When in Manila and looking for Mexican food especially after you’ve partied hard in the metro, Chihuahua Mexican Grill just across A.Venue is definitely one of the places that should top your late-night-snack list. Part-owner Elian actually grew up in Houston, Texas and being close to the border of Mexico, his love and familiarity for this tex-mex food inspired him and his parter Ines Cabarrus (who also heads Sugi Japanese restaurant, co-wrote “Manila’s Best Kept Restaurant Secrets” and co-hosts www.musicandwineradio.com with Elian) to open up this place. And aint I thankful they did! Because finally, we’ve found authentic texmex comfort food here in the heart of Metro Manila.
Although just open for a little more than a month, visit Chihuahua Mexican Grill and you’ll find that this restaurant is almost always packed. And if there should be any question if a restaurant is any good, my brother-in-law (a self-proclaimed food expert) says, check to see if parking is always full or if the restaurant is always packed. And if that is truly an indication in itself, then you can guarantee that Chihuahua Mexican grill is indeed already delivering the promise of bringing you the best Mexican grub in this side of Metro Manila. The place was packed for an ordinary Monday night.
One of the things that immediately caught my attention was their spicy sauce library as it was truly quite impressive. Like I usually say, I love spicy food and have a few bottles of spicy sauce at home but this wall made me drool and jealous that I didn’t have this much at home. Chihuahua grill even brags of their own special sauce, Charlie Sheen Crazy Sauce which when I tried, was indeed crazy spicy. Yum!
Seeing the simple menu just displayed behind the counter was encouraging, it meant I didn’t have to be a Mexican food expert to know what was good to order. As you can see in the picture below, ordering is as simple as 1, 2, 3 and 4. Since I knew I had to try as much as I could, we mixed everything on the list and came up with Steak Tacos, Pork Burritos, Chicken Burrito Bowl, and Nacho Grande. Just beside the counter, you see them making everything you ordered so you know you’ll get everything real quick. Everything else is self-service too, you grab your utensils, spices and just about everything else you’ll need from a station close to the counter.
The First that I got to try was the steak tacos and being told that the meat they use is USDA beef, I had my expectations set. I bit into it and my heart just melted. If I could hug food, I would have, but since I couldn’t my mouth embraced this wondrous food that touched my lips. Ay Chihuhua! Which by the way, is my current favorite expression. Thanks to Elian, one of the owners of Chihuahua grill, for teaching me the term. He explained to us that they got their restaurant’s name from the expression “Ay Chihuahua” itself, which is basically an expression they use profusely in different circumstances, whether, happy, sad, or mad, in this case of course, I used it because of sheer joy of eating this particular meal.
Because of my newfound love for the Steak Tacos, I would have to say that the pork burrito did not meet my now even higher standards for Chihuahua grill, I guess it’s because the steak tacos was so rich in flavor, that the pork burrito paled in comparison. Or it could be because the rice was too much that it drowned the taste of the pork. Either way, for my next visit, I’ve made a mental note to try their steak burritos.
The Chicken Burrito bowl was just so darn good that we finished the whole thing in an instant. The bowl had guacamole, diced tomatoes with spices, salsa, beans, chicken, nachos and their special sauce. To be honest, I didn’t know how to eat this meal when it arrived, but it looked so good that I grabbed my fork and simply ate away. Like the steak tacos, this meal was also flavorful that you won’t help digging more and more into the bowl until it is wiped clean. Even their Nacho grande, will make you want to go back to Chihuahua Mexican Grill for more. The chili, jalapeno’s, cheese, tomatoes, the whole mix is perfect, just perfect for a small group of three to four and you could eat this with their margarita (chihuarita as their now loyal customers would like to call it), or their michelada and enjoy talking about the whole day’s events. Elian even took the liberty of personally attending to our drinks and his hospitality really makes you fall for this place even more!
Chihuahua Mexican grill is perfect if you want to just relax, hang out and eat good food. By that I mean, feel free to come in either dressed to the nines after your night of partying in a bar, or dressed down to your simple tank top and shorts. One thing is for sure, Elian or one of the owners will be more than happy to have you there and that will be so evident based on the fact that they’re always there to personally make your meal, ask how you are and even sit and talk with you and your friends. To them, they’ve taken customer service to the next level, they add their personal touch by being hands-on about everything that goes on in their new restaurant. They know their customers by name and you can’t help but immediately feel really welcomed and right at home as soon as you step in. Elian says more than the business of making money, they’re in the business of making people happy. And with Mexican salsa music playing in the background, customers end up being too happy that sometimes, you’ll find some customers break into a salsa dance, to the obvious amusement and delight of the other customers. Elian says it’s because of the margarita, I’ll have to say it’s because of everything this place has to offer, good place, good music and great food right in the heart of the metro.
A few things to look forward to or watch out for: For those of you who actually own a chihuahua, simply bring a picture of you and your Chihuahua, and you can actually buy a burrito and get one more for free. On Mondays, prepare for their margarita madness, check out their facebook page for their password and you could buy one and take one for free as well or take two for a payment of one till 3am. On Chip and Dale Tuesdays, move to the sounds of Mo town, Neo soul and conscious hip hop.
So When in Manila and looking for good ol Mexican comfort food, you’ve got to visit Chihuahua Mexican Grill in Makati and I’ll hopefully see you there too because this definitely won’t be my last visit!
7838 Makati Avenue Across A-Venue
1209 Makati, Philippines
phone number: 09163737308