Filipino food

Kain na! Must-try Filipino dishes at Maginhawa’s Provenciano

Steph Arnaldo
Kain na! Must-try Filipino dishes at Maginhawa’s Provenciano
Puto bumbong, bibingka, laing, sugpo sa alavar, and more! This family-owned Filipino gem is all about authentic regional fare.

MANILA, Philippines – When it comes to Filipino restaurants, it’s a hit or miss. It’s tricky to find that balance between tasting authentic but not boring; or elevating the cuisine but not butchering it. However, if you do get it right from the get-go, you’re sealed for success.

PROVENCIANO RESTAURANT. Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

This is why family-owned neighborhood restaurant Provenciano has withstood the test of time, and remains to be one of food capital Maginhawa’s not-so-hidden but always recommended gems, ever since its founding in 2015. It’s regional fare that doesn’t try too hard, but gets it right in terms of flavor, execution, and authenticity.

OUTDOOR SEATING. Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

Visit the humble resto any day of the week and I can almost guarantee that Provenciano will be filled – group tables of senior friends reuniting, families taking their balikbayan relatives for a good meal, and couples lining up for a free table. Considering its large space and outdoor seating area, it’s impressive that it’s never without happy diners, and also very understandable.

HOMEY INTERIORS. Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler
FRESHLY-MADE DAILY. Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

It looks just like your lola’s heritage home, adorned with native decor, contemporary interiors, and a beautiful breezy outdoor patio. It’s traditional and homey, yet elegant – but never pretentious. After all, Provenciano prides itself as a “tour around the Philippines showcasing authentic regional and Spanish influence cuisines.”

PRIVATE FUNCTION ROOM. Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

Expect diverse regional dishes served with familiar flavors and presentation, with portions good for sharing at reasonable price points. Nothing fancy, upscale, or “reinvented” here – each hearty heirloom dish is true to its roots, made to taste almost like home, but with its own flair.

TWO FLOORS. Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

If you’re lucky enough to snag a table, here’s what we recommend to put on your order list – a mix of Provenciano’s best-sellers from around the archipelago.

Appetizers to start

If you’re a snacky starter and want something addictive, order the signature Crispy Okoy ng Calamba (P290), an airier, thin, yet still super crispy version of the Filipino deep-fried fritter made with unshelled small shrimp. Think a hybrid between okoy and kropek!

CRISPY OKOY. Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

The Laguna specialty also uses freshwater shrimp for these not-oily chips, which are seasoned perfectly and served with spiced vinegar. It’s the perfect pulutan or starter to a filling feast!

A salad can also act as a light starter or a palate-cleansing accompaniment to the malinamnam ulams ahead.

CHINOY PAKO SALAD. Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

Try Provenciano’s Chinoy Pako Salad (P295), a refreshing mix of crisp fiddlehead ferns (pako), salted egg, cherry tomatoes, shallots, ripe mango (adds sweetness), and fried wantons (adds crunch), tossed in a sweet-tangy calamansi and Palawan honey viniagrette. The beautiful salad, although light, doesn’t lack in freshness nor texture.

Provenciano also has a separate Adobo Espesyal menu for everything “adobo.” Adobo – to stew in vinegar, garlic, soy sauce, bay leaves, and peppercorns – is the star method of Provenciano’s crowd-favorite Adobong Balut (P260), a must-try for fans of the polarizing Filipino duck egg.

ADOBONG BALUT. Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

The soft, yellow part of the egg is sautéed in butter, garlic, soy sauce, vinegar, and seasonings, served with roasted garlic cloves. The adobo sauce is addictive, as its acidity contrasts well with the richness of the balut. You’ll want to sop it up using the solid yolk, and maybe even enjoy it with steamed rice or bread.

Eat your veggies

Filipinos love their vegetables, especially when they’re cooked in familiar ways. For Bicolanos and fans of the regional cuisine, anything cooked in sili and gata (coconut milk) is a sure win – no wonder Provenciano’s Laing ni Ateng (P325) is a best-seller.

LAING. Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

The Bicolano-style dish of semi-dried taro leaves simmered in rich coconut cream is presented in a mushy heap, as compared to the otherwise stringy and almost dry kind. It’s a a deliciously gloopy blob of creamy goodness, cooked with pork fat and spiced with chili. It’s got salt, spice, and everything nice about traditional laing.

KILAWING PUSO NG SAGING. Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

If you’re craving for something on the acidic side…maybe a kilawin dish? Kilawin means “to soak fish or meat in vinegar and condiments, eaten either raw or half-cooked.” Try Provenciano’s best-selling Kilawing Puso ng Saging (P330), an asim-kilig veggie dish for fans of sautéed banana heart. The chopped banana heart cooked al dente is simmered in vinegar, coconut cream, and atchuete oil.

Catch of the day

Don’t leave Provenciano without trying the Sugpo sa Alavar (P740), a worthy ode to Zamboanga’s specialty.

SUGPO SA ALAVAR. Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

Juicy and tender prawns – fresh as they come – are cooked in the famous Zamboangan sauce that’s rich, creamy, and bursting with umami. The smoked coconut cream and regional spices give the dish a distinctive depth. You’ll definitely need an extra cup of rice for this one!


For something simple but packed with garlicky flavor, try the best-selling Pusit sa Bawang (P345): tender baby squid sautéed in garlic and olive oil. Nothing ever tasted malansa here!

Meat your favorites
CRISPY TADYANG. Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

A Filipino feast isn’t complete without meat! A classic is Provenciano’s Tadyang ni Enteng (P670), featuring twice-cooked beef ribs that are crispy on the outside but with meat that’s moist, soft, and fall-off-the-bone good on the inside. It’s cooked in the signature Provenciano marinade, served with a garlic sauce and soy vinegar dip.

The Kaldereta sa Bario (P495) is just like the Filipino-Spanish beef stew you’d enjoy at home.

KALDERETA SA BARRIO. Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

It’s a hearty, filling dish of tender chunks of beef, slowly simmered in rich tomato puree, soy sauce, chicken liver, and queso de bola, with olives, carrots, potato, and bell pepper. The saltiness of this saucy, rich ulam is best absorbed by steamed rice!

Another favorite was the Pininyahang Manok (P370), the Bicolano specialty of juicy chicken cooked in a rich coconut cream with sweet pineapple chunks for that distinct sweet-sour-creamy goodness.

PININYAHANG MANOK. Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

Although Provenciano offers different kinds of fried rice, we were advised that white or garlic rice would be best to fully enjoy and focus on the the different flavors of each viand.

Merienda hits
PUTO BUMBONG. Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

Of course, it isn’t the nostalgic Provenciano experience without trying the famous chewy and sticky Puto Bumbong (P175), served with muscovado sugar, coconut, and grated cheese.

BIBINGKA. Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

Don’t sleep on the fluffy, buttery Bibingka (P195) either, also freshly-made upon order at the traditional Simbang Gabi stall located by the entrance. Have them with halo-halo, coffee, or a hot chocolate!

Provenciano is located at 110 Maginhawa, Diliman, Lungsod Quezon, Quezon City. It is open daily from 10:30 am to 10 pm. For more information, you can check out its Facebook page. –

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Steph Arnaldo

If she’s not writing about food, she’s probably thinking about it. From advertising copywriter to freelance feature writer, Steph Arnaldo finally turned her part-time passion into a full-time career. She’s written about food, lifestyle, and wellness for Rappler since 2018.