Ilustrado Restaurant in Intramuros, Manila

Lately, everyone has been crazy about Groupons which is actually a new term for group buying coupons. More and more groupon sites have been sprouting here and there offering various price-off packages for food, travel, beauty and more. Of course, being the food lovers that we are, Richard and I are always on the look out for food groupons.

One latest deal that we availed of was the Timeless 4-Course Dinner for 2 at Ilustrado Restaurant from Deal Grocer. The package is said to be worth P2,500 but we only got it for Php. 1,250 or exactly 50% less than the normal rate.

We arrived at Ilustrado Restaurant in Intramuros a little past 7 last Saturday. The place was packed as there was a wedding reception being held there that evening but it was a good thing we've made reservations thus we have a table waiting for us the moment we arrived. I love the olden Filipino feel of the restaurant with wooden capiz windows and vintage trinkets adorning the ceiling and surroundings of the restaurant. Richard and Irene even shared that this was were they had their own wedding reception. Romantic ♥!

After leading us to our table, we immediately informed our server that we are availing of the Deal Grocer package. They gave us a small cardboard menu to show us our menu line-up for the evening.

While waiting for our first course to arrived, we were informed that we will be served with bread and butter + their signature pate. The bread took forever to arrive as well as our water glasses to be filled. Service was quite slow and we immediately concluded that it must be because of the wedding reception happening upstairs. Still, they could have allocated more manpower knowing that a lot will be busy with the special function right?

ilustrado spread

Finally, our bread arrived and we happily enjoyed the delicious pate and butter. We asked for our pate saucers to be refilled to which they oblige but once again it took them forever to come back. Irene actually still had half of her bread on standby by the time our soup was served.

As for our water, Paul had a hard time asking them to refill his glass since it also takes quite some time for the server to attend to our needs.

ilustrado lobster bisque

Our first course that evening was the Lobster Bisque in a demitasse cup with Parmigiano Cheese Stick. While the guys were busy taking lots and lots of photos of the soup, Irene and I proceeded to take a careful sip from our own demitasse cups. We love how rich and creamy the soup was despite being in a very small container. The cheese stick was just ok as I've tasted better parmigiano cheese stick elsewhere but the lobster bisque is something worth raving about. Each sip was just bursting with flavor. We all enjoyed our soup and I personally am hoping to have more. :)

After the soup, we had the paella. Note that the waiting time in between each course was approximately 20-25 minutes. Luckily, we didn't mind the long wait though as we were really enjoying each other's company. However, it would be great if Ilustrado can speed up their service a little bit more.

ilustrado paella

The Paella Ilustrado is good for 2-3 provided that's not the only thing you're having. I was impressed with the generous toppings that came with it that there was even a crab claw on top of each paella. We all enjoyed our second course and Irene even noted that it was very flavorful to which we all agreed. I, however, was looking for the burnt bottom layer (tutong) which I love to eat whenever I have paella. There was hardly any in this dish. The chicken was very tender and even Paul and I who are not that fond of chorizo enjoyed this salty-spicy sausage as it blends perfectly well with the rice.

ilustrado lengua

Up next was our choice of main dish: Richard and Irene got the Roasted Spring Chicken al Orange while Paul and I got the Lengua con Setas. I love how tender the beef was and the mashed potato was very flavorful it actually reminded me of KFC's mashed potato which has loads of ground pepper. The sauce has just the right consistency too. Paul, a lengua convert, also enjoyed this dish. It was a perfect match to our Paella.

ilustrado mango jubilee

For dessert, we had Mango Jubilee with Home-made Sampaguita Ice Cream. In other restaurants, my sister and I would look forward to watching the server prepare this in front of us as they would flambe the mangoes with alcohol. Unfortunately, no dramatic presentation was done at Ilustrado and instead we were instantly served with four glasses of Mango Jubilee already. I liked the touch of almonds on top of the dessert and the Sampaguita Ice Cream initially had a strong fragrant aftertaste which eventually will grow on you later on. Yup! The ice cream really tastes like eating a piece of Sampaguita flower.

While reviewing the menu line-up last night, we realized that Coffee or Tea was included in our dinner. Unfortunately, service was simply terrible that no server even approached our table to asked us for that. It was really hard to get any of their attention that evening be it to simply refill our water glasses or to follow up on the next course. It's too bad because food was delicious. I really enjoyed our meal but the service really has to improve. Ilustrado has been around for a long time but it is a must that the service should keep up with time.

One great successful deal with Deal Grocer. No problem encountered and we really were impressed with the selection of the four-course dinner. I am really happy with my Deal Grocer purchase and I look forward to availing of more delicious deal from this website.

*photo credit: Paul Ang

Ilustrado is located at 744 Calle Real del Palacio (Gen. Luna), Intramuros, Manila. Call them at 527-3674.

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