Dining Out

Harbor View: great food, great view, great service

If you’re familiar with the restaurants and bars in the Roxas Boulevard-Rizal Park area, you might have heard of Harbor View. It’s been there for decades. I used to go there with friends long ago but, by that time, the place was beginning to show the telltale signs of wear and tear. I don’t remember raving about any particular food. In fact, I can’t remember the food at all. It was just a place with a fantastic view of the harbor that served inexpensive beer.

Last Monday, I went back there with friends from the U.P. College of Law. Lawyer-reunion of sorts. To my amazement, Harbor View had obviously been renovated. Under the new management, the food was fantastic. But let me not get ahead of the story as I intend to tell you how things went in chronological order.

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When I arrived with a friend, the rest of the group was already there. They had ordered nilasing na hipon (drunken shrimps)…

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… and bottles of beer.

But because I couldn’t touch the shrimps (allergy), we ordered more food.

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My first choice was the oyster Rockefeller — creamy and cheesy and, most importantly, the oysters were not cooked to death. I so hate overcooked seafood.

The oysters were followed by a parade of more delectable food carefully chosen to go well with the beer — tokwa’t baboy, fish and chips, grilled liempo and crispy pata. And I couldn’t find fault with any of them.

I seriously regretted not bringing a camera. I didn’t really think there would anything to review — we were just meeting to get some beer buzz just like during our good old college days. Good thing that my dear friend and classmate, Laly, brought her Nikon and I asked her to please take photos of the food. By the time the plate of grilled liempo was half empty, I asked Laly again if she had been taking photos. And she complained that we were eating much too fast and the food was disappearing before she could take photos. Then some smartass suggested that, instead, she should just take photos of the numerous bowls of dipping sauce that had accumulated on the table as proof of how much we liked the food.

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She did. But that won’t do for a food review, would it? After much begging on my part, she did take photos of the rest of the food we ordered (thank you, Laly dear). Obviously, we ordered more. But, before that, some photos of the place.

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The view from the third floor (smoking area; downstairs was the non-smoking area) just before sunset.

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Sometime after it turned dark, it started to rain and we had to move downstairs. The lights had been turned on and the dining area looked cozy and romantic.

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Roxas Boulevard was all lit up too.

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As we walked to our table, I noticed the dessert cart… Of course, we ordered cakes. The chocolate cake on the extreme right of the photo was very good. So were the buchi (sesame seed-coated glutinous rice balls with a sweet bean filling).

But the night was young. After a few more rounds of beer, we felt hungry again. For some reason, a friend started ordering real dinner.

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Clam soup.

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Seafood fried rice.

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Spicy pork served on a hot plate.

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And, my favorite in the batch, lightly crisp beef strips.

Oh, dear, we really did pig out, didn’t we?

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That’s Laly, the evening’s photographer, and me. It’s blurred because… well, whoever took it was probably already drunk.

Now, about the bill… See, it was a treat. One of the lawyers in the group whom I hadn’t seen since graduation, I think, took care of the bill.

When I got home, I told Speedy how swell the place was and how truly delectable the food was, especially the crispy pata. One of these days, we’ll go there, he and I, and I’ll have a better idea of the prices of the food items. Yep, definitely going back. Soon and often.

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