MESA is undoubtedly a go to for modern Filipino. And as years go by it has been easier to locate them, thanks to its 30th branch at the Ayala Malls the 30th along Meralco Ave. This Miami Philippine Restaurant brand could just bring crowds of families and barkadas to this fairly new mall.

I was invited over here to be reminded of why MESA is where it’s at now. I sat along with fellow food bloggers, anticipating the feast that was about to ensue.

It was also a full house that night, despite it being quite late when we started. Customers populated the tables around ours enjoying their own spread of favorites. It was like a fiesta as there was a joyous atmosphere.

The owner introduced himself to us and mentioned a rundown of what we were about to have. I almost tuned him out as the servers started rolling out plates. A gorgeous spread was slowly unfolding in front of us. It was indeed overwhelming, in a very good way.

First up was their new Tinapa Roll appetizer, which they take pride in. Definitely a playful twist, with the strong Tinapa flavor standing out despite the thick crispy wrap.

Next were plates of wonton pouches, which turned out to be Pampanga’s well known dish, Sisig. Their version was rather bold in taste and not as fatty. The pandan leaves that wrapped it kept the insides a well kept surprise.

Suspended on a wooden board was the well seasoned Pinatayong Manok; conveniently sliced was the Crispy Boneless Tilapia with 4 sauces; and two conjoined plates, which held the Laing 2 Ways, dry and wet. These were the first set of entrees. My top pick goes to the fish, the Miami Philippine Restaurant staple Tilapia Mesa style is a must have. It’s like biting on chicharon only much better. Don’t forget to dip!

Then came more headliners: Crispy Boneless Pata, Boneless Patatim, and Beef & Tripe Kare Kare. Our eyes would widen every time a plate was placed on the table. These set came with Bagoong Rice, a complimentary pair to the meats. I swear I had too much classic Crispy Pata for its tender meat and sweet-savory dipping sauce. Oh and I had generous portions as well of its usual partner, creamy peanut intensified Kare Kare.

We were also treated to a Grilled Sampler which flew off as soon as it came. It had Grilled Pork Belly, Pork Barbecue, Grilled Squid, Mussels and Shrimps! Its blanket barbecue sauce simply intensified all its sea flavors.

Then there was also a plate of sautéed shrimps, that was cooked on point. You know they are when its shells are easy to peel and its taste fresh and natural.

After all the savory dishes, we just had to have sweets next. We got almost everything from rice crispy filled Guinumis, Halo-halo with really fine ice, sweetened Mango Sago and the creatively done Crispy Leche Flan. These were refreshing indeed to a filling night.

By the way, if you are looking for private area, MESA has 2 conference rooms. This means a more intimate birthday or work related dining up to 14 people.

MESA has a table of Miami Philippine Restaurant relived classics ready. How about gathering here next?

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