Ilustrado, Intramuros.


When we heard about Ilustrado, we were hooked by the nice reviews we’ve heard about the food and the place. With the surge of group buying, we were lucky enough to land a good offer from DealGrocer of Ilustrado’s 4-course dinner which we bought for only 1,250 from its original price which was 2,500.

Ilustrado, the word,  refers to the members of the well-educated and elite class of people living during the Spanish era. Ilustrado, the restaurant, situated inside the Walled City, holds true to its name and reflects class and sophistication which can be immediately seen and felt upon entering the foyer at which diners are welcomed before you head to the main part of the restaurant. We initially requested to be seated on the smoking area but then we were advised that it might have the experience ruined because of mosquitoes. When we saw the area, it was very dark and disappointing, nothing better than an ordinary outdoor garden, except theirs was poorly lit. We decided to stay inside instead. The main part of the restaurant was nice and well-designed, reflective of ancient interior and artistry. The walls are decorated with artworks which are also for sale.

As we wait for the food to be served, we had Green Mango and Watermelon Shake. They were good but nothing really special. They also served slices of bread as you wait. The first inclusion with the 4-course dinner was the Demitasse of Lobster Bisque. It was just the start of the meal, but we are already loving the food. A nice way to get started.

Green Mango and Watermelon Shake

Demitasse of Lobster Bisque

After the soup, the waiter served Paella Ilustrado and the main course. For the deal we got, you can choose from three options: Callos Madrilena, Roasted Spring Chicken Al Orange, or Lengua con Setas. We asked the waiter for the bestseller and he suggested Lengua. We trusted him and chose Lengua. When the food came, we were first disappointed because the serving looked small. However, as we start eating, we realized it was more than enough for two. We were full even before were done.

Paella Ilustrado

Lengua con Setas

After we were satisfied with the main course, we didn’t actually know that a bigger surprise is coming our way. It’s time for dessert and we’re having Mango Jubilee with Home-made Sampaguita Ice Cream. This is the best part of the dinner! It was prepared on the spot, right in front of you. The guy doing our ice cream was really good. That must have taken him an awful lot of practice. The ice cream was really great. You get a very obvious hint of sampaguita with every spoon.

Mango Jubilee flambéed on the spot!

Mango Jubilee with Home-made Sampaguita Ice Cream

As suggested by a friend who’s been to Ilustrado prior to our visit, we also tried their Baked Cheesecake which was sold at the Cafe opposite the main dining area. As expected, the cheesecake was highly appreciated except that it took us a lot of mess on the table before we were able to have it finished.

Baked Cheesecake

Overall, it was a nice dining experience. It could have been a better dinner if we went on a different night. During the time we had dinner, a college party was being held upstairs. It was quite disturbing. We went to Ilustrado to have an intimate dinner but we ended up listening to Katy Perry as the party starts upstairs.