Tadeo (Tomas Morato)

Tadeo is my current favorite restaurant. At first I thought I just liked it. After four visits in the span of three months, I think it’s safe to say I’m in love with it. And here’s why. Tadeo is straightforward yet FUN. You come for Filipino-Mexican food and that’s exactly what they give you  — a streamlined menu that’s playful, creative, unpretentious, and, most importantly, DELICIOUS.

You go inside, have a seat, order from their clear checklist menu (all the dishes include ingredients, yey), wait for a minute or two, chit chat, have your orders served fresh and hot atop colorful plates, take pictures of said food (because of course the ‘gram), EAT, taste Filipino-Mexican umami, be impressed, eat some more, praise how good it is, wonder what’s in it, can’t get enough of the food, talk incessantly about coming back with so and so, get your bill, thank the Lord Jesus it’s not too pricey, pay, leave, and vow to come back the next day.

Their straightforward menu is divided into six sections: pica, quesadilla, taco, burrito, specials (haven’t tried this though), and desserts. These streamlined choices make it easy for the indecisive (that’s me) and decisive diners to choose what to eat. Everything is shareable, so it invites tasting of a little bit of everything. Now let me recount one by one all the dishes I’ve had in this fabulous restaurant, highlighting what I felt was greeeaaaaat and recommendable (that is if you decide to come here which I really, really think YOU SHOULD).

First up: PICA

Oh this interactive starter is a must-try. I swear it’s a must-try not only for its taste (which is cheestastically good) but also for its pizzaz. See, Tadeo reinvented this by making it resemble a burger. The nacho chips are served whole, stacked up on each other with the toppings sandwiched in between layers. The cheese on top was torched lightly for your cheese-melt pleasure. The server then offers to break the whole nachos for you, or you can do it yourself because I know you want to.

Next up: INIHAW NA MAIS (elote)

Here’s a before and after shot of another one of Tadeo’s pica dishes — good old corn on the cob. This whole grilled corn is coated with grated cured egg and calamansi sour cream. Prepare to get down and dirty with this dish, sink your teeth with each bite like you don’t have sensitive teeth (really get into those kernels), and feel the delicious gunk of sour cream and grated egg yolk stick on your lips, the crumbs cascading down onto your shirt, pants, and the damn floor. You won’t mind because it’s delicious. No mess no glory for this dish I tell you.

Moving on to the QUESADILLAS

I have never met a quesadilla I didn’t like. It’s hard to fuck up a quesadilla because anything with melted cheese and soft tortilla would no doubt be delicious. Dip it in salsa and chili and feel all your troubles slip away. Tadeo’s quesadillas are no exception. All their quesadillas are made from a base combination of sharp cheddar, mozzarella, and emmental cheese. Whether you like cheese, chicken, or beef quesadilla, all three are foolproof options.

And now the TACOS.

Tadeo makes some real good tacos. They offer four varities: tenderloin steak, pork adobada, tilapia fish rebosado, and sisig taco. Which one is the best you ask? In my humble opinion, I have to go with the tenderloin steak taco, close second would be the sisig taco. However, given their bite-sized servings, you can try all four no problem. I’m pretty sure you’ll be glad you did anyway.

This tenderloin steak taco is one of my favorites because it satisfied all my meat cravings. The steak was tender and tasty. Combined with all the refreshing toppings of onion, salsa verde, red beet and cherry tomatoes, you get the best of everything if you’re in the mood for a meaty taco. And who isn’t in the mood for a meaty taco?

Another delicious and interesting option would be the sisig taco. You’ll get all the savory, crunchy flavor of our beloved sisig (crispy pork belly and pork rind) mixed with chili leaves, onion atchara, raw onion, cucumber, and cured egg.

The adobado taco had a strong marinated flavor, as it should, which may not bode well for people who dislike vinegar (me). The fish taco I loved too. It’s a white fish that’s crispy on the outside and soft fish meat on the inside. I went crazy dipping these tacos in all three classic red (chili), white (mayo and sour cream), and green (salsa verde) sauces usually available in Mexican restaurants like this.

And now moving on to the BURRITO

Meet Tadeo’s sinigang burrito. In case you were wondering where the Fil-Mex came from, here goes. This special burrito was the real reason why I wanted to eat at Tadeo in the first place. Lauded for its unmistakable soupless sinigang impact, I was beyond intrigued. (Later I realized I already had a sinigang burrito but I have to say Tadeo’s is better. Ha!)

For those who do not know (WHY THOUGH), sinigang is a popular Filipino dish (I’m torn not to call it a national dish because adobo wins by a half mile in my book) made from tenderized pork ribs swimming in tamarind sour soup, with lots of green vegetables like okra, kangkong, stringbeans, and taro. Most, if not all, Filipinos love their sinigang.

And here, Tadeo pulls your leg by serving sinigang dressed as burrito. Eyes closed, you are definitely at home with this burrito: warm sour rice, chunks of crispy pork ribs, a dip of fish sauce and red chili with cherry tomatoes. For a second, you wouldn’t even miss the soup. New costume, same delicious sour, homey flavor.

We always share this dish as it’s big enough for at least two people.

And finally, my favorite — TADEO’S TO-DIE-FOR DESSERTS!

Let me start by saying, “GET ALL THREE OF THEM!” Seriously. Don’t dilly dally, don’t think about your diet (why the hell are you out if you’re not ready to dig in), just go and order all three: maruya, taho, and mango crepe enchiladas. I’ll give you your money back if you didn’t enjoy these heavenly offerings from the kitchen gods of Tadeo.

Maruya, by definition, is a Filipino dessert made from fried saba bananas coated with lots of sugar. There are two varieties, one is a fritter type, usually shaped like a person’s hand, fanned out banana fritters; and two is banana on a stick, covered with sugar, fried and caramelized. This is a very common afternoon snack back in my hometown.

Now looking at the photo above, there are no sticks, no fritters, heck there’s even no banana in sight, right? That’s the beauty of Tadeo’s maruya. Continuing with its deconstructed theme, the ingredients of this simple dessert are hidden in plain sight. The moment you dig in and scoop all the elements underneath, this maruya version will surprise you with how seemingly disjointed elements eventually end up tasting exactly like good ol maruya. On top are brown circles called Buñuelos de viento dots, imitating the crunch of melted sugar. Underneath are grilled slices of lakatan banana all slathered in sweet crema dulce. I love desserts that play tasty tricks on me.

Next up is the mango crepe enchilada. Now I am biased beyond reasonable doubt because I’m a slut for anything mango float or tiramisu (who isn’t?). Mango and sweet cream are my vice.

In this, yet again, clever concoction, the mango float is served enchilada style. Duh! Each roll is like prozac to my sweet tooth. I think I may have belted a happy song or two as I popped each roll in my mouth. The mushroom umbrella of crispy muscovado lace cookie gives that crunchy texture from all the velvety madness of this dessert. I’m in love.

And finally, Tadeo offers a slightly upscale, rich-tita version of your good old street food taho. Those exclamation points are warranted, I’m telling you. This chilled taho is made out of charcoal-grilled milk panna cotta, tapioca, and caramelized sugar syrup.

At first I thought it was the most pedestrian of all three desserts, however, I’m not kidding when I say that those grilled milk panna cotta are insanely addictive. It looks like tofu but it tastes like silky slivers of leche flan. The slightly bitter, arnibal-like, kick of the sugar syrup countered the overall sweetness. It was good.

There you have it, my gushing review of Tadeo. It’s an understatement to say that I recommend this place. I cannot urge you enough, I guess. If you like Mexican Filipino fusion food and great desserts after, GO NOW! Yes, now! JK. Of course, finish your work, school, business first and then head to Tadeo after. You’ll deserve it.

I have to say though that the place is a bit small. It can get quite cramped when it’s a full house. There are no traditional tables and dining chairs, mind you. They have a kitchen counter with bar stools (the best table so you get to see all the kitchen action) and bare concrete side tables attached to the walls. It’s minimalist for sure. I suggest coming in early if you are with a big group. On weekends, surprisingly, the number of guests are evenly spaced out so you should have no problems snagging a table.

My menu recommendations:

* Layered Beef Nachos
* Any of the Quesadillas
* Tenderloin Steak Tacos
* Sisig Tacos
* Sinigang Burrito

Tadeo Filipino Mexican Comfort Food
5/5 rating (four visits in total)

Filipino-Mexican cuisine
#85 Sct. Fuentebella St, Diliman, Quezon City
5pm – 12mn (Tue to Sun, closed Mon)
63 917 850 6066
₱200-500 per person
IG: @tadeofilmex
FB: tadeofilmex

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