Spanish-Born But Filipino At Heart: Dani Aliaga Of Bistronomia Goes Back Home For Metro Channel’s “The Crawl”
12 years ago, Dani Aliaga, along with his best buddy Sergi Rostoll, flew to the Philippines to try their luck in the food industry. Shortly after, Uri Singla joined the two young visionaries. And fast forward to today, they are now dominating over the Spanish cuisine scene with their restaurant concepts under Bistronomia.
Dani recalls he was fresh from his Tourism and Management course at Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona when he and Sergi packed their bags and flew to the Philippines. Both have always been working in the restaurant scene back in Spain, working the counters and the tables. In fact, Dani worked his very first job back when he was just 16 as a dishwasher.
Dani's humorous and fun-loving side shows on his appearance on EIC On The Move
With bags filled with literally two pairs of clothes, and hearts brimming with an enthusiasm for food and the challenge of a stranger country, they started their very first concept in the Philippines, Barcino.
“I realized I was good at selling things, ideas, products, dreams. That’s when I realized that I think I have a shot here because it’s a challenge and I’m driven by challenges. I get bored when everything is okay. The challenge is to please the Filipino taste and demand,” Dani shares during his episode on Taste by Seabiscuit films.
Since then, Dani and Sergi have long sold Barcino to focus on more food-facing concepts. With Uri, they opened their restaurants one after another: La Lola Churreria, Rambla, Las Flores, and Tomatito.
Dani on Metro Society magazine's August 2018 issue
Rambla is their ode to Barcelona, and opened right on Dani’s birthday. Las Flores features traditional Spanish food, while Tomatito is a mix of Latin and Spanish flavors and techniques. La Lola, on the other hand, is a more democratic take on churros, and has since opened more than 20 branches across the country.
It feels like the trio is unstoppable—and they surely are. In a previous interview with Metro.Style, Dani says, “We enjoy it and it’s a big part of our lives. I wake up thinking about our restaurants, I go to sleep thinking about our restaurants. That’s the passion behind it.”
Exploring more of his home—and bringing it back
With Dani’s busy schedule, going back home to Spain is a luxury. That’s why he gushes about how excited he was to have had the chance to go back to Barcelona with his good friends from the food industry, Chef Willy Trullas and Nico Bolzico for Metro Channel’s The Crawl Spain.
“Food is something very cultural to us. In Spain, we love food. And we are very lucky because we have great produce and ingredients, chefs, cuisine. It’s part of our culture and we love it,” Dani says.
Together with Chef Willy and Nico, Dani explores the best gastronomic spots in Barcelona, something he’ll definitely bring back to Manila in his concept restaurants.
Chef Willy, Nico, and Dani for The Crawl Spain
“I think the beauty of Rambla and most of our restaurants is that we like to evolve with the place with the neighborhood with new things, new dishes,” Dani says about how they want to keep Rambla’s menu fresh by revamping and changing the items every now and then. With Dani’s great escapade in Spain, we’re already expecting some new dishes and items on the restaurant’s ever-evolving menu in the coming weeks.
When it comes to food, one can never go wrong when visiting one of Dani’s restaurants. The way he talks about his passion for food, for taste, and for flavor, he makes you want to sample the dishes he's talking about right away.
Dani shot at The Grid Food Hall in Power Plant Mall, where Rambla has a stall
“I relate taste to experiences. You always relate the flavor to experience, or you always relate a certain texture or aroma to someone in your life and I think that is the beauty of the taste. It’s not just a simple chemical reaction. Everyone tastes differently. And I like that it’s complex. And that’s why I like food,” he says. “I got here 12 years ago and now, I’m Filipino. I’m so happy to be Filipino.”
Watch Dani’s Spain homecoming with his Crawl buddies Nico and Chef Willy on The Crawl Spain, premiering on September 1, Saturday, 8 p.m. on Metro Channel, channel 52 on Sky Cable and channel 174 on HD. If you miss it, you can also watch the episode on Metro.style's Youtube page.