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This Spanish Restaurant With A Twist Brings A New Sophistication To Naga City’s Dining Scene

When you think of Bicol, you immediately think of Mayon Volcano, laing, pili nuts, and Bicol Express, but you certainly won’t think of Spanish food in the heart of this southern Luzon region. But a new tapas restaurant in Naga City has introduced new energy and a fresh spirit to this burgeoning provincial city.

Home to Bicol’s oldest university, Naga is a busy city where students and thrill-seeking adventurers visit and reside. Roughly translated to “What’s up?”, ¿Qué Pasa? adds some welcome spice to Naga’s restaurant scene which mainly consists of local and Asian fare. While traditional Iberian flavors are what’s on the menu, ¿Qué Pasa? offers Naga locals and visitors alike new perspectives, and new ways of dining.

 

The sign that has the same colors as the flag of Spain

 

The restaurant’s exterior gives you that old Spanish feel. 

 

Walk through the colonial-style doors and you’ll be surrounded by industrial décor and Mexican-inspired murals that bring life to the restaurant.

 

High ceilings provide a sense of airiness and opens up the room. 

 

¿Qué Pasa? is a spacious and well-lit venue for special gatherings. 

 

Every corner is just so Instagram worthy, don’t you think?

 

The bestsellers include three types of paella: Paella Marisco or seafood paella with huge chunks of fish, squid, shrimp, bell peppers, and green peas; Paella Negra cooked in squid ink to enhance its seafood flavor; and Paella Valenciana cooked with chicken, white beans, and green bell peppers. Made fresh, each order is good for four people. The menu also has Pollo Asado, which is a whole roasted chicken served with verduras fritas, garlic potatoes, Spanish rice, and romesco and chimichurri sauces.  

 

Paella Marisco filled with fresh seafood

 

A very rich and indulgent Paella Negra

 

Paella Valenciana is a complete meal in one delicious dish. 

 

The list of favorites goes on with the Callos made with beef tripe, chorizo, green olives, and garbanzos, stewed together in a hot pot of tomato sauce. They also offer a well-known Mexican-inspired dish called Huevos Rancheros or fried egg placed on top of an egg wrapper, filled with meat, cheese, topped with salsa and chives. With a choice of a half or full rack, Costillas a la Parilla or pork ribs are served with rice, and a choice of potato salad or mixed vegetables. You can also try Tortilla de Patatas which is an egg omelet made with potatoes, and mixed with onion and chives. For dessert, their version of Bicol’s baduya, called Buñuelos de Platano, is served with chocolate ganache and apple cinnamon sauce to give you an alternative delectable choice. You should start your days and end your nights in ¿Qué Pasa? while you munch on a plateful of crisp fried churros served with vanilla ice cream and chocolate ganache on the side.

 

Callos warms the heart and belly on a cold rainy day. 

 

Costillas a la Parrilla can be enjoyed with your hands. 

 

One slice of Tortilla de Patatas is never enough. 

 

Croquetas de Pollo dipped in marinara sauce give a perfect crunch with just one bite. 

 

Churros are deep-fried sweet dough pastry snacks found in Spain and Portugal. 

 

With their offerings, ¿Qué Pasa? aims to satisfy the tastes of meat eaters and vegetarians alike. Ensalada de Berenjena is similar to the FIlipino ensaladang talong with fried eggplant, topped with mango bits, chopped cucumber, onions, and tomatoes, in vinaigrette dressing. Vegetarians can also order Verduras Fritas or fried vegetables, or Tortilla de Patatas which is an egg omelet with potatoes, onion, and chives also known as Tortilla Española.

 

Verduras Fritas or crispy leafy veggies paired with the signature aioli sauce. 

 

This fresh, crunchy and healthy Ensalada de Berenjena has eggplant with mango, tomato, onion, and cucumber bits. 

 

This area is great for parties and special events. 

 

Aside from the food, you can also be a bit adventurous and order the one-of-a-kind cocktails and mocktails from the bar list. Laing Congeloda is a proud version of a laing cocktail made with basil leaves and fresh pineapple to give it that sour taste. Spiked with light rum, the drink is mixed with kakang-gata and siling labuyo to make it creamy and spicy at the same time. You can also try the Bicolandia, a chocolatey, frozen vodka-based drink, using local tablea, pili nuts, honey for sweetness, kakang-gata and buko.

 

If you’re feeling a bit audacious, then this Laing Congeloda is the one for you. 

 

A refreshing glass of Sangria Blanca is a mix of white wine, fruit, sweetener, and sometimes brandy. 

 

A Kalimotxo is a mix of equal parts red wine and cola-based soda. 

 

¿Qué Pasa? injects welcome flavor into the culinary scene of Naga having a new place to hang out and dine in.  It benefits both the locals and tourists because even if you’re outside the city, ¿Qué Pasa?  can be your go-to place to wine and dine in Bicol when you plan out those out of town trips with your girlfriends or your family.

Paz Street corner Elias Angeles, Barangay San Francisco, Naga, Camarines Sur, (0916) 332-2258, ¿Qué Pasa? Restaurant on Facebook and Instagram.

 

Photography by Deiniel Cuvin