Lo de Alberto Is Still Crazy Cool and the Tacos Are Better Than Ever
We can have their tacos anywhere.
Lo de Alberto
G/F City Golf Plaza, Julia Vargas Avenue, Pasig City
Open from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. (Monday to Saturday) and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. (Sunday)
(SPOT.ph) If people are more than willing to brave hot and often humid air to dine at a restaurant, then it must be a damn good one. For more than a year now, Lo de Alberto has thrived in their open-air stall at City Golf. This Mexican taqueria's traditional tacos, burritos, nachos, and quesadillas are so good, they’d make you forget the sweltering Manila heat—and if you do feel the need to cool down, you could always have their signature horchata.
Still, change is always a good thing: Lo de Alberto moved to a new location on June 5, still in City Golf, but just a few paces away from their original eatery. The reason, according to owner Dodjie Violago, was simple: The space was available. The new place is just as unassuming, and aside from the only significant change—sweet cool air-conditioning—not much is different. There are more seats available now to accommodate the lunch and dinner crowd but the same colorful mosaics and red bricks are still around. Perhaps, one other big difference is how spacious the restaurant is now, enough to accommodate framed photos of Mexican icons and murals on the wall, and colorful piñatas hanging from the ceiling of the new al-fresco area.
The menu has been expanded quite a bit too—after all, Chef Balam Nazar isn’t done introducing us to real flavors, ones you should get from an authentic taqueria. There are new tacos, burritos, and other Mexican dishes that’ll please both old patrons and new visitors.
The Gran Campechano (P170) is larger than your average taco, but you would be grateful for its size once you’ve taken a bite. The smoked mashed beans on the corn tortilla are the perfect foil to the sweet chorizo and shredded barbecued beef, with chicharon bits adding more crunch.
The Agua Chile (P185) may be new to some, but it's actually a staple in Mexico, especially in towns near the coastline. This taco is stuffed with fresh tilapia and shrimp, only lightly seasoned with chili and pickled vegetables to keep it refreshing. You can up the spice level with their house-made salsa, which comes in green and red variants.
Flautas de Papa
Lo de Alberto also offers Lunch Options, though despite the name, you can get them any time you want—something you’ll appreciate once you have a taste of the Flautas de Papa (P230). These rolls come stuffed with mashed potato and chorizo, which may sound simple but the flavors are anything but. The topping of shredded cabbage, onions, and an addicting sour cream temper the stronger sweet-smoky profile of the potato-and-chorizo mix. As part of the lunch menu, this dish comes with a side and iced tea.
While not new, every Lo de Alberto veteran knows not to leave without having the Hongo Quesadilla (P165) with a side of Horchata (P80). This quesadilla is a favorite of Chef Balam for good reason: “For us, mushrooms are something that has to be connected with [the] earth,” shares Chef Balam, “So it has to be very earthy and with the corn, it makes a perfect match." The mushrooms are only subtlly seasoned to really bring out this earthy flavor, pairing well with the rich stringy cheese. You won’t notice the absence of any kind of meat at all.
With how tasty everything on the menu is, from the old favorites to the newcomers, we could be dining in the dustiest, hottest place possible and it wouldn't matter. While we can’t say the new air-conditioned interiors aren’t a welcome change, it isn’t why we’ll keep coming back to Lo de Alberto.
Photos by Criselda Carreon