You definitely heard the saying “Eat Breakfast Like a King …”. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Via Mare has been commissioned so many times by the Philippine government to provide catering services when big events like head of states visits, APEC, ASEAN and other VIP events. The have served literally kings, presidents, prime ministers and other head of states including the Pope! It’s a testament on how good is Via Mare’s quality, presentation and taste of their Filipino food. The presentation might have changed but the essence of the taste of the Filipino food that we are accustomed to is still there.
I was invited to try out the breakfast menu of Via Mare in their resto / cafe in Greenbelt 1. Braving the early morning traffic, I head to the business district of Makati excited, first because of my favorite Via Mare’s bibingka & puto bumbong, and second to try out their breakfast menu.
We were presented the different breakfast options in their menu. First was the AlTangHap (Almusal, Tanghalian, Hapunan) which are full meals that can be ordered any time of the day as the name says in Tagalog. It consists of garlic fried rice, fresh eggs served in any style, and a viand ranging from fish, chicken, pork, or beef.
AlTangHap (Almusal, Tanghalian, Hapunan)
Enjoy classic moderately sweet, thinly sliced cured pork meat in pineapple marinade with your garlic rice, egss and atsara (pickled papaya) on the side. Flavor it with vinegar for your classic Tosilog meal.
Corned Beef Saute
Try out Via Mare’s corned beef flakes sauteed in red onions for breakfast.
Spicy Tuyo Flakes
Spiced dried herring / tuyo in olive oil with garlic and spices. This classic pinoy breakfast of tuyo and sinangag matched with coffee will definitely start your day right.
Tapsilog: Marinated tender sirloin in garlic, salt and pepper.
Crispy Adobo Flakes
My favorite! Shredded pork adobo that is toasted to the right combination of chewiness and crispiness. Reminds me of tasty pork floss. Did you know that the original adobo flakes was done by Via Mare? According to Ms. Bareto, owner and commander-in-Chef of Via Mare, the dish originated from his fathers liking of adobo done very dry and crispy. Her mother toasts the adobe to make it cripy and then she thought of shredding them before frying it more for extra crispiness.
Chicken and Pork Adobo
You can order chicken or pork belly only or combination of both. The meat is slowly cooked in soy sauce and vinegar with garlic and bay leaf to come up with the classic pinoy adobe taste with the tender meat.
Tasty sausage variation from the Ilocos region. The crispy fried lean garlicky pork meat packed as sausage and flavored with freshly cracked black peppercorns and sukang Iloco.
The “tinapa” at its best: tasty and boneless. Just enjoy the tasty pan-fried boneless smoked milkfish and savor the smoky taste that is great with garlic fried rice and black coffee. No need to worry about bones / “tinik”, just pure enjoyment!
Crunchy Boneless Dilis
Enjoy the crispy golden fried anchovy fillet for the classic salty morning breakfast!
The 2nd batch of breakfast items were the grilled pandesal. The classic Filipino bread “pan de sal” with different options of spread or fillings. Perfect of fast and light breakfast.
Crispy Vigan Longanisa
The grilled pandesal with the Ilocos sausage made of lean, garlicky pork meat flavored with freshly cracked black peppercorns and lightly soured sukang Iloco.
Pandesal with sauteed corned beef hash with garlic, onion and tomatoes.
Queso De Bola
Slices of Queso de Bola mild tasting and slightly nutty Edam cheese on pandesal bread.
Cottage white cheese farmer style served in hot pandesal.
Classic Via Mare
Whether with rice or just bread, the pinoy breakfast dishes of Via Mare, embodies the home cooked flavors that we pinoys like in our Filipino food.
But things changed in September 1975 when Via Mare Seafood Specialty Restaurant opened its doors to the public. After the very first dish was served, Filipino cuisine was never the same again. Via Mare did not only change the Filipino’s perception of its own cuisine, it also brought global recognition to it.
“The past 40 years is not only the story of a restaurant, it is a story of the Filipino people,” Barretto said. “Via Mare is our pride as we helped a lot of Filipinos enjoy and be proud of the cuisine that we have here, of recipes that we have enjoyed throughout our childhood, and of what Filipino fine cuisine truly tastes like.”
Some Trivia about Via Mare
Since 1975, no other Filipino restaurant has been the foremost selection by the Philippine government when it comes to hosting dinners for dignitaries, heads of state, international celebrities, and international events. From beauty queens during the 1995 Miss Universe pageant in Manila, the papal visit of then Pope John Paul II, the 1996 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit, the gala of the Philippine-run of West End’s Miss Saigon, the 2007 ASEAN Summit in Cebu, the weddings of illustrious families, and other milestones in Philippine history, Via Mare was always the top choice.
Via Mare, with Barretto herself leading the kitchen, was also the choice of First Lady Imelda Romualdez Marcos whenever she hosted gala dinners for visiting dignitaries at the Malacañan Palace. The former first lady’s penchant for elegance was apparent even in the food that she served her guests. In one instance, she requested for a more upscale version of the adobo – a request that Barretto easily managed by marinating the chicken in simmering adobo sauce with red wine. Another anecdote from the halls of presidential residence was how Barretto recreated a Mexican dish of squash, baked and topped with cream and caramel sauce based only on the narrative of Mrs. Marcos. The first lady nearly squealed in delight after the first bite.
The restaurant itself has changed over the past 40 years. While it maintained to be the premier Filipino restaurant, it branded itself according to the demands of its wide clientele. Café Via Mare was introduced to the market, dubbed to be a pioneer in introducing the first authentic Filipino café. The Via Mare Oyster Bar was also launched to cater to the more discriminating taste and specialized in serving the most succulent of oysters.
Via Mare at 40 Years
“At 40 years, we have shown the world and most especially our fellow Filipinos, what Filipino cuisine is all about – it is about the freshest of ingredients cooked in influences of our ancestors and the rich heritage of the Filipino nation, sprinkled with the love and affection of a Filipino chef,” Barretto said.
I almost forget, don’t leave the resto/ cafe without trying my favorite: Puto Bungbong and Bibingka. It’s like Christmas whole year round!