Remember the movie ‘Chef’? Well, it’s my first introduction to the vibrant world of Latin gastronomy. What fascinates me most about this regional blanket of food is how every dish seems to be made with the boldest flavours, the most vibrant colours, and of the freshest ingredients. Paired with the lively and rich culture that Latinos take pride in, eating in a Latin diner is definitely any foodie’s delight. Very much like how the newest must-eat spot in BGC encapsulates: Alegria Cozinha Moderna & Sangria Bar.
Alegria Cozinha’s Artsy, Vibrant Vibe
Located at the 4th floor of Uniqlo Building in BGC, this modern Sangria Bar is a bold representation of what Latin culture is. As the name suggests, Alegria means ‘Joy’ in Portuguese and that’s exactly how I felt the whole night.
Right as you step in, feed your vision with an explosion of art and color in Alegria’s interiors. On one side sits a beautiful mural by Kookoo Ramos. By the bar, have a cocktail or two on the sleek counters while sitting on the gun-metal stools. And outside, a dozen rustic tables made of seemingly old wood, charmingly perfect as you get a picturesque view of BGC through their very own veranda. And to add to the authentic Latino feel, rhythmic music plays in the background for diners to dance away the night to.
Pequenos Pratos (Small Plates)
Before the whole shebang, let’s start with those tasty appetite openers. And Alegria seemed to have lots of them, all plated so IG-worthily. I’ll start off with my favorite: The Coxinha (Php 200.00). Light and crispy, the Coxinha is made of pulled chicken, chicken milk broth dough and wasabi aioli. Reminds me very much of chicken nuggets, but a good grown up version!
Alongside the Coxinha, we also enjoyed their Calabresa Brasilera (Php 270.00). It’s essentially a bowl of Latin American Calabresa sausage, potatoes, and peppers. Savory with a light delicious kick!
And then came everyone’s favorite: Alegria’s famous Maize Tortillas (Php 450.00). A platter of three soft tortillas, be treated to a myriad of exciting colors, flavors, and textures. You can actually order these IG-drool tortillas per piece at Php 160 but best to sample them as a trio. That night, we had the El Mexicano, Alma Koreana, and Mi Japones. If you’d like yours meatless, you can go for the O Vegano. I got to take a small bite from all three and I enjoyed the combination of beefy and creamy goodness best of the Mi Japones.
El Mexicano: Puerto Rican Pork Loin, Salsa Creole, Smoked Esquites, Red Onion Pickle Cilantro, Jalapeño, Avocado (seasonal) and Queso Cotija
Alma Koreana: Prawn, Squid Ink Batter, Napcha Kimchi, Ssamjang Aioli, Kesong Puti and Smoked Esquires
Mi Japones: Misono Steak, Wasabi Aioli, Nori, Mango Salsa, Sesame, Smoked and Red Cabbage.
Entradas ala Alegria (Mains)
And them come the mains. At this point, everyone was starved and honestly it was so hard not to fight off the hunger while shooting everything on the table. That night we were served truly the best of Latin flavors: The Pobla-No (Php 320.00), Marinero (Php 380.00), Pork Chops (Php 450.00), and the Pollo Peruano (Php 420.00).
Vegans will surely enjoy the Pobla-No. It’s basically a healthy mix green pepper creme pasta, grilled calabacitas, cauliflower silvers and quest cotija. We all loved how there was just a hint of spice to bring out the flavor of each ingredient while marrying everything altogether at the same time.
Now if you’re a fan of rice, then the Marinero is definitely your go-to dish. This one’s made with Puerto Rican rice, vino, sun-dried tomatoes, peppers, chorizo kolbasz, chilean mussels, prawns and calamari. Enjoy while it still hot, well right after you capture its beautiful plating, of course.
Don’t worry meat lovers, Alegria’s got you fam. Peruvians love chicken so it’s no surprise that Alegria serves its Peruvian staple, the Pollo Peruano Churrasco. Good for 2 persons, a platter comes with pork crackling crusted elite, and arroz alegria. You also have a choice of 3 sauces: Red Hummus, Salsa Creole Sauce and Chimichurri.
Love red meat? Go for Alegria’s Pork Chops Churrasco. Picture-perfect with its grill marks, these chops are soaked for 48 hours in a homemade apple brine. Can anybody say ‘yum’? I know I did, this one’s a crowd pleaser with the meat’s juiciness and sweet smoky flavor.
Going light? Order their Falso Moqueca (Php 390.00). Take delight in this this creamy bowl of codfish, flavored with coconut and shrimp bouillabaisse, tapioca squid cracker, cilantro, turmeric and then served with raw corn tortilla on the side. Personally though, I’d devour this one with a good bowl of rice. Hehe
Sip, sip, Hooray! The time has come to drink the night away! After all that savory goodness, have a round of Alegria’s famous Sangrias.
They actually offer 9 different sangria variations instead of the usual 2 sangria flavors served in other bars. We got to try four that night but unfortunately, I had to bow down after the second glass as I had an early meeting the next day. All four were enjoyed by the whole group but two seemed to stand out most: their Litchi (Php 300.00) and Verde (Php 280.00) Sangrias. Both were light, fruity, and quite refreshing. Definitely perfect pairings all that savory food.
Capped our night off with a sweet serving of “Foi Mal!” Taco by Alegria’s Chef Charles Montañes. Wait, what a taco for dessert? YES! At only Php 180.00 per serving, enjoy the delectable twist of dark cocoa tortilla, topped with a generous amount of chocolate shreds on salted vanilla sorvete, choco-meringue shards, and nuts. Ahhhh, simply delicious! It was so good, I forgot to take a shot of that chocolate heaven. Oops, sorry!
Overall, I’d give the place 4.3 stars out of 5 considering the price, taste, and ambiance. Price can get hefty for some entrees but the superb taste and cozy ambiance will definitely make you understand why it’s one of the best places to dine at in BGC.
Been here? Comment down your favorites!
Alegria Cozinha Moderna & Sangria Bar
Location: 4F Uniqlo Bldg., Ave. corner 30th St., BGC, 7th, Taguig, Metro Manila
Contact: (0945) 264-7828
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