Guilty plea­sure is the name of Miguel and Maria’s game


All around the metro, restau­rants spe­cial­iz­ing in com­fort food are slowly gain­ing mo­men­tum and start­ing to be­come a thing, but most of them still hide un­der a façade—some sort of painstak­ingly-crafted iden­tity, if you will. You will know, some­how, that they’re com­fort food, but it’ll be dressed up nice.

Miguel and Maria, nes­tled in a cozy lit­tle bun­ga­low on Marik­ina’s Li­lac Street, makes none of th­ese pre­tenses. They ex­plic­itly ad­ver­tise them­selves as a restau­rant that wants to bring you com­fort food, straight from your mom’s kitchen. There are no fancy trap­pings; the restau­rant is a house that’s largely un­changed. The walls are in­ten­tion­ally adorned with posters that make the in­sides look like a guy’s bed­room or liv­ing room.

The restau­rant is co-owned by me and my wife,” says Miguel Glo­ria, ob­vi­ously the Miguel in the restau­rant’s name. He and his wife Maria were cor­po­rate bankers be­fore they de­cided to switch lanes. She’s pas­sion­ate about cook­ing. She just sug­gested that we come up with a restau­rant.”

The food, then, is no-frills, stan­dard Amer­i­can and Euro­pean home­cook­ing. Miguel and Maria’s star play­ers, the grilled baby back ribs and mac n’ cheese, ap­peal to a wide range of cus­tomers. Af­ter all, who doesn’t like baby back ribs and mac ‘n’ cheese? The beauty is that all the dishes are cooked just the way you’d like them, just the way you’d imag­ine them when you think about go­ing to a place like this.

The serv­ings are all huge; they’re the­o­ret­i­cally just for one, but are eas­ily for shar­ing. Glo­ria jus­ti­fies it as food you don’t want just a lit­tle of, es­pe­cially if you’re com­ing home” and un­wind­ing from a stress­ful day. Just to have that kick,” he says. Ayaw mong mabitin eh.” It’s the com­fort food for­mula. It’s safe, but it works, and works well.

In a scene that’s see­ing more and more es­tab­lish­ments styling them­selves as com­fort food places, what does Miguel and Maria do to stand out? When you eat [here], you feel like you’re eat­ing some­thing pre­pared from your house, from some­one you ac­tu­ally know, from some­thing you’re fa­mil­iar with,” as­sures Glo­ria. That’s not a bad idea at all to come home to.

Then new­ly­weds Miguel and Maria Glo­ria put up the restau­rant, treat­ing it as a house they’ve al­ways wanted to own.

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