Via Mare at 40 : The legacy of quality Filipino food continues

If you were a Sharon Cuneta baby and fond of watching her movies back in the '70s and '80s , then you've probably seen or heard the restaurant Via Mare before.

My family and I would stay home a lot and we seldom go out when I was younger so I'm not really familiar of this restaurant. But I heard intriguing stories that this restaurant was the go-to of most couples back then.

Via Mare started as a seafood fine dining restaurant back in September 1975, hence the word Via Mare  as "way of the sea" in Latin.
Eventually, after how many years, people started to look for catering services of Via Mare and customers would personally go to Mrs. Glenda Baretto to ask for certain dishes .And the idea just came out to have a cafe that offers good Filipino dishes.

According to Mrs. Barretto, President/Chairwoman and the culinary head, the past 40 years is not only the story of a restaurant but a story of the Filipino people. They've helped a lot of people enjoy what Filipino fine cuisine truly tastes like.
From the restaurant to special catering events, she was the decision maker. She has teams of people to help support and develop the inspiration for the Filipino food and putting slight innovations.
I'm truly grateful to be part of the 3rd leg for the Cafe Via Mare bloggers series , which was the Merienda series, because I was able to hear some good 'ol Via Mare stories that will stay with me for a long time.

They served us a sampler set of the Merienda delights, just for presentation purposes only. The actual serving is quite large that can be shared by 2 people. All of the servings are mostly for sharing.
The Merienda is actually one of the most important parts of the Cafe Via Mare meals offerings.
Some of you might already have tried them before--the very famous Bibingka, the Puto Bumbong, which really made Via Mare known for.
We had first Pan de sal , which we all know is a breakfast staple among Filipinos and my kids' favorite. They served it fresh and grilled with sides of corned beef, Vigan longganisa, Laguna cheese, and queso de bola.
I opted for the longganisa.
 Pancit Luglog 230
Rice noodles with luscious shirmp sauce and savory toppings
Chicken Arroz Caldo 205, Goto Arrozcaldo 185
Savory Rice Porridge
 Tokwa't Baboy 172
Fried Tofu and boiled pork in garlic-soy vinaigrette
 Lugaw Toppings 225
Rice porridge topped with adobo flakes, salted duck egg, crisp tofu, pork kilawin, fried wonton, garlic flakes and spring onions
 Dinuguan at Puto 205
Heart pork blood stew with steamed rice cakes
Guinataang Halo-halo 98
Taro , purple yam and sweet potato stewed in rich coconut cream with rice dumpling, plantain banana and jackfruit 
 Bibingka Cassava 70
Baked Cassava pudding topped with coco cream custard
 Palitaw 55
Poached rice patties with grated coconut and sesame seeds

 Via Mare's version of Lumpia that has a filling wrapped in pouches held together by spring onions.

 I consider this as the best hot chocolate that I have ever tasted. I would recommend this 100%
These are the Cafe Via Mare's chilled Shooters which are the
iced desserts. We had the Halohalo, Mais con Yelo, and the Guinomis.

In their upcoming 40th year this September 2015, they just want to have some kind of activity to connect with people again.
To associate again with the old and the new ones, who are not familiar with Via Mare in general.
Via Mare has always been known to be one of the the consistent restaurants for a lot of people throughout these years and they've been known to some as the standard comfort food for restaurants as well.
Yes, they did some innovations but still very conservative with the overall quality. As what Mrs. Barretto would say, "they are not very much into fusion, because it will only lead to confusion."
They just make their food really better .

The inspiration sometimes are based on the childhood memories of the customers. It's how it connects with person who is eating the food.
They stay true to the essence of the food and just present them in a nice way. That formula has worked for them for the last 40 years and people had been consistently coming back starting from the 1st generation up to this generation. The catering services has always been a success.
The legacy of Via Mare has been at least became a part of some of the more special, political, social, and cultural occasions that has happened here in the Philippines.
They already have done the Papal visit of Pope John Paul, the Miss Universe pageant, the ASEAN summit. They were at the state dinners, which is already their 6th president since the late Marcos.
Soon, Cafe Via Mare will be at the APEC summit that will happen on the latter part of the year.

To celebrate, in conjunction with their 40th year, they recently opened Cafe Via Mare inside Kidzania, in BGC.
With Kidzania, they wanted to highlight obviously Filipino dishes. The locals, as well as the expats , will have the idea on how excellent truly our dishes are. At the same time, it is a good way for exposure to the younger set.

Looking forward, Via Mare will not have a major take-over-the-nation plans. They'll just be within Metro Manila because they want their high characteristic of their dishes to stay intact.
They have been growing over the years, be in slowly, but at least the quality has never been neglected.

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