Vatos Urban Tacos
G/F Net Park Bldg., 5th Ave., Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, Metro Manila
- 11 Reviews
- 84 Recommend
- 11 Reviewers
- Business Hours
- Open: 11:00a - 11:00p
- 11:00a - 11:00p
- 11:00a - 11:00p
- 11:00a - 11:00p
- 11:00a - 11:00p
- 11:00a - 11:00p
- 11:00a - 1:00a
- 11:00a - 12:00a
Most Recent Reviews
I’ve gotten to know Korean-Mexican food a while back now, when I tried out another restaurant of the same fusion cuisine in Cebu. Since then, I’ve realized that the combination really works, and so I am excited to find more restaurants with similar adventurous flavor variations.
Vatos is a Kor-Mex restaurant originally from Seoul and has eventually branched out to Singapore. Manta Equities Inc., a real estate company franchised the brand to Manila as the company owners’ kids loved it in SG. The company is no stranger to the F&B scene as they have also brought Domê and Mangetsu to popularity. Now, Vatos in BGC has been open since February 2018, and operational to the public.
It just makes perfect sense to mix the two cuisines because of their similar eating practices. To enjoy your favorite Korean barbecue, you’d most likely cut it up, put it on a lettuce leaf along with a spicy sauce and wrap it, very much like a taco. As for the popular Mexican dishes, we’re very familiar with tortilla creations that would almost always include pieces of flavorful cooked meat, some greens, spicy sauces and cheese which again is obviously very similar. The rich marinated and grilled meats of Korea definitely pair well with Mexican wraps and dishes, so it’s easy to expect awesome food when they’re put together.
Last January, I had a guest from the USA who saw that this restaurant was about to open and she just raved about it. She told me she got to try it in Seoul and absolutely loved it, so she recommended it to me as well. Since they’ve opened, I’ve planned to visit them but haven’t had the right time for it. So when I got a message from P of an invitation for a |ooloo rendezvoos for this place, I gave her a resounding “OMYGOSH YES!” in a heart beat. ️
To be completely honest, I enjoyed everything that night and even ten times more than my expectation! Here’s a complete run down of what we had then.
1.) Vatos Cowboy Queso - PHP 390
“A molten queso dip made from a blend of pepper jack and cheddar cheeses, black beans, pico de gallo, cilantro lime creama, and fresh hand-cut tortilla chips served smoldering hot.”
Talk about starting the meal with a bang! This ooey gooey bowl of cheesy goodness is definitely up there for me for best cheese dips I have had in my life! It was so flavorful, and not at all cloying. Plus, the chips were amazing, wonderfully crispy, seasoned well and doesn’t break too fast with the hot molten cheese. I absolutely loved this dish!
2.) Kimchi Carnitas Fries - PHP 390
“The one and only Vatos original! Seasoned French fries covered with braised pork carnitas, sautéed kimchi, melted cheese and topped with sour cream, Vatos hot sauce, cilantro and onion. One bite is never enough”
They weren’t kidding when they said one bite is enough. 🏼 I could easily finish a whole serving of this in spite of the huge portion size. The fries itself was fantastic, every piece was crispy and didn’t become soggy very quickly and very well seasoned. The pulled pork was divine, very tasty, tender and delicious. This dish truly belonged on their specials.
3.) Korean Pork Belly Tacos - PHP 320 (2 tacos) / PHP 450 (3 tacos)
“Pork belly marinated with Korean soy paste, ssam-jang aioli, sliced onion & pickled onion.”
I love tacos, and this is probably one of the best ones I’ve tried in a long time. The pork was divine, omygosh! It was so flavorful and juicy and tender, grilled to perfection. The corn tortilla was wonderful, probably the best I’ve had. It had the right “corny” taste, very well seasoned and balanced with the soft and chewy texture. Only praises for this simple uey super delicious dish!
4.) Spicy Chicken Tacos - PHP 280 (2 tacos) / PHP 380 (3 tacos)
“Spicy marinated chicken, pico de gallo, sour cream, Mexican cheese and Vatos hot sauce.”
I am not too accustomed to spicy food, but Vatos sure got the level of heat I could tolerate perfectly. The chicken was spiced with distinctly Korean flavors and it went to so well with the sauces they added on each taco creation they have. The texture of the meat is perfect!
5.) Chili Lime Shrimp - PHP 280 (2 tacos) / PHP 380 (3 tacos)
“Flash-fried shrimp, Asian slaw, pico de gallo, cilantro, chopped onion & lime-cilantro sour cream.”
I loved that the shrimp that they use is plump and fresh that it kind of tasted sweet already. I loved this one too, and the sauces they used enhanced the seafood flavor.
6.) Honey Tequila Chicken Wings - PHP 420
“Chicken wings coated in our sweet & spicy honey tequila sauce served with deep-fried masa-battered jalapeños and blue cheese dipping sauce.”
OMEGED ANSARAP PO HUHUHU The sweetness, the savory flavor, the texture of the chicken, everythhing about this dish is divine! No wonder it’s also on their specials list. I loved that each piece includes both the drummet and the wingey so you won’t feel kind of cheated on the payment in terms of number of pieces. 🏼Each piece was huge and flavorful and just amazing! Love love love this chicken wings dish so much! ️
7.) Nutella Nachos - PHP 225
“Crispy tortilla triangles dusted with cinnamon, sugar, and hazelnut Nutella sauce, topped off with a heaping scoop of vanilla ice cream and powdered sugar.
Oh I loved this creative dessert so much! The chips they used were not the nachos we’re used to, but rather they were made from a flour based dough. Each piece is fried till toasted and wonderfully crispy. The hazelnut syrus and the ice cream complemented really well with the chips. This serving is nice to be shared, but I can easily finish this on my own too. 🏼 So good!
Their bar here is so beautiful as well, it just invited you to order drinks as well! Don’t miss out on trying their Vatos Ritas because they’re equally attractive as they’re tasty!
8.) Sexy Sanchez Vatos’ Rita - PHP 480
“Strawberry Margarita + Albens Apple and Strawberry Cider”
I love sweet drinks so this pretty and huge glass is definitely for me. 🏼 It was very refreshing and the strawberry flavor is bery pronounced. Not too heavy on the liquor too, so I really liked it!
9.) Grow a Pear Vatos Rita - PHP 480
“Passion Fruit Margarita + Magners Pear Cider”
Another drink that I really liked! It was less sweet than the Sexy Sanchez, but equally satisfying!
10.) Makgeolitas - PHP 350 (Double - Add 100)
“Tequila meets makgeolli (Korean rice alcohol) in this sweet & tangy cocktail. (Warning! It’s strong!)”
Take that warning seriously! I just know I’d keep drinking this without minding the alcohol because I could barely taste the alcohol. We got to try Mango, Passion Fruit and classic. All tangy, very fruity and again refreshing. I really liked these drinks too!
I’m so glad I finally got to try it and I can’t wait to come back as they mentioned they’re continuously coming up with more dishes for the Pinoys to enjoy. I’ll definitely watch out for their all day breakfast bowls and other rice meals!
Thank you again to our amazing and gracious hosts! Thanks again, Peanut D and Roegan T for the invite! Always a great night with awesome |ooloo foodies! ️ Russel F Reich T Eboy D Will C Mary Love S Anna D Chrisalyn T
***Note: The event is sponsored by Vatos, BGC as partnership with |ooloo.
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Vatos is a Korean-Mexican fusion concept that originated from South Korea in 2011. The idea of bringing a new dining experience in South Korea by having two different cuisines combined - Korean and Mexican, has result to exceptional dishes that gained a lot of praises for Vatos!
And just last week, we were invited to another exciting and fun-filled looloo rendezvoos sponsored by Vatos at their newly-opened branch in the Philippines that’s located at Netpark Bldg. along 5th Avenue in BGC, Taguig. This got me so excited because I love both cuisines, and was really looking forward to trying their most-acclaimed dishes!
Let me start with my thoughts about the place...
While waiting for our food, I was able to snap every corner of the restaurant! I immediately noticed the unique interiors which was hard to see from the outside. The walls were almost bare and they retained the minimal design approach which makes it more dramatic and bold. They said that they draw inspiration from their very first branch in South Korea which results to a rugged motif which looks dramatic and adds some avantgarde feel.
Then they served us some Fresh Chips and Salsa as a starter. It’s a fresh corn tortilla served whole with tomatillo salsa verde and roasted onion chipotle salsa. I really love the chipotle salsa more because it’s quite spicy which I think perfectly fits the corn tortilla chip!
Next we had everyone’s favorite - the Vatos Cowboy Queso! Oh boy, I missed taking a good photo of this because I was already drooling and I couldn’t take my eyes off it! I love cheese and I was stoked when it was served to us! The hot creamy cheese dip was made of pepper jack and cheddar cheeses, black beans, pico de Gallo, and cilantro lime cream! Perfect to pair with their hand-cut tortilla chips that’s also good to munch even on its own. The molten cheese dip is thick and is really sinful but not “too much to take” or overwhelming.
Next we finally had the chance to try their Urban tacos. I love tacos, whether it’s crispy hard shell or soft ones - I’m on it!
We had three of their signature tacos - the Spicy Chicken, Korean Pork Belly, and the Chili Lime Shrimp.
The spicy chicken is quite spicy and I liked the tenderness of the meat along with the sour cream, cheese, and hot sauce.
The Korean Pork belly was quite good - somehow lacks some “punch”!
Chili Lime Shrimp is definitely my favorite! I really love the combination of the lime-cilantro sour cream and the fried shrimps! Not the usual when it comes to tacos that are always meat so it’s a new experience!!! And I wouldn’t mind eating this all night with some of their Vatos Ritas! Not to mention that the taco shells aren’t just made of plain flour so it won’t break apart when you eat it! 🏼
Now for some Specials.. we had the Kimchi Carnitas Fries and Honey Tequila Chicken wings...
Kimchi Carnitas Fries is their own take of our favorite French Fries and this has to be one of the most interesting dishes for me. Seasoned French fries topped with braised pork carnitas, sautéed kimchi, melted cheese and then drenched with sour cream, Vatos hot sauce, cilantro, and onion. It’s like a medley of flavours in one bite especially for a French fries recipe. It's good that the kimchi is not overpowering the meat, as well as the fries aren’t that greasy and not soggy even if it gets cold. It is something that you won’t get outside but only here at Vatos!
The Honey Tequila Chicken wings is something to die for! Chicken wings coated in special sweet & spicy honey tequila sauce served with blue cheese dipping sauce. This is definitely my favorite because of its unique yet savoury, and unforgettable taste. It’s quite spicy but it’s not as intimidating as other wings which has that sour/spicy scent. This one’s a total opposite of the usual wings as it’s not soaked with spicy sauce which results to having that remarkable flavour in every bite.
For some sweet endings, we had the Nutella Nachos. Crispy tortilla glazed with cinnamon sugar, drenched with Nutella sauce, and then topped with vanilla ice cream. Not too sweet for my liking which is good to avoid having that cloying feeling. It’s also good for sharing!
For some walwal-like endings, we had some of their signature drinks aka Vatos Ritas: Sexy Sanchez (the sweetest of them all) and Grow A Pear (less sweeter)! Both are good, and has that distinct refreshing taste after every sip. I like the latter a lot more because of the Passion Fruit margarita which I haven’t tried all my life.
Overall, a satisfying and another memorable looloo rendezvoos that’s one for the books! We love the place, the food, and the drinks we had that night! The place may be intimidating from the outside, but you know, there’s more than meets the eye!
Special thanks to the Vatos team for having us! We had fun speaking with everyone in the team and it’s a pleasure to meet them!!!
Ofcourse, big thanks to |ooloo for inviting us! It was nice seeing you all again and meeting new faces from the community!!!
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Just like technology, people all over the world are producing new creations one at a time. It is either because of wanting to be on trend or mainly because they want to share the use of their creations for the world to see and benefit from. Some people might be doing it for earning a living, but others just really want people to be inspired, grow and believe that everyone can make a difference.
Food is like technology for chefs or anyone passionate about food. You either create food that is on trend, or make something that will define a little bit about you and incorporate it into the dish.
Learning a bit about how things started with Vatos made me realize how the food defined a little bit of history of the people behind it. Vatos at first impression would seem like your typical Mexican restaurant. I honestly wouldn’t think that the food they serve are Korean-Mexican fusion. I wouldn’t even be curious enough to try the restaurant right away when i pass by it, because it just didn’t seem like it was any different. I guess it just lacked a bit of something to let people know that they serve Mexican-Korean dishes not just Mexican food.
As for food being defined by the people behind it, Sid Kim the Korean-American co-owner of the restaurant, was surrounded with having mostly Mexican employees. Sid Kim’s mom would usually pack Korean food for them to share with the employees. Basically mixing 2 cuisines that gave him the idea for creating the dishes for Vatos. What makes it unique was that he grew up eating the dishes now being served at Vatos or actually created something even better. Makes me feel like the food are closer to his heart and home.
Anyway, to cut things short. I would like to proceed with the food that me and my fellow looloo reviewers were able to try that night. Note that this was a sponsored event and we were the lucky few who were asked to try their dishes and to give our honest reviews of the restaurant.
First of for starters, we had the FRESH CHIPS & SALSA (Php 95), made of corn tortillas with tomatillo salsa verde and roasted onion chipotle salsa. It had that slight saltiness from the chips, added with some sour flavor and a kick of spice from the salsa verde. The onion chipotle salsa however had a bit of sour and salty flavor to it. I had a bite from 2 of the individual salsa, but i also took a bite with 2 of them combined. Combining both would be good, as they have completely different flavors, but i still prefer the tomatillo salsa verde though.
Also under starters would be the VATOS COWBOY QUESO (Php 390). It had a smoldering hot bowl of molten cheese dip of pepper jack, cheddar cheese, black beans, pico de gallo and cilantro lime crema. Plus a basket of fresh hand-cut tortilla chips. What i love about this dish is that the cheese was stringy and gave it a mild creamy and salty flavor. I also love that the slices of jalapeno added the sour and spicy flavor to it as well. It’s way better to eat the chips with the jalapeno than just adding molten cheese alone. I would honestly say that this dish was actually quite addictive.
Second, under specials, we had the KIMCHI CARNITAS FRIES (Php 390). This dish is an original. Vatos original that is. Composed of crispy french fries, seasoned well and covered with braised pork carnitas, kimchi, melted cheese, sour cream, vatos hot sauce, cilantro and onion. What i like about this dish is that even though it had a lot of toppings, it didn’t become soggy at all. Plus, we were told that it wasn’t double fried or half cooked and then fried again the 2nd time. I liked how every toppings go so perfectly well with each other. A few meaty chunks of flavor, sour, spicy, slightly salty and sweet flavors all together. If I wasn’t avoiding too much of fried food. I would definitely order a basket of this dish and just finish this dish on my own. A great dish to order as your pica-pica, along with their delicious margaritas.
Under specials as well is their HONEY TEQUILA CHICKEN WINGS (Php 420). It is Korean-style fried chicken wings coated in sweet and spicy honey tequila sauce, topped with deep fried jalapenos, and blue cheese dipping on the side. I would just like to say that I am so in love with this dish. Not only is it unique and you can’t compare the taste of it elsewhere. In addition, wings were also served big. They don't chop of the wings in small sizes, separating the 2 connecting joints and serving it small. They really give you your money’s worth. Flavors of the dish however had a mix of spicy, sweet and salty. It also kind of had that hint of soy sauce to it as well. However, of course since tequila was boiled in with the sauce. You can’t get that strong hint of alcohol anymore, but it is still so worth the try. I swear you guys wouldn’t regret it.
Thirdly, under Vatos Urban Tacos, they have SPICY CHICKEN (Php 280-2 Tacos/ Php 380-3 Tacos) with spicy marinated chicken, pico de gallo, sour cream, Mexican cheese & vatos hot sauce. It tastes like your typical delicious taco but more flavorful. Chicken were tender as well. I actually like this dish.
KOREAN PORK BELLY (Php 320-2 Tacos/ Php 450-3 Tacos). Taco stuffed with grilled fatty pork belly, topped with ssamjang aioli, pickled onion, sliced onion with a sprinkle of sesame seeds. This dish is actually quiet unique. It was a good dish but i would actually prefer a slightly sweeter tasting pork. It will give of that sweet, plus the sour and spicy flavors from the other ingredients added in the dish.
CHILI LIME SHRIMP (Php 280-2 Tacos/ Php 380-3 Tacos) is made with shrimps, asian slaw, pico de gallo, cilantro, chopped onion & lime-cilantro sour cream. I may be a bit bias because i love seafood and thus i would say that i love this dish as well.
Fourth comes dessert, which is the NUTELLA NACHOS (Php 225). Composed of crispy tortilla chips in triangles, dusted with cinnamon, sugar and drizzled with hazelnut Nutella sauce. Topped with a scoop of Vanilla ice cream and confectioner. I love this dish, it isn't too sweet but i swear it was quite addicting. This dish is good for sharing in order not to give you that umay effect.
Of course, Lastly, the night wouldn’t be over without a few drinks for us to try. For their frozen margaritas, we had the SEXY SANCHEZ (Php 480), which is one of the sweetest margarita listed. It is strawberry margarita, with albens apple and Magners berry cider. I would say that this drink kind of reminded me of Tempra Cough Medicine but only better. I am not quite fond of this drink but to each their own right?!
GROW A PEAR (Php 480) however is least sweeter than the strawberry, It is made with Passion fruit margarita and Magners Pear Cider. This drink i would say is my pick for the night. I could finish one of this thing on my own on girls night out.
Under Makgeolitas however would be their MANGO (Php 330 per glass). Makgeolitas is actually a blend of Korean rice with and tequila. In here they added mango syrup. I think this drink is spiked more with alcohol compared to the frozen margaritas. I'm not actually so fond of it but i guess it is still okay. I prefer the passion fruit flavor though than classic or mango.
Overall experience in this restaurant was enjoyable. Staffs were friendly and really knowledgeable about the dishes. I would actually recommend this restaurant to my friends and to you guys as well.
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Originating from Korea and with branches in Seoul and Singapore, Vatos opened its third branch at Net Park, BGC last February 2018. They serve Korean-Mexican fusion food and drinks - a seemingly unlikely combination but which I was happily proven wrong when I was invited by Peanut D to my first ever looloo rendezvous.
While waiting for our food, we were served fresh corn tortilla chips with tomatillo salsa verde and roasted onion chipotle. Both salsas were equally refreshing and crisp to the bite.
Vatos Cowboy Queso: not your ordinary cheese dip. The acidity of the cilantro lime crema cuts through all the cheesy goodness, negating any “umay” factor. Served bubbling hot. Proceed with caution - very addicting.
Kimchi Carnitas Fries: glorious harmony of braised pulled pork carnitas and kimchi. The fries were unsuprisingly crispy and not soggy underneath. Would order again!
Soft tacos time! Korean Pork Belly, Chimichurri Chicken, Chili Lime Shrimp: was only able to taste the first two, but the majority of my companions loved the chili lime shrimp the most. As for me and as an ardent fan of all things spicy, the chimichurri chicken was the one. The chicken was tender and the blend of sweet and tangy chimichurri salsa makes me want to have five of these. The Korean pork belly was just okay for me. I found it to be quite dry and lacking in the flavor department.
Honey Tequila Chicken Wings: the star of the night. This was amazing. I’ve probably been to every chicken wing joint there is in the metro and this is the first time I’ve ever encountered such flavors. Not overwhelmingly sweet and spicy and will probably convert non-wing lovers. Also, deep fried masa-battered jalapeños? Sign me up.
Nutella Nachos - perfect night cap. Can I say that I really, really liked this one as well? The cinnamon and powdered sugar-covered tortillas remained crispy long after the ice cream has melted. Very comfort food material.
They also serve fusion alcoholic drinks such as their Makgeolitas - a blend of tequila and Korean rice wine. One can choose from various flavors. My favorite was the Classic. We also got to try their signature drinks, namely Sexy Sanchez and Grow a Pear. I liked the latter better as it was refreshing, thanks to the apple cider. Grab a co-worker and drink this one after a long day, along with some tacos, of course.
The place may look intimidating from the onset (and at night), what with it’s industrial interiors, steam punk-ish decor, and dim lighting, but inside hosts warm and attentive staff who are more than happy to be of service. Price-point may be steep for some, but note that everything (yes, everything) on their menu is good for sharing.
Overall, Vatos is an exciting and a wonderful addition to the array of restaurants in BGC, and as one of (if not the only one) the few in the metro that serves Korean-Mexican fusion food, Vatos is definitely a stand-out.
Note: This event was sponsored by Vatos and looloo.
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Its my first to dine at a mexican/korean restaurant, having tried a few mexican and korean restaurants in the past, i think i have a benchmark on how i would do this review, though i must humbly admit that im not a fan nor an expert for these type of cuisine so much so that its a fusion of both.
I received an invite from Peanut D. for this event having no idea what im getting into since i have no idea what cuisine vatos was serving, well something new is still a good news. Based from google info, this place at Itaewon Seoul had a rating of 4.2 out of 5 based on 700++ reviewers. So this must be something good. With the spending power of hip young south korea market, i would understand their preference for foreign cuisine which makes this place obviously a hit.
The interior of this place exude an industrial vibe, sort of the same with their seoul counterpart based on google image, i personally like it as a hangout place with colleague or friends after work.
While the group is taking turns on taking photo, i took the chance to sample the food items that were already at the table :P
Vatos Cowboy Queso - Nacho Chips + sizzling bowl of gooey blend of cheddar cheese, pepper jack, black bean, etc. It looks like a melted pot of gold but i quite find it unique as compare to the generic cheese on top. There were quite a few moments wherein nachos breaks when being dipped it into the bowl of cheese. Not a deal breaker but sorry to the group if i left few leftovers of nachos inside the bowl :P
Kimchi Carnitas Fries – I like how the fries are not soggy even with pork carnitas, kimchi, melted cheese, cilantro, hot sauce, onion... i really like the melody of these flavour blended together, though i would appreciate if the spice level can be upped a little bit.
Tacos – I know a few places in manila that served good soft shell taco and this one was definitely one of the best in metro. It comes with the following variant pork belly, spicy chicken, chilli lime shrimp. And out of 3 i really like the chilli lime shrimp taco with its 2 or 3 pcs pop friend shrimp, pico de gallo, cilantro, onion, it was simply the best among the 3, followed by pork belly which reminds me of grilled liempo with Korean soy past and pickled onion.
Honey Tequila Chicken Wings – I must admit this one is better than some restaurant that specialized in chicken wings. The meat was very tender and i can tell that there was effort put when defrosting and marinating this dish. Korean style chicken with blue cheese dip...
They do have lots of interesting drink but since im off alcohol, i can’t tell you much about these.
The food here are aptly priced for its quality, so thats a good news. Totally recommend this for group dinner or meetup.
This event was sponsored by Vatos Urban Tacos and looloo. So thank you guys for the wonderful night.
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I saw the recent reviews and recommendations of this place and it intrigued me enough to work my way from the North to BGC and try this baby out. It's Urban Tacos, and it's originally from Korea, so it's a fine blend of Korean and Mexican cuisines, sprinkled with a dash of modernity. Interviews I read online and their Kr website refer to said fusion as KoMex.
Vatos Urban Tacos Ratings, at a Glance:
> Food & Beverage:
> Service (Dine-In) : 1/2 (friendly but they don't pay extra attention and lack in some proactiveness); they were friendly but lacked alertness. Could stand to be improved.
> Kitchen Service : (pretty fast and good food prep except for the wings which took a while)
> Ambience : (-1 for poor air-con at lunch)
> Value for Money :
> Price : $$$ moderate
OVERALL : 1/3 rounded off to 4 due to service and aircon.
> Worth a try - Absolutely!
> Worth a return - Sure but... I'm in North so best to keep coming back if you're from the BGC or Makati area
I won't belabor the background on the resto in this review extensively as there have been a few reviews before me from the looloo Rendezvoos that other reviewers attended earlier this week. Needless to say, I think that this has a potential to be a great place in BGC. Something that'll last a long time and gain a following. A place office goers and residents can go to just to have a meal. And conversely, it can also a venue for chilling some nights, and then other nights, it might be more raucous.
Having industrial elements with a hint of steam punk in its interior decor, Vatos gives off a very urban and contemporary vibe--- very apt for the times. Good job by the designers.
I met with friends today for lunch. We ordered their recommended dishes,
Mexican Lumpia PhP 320 ($ 6.50) - while it looks ordinary like a local veggie lumpia (spring roll), the insides of Mexican meat and spices plus the 2 sauce mayo and chipotle sauce make it a good start to the meal. 1/2
This was followed by their Soft Tacos, of which we ordered their top two recommendations,
Chimichurri Chicken, 3 pieces PhP 380 ($8; 2 pieces at PhP 280 or <$6) was a refreshing burst of flavors with nice juicy chicken chunks. It's a bit more zesty than I'm used to in Chimichurri (think Gaucho formerly in Rob Magnolia) but it had very good flavor. 1/2
Korean Pork Belly, 3 pieces PhP 450 ($9; 2 pieces at PhP 320 or >$6) was their own spin to the taco with Korean twist. I like the subtle sweetness and juiciness to the pork belly, but I question the raw onions there. I'd prefer the onions cooked as the raw onions could overpower the enjoyment of the pork. Still I'll give it a decent , but the garnishing could have been better.
We added a specialty dish, Honey Tequila Chicken Wings PhP 420 ($8.50), which rounded out the dishes. Crunchy, sweet and sticky topped with battered jalapeños, then dip it in the blue cheese dip for that awesome contrasting taste. Great size for the wings, too. Sweet, savory and tangy in one.
Verdict: a great place with a potential for longetivity. Has some service kinks to iron out but it's off to a blazing start.
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With the crazy number of restaurants opening here and there, you must be bestowed with supernatural powers if you could keep up and visit all. First impression could make or break a restaurant and I often mentally give it a "deadline" on until when it'll stay open. But there are a handful of restaurants that impressed me and made me look at my calendar on when I could visit again. And one of the restaurants that tickled my taste buds with glee is Vatos.
I've never heard of Vatos before until last weekend. Apparently, this restaurant and bar opened back in February and is a franchise that started in Singapore and Korea by three Korean-American founders who want to share their love for food.
Located along 5th Avenue, fronting Fort Strip, Vatos exudes a fancy and intimidating vibe with its dim lights and high ceiling. But one would be surprised with its menu of reasonably priced dishes and beverages.
The first thing I noticed upon entering is the quirky lights shaped as top hats giving the place a bit of Kingsman feel. Then when I looked down, it became a bit more industrial with the pipe accent on the tables with the inverted faucet as bag hooks.
While waiting for the rest to arrive, we were served with complimentary basket of Fresh Chip and Salsa which comes with fresh corn tortillas, tomatillo salsa verde and roasted onion chipotle salsa. If one serving is too little for you, you can order another for PHP95.
I first thought that it was rather plain, ordinary and not exactly appetizing. But after taking my first bite, I simply could not stop. It was addicting! It was like I was charmed really bad by the dips, especially salsa verde which had a delectable refreshing taste! The roasted onion chipotle salsa was good too though it might be a bit too salty for those with low tolerance to salty dishes.
Vatos Cowboy Queso (PHP390) was served right after everyone arrived and again, it looked plain and nothing special. But that was my absolute favorite that night. You simply should not hastily judge a book (or dish) just from its appearance as it could make your jaw drop with what it has to offer. The molten queso dip served on a sizzling bowl is a marvelous blend of pepper jack, cheddar cheeses, black beans, pico de gallo and cilantro lime crema giving it a complex and deep flavor. Each mouthful was cheesy and chunky thanks to the black beans and pico de gallo. I could go on and on admiring this fantastic dish but there are a few more to share.
Next served was a basket of Kimchi Carnitas Fries (PHP390) which I thought to be the same as the one I've tried before in another restaurant. But again, I was proven wrong. This one had more spunk! Topped with braised pulled pork carnitas, kimchi, melted cheese, sour cream, cilantro, onions and a bit of Vatos hot sauce, this snack is not your ordinary fries. Despite having several ingredients fighting for your taste bud's attention, each one was well-defined yet blended harmoniously resulting in a smacktacular piece. And what I loved most about this was that the fries remained crisp despite the heavy toppings! R wanted to know how Vatos makes its fries but it seems to be a top secret and will remain a mystery for us.
We then feasted on three kinds of Vatos Urban Tacos namely Spicy Chicken (PHP280, 2 tacos | PHP380, 3 tacos), Korean Pork Belly (PHP320, 2 tacos | PHP450, 3 tacos) and Chili Lime Shrimp (PHP280, 2 tacos | PHP380, 3 tacos). We were told that it is best to eat these with your hands. But the tacos had generous filling that would make me eat like a kindergarten student if I eat it with my hands. Everything will be all over me! So I opted to stay proper and used my fork.
I found Spicy Chicken to be... well, very spicy. That is when eaten as a whole; because of the Vatos Hot Sauce. Surprisingly, the spicy marinated chicken wasn't that spicy and this could be a let down for those with very high tolerance for heat. But you can have it adjusted to be milder or spicier! Just request in advance. They can even have the hot sauce served on the side if you have near zero tolerance like I do.
Korean Pork Belly had a more familiar taste as it was just like eating samgyupsal! Served with ssamjang aioli and onions, it had that slight spicy, salty and tangy taste that I love.
Chili Lime Shrimp was like munching on mini tempura with that mouthwatering cilantro and lime taste. I'm a big fan of lime and cilantro combination so this was an instant hit for me. It was lighter too so this would be a great option for those who would drop by Vatos for after dinner session.
Second to the last dish served was Honey Tequila Chicken Wings (PHP420) which I hastily judged again as tried-that-nothing-new. But this was amazing! Though I was slightly intimidated by the deep-fried-masa-battered jalapeños and thought that this was one of those seriously spicy wings, it was quite mild and very addicting! Its sweet and spicy honey tequila glaze was flavorful enough that I didn't even bother to dip it in the blue cheese dipping sauce it was served with.
As we continue to savor every dish in front of us, we tried some of Vatos' signature drinks such as Vatos' Ritas Sexy Sanchez and Grow a Pear (PHP480 each) and Makgeolitas in Mango, Passion Fruit and Classic flavors (PHP350 per glass).
The Makgeolitas, blend of tequila and Korean rice wine makgeolli, were refreshing! My favorite among the three flavors served was classic or lime. Curious how to differentiate one from the other? It's all in the number of straws. One straw means Mango, two straws is Passion Fruit and three straws stand for Classic.
I had to practice intense self control over Vatos' Ritas as Sexy Sanchez was seriously good! It had that lovely berry taste that I found hard to resist. It was one sweet drink that kept seducing me to have more. And it didn't help that the huge glass was in front of me during dinner.
I then decided to move to the other side of the table, not just to avoid Sexy Sanchez but to indulge in more Vatos Cowboy Queso. Screw self control. I cannot keep myself away from this chunky dip! I ate so much with gusto that the friendly gals behind Vatos knew my favorite right away.
And to cap our meal, we munched on some Nutella Nachos (PHP225). Though this was nothing special as it's just crispy tortilla triangles dashed with cinnamon and sugar and topped with (almost) everyone's favorite Nutella and vanilla ice cream, I liked how Vatos made its dessert aligned and consistent with its offerings.
Overall, two thumbs up Vatos. I will definitely be back for more!
Thank you, Vatos and |ooloo for the invite! Fun night as always! ️
Note: Drop by on Tuesday for Taco Tuesdays! Vatos gives free taco for every order (comes in 2 or 3 pieces) of their Urban Tacos! 🌮🌮🌮
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Vato is a Mexican Spanish slang for homeboy, dude and guy (plural Vatos). I am not here to talk about language or anything like that. I am here to talk about the newest addition to the row of restaurants in Net Park.
Le presento a Vatos Urban Tacos.
I shall start my review with a lil history lesson x digression. Vatos Urban Tacos is of Korean Origin. They specialize in Mexican Korean Fusion cuisine and has three branches in Seoul and two in Singapore. Yup, I know…this is one of fusions that sound odd. Both cuisines are known for bold flavors as use of spice…tadah! The two commonalities mixed with heaps of oddities. Okay, so how did this odd pairing start? The concept is born out of the brilliant minds of Sid, Juweon and Kenny. The brothers grew up in California where Mexican Food is prevalent – from Tacos to Carnitas, down to the good old fashioned Quesadillas. Coming from a first generation Korean American Family, the siblings never forgot how awesome Korean Food is – this is by way of authentic meals prepared at home. This is how it started – Mexican Korean fusion, y’all. But wait, why Manila? You may send in your thank you cards to the awesome people behind Dome Café and Mangetsu for bringing a unique concept in Manila.
Vatos’ interiors scream Industrial – from the furniture down to the brick walls. Mica mentioned that the Korean and Singapore branch also has the same theme. Following the Industrial route was not planned, Sid stumbled upon an old building and fell in love with the “almost-torn-down-but-not-quite beauty of it. I love the usage of wood x steel and the dark tones, it sort of brings the cool factor to the place.
🧀 Vatos Cowboy Queso (Php 390). Queso dip made from pepper jack and cheddar cheese, black beans, pico de gallo, cilantro lime crema served with fresh hand-cut tortilla chips. I am not too keen with any type of tortilla x dip combinations, all of the ones I tried is mediocre.
This baby changed my perspective, I super love the cheese dip! Why? Well…it doesn’t taste like something store-bought then reheated. The marriage of pepper jack and cheddar is match made in cheese heaven. The former has hints of habanero, jalapeno and a lil bit or garlic while the latter has a sharp profile. Add the pico de gallo and the cilantro lime crema and we got ourselves a keeper.
Kimchi Carnitas Fries (Php 390). French fries covered with braised pork carnitas, sautéed kimchi, melted cheese, topped with melted cheese, Vatos hot sauce, cilantro and onion. Fun Fact: This dish is hailed as the Best Dish in Korea by 10 Magazine. I tell you, this dish deserves every accolade and praise. WHY? Well….why the hell not? It is so darn good, it will make you forget you are following a strict regimen of intermittent fasting. This is the only one of its kind, forget the rest. What makes it stand out is that it is done with restraint that all elements complement each other. How? Well, I think the devil is in the details. Case in point, the kimchi they use if fresh and doesn’t not have the pungent, in-your-face flavor. You still get the sour, spicy, salty notes on every bite. One spoonful will leave you wanting for more. And yes, the carnitas is nothing but awesome!
Taco is the quintessential Mexican Street Food according to Chef Aaron Sanchez. Truth be told, I am not a taco person. I can probably count the number of times I ate a taco with one hand (yes, it is less than five). Suffice to say that I wasn’t expecting to wowed or anything. Vatos has quite a number of Tacos in their roster and this got me a lil bit curious.
🌮 Korean Pork Belly (Php 320 for 2, 450 for 3). Pork belly marinated with Korean soy paste, ssam jang aioli, sliced and pickled onion.
🌮 Spicy Chicken (Php 280 for 2, 380 for 3). Spicy marinated chicken, pico de gallo, sour cream, Mexican cheese and Vatos hot sauce.
🌮Chili Lime Shrimp (Php 280 for 2, 380 for 3). Flash-fried shrimp, Asian slaw, pico de gallo, cilantro, chopped onion and lime-cilantro sour cream.
I tried the Korean Pork Belly first. BAM! It was love at first bite, I kid you not! Who would’ve thought that a taco can taste this good! The pork is tender and has that semi sweet profile that works well with the aioli and the onions. It is a symphony of flavors in my mouth. The Spicy Chicken is equally good too! Flavourful x tender chicken encased in a soft shell taco mixed with all of the good stuff. As for the Chili Lime Shrimp, I would call it as the “relaxed taco” as the flavor is clean and light.
Honey Tequila Chicken Wings (Php 420). Chicken wings coated in sweet and spicy honey tequila sauce served with deep fried masa- battered jalapeños and blue cheese dip. I shall make a pledge, this is the only Korean style chicken I will eat from this day forward. Holly Molly! It is so good, I want to give her a ring! At first glance, this baby will entice your senses - the aroma is so inviting and screams “eat me with massive amounts or rice” and it is very drool-worthy. The chicken is cooked to a tee – flavorful and moist on the inside. Mad props to the chef for mixing honey and tequila, this concoction is magical.
| Nutella Nacho (Php 225). Crispy tortilla triangles dusted with cinnamon, drizzled with Nutella and served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The beauty of this dessert lies with its simplicity. Feel-good comfort food.
| Sexy Sanchez (Php 480). Strawberry Margarita, Albens Apple and Strawberry Cider
| Grow A Pear (Php 480). Passion Fruit Margarita and Magners Pear Cider.
🍾 Makgeolitas. If makgeolli and tequila made sweet sweet love, this is their love child.
| Passion Fruit
I didn’t try any of the drinks as I prefer wine. Fellow foodies share the same sentiments with Sexy Sanchez and Grow A Pear – they loved it. Same goes with the Makgeolitas.
I am gonna let you in on a lil secret, I was not a fan or Mexican Food because I don’t understand the flavors and I find it too in-your-face. Why am I telling you this??? I suggest you read my review again.
Note: This is event is sponsored by Vatos Urban Tacos and the wonderful people of |oo|oo.
Thank you for the invite Peanut D
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In Spanish-speaking regions, Vato or Vatos is used to address or refer to a young man. In street slang it may refer to "pare" here in the Philippines. Vatos Urban Tacos has its roots firmly planted in Korea which branched a number of stores in Singapore and finally landed in the sunny shores of the Philippines early this year, 2018. From the outside, you wouldn't immediately associate it as a fusion Restaurant. But half of the fun is in the discovery, which i was fortunate to experience last night with the exclusive invite from looloo and Vatos Urban Tacos. I brushed up on some literature about the Restaurant nothing could have prepared me from what was to be served that night. It is both enlightening and a feast for the senses.
I would like to commend the graciousness of their front of house for greeting me from afar. I was welcomed even though i was just casually strolling along Net Park. I quickly introduced myself and advised which party my reservation was under. I was so parched from all the walking and was quickly given service water which i appreciate (without me asking!) The bar set up was impressive, with all of the bottles prominently displayed on top. Once our group settled down, the food came in succession. We had the following dishes:
Vatos Cowboy Queso - a side of Nacho chips served with a bowl of pepper Jack and Cheddar cheese, Pico de Gallo, and beans. This is a Great starter or even a snack to share with Friends. You'll have fun dipping and fighting over who gets the stringiest cheese. The mix of beans adds the needed texture to prevent it from getting too sated or 'umay'.
Kimchi Carnitas Fries - topped with pulled Pork, fresh chopped Red onions, Kimchi over a bed of French Fries is a winner. The potatoes kept its Crunch even with all the watery ingredients. Paired well with the cocktails na medyo traydor According to Mary Love S .
Korean Pork Belly Tacos - thinly sliced roast Pork Belly, flavorful and Grilled just right. Delicious.
Spicy Chicken Tacos- moderately spiced, the thin Tortilla wrap hugged the filling with enough care.
Chili Lime Shrimps Tacos- would have love to taste a bit more Heat and more Lime, but the Shrimps are just perfection. Soft and delicate.
Nutella Nachos- perfect ending. Churros in a Nacho form as the Group described it. You've Got to taste this cinnamon delight.
Honey Tequila Wings- these Wings Deliver the good! Crisp, flavorful with a Touch of alcoholic love! Dip it with the Blue cheese to drive it home. So good you'll order extra to take home right Peanut D . Guaranteed.
Strategically located at Net Park Building. Vatos is hard to miss. You certainly have a new Friday night watering Hole thanks to their varied daily deal Busters. Watch out for their Happy Hour too. The Margeolitas and Vatos' Ritas are unique creations you should try when visiting Vatos.
Disclaimer: Sponsored dining by Vatos and looloo.
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This afternoon, I met up with my friend S at Luxe Residences. We wanted to eat something light, sort of like merienda. Browsing along the restaurant choices at Net Park Bldg., we ended up at Vatos. I was aware that this taco joint just opened and S fancied the idea of nachos or Mexican food. Upon entering, the interiors already caught my eye. I love everything about the place. I like the vibes it is bringing ♥️
While waiting for our order, we were served with yummy nachos with two different dips, both were really good 🏻
We ordered the Mango Shrimp Quesadilla (380php) ️️️️ . It was flavorful, delicious and it had a slight kick on the inside. The mozzarella was generously packed Their quesadillas was not the usual tortilla wrap, it was like fried, can’t quite say what it’s made of, but it was a heavy merienda for both of us.
Would definitely come back and try their alcohol drinks or the 3 for 2 craft beers everyday from 2pm to 6pm.
Service was also excellent and food serving time was quick. S and I were both satisfied. Our definition of “merienda” exceeded our expectations
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Trying out this new Mexican restaurant near our office. Good job on the restaurant’s cool interior. Ordered their “Just Cheese Please” quesadilla (P250) and chimichurri chicken(280) Masaraaaaaap!!! Drop by Vatos Urban Tacos. 🌮🌮🌮
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