For Filipino casual dining, you can’t go wrong with Via Mare

Cafe Via Mare is a Filipino restaurant that’s been thriving in the Philippines since the 80s. Operated by Glenda Barretto, the well regarded restaurateur who started Via Mare as a seafood specialty restaurant in the 70s, Via Mare expanded to a chain of coffeeshops to satisfy casual diners who want a more relaxed atmosphere to enjoy Filipino food.

It is a personal favorite because it hardly disappoints. I’ve dined in the Greenbelt 1, Greenbelt 3, Landmark Makati and Shangri-La Plaza mall outlets and often come away satisfied by the food selection and quality, warm service and reasonable prices.

Our party of four visited the Shangri-La Plaza branch.

We ordered:

1. Pako salad  (Featured Image) – winner! This was the first time I noticed pako (fiddlehead fern) salad listed on the menu. Years ago, I enjoyed a lovely pako salad with kesong puti in a quaint Pagsanjan restaurant and wanted to repeat the experience. Via Mare’s version — just as memorable — had shrimp, chopped tomatoes, red bell pepper strips and salted eggs. The fiddlehead ferns were deep green, crisp and delightful.


Baked Oysters

2. Baked oysters – impressively presented on a bed of salt: 8 oysters on half shells baked with 3-cheese sauce. It is easy to see why Via Mare is famous for its delicious, consistently fresh oysters. I believe their oysters are shipped daily from Roxas City, also know as the seafood capital of the Philippines.

3. Molo soup – steaming hot and hearty soup of meat dumplings with shrimp. It was a tad salty for my taste though.


Beef Kaldereta

4. Beef kaldereta – tender beef cubes in rich tomato sauce with olives. Delicious, like always.


Bam-i Guisado

5. Bam-i guisado – We were celebrating a birthday so we had to have noodles for long life. Noodles were flavorful and loaded with chicken, shrimp and veggies

6. Crab omelet – fluffy flaked crab omelet was served with fried vegetable lumpia (egg rolls filled with sauteed beansprouts and greens) with vinegar dip. Simple and good.


Halo Halo | Guinumis | Mais Con Hielo

7. Shooters trio – halo halo, mais con hielo and guinumis – a trio of cold and sweet refreshments in shotglasses. Perfect serving size for a light dessert for 3 people, great value too! We ordered an extra guinumis because there were four of us

8. Bibingka – a native rice cake, heavenly with its slices of toasted quezo de bola (edam cheese) on top and grated coconut, this is another must-order specialty of Via Mare. They also offer bibingka with salted eggs instead of quezo de bola.

We ordered more than enough but finished everything! Food bill came to a little over P500 each for 4.

Over-all, another wonderful dining experience.

If the waiters did not take too long to serve the pako salad and the bibingka (I think the waiters are new — looked like they forgot our salad and bibingka orders until we followed up), I’d even say that our visit was perfect.

We know we’ll be back, again and again.

Cafe & Oyster Bar Express

Ground Floor,  Shangri-La Plaza Mall,
Mandaluyong City, Philippines
Tel. No. 631-1613; 631-1933
Operating Hours:

Monday – Thursday 11:00am – 9:00pm                                                                     Friday 11:00am – 10:00pm                                                                                     Saturday 10:00am – 10:00pm                                                                                 Sunday 10:00am – 9:00pm

(2nd floor available for private functions)

Other Locations: The Landmark @ Trinoma | Eastwood Mall | Rockwell | Greenbelt 3 | Greenbelt 1 | The Landmark – Makati | Greenhills Promenade | UP Diliman Campus – GT Toyota Center | Tomas Morato | Panay Avenue | St. Luke’s Global |Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) |

Images courtesy of Via Mare


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