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THE QUIET DINER

Two of the same

When this diner walked into a Japanese restaurant in the Mall of Asia (MOA) on Diokno Boulevard recently, little did we know that the restaurant belongs to the same chain where we had a good lunch in Cebu three weeks ago. As such, both specialize in Yakiniku (grilled meat), cooked on a griddle over charcoal.

Tajimaya Charcoal Grill, 2/F Mall of Asia, tel. 5568929. The place was nearly full, a testimony to the quality of the food it offers. Actually, the dishes are not all Japanese, there are some Korean offerings.

Dining area. One enters through a ramp and the stairs. Interiors are done in Café au Lait brown. The place achieves a semblance of privacy as the whole area is divided into cubicles, each for six diners. There are function rooms, as well.

Service. As usual, guests are given a gracious welcome with the usual Japanese greeting. Diners are actually made to choose which side they want to have their meal in.

Staff. Immediately you are handed a voluminous menu folder. The griddle is checked and orders are taken.

Suggested Menu. The collection is called Terrace Menu, surely because it has an extended area that gives a view of Manila’s famous sunset. The ideal order is the  Eat-all-You can Meal which serves fresh meat (US beef, pork and chicken) with fish balls and sausages. The servings are generous (but no sharing is allowed), the plates are refilled to one’s big appetite, meaning replenishments continuously come. Should one not prefer this, a la carte menu ranges from Omaha Nebraska Prime Grade A Ribeye to the Korean Bibimbap to the simple Fried Chicken. At the end of the meal, a pleasant surprise is a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Good value for money really.

Service charge is added, government taxes are collected and seniors are given their rightful discounts.

Rating **

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Tajimaya Charcoal Grill, The Crossroads, Banilad Center, Cebu City, tel. 032-2320533. This we discovered during a recent visit to the so-called “Queen City of the South.”

Dining area. Compared to the Manila resto, this is rather small. This is done in white, tables are made of textured wood with some of them in semi-enclosed cubicles.

Service. Usual gracious Japanese welcome. Efficient.

Staff. Neat and attentive.

Suggested Menu. Beef is basically Wagyu. The Eat-all-You-can Meal is offered. Note that in both restaurants no sharing is allowed, no leftover and no take out, like if, one does not finish the grilled items, no “doggie bag” is allowed. One would think what is left will be served to the next customer?

Usual charges are imposed. Senior cards honored.

Rating **

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