No surprise: Valentine’s Day is not a good time to eat out; everywhere’s full and you’ll be spending a long time looking for a good place. Just to be clear, we didn’t go out that night to celebrate Valentine’s (I stand by the fact that it’s not a real event). This was when we went to Subic for a short holiday and we unknowingly booked a hotel on this particular weekend. Anyway, after an hour of futile attempts to look for a restaurant that wasn’t crawling with starry-eyed couples, we headed to Harbor Point and were about to walk in until my brother-in-law spotted The Aristocrat Restaurant a few feet away.
To tell you the truth, I don’t remember the last time I ate at an Aristocrat, or if I’d eaten there before. All I know is they serve Filipino food. But he and my sister said the food’s good, and we were famished. We walked in and were immediately led to an available booth. The inside wasn’t really that homey-looking the way many traditional Filipino restaurants are, but it was clean and roomy, and the food arriving at neighboring tables looked good at least.
We started with a plate of calamares, which were crunchy and not too salty. The shanghai rice was practically a meal in itself because of the amount of meat and seafood bits in it.
The lumpiang shanghai was crispy and golden brown, but it had this weird taste that I couldn’t figure out. The sinigang na hipon was just heavenly with really sour broth and substantial shrimp and vegetables. The lechon kawali‘s meat was tender, and the skin cooked to a delightful crisp.
The servers are fast and friendly. At one point, our server forgot one of our orders and he owned up to it and apologized, which we thought was nice. Even the manager was great, accommodating our requests with a smile. For good comfort food and excellent service, I’m definitely keeping this place in mind next time we’re in the area instead of wasting time driving aimlessly to find good but affordable meals.
Overall rating: ★★★✭☆
The Aristocrat Restaurant
Lot 2 Block 2 Maharlika Grounds, Rizal Highway, Subic Bay Freeport Zone, Olongapo, Zambales
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