There is more to those citrusy and tarty seafood dishes than being a haphazardly tossed pulutan or beach grub, and this restaurant in Bayani Road--the first cevicheria in Manila--is eager to fill us in with their delicious spread.
Patricio's Cevicheria is owned by couple Patrick and Pia Roa, and has been serving all sorts of citrusy and vinegary wonders since their opening early this year. I am a fanatic of the citrus and vinegar flavor spectrum (I love lemon tarts that make your eyes squint and lips pucker up), so discovering a place where many variations of kinilaw and ceviche take center stage was a joy to my palate. All kinilaw and ceviche dishes at Patricio's is made to order, and you get to witness the restaurant staff prepare your dish just by the counter, flanked with an assortment of fruits and spices and vinegar.
Kinilaw (or kilawin) comes from the Filipino word kilaw, meaning to prepare raw food (meat and seafood) as a final dish by means of souring, usually done with coconut vinegar. Preparation of kinilaw is as varied as the many different kinds of local vinegar there is available in every region of the Philippines; each one is made unique with spices and chilies and other ingredients. To make their kinilaw as authentic as possible, Patricio's sources their ingredients distinct to the place where it belongs. Ceviche, meanwhile, is the equivalent of our kinilaw in Central and South America, with Peruvian origins. The souring agent for ceviche is citrus juices laced with various peppers for added heat.
Aside from this tarty tandem available at Patricio's Cevicheria, the restaurant offers food and drink that complement: crispy meat with Chicharrones (P230/to share) that comes with their own blend of vinegar to cut the fat, Lechon Flakes (P100) for a change in texture after all the tender seafood of ceviche and kinilaw, and the flavorful Lomo Saltado (P245) to break the waves of acidity on your palate. Local and imported beer are also available, making a perfect match for your order of ceviche and kilawin as well.
Patricio's own vinegar is an amazing play on sour and spicy; it teases and appeases and surprises. It's not your average sinamak nor pinakurat; it's their own blend of vinegar with a unique flavor profile for vinegar addicts like myself seeking a new hit.
I pick a piece of crispy Chicharrones and let it swim in the bowl of vinegar before popping it inside my mouth. After drinking the remaining juices of the freshest ceviche I've tried in town (it's served in a martini glass, so I drink straight up), I get the rest of my nacho chips and let them meet the vinegar. Still not enough, I take my spoon and let it dive into the white bowl and sip more vinegar (yes, sip). My tastebuds are overwhelmed and I am satisfied.
Want to give yourself an edible education on kilawin and ceviche? Read on so you can discover what flavors you can try at Patricio's Cevicheria.
Reqional Kilawin (using local tuna)
Kinilaw de Oro (P240 / spicy), from Cagayan de Oro:
Made with suwa/biasong lime, tabon-tabon (athuna rasimosa), cucumber, and siling labuyo
Binakhaw (P250 / spicy), from Dumaguete:
Made with dungon seed (hertierra littoralis), green mangoes, chicharron, and siling labuyo
La Reyna (P280), from Cebu:
Made with coconut milk, tomatoes, radish, cucumber, and siling labuyo
Negrense (P250), from Bacolod:
Made with salted eggs, tausi black beans, and green mango
El Duterte (P230), from Davao:
Kinilaw using kamias for souring, which has a different effect on the fish as it is considered a natural tenderizer
Waray (P250), from Samar/Leyte:
Made with blackbarred halfbeak ('bugiw' in waray/tagalog)--a fish found in the waters of Samar and Leyte, coconut cream, and cucumber
*Upgrade your Kinilaw to Sinuglaw (Kinilaw + Chargrilled Pork): just add P90.
Ceviche (regular size, served in a Martini glass with nacho chips)
Tradicional (P180) - Mildly Spicy
Uses cherry tomatoes, cilantro, sweet potatoes, pickled red onions, red radish, and jalapeno peppers for spice.
Aji Amarillo (P210) - Sweet and Spicy
Uses cherry tomatoes, cilantro, sweet corn, potatoes, pickled red onions, red radish, and aji amarillo.
Rocoto (P210) - Hot and Sweet
Uses cherry tomatoes, cilantro, pickled red onions, red radish, and rocoto peppers.
Mango Wasabi Shrimp (P230) - Unique and Fresh
A distinct ceviche dish made with shrimp, sweet mangoes, and wasabi.
Patricio's Cevicheria is open every day from 7am to 10pm. Like their Facebook page (/pages/Patricios-Cevicheria) and follow on Instagram (@patricioscevicheria).