OPL Building, Carlos Palanca Street, Legazpi Village, Makati City
Open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. (Monday to Wednesday), 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. (Thursday to Friday), 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Saturday to Sunday)
(SPOT.ph) Two years into the pandemic and dining out is becoming a thing again. Soon, traveling will follow suit, so expect your family and friends from abroad to come over and visit. The next time they do, you’ll have somewhere new to bring them—Tatatito.
It's all about loving local flavors at this new Filipino restaurant in Makati:
Stepping inside this restaurant feels like you’re entering a contemporary Filipino home. Instead of the usual wooden furnishings or traditional décor, you’ll find a mix of tasteful upholstered seats, solihiya furnishings, and rattan lighting fixtures, all amidst walls of warm muted tones and printed floor tiles. Plus, the splashes of greenery add a nice touch to the welcoming ambience. It’s a real spacious abode that can accommodate around 70 diners. For those who prefer to eat outdoors, Tatatito has an al-fresco area where you can enjoy a Filipino feast in an open-air setting.
“We want to elevate Filipino branding,” shares Reagan Tan, CEO of the Mc Wilson Corporation (also the folks behind Gringo, Honeybon, and Tokyo Bubble Tea). “We cook [food] our way, the Tatatito way,” he reveals, explaining that it’s all about classic flavors here—no twists or fusion or any specific Filipino cuisine, just their own signature style.
Your best bet is to bring over your whole crew for lunch or dinner so you can share the dishes and the calories as well. Some standout starters are the quintessential Lumpiang Shanghai (P285) that are jam-packed with ground pork and complemented with a sweet-style dipping sauce; and the Baked Mussels (P358) that are topped with a savory, crispy breading. Then there’s the Tatatito Crispy Grilled Sisig (P185/small; P380/sharing), where the minced charred pork is served on a sizzling plate for maximum impact.
Their menu is diverse—practically all the Filipino favorites are present here—from pancit to inasal and everything in between. Among the must-tries is the Roast Bistek Tagalog (P435/small; P760/sharing) that features roast beef slices in their version, a far cry from the ordinary beef slices you’re used to cooking at home. With its fork-tender character, each bite is bound to take you to meat heaven; be sure to get some of those bits of roasted garlic and veggies on the side to counteract the richness of the dish.
Another beef specialty is the Classic Beef Kare Kare (P450/small; P810/sharing), where the meat falls off the bone and the medley of local vegetables come swimming in a rich peanut sauce. It’s served with bagoong (fermented shrimp paste) on the side to complete the meal. This is a great dish you’d be proud to serve to foreign visitors who would want an introduction to Filipino cuisine,—though you might want to warn them about the pungency of the bagoong.
Don’t fret, seafood lovers—you’ve got tons of options here as well. On the more inventive end of the spectrum is the escabeche-esque Deep Fried Lapu Lapu Pomelo (P175/per 100 grams, minimum of 500 grams), a whole piece of fried fish that’s nestled on a bed of a thick sauce with onions, carrots, bell pepper, and chunks of pomelo. The sauce has a good balance of sweet and sour notes so just a quick drizzle of it would be enough in order for the taste of the fish to shine through.
Another scrumptious seafood suggestion is the Crispy Binusog na Pusit (P160/per 100 grams, minimum 300 grams), a.k.a. giant squid that’s stuffed with shredded fish and fried to perfection. The squid is cooked just right to the point where it’s still tender and succulent—not overly chewy. The fish stuffing is mild in flavor, such that it doesn’t overpower the squid and the two elements work well together.
A festive dish to add to your table would be the Crab Palabok (P338/small; P520/sharing) where the rice noodles are fried and the sauce is served on the side. You can request to have your server pour the sauce just before eating so the crispy texture of the noodles remains intact. The seafood flavor here is rather strong but you’ll recognize the elements even if the orange sauce covers it up—shredded crab, smoked fish, bite-sized shrimp, and slices of squid. Yup, you’ll really taste all the flavors of the ocean in this one dish.
But the real showstopper here is the Classic Crispy Pata (P890/small; P1,280/sharing), which is ever-present in all kinds of celebrations. Their version of deep-fried pork trotters are already sliced and generously topped with toasted garlic, and then plated with a side of okoy (deep-fried fritters). Prepare to sink your teeth into each crunchy pork bite. Don’t forget to dip it into the vinegar and soy sauce mixture for another layer of flavor. It really lives up to the “crispy” part of its name; the pork stays crisp even after some minutes on the table. Not that the crisp skin ever stays too long on any table with Pinoys around.
What sets Tatatito apart from the crowd are their rice offerings that are cooked and served in bamboo. Don’t mistake it for bringhe though! It’s not your conventional Kapampangan dish made with glutinous rice. This version has fluffy short-grain rice that’s cooked in different flavor combinations. Take your pick from three variants: Bamboo Rice Squash and Crab (P435), Bamboo Rice Chicken Tinola (P425), and Bamboo Rice Pata Tim (P425). Each has a distinct flavor profile, so the challenge is pairing it with your chosen viands. The pata tim variant, for example, is practically a meal on its own since as it’s got pork bits in the mix, but it would also pair well with plain fried food. Try the tinola variant with saucy dishes, or squash and crab variants with anything seafood.
Make sure to save room for dessert and coffee. You’ll be pleasantly surprised with the brews here, as they can hold up to the ones found in popular coffee shops. The Café Mocha (P180) comes adorned with latte art for a charming look. Or go for a sweet ending with the Tatatito Halo Halo (P185), a cool cup of shaved ice loaded with the usual fruits, beans, and gelatin, topped with ube ice cream with a slice of leche flan. Heck, you can even share a serving of Super Ube Turon with Ice Cream (P175)—their take on the classic fried banana roll has an ube halaya filling, and a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side for that hot and cold contrast.
Tatatito also serves breakfast fare and freshly baked breads and kakanin—making it a great all-occasion spot whatever the craving or occasion. And that, in itself, is a testament to the character of Filipino cuisine, as having the kind of always-hearty fare you can go back to anytime.
Photos by Majoy Siason
Note: as of writing, the restaurant is still on soft opening and prices may change.