into a crisp. We also had the Sizzling Balot (P140), the saucy variety of balut cooked in a sizzling plate.
I grew up eating this popular Philippine delicacy so I definitely know my balut. Although I'd prefer the regular balut for its flavorful juices, I also liked Les Tadeos' balut dishes especially the crispy deep-fried variant.
Being Pinoy, we definitely love sisig so Les Tadeos had cooked up the Crocodile Sisig (P290), an exotic take on one of our all-time favorite pulutan (finger food). Like with the Crocodile Kebab, I can't help but pick up on the chewy and tough quality of the meat. Flavor-wise though, it was as good as most sisigs I've tried.
We also had the Sisig con Lengua (P175) -- sizzling sisig of ox tongue, as well as the Sizzling Bituka ng Baboy (P130) -- another sizzling dish but this time, using chitlins. Despite the difference on the type of offal used, both of these sizzling dishes were equally good. They both have a chewy texture, but the sauces they were cooked in were very flavorful.
Les Tadeos is an interesting restaurant to try if you want to have a taste of exotic dishes but can't head over to Angono, Rizal. Although I'd personally visit Les Tadeos for its unusual items, less adventurous eaters can also enjoy the wide variety of food at the restaurant as they also carry other Filipino, and even Western dishes. The restaurant interior may not be very comfortable especially if one is used to air-conditioned and wide, brightly-lit spaces, but for the price, Les Tadeos is definitely worth a visit.
Ambiance - 3/5
Service - 4/5
Price - 4.5/5
Overall Value - 3.5/5
Les Tadeos Restaurant, Quezon City
97 Don A. Roces Ave.,
Quezon City, Metro Manila