This New Escolta-Inspired Restaurant Has The Largest Collection Of Craft Beer In Quezon City
A lot of new establishments have been opening in the South these days—cool concept bars, upscale restaurants, trendy hangout spots...you name it. This was a fact my circle realized while we were planning our annual reunion. We hailed from Quezon City, and feared having to sit through Friday night EDSA traffic—but alas, we couldn’t think of a new place worth visiting nearby.
Thankfully, the food gods heard our prayers—another hot spot in the metro has been born! Just along Tomas Morato Avenue, hidden on the second floor of an unassuming building, is a craft kitchen and bar unlike any other in the city. Blink, and you might just miss it.
Tiyo, an Escolta-inspired craft restaurant, isn’t your usual tito bar. No, you won’t find buckets of cheap beer here, nor can you get your hands on that blue pitcher of cocktail mix that makes the city’s drinking scene so infamous. Yet it isn’t a snobbish fine dining restaurant either. Betwixt and between, Tiyo straddles the familiar and the new. Serving re-interpreted classic Filipino dishes, the craft kitchen and bar gives its guests an experience that’s both casual and affluent, comfortable and unconventional, homey and adventurous.
Inside Tiyo's cozy, intimate VIP room
“It’s a Renaissance of culture,” shares Marketing Manager Sam Beltran to Metro.Style in an exclusive interview. “Tiyo mixes the old preferences of before with the modern sensibilities of today.”
The moment our team stepped through its glass doors, we knew we were in for an adventure—an exploration of Filipino food. A journey back in time.
Bringing Escolta to the heart of Quezon City
“We were thinking of a [restaurant] design that reflected Filipino culture, but we didn’t want it to be too cliché,” quips Sam. “We decided on Escolta, because back in the day, it was a Renaissance in terms of culture, food, music, and art.” Once the city’s central business district, Escolta Street used to house the tallest, most beautiful Philippine buildings of the late 19th century.
A tribute to the golden age of Manila, every corner of the concept restaurant has been carefully curated to evoke the undeniable charm of the era. Spot the vintage chandeliers, rattan chairs, and monochrome images of the city hanging on its forest green walls. Guests are even given woven baskets to safely store their belongings, tucked under the tables.
On one side of Tiyo lies the bar, with art deco windows reminiscent of those on Escolta Street. For the person in pursuit of a good drink, this is where the magic happens.
Don’t miss out on the proudly Filipino cocktails—the skilled bartenders use Pinoy elements like lambanog, kamias juice, and locally sourced rum to carefully craft drinks fit for the modern ilustrado. One favorite of mine is the Streetside Special, an elevated version of your usual buko pandan samalamig—served with a dash of coconut rum, of course.
Tiyo provides uniquely Pinoy cocktails made with locally sourced ingredients.
The Streetside Special (coconut rum, pandan syrup, milk) is not your ordinary buko pandan samalamig
Looking for a kick? Get the Pedro’s Uprising—a mix of basil, lemongrass, brandy, and mint. The Jai Alai is a sweet, refreshing mix of basil, white rum, brandy-infused cinnamon, tea, calamansi, and honey. If you’re not into cocktails, don’t worry. Tiyo has a wide selection of beer to choose from—one of the widest in the city, in fact.
The Largest Collection of Craft Beer in the City
“It’s a challenge to bring the craft beer concept to Quezon City,” shares Sam. “We recognize that it takes a lot of getting used to. When people think of craft beer, they immediately associate it with flavored beer—but we want our guests to know that there’s so much more to good quality beer.”
Tiyo offers over 24 variants of craft beer by the bottle, and nine more on tap. “We also stock light ones, because those tend to be what people who drink San Miguel beer are used to. Our best-seller is the mango cider beer from Elias, which uses real Cebu mangoes.” Don’t be fooled, though—despite being sweet and light, the mango cider beer contains 7% alcohol.
New to the craft beer scene? Simply approach the friendly staff for a flight of samplers.
Reinterpreted Classic Filipino Food
In contrast to the Escolta-inspired interiors, Tiyo’s menu represents various parts of the Philippines, even as far as Mindanao. “Tiyo is a well-researched and well-traveled man. Jose Rizal also went to different places and tried different food,” explains Food and Beverage Director Mark Tating.
“The vision is to provide reinterpretations of Filipino food without making them look intimidating,” Mark adds. “It’s a creative take on Filipino food—at the end of the day, we still want to be accessible, not avant garde.” To encourage their guests to retain the Filipino habit of salu-salo, Tiyo prepares dishes in large quantities, encouraging everyone to share food.
One example is the best-selling Inihaw na Liempo Sinigang, which can be eaten in two ways—with or without soup! “We made it two-way because we’re aware that not everyone likes soup. You can enjoy this dish dry or with the broth,” explains Mark. However, he underscores that their techniques still hit close to home. “Our sinigang is grilled similar to the KBL (Kadyos, Baboy, at Langka) of the Ilonggo, where the pork is grilled first before simmering it in sour broth.”
Tiyo’s sinigang can be eaten in two ways: with or without soup!
The dry sinigang version consists of grilled pork belly with a special “sinigang sauce” made of tamarind
The soup version features classic sinigang sour broth loaded with vegetables. Enjoy it piping hot!
The same goes with their sisig—a hybrid of Pampanga and Manila styles. “It’s still cooked Pampanga-style—what makes us different is we really use pig’s brain. And we don’t put mayonnaise,” shares Mark.
“Here at Tiyo, we don’t have French fries—we push for kamote fries because they’re healthier!” exclaims Mark. Along with the heavenly balbacua (reminiscent of kare-kare) dip, it’s an interesting burst of flavors—sweet, salty, and savory.
Kamote fries with balbacua dip
Lover of all things seafood? Make sure to try the Ginataang Lamang Dagat with Squid Ink Sauce, which features grilled mackerel, clams, mussels, grilled vegetables, squid ink, and coconut sauce. Pour the dark sauce over your rice and enjoy it like a paella.
Ginataang Lamang Dagat with Squid Ink Sauce
The Tahong and Tulya Rebusado, with deep-fried mussels and clams on top of their original shells, is also an interesting choice.
Tahong and Tulya Rebusado
Other dishes worth trying are the Honey Pinakurat Wings (chicken in spiced Iligan vinegar and Bohol honey), the Bicol Laing, the Three-Fish Coconut Kinilaw, and the Kare-Kareng Corned Beef.
“While you may notice that the execution and plating here in Tiyo are different, the taste is still familiar.” Mark assures, “We don’t want people to think, ‘Oh, this is not kare-kare!’ We want them to try it, and say ‘Oh yes, this does feel like home’.”
Honey Pinakurat Wings
Three-Fish Coconut Kinilaw
Kare-Kareng Corned Beef
A tito bar for both the GEN X and the millennials
“I feel like although Tiyo is an elevated tito bar, the craft concept is something millennials can relate to. We have put so much thought and care into curating everything in the menu,” beams Sam.
Aside from providing comfort food, Tiyo also shines the spotlight on homegrown talent. In the evenings, a mini stage is set-up for indie bands, musicians, and even DJs. “Every night has a different theme. Wednesday is retro night, where titos and titas come to dance and sing along. Everyone hogs the mic because everybody wants to sing Dancing Queen!” she laughs. “But on Saturdays, we bring a DJ in so millennials can unwind for the weekend.”
You heard it from us, North folks—now, you don’t have to brave the traffic for a night out.
Tiyo Craft Kitchen + Bar
2nd level, CKB Centre, Tomas Morato cor. Scout Rallos, Diliman
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday 5pm-1am
Photos by Jar Concengco
Produced and written by Hershey Neri
Sittings Editor: Nana Ozaeta
Art direction by Butchie Peña