Cocina Juan: Latino Flavors of Maginhawa


When one talks of a place where visual art, good food and young hippy crowds mix harmoniously, no doubt that would be the small village street that has now gained fame bigger, and longer, than itself – Maginhawa Street. Spanning three residential villages, Maginhawa was initially a secret hangout of UP Fine Arts students but eventually, attracted the socialite crowds of Ateneo. As we went around, we discovered the top-rated, “hole-in-the-wall” restaurant called Cocina Juan. Hungry, we decided try them out!

Cocina Juan is a reflection of what Maginhawa is, simplistic exterior, artistic interior, and unassuming food. Originally of Tex-Mex Cuisine or the American interpretation of Mexican Cuisine, Cocina Juan transformed to more Latino vibe after the restaurant co-owner Robert Adviento visited Nicaragua. Inspired by the beauty of Nicaraguan culture and cuisine, he came back to Manila and re-invented the restaurant business. Pumped up with new energy, the restaurant was transformed to daily “fiesta” of color and taste!

Nachos Supreme Todo (P249)

First impressions always last and when he told us that we should expect a fiesta, he indeed gave us a fiesta as the nachos came in a orderly explosion of colors: red, yellow, purple, dash of green. Does it taste good as it looks? Definitely, and more than we expected!

Tortilla Ensalada Con Chimichurri (P169)

This all veggie salad fare was impressive! Chimichurri sauce did a good work as salad dressing while capers added a characteristic sour kick to the salad, which was interesting as paired with cheese. Lightness of this dish is a good prelude to a carbo-protein load.

Beef Tostada (P169)

A ‘kick starter,’ the Beef Tostada is still light and comparable to the Tortilla Ensalada Con Chimichurri but, the bits of beef comes as a friendly bump in the meal. The dish comes as cheesier and leafy rather than a defined beefy taste, good for the regular light eaters.

Beef Burritos Classico (P199)

Chuleta De Cordero Chimichurri (P289)

Baked Fish Con Queso (P299)

Cerdo Castillo Chimichurri (P289)

Churrasco De Nicaragua (P549)

Sopa Borracha Con Frio Crema (P159)

Dessert comes as breath of fresh air after a full, protein-loaded meal. Literally reads as “drunk soup” in Spanish, it derives its name from the caramelized rum sauce base. A dash of lemon juice tempers the liquorish taste and acts as “palate cleanser” after the meal.

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About Mark Mayo - Magallanes

MARK MAYO - MAGALLANES – blogger by passion, cook by hobby, student by life, theater actor by fate, writer by work, and Christian by grace. Part Filipino, Chinese and Spanish by blood, he is proudly 100% Negrénse. His love for his home Island of Negros, heritage and lifestyle has led him to write much about it and full-time, all-time. View all posts by Mark Mayo - Magallanes

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