A few years ago, if you ask someone in Metro Manila where one can find South American food, you would most likely get a blank look. Not many places offered South American food because not many people had asked for it.  In the last couple of years, however, several restaurants specializing in South American cuisines have sprung up in Fort Bonifacio, especially in the heart of Bonifacio Global City.

First there was Cocina Peruvia. Located on the ground floor of Bonifacio Technology Tower on 31st Street across the Bonifacio Stopover Pavilion, this Peruvian restaurant has a casual and vibrant feel. The food was quite authentic when we tried it last year. But there was an unpleasant smell in the restaurant that discouraged us from returning. There is also Naxional in Uptown Parade which opened at the end of 2016. We have not visited it since it is a little out of our way, and it looks like a drinking place more than a restaurant.

Earlier this year, Samba opened in Shangri-La at the Fort. It's located on the 8th floor of the 5-star hotel and has the feel of a formal restaurant. Its outdoor terrace area is adjacent to a swimming pool, making it a nice place to chill in the evening.

 Pollo a la Brasa (P850) at Samba, Shangri La at the Fort.

Last week, Alegria opened in Bonifacio High Street. "Refined" is the word that we would use to describe its food. We ordered one appetizer and two main dishes, and they were all excellent in presentation, taste and texture. However, the price is more affordable compared to those in a 5-star hotel.

Potato Croquettes (P150) is an excellent appetizer.

The croquettes were crunchy on the outside, and soft inside. The chopped tomatoes and flower petals gave the mashed potatoes a tangy flavor.

Grilled Pork with Spaghetti (P300)

The grilled pork with spaghetti looked small, and indeed was not that much for an hungry adult. But the pork was very tender and juicy.

Grilled Prawns (P490) with Alegria Rice (P90)

The Alegria rice looked like java rice, but the flavor was exceptional. It must have been cooked in a good stock. The prawns were juicy and cooked well.

The restaurant is spacious, and has a big balcony that overlooks 7th Avenue in Bonifacio High Street.

Alegria is going to be our favorite place for a Peruvian food fix. When we went there on November 15, 2017, it was on soft opening and the place was quiet. There was no sign outside the building. No one had expected to find a restaurant on top of Uniqlo in Bonifacio High Street. But we suspect that it will not remain a secret much longer.


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