Bae Recommends: Kantina Sabel
I would say this blog post is a bit of a restaurant review, but not entirely. I just want to share how I found the place because I personally believe it’s worth a visit especially if you’re just around the area. If you’re not, then at least you know a restaurant like this exists, right? Ain’t such a bad idea!
Also, I had a hard time finding blog reviews so I decided to write my own. 😀
A few weeks ago, Jec and Ellie (his colleague) had their first gig as (We Are) Choosy Beggars at Kantina Sabel in Bocobo St., Ermita. You’d think Kalaw Ave. is such a lonesome and dark place, but not when you reach this restaurant. Kantina Sabel is this quaint spot beside Casa Bocobo Hotel, which foreign tourists frequent because of its location. It’s literally in the heart of Manila so it’s convenient for everyone.
Overall, Kantina Sabel is a family-friendly restaurant/bar with its interior design and menu. By far, it’s the most chill bar I’ve been to. I wouldn’t say it’s a bar, perhaps just at night, because you can go there at 8pm on a Saturday and still spot diners just eating – not at all drinking.
INTERIOR DESIGN + VIBE
Looking from the outside, you’d see the performers at the corner of the room just by the entrance. Once you get inside, you’ll find the restaurant somewhat intimate, but nothing invasive. The seats are comfortable and, overall, Kantina Sabel has a welcoming and chill vibe.
The wall hangings caught my attention easily. The interior design is a mix of industrial, the 50’s/Hollywood, and Manila’s local scene. For someone keen, you might find the decor a bit confusing – you’re not exactly sure what theme they’re trying to achieve. But personally, I think everything worked well together! I liked that the interiors are mainly white with wooden accents. It’s simple yet eye-catching and appropriate.
We went there solely to attend the gig, but we actually made friends with the other performers. We didn’t get to exchange names, but it was fun hanging out with such humble talents. For an introvert like me to say that I had fun is huge. And I did have fun, I swear. We even had a small jam going on after the line-up. It was a nostalgic sight – sort of like seeing groups of HS friends forming a circle at the back of the classroom to jam when the teacher is absent.
A performer + Ellie jamming
Post official gig, POV at the entrance
If you’re a millennial tita like me, you’d enjoy this restaurant/bar. Their gig line-up starts as early as 7pm so you have all those hours to enjoy the music and the food. They close at midnight so 11pm is a decent hour to leave if you’re ready to call it a day. We didn’t go home yet that time, but that’s another story.
MENU + PRICES
A day before we went to Kantina Sabel, I checked out their social media accounts. I found their IG account which had lots of mouth-watering photos of food. It all looked nice so I wondered if they were expensive. Turns out they were pretty affordable – cheap even. My only issue with their menu is the one on their IG account does not match with their actual menu and some bits of info were left out such as that their side dishes change by the day.
Jec’s pork belly meal with chips siding
I saw in one of their photos that they had this pork belly dish with corn side dish. But when Jec ordered the same thing, he got chips as his side dish. It’s not a super big deal, but customers should at least be informed. It was really, really good though. I’m not a meat, much less a pork kind of person, but I loved it!
Tuna carbonara if my memory doesn’t fail me.
It was okay – no idea why I ordered pasta though. I’m a rice person.
It was the first time ever that I had a Smirnoff and it actually tasted good, but boy had it kick. I only consumed half a bottle and gave the rest to Jec although I can’t recall now if he actually drank it.
Post official gig, when everyone was just chillin’