Bringing the Filipino Fiesta to Dabawenyos

FIESTA SA BARRIO aimed to live up to its namesake and bring the Filipino Fiesta vibe to Davao City as they launched their dinner buffet last January 18.

Although having opened in February of last year, Chef and Manager Josamme Barbadillo revealed that they decided to have a dinner buffet only recently.

Originally a restaurant in General Santos City, Mrs. Charito "Cha" Santos and Mr. Fernando "Boy" Santiago opened Fiesta sa Barrio Restaurant in 1993. Two decades later, they opened Fiesta sa Barrio Davao.

Initially an ala carte and fine dining restaurant, Barbadillo shared that they are keeping up with the trend of buffet restaurants being put up in the city.

Barbadillo also shared that opening a buffet made sense, as he said “everyone loves to eat food,” and that most of the buffet restaurants are in the downtown area, while Fiesta sa Barrio is located along Ecowest Drive in Ecoland, a lot closer to the residential areas in the city.

Fiesta sa Barrio’s buffet is also distinct as they serve Filipino cuisine. One of their must try dishes, according to Barbadillo, is their Garlic Chicken, which is a very crispy fried chicken bathed in a generous helping of garlic sauce. Barbadillo also said they incorporated Filipino fusion cooking into their special sotanghon, and is a specialty that must be tasted as well.

The dinner buffet, which runs from 6 p.m. – 10 p.m. and costs 288 will let customers avail of four appetizers and four main courses. A “make your own noodles” service is also available for customers to request for either sotanghon, pancit canton or fresh noodles and have the mixed with chicken, pork or vegetables. Also available is their outdoor barbecue station where you can have sticks of chorizo, pork barbecue and isaw grilled for you. Customers for their dinner buffet may also avail of their kakanin and halo-halo. Lechon will also be available on select days.

When asked what sets them apart from other buffet restaurants in the city, Barbadillo proudly said, “we don’t just sell food, we sell satisfaction.” “If you’re just looking for food, you can eat anywhere, but we give satisfaction to the customers,” he added.

After going to the United States for training in the culinary arts, Barbadillo said that one of the things he picked up was how customers are being served, and hopes to bring that high standard of service to Fiesta sa Barrio. “We want to be a model, to be known for our services and our food,” he said.

Speaking about food, Barbadillo also shared that they also stand out due to the quality of their food. He explained that it is not just about the sheer volume of food but also the quality, saying, “I don’t want to just show food, I want to show good, tasty food.”

Another plus that Barbadillo shared is that, “we give the homey ambiance.” That day the restaurant was dressed up to represent the Sinulog festival, with flaglets hanging from the doorways and Sto. Nino statues set on desks. Fiesta sa Barrio is dedicated to bringing the “fiesta” feeling to people, giving them the feeling of being in a Filipino home as if they were visiting people to celebrate the occasion.

This wasn’t a one-off thing either, as Barbadillo explained that they plan to do the same for other upcoming festivals in other provinces and serve food coming from the corresponding province having the festival.

For the Sinulog theme, desserts from Cebu such as Otap and Dried Mangoes were served to the customers, as the two are food products most associated with Cebu.

Barbadillo said that in the future, he’d like to develop new recipes using Filipino food. “It makes you proud that there’s a lot we can do with our food,” he said. He says one of the things he wants to do is tweak adobo with fruits, as pineapple with adobo is common, Barbadillo says he’s interested in trying strawberry adobo. He is also interested in fusing Filipino cuisine with other country’s cooking, saying he’d like to try making adobo pasta and other kinds of pasta using Filipino dishes with sauce. Barbadillo said he is focused on “bringing the Filipino side of all the food we have,” and added that he hopes to show them that Filipino food should be patronized.

If they see that things are going well, Barbadillo said they will open breakfast and lunch buffets, as well as have acoustic bands play in the restaurant on some nights.

For their upcoming anniversary, Barbadillo said they have something in store for the celebration. Whatever it is, Filipinos can be sure that Fiesta sa Barrio is committed to bringing the true festive Filipino dining atmosphere to their customers.
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