If there will be a random survey among Filipinos as to where can one sample delicious Filipino cuisine, the hands down winner shall probably be Pampanga. Yes, our kababayans, or rather, our “cabalens” here – make every dish tastier and more irresistible when they touch it. It’s like magic. So when we went to O’ini Authentic Kapampangan Cuisine, we knew we were in for a culinary excursion that is nothing short of unforgettable.
O’ini Authentic Kapampangan Cuisine
Address: #10 Unit E Xaviervielle Avenue Loyola Heights Quezon City, Philippines
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pg/OiniKapampangan
Contact Number: +63 2 878 1993
O’ini in Kapampangan means “here” (or “eto” in Filipino) and here along Xavierville Road in Quezon City is its location. You can’t miss it. It is also more visible at night when all of its lights are open. We came all the way from the other end of Quezon City (near the “Welcome” roundabout) and believe me, the trip is really worth it.
As expected, the interior is very Filipino: pretty “capiz shell” windows, a counter with a trellis and gracefully carved brackets in art nouveau style. It’s like being invited to an ancestral house in Pampanga and the host will pamper you with deeelicious food. It really sets the mood for a good dining experience.
For those who are familiar with the teams of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), it will be a pleasant surprise to see some of the NLEX Road Warriors team players coming in and out of the resto or at times, even see them having lunch or dinner here. Their office is just across O’ini.
On another side of the resto are these goodies on display for you to buy as “pasalubong”. On the bottom shelf are two of my favorites: “burong taba ng talangka” and the Kapampangan’s version of pinakurat: soy sauce with vinegar and spiced with chili.
O’ini has several celebrities as loyal clients. They have transformed a section of their wall into a mini “gallery” of VIP guests and they range from politicians to movie stars. The “word of mouth” advertisement is really a very potent form of advertising. People flock to this resto for a real taste of all-time Filipino favorites. The photos above show Chef Marie and Iel Panlaqui when they guested at “Umagang kay Ganda”.
Burong Hipon with Mustasa – Php 180.00 ++
For starters, we loooooved this burong hipon wrapped in mustard leaves. The Kapampangans have truly mastered this delicacy and the version of O’ini has a silky texture to it. The delicate combination of salty-soury flavor really teased our palate. Pampanga is known for this dish and they are truly proud of their “buro”. So, how do our “cabalens” eat this? Just watch the video below…
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halos malimutan ni @thearnoldgamboa ang name nya dahil sa LEGIT na burong hipon 🦐🦐🦐 dito sa @oinikapampangan — pinaka authentic KAPAMPANGAN resto sa Xavierville QC! #NakakagalitSaSarap kapag binalot sa mustasa and wala syang offensive smell! 👍🏽😂🇵🇭 #eatsasmallworld • • • • • 👉🏽👉🏽👉🏽 follow @eatsasmallworldph for more takam videos! 👇🏼👇🏼👇🏼 tag mo na yung matatakam sa burong hipon!
Crispy Crablets – Php 130.00 ++
So many other provinces will lay claim to this dish’s origin but it has graced the tables of many Kapampangans since time immemorial. It is perfect to be eaten “as is” or as a viand to your fragrant steamed rice.
It’s really crispy!! Kapampangan’s are a bit adventurous when it comes to cooking. They love discovering or creating new dishes to pamper their loved ones. Owner and Chef Marie Panlaqui was present to answer our queries and to educate us about Kapampangan food. Chef Marie is at O’ini every single day and she makes sure that all diners are well taken care of. Every food passes through her strict quality standards. I asked her if they had that one dish that I know is truly Kapampangan and she said yes! I am referring to the “camaru” (or “camamaru” to some. See the photo below).
Crispy Crickets (Pelutung a Kamaru )– Php 130.00 ++
Since my mother is from Candaba, Pampanga, I often asked her about this exotic dish which so many non-Kapampangan people claim to be delicious. I pleaded for her to cook camaru at home but she would always say that “it’s hard to find one in Manila”. Besides, she says, it is “seasonal”. So, for sooo many, I just dreamed about its taste. However, it was my lucky day here at O’ini because they have it on their menu. I didn’t even hesitate the first time I saw it. The crickets were very small and not “scary” at all. It was cooked “adobo style” and had a little bit of a nutty flavor. For those who haven’t tried it, order it NOW and just put it in your mouth. I am proof that everything will be fine after you eat it. I’m still alive, am I not? I’m still raving about it’s taste, am I not? 🙂
Sal’e Manuk (Tinolang Manok with Lemon Grass) – Php 275.00 ++
The humble tinola is given a magic dash of this and that ingredient and the product is truly “magical”. Of course, there was no magic involved in making this dish. Chef Marie cooks this expertly well where the chicken is simply boiled to its maximum tenderness and so the flavor explodes in your mouth. The chicken is “fall-of-the-bone” tender and the herbs are plentiful. You will not even know that tinola can be this good!!
Beef Kare Kare – Php 420.00 ++
“Aru rugu!”! This means “oh my!” in Kapampangan and that is what I exactly said when the very popular “Kare-Kare” (Ox tail and vegetables in peanut stew) was placed on our table. Served on a “kawali” (local pan) for that dash of countryside/provincial feel, this Kare-kare is the one you have been looking for: ox tail cooked to its most tender perfection, fresh veggies and the peanut sauce which is not too thick nor too thin like a consomme soup. “THIS is how Kare-kare sauce consistency should be like” exclaims Chef Marie. I say its perfect!
Nasi (Rice)– Php 30.00 ++
Our rice was served on this super cute, tiny “kaldero” (local pot) which made me smile because of its novelty. The rice was the kind of rice I like – individual grains could be seen, unlike the kind of rice available in some fast food that actually looks like a “snowball” with a “pandikit” texture. Pandikit, to foreigners reading this, is the local glue in the Philippines.
Guinumis– Php 95.00 ++
A drink that’s made from coconut milk, sago, gulaman and pinipig. It’s perfect as dessert as well because it’s sweet and creamy.
Kamias Slush – Php 85.00 ++
We have a kamias tree at home and I often wondered what could be done with this extremely sour fruit. I thought of making a juice out of it – much like the green Mango juice but I never got the chance to do it. Alas! Here it is in O’ini. Served “slush” style – it is a truly refreshing drink with mint leaves.
Buko Pandan (Buko Pandan with Sticky Rice Balls)– Php 205.00 ++
Chef Marie never ceases to amaze us that day. She asked us to try this sinfully delicious dessert made of toasted rice crispies, pandan jelly, vanilla ice cream inside a whole coconut. So heavenly!
Chef Marie and her pretty daughter, Iel, showed us the second floor after our lunch and we were pleasantly surprised to see this area of O’ini. It is actually a function room perfect for intimate gatherings for 20 people. More often than not though, the customers just keep on coming in that this function room becomes an annex to the main dining area to accommodate everyone. Food is THAT good! So, if Chef Marie is very proud of the food they serve, the list of VIP loyal clientele and good quality service, I wondered how does their comfort room looks like. Most restos receive “passing grades” with their food and service BUT fail when you see their comfort rooms. Let’s see the quality standards of Chef Marie with regard to their comfort room….
WOW! WOW! WOW! The comfort room is spacious…has a bidet, liquid soap, vintage mirror and most especially…spotlessly clean! She said “I know how important clean toilets are to many “cabalens” that is why we really take care of our toilets”. Bravo Chef Marie and Iel!
So now…what can we say about O’ini Authentic Kapampangan Cuisine? Well….if it’s excellent food you want, you MUST visit this restaurant. They offer traditional Filipino food made by Pampanguena Chef Marie that is why it is so delicious. The service is gracious Filipino hospitality style…ambiance is rustic, country style and the food is without a doubt – fantastic! You just know that they are doing something absolutely right here because O’ini has been around for 8 long years.
Below is their full menu for your reference:
Visit O’ini NOW!
This review is the opinion of the author based on actual experience. The establishments may have changed in terms of ownership, prices, decor, service, food preparation and food presentation after the posting of this review. This is not meant to influence the reader’s decision.