Finio: Modernizing the Filipino Palate

I TOOK my professor’s advice seriously. While we were talking about writing food reviews in class, he told us not to frequent full restaurants. Full restaurants are not equal to good food, he said. Or to put it in another way, empty restaurants are not equal to bad food. I did not intend to go to an empty restaurant, but eating at Finio made me wish more people paid attention to it.

My friend and I were walking along Tomas Morato one Tuesday afternoon, looking for a restaurant we have yet to eat at. It was already past lunch time, and we were famished. We have already passed by fine dining places and fast food chains when we saw Finio. Judging from the pictures hung outside the building, the restaurant serves Filipino dishes. We entered, and empty chairs and tables greeted us, except for one table whose occupants were just about to leave. I was hesitant at first; my professor did say we should consider the less popular of restaurants, but that one was just empty. As you read on, though, I hope you agree with me when I say Finio should never be empty ever again.

The place looked clean and well-lit. The natural light which entered through the front windows replaced the flourescents. The interior gave off an orange hue which perfectly blended with all the colorful paintings hung in the walls. Everything was captivating in the eyes, even the Christmas decorations left hanging after the yuletide season.

We took our places and the waiter immediately approached our table. His efficiency did not surprise us—after all, we were his only customers. But he served us with all eagerness anyway. Not long after he took our order, the first dish was served.

Before we indulged ourselves to good food, we did what every food reviewer would do before eating: take pictures. My friend who knows his way through the DSLR camera (which is selling like pancakes nowadays, if I may add) took great photos of the food.

All the flavors of their Laing Pizza immediately burst at the first bite. The blend of gabi leaves and coconut milk, topped on thin crust pizza dough was just perfect. Perhaps it was the right amount of strong laing taste that makes this pizza unique for the taste buds. The thin crust was just right, and with the laing-thin crust combination, I cannot help but finish one slice in a jiffy.  Laing Pizza: P288 (8 slices)

Laing Pizza | Photo courtesy of Ram Cusipag | Click photo for better quality


Next on the meal was Finio’s Bagnet Kawali, a unique take on the everyday lechon kawali. Starting with the meat itself, it was very crispy and juicy. Children and elderly people who usually have a hard time chewing on food can enjoy this scrumptious Filipino dish because it is soft enough for chewing. It was perfectly deep-fried, which may very well be the reason why it tastes better than the ordinary lechon kawali.

But the cherry on top, the reason why this dish is uniquely Finio’s, is the sauce. The dish is served with their special kare-kare sauce. I’m not a fan of the kare-kare dish, but once the meat is dipped into the sauce, it tastes extraordinary. The lechon kawali can stand alone and be, in itself, appetizing, but lechon kawali dipped into the kare-kare sauce is heavenly. Finio’s Bagnet Kawali: P208 (6 pieces)

Finio's Bagnet Kawali | Photo courtesy of Ram Cusipag | Click photo for better quality


After stuffing our mouths with tasty delights, we took a break first from all the eating. We talked and talked for half an hour or so, bringing up a random story here and a joke there. It was fun, eating out and reviewing food with a friend. On one hand, I got to ask him if he agrees with my comments about the food. I’m a simple taster, you see. I don’t know my way around food jargons, and all I know about food is whether it tastes good or not—most of the time, the food always tastes good for me. On the other hand, I got to do a review with someone! My past reviews were all done alone—woe is me—but this time around I got to bring a friend along so we can eat good food together!

The last in our order list is Mango, Cream & Jelly. It is exactly that, a dessert with layers of mangoes, cream and jellies. It was delectable in all its creaminess. The mix of sweetness plus the hint of the sour taste from the mangoes is perfect for a round two.

No joke, it was so good we just had to eat it a second time. But that’s just the second reason; the main reason why we had to order another Mango, Cream & Jelly was because we forgot to take a picture of it before eating! Mango, Cream & Jelly: P58

Mango, Cream & Jelly | Photo courtesy of Ram Cusipag | Click photo for better quality


The Laing Pizza and the Finio’s Bagnet Kawali are both good for 3-4 persons, while the Mango Cream & Jelly is for a single-person serving (but we shared the dessert because we were too full—imagine, the two of us ate dishes meant for 3-4 persons!)

Finio Modern Pinoy Restaurant boasts of their old-time Filipino favorites because of the modern and unique twists added in every plate. Gone are the regular fried dishes that need catsup or Mang Tomas to spice things up, or patis and toyo to give flavor to the bland sinigang. With Finio’s great array of modern Pinoy dishes, customers will only keep coming back for the exceptional taste of home. Though advertisement mainly depends on word-of-mouth, as long as the restaurant will stay true to the unique Pinoy flavors, I believe it will eventually find itself teeming with regular, suki customers.

Finio Modern Pinoy Restaurant is located at the corner of Tomas Morato Avenue and Dr. Lazcano St., Quezon City. Operating hours are from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. For reservations please call 415-1278 or e-mail at For additional information, visit

Rating:  [4 Patrick Stars]



2 thoughts on “Finio: Modernizing the Filipino Palate

  1. Haha, Jee, I loved this! Especially the Patrick Star rating system. :)) I can totally see you and Ram the moment you realized that the dessert was gone and you hadn’t taken a picture.

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