In Mexican, “vatos” means “dudes” or “men”. Vatos Urban Tacos is a Korean-Mexican fusion conceived by three Korean-American friends: Juweon Kim, Kenny Park and Sid Kim. While they didn’t meet until they were adults, all three grew up in the US–Kenny and Sid in Southern California and Juweon in Texas–and worked in Mexican restos, so they were pretty much surrounded by authentic Mexican cuisine. At the end of the day, they would come home to traditional Korean food prepared by their families. Their common background was what gave birth to signature Korean-Mexican fusion dishes like the Kimchi Carnitas Fries, Galbi Tacos and Spicy Chicken Quesadillas.
The restaurant began in Seoul in December 2012, and was funded primarily through Kickstarter. In fact, Vatos Urban Tacos is the first ever business successfully backed business in South Korea. Since then, Vatos has expanded to 4 other locations, including Singapore and Philippines. Most dishes in Vatos Manila are the same as the branches in Korea and Singapore but some are unique to Manila like rice bowls.
The molten Vatos Cowboy Queso (PHP 390) was my favorite. It’s a blend of mozzarella and cheddar cheese, black beans, pico de gallo, lime crema and fresh hand-cut tortilla chips served smoldering.
The Honey Tequila Chicken Wings (PHP 490) was a shining example of how Korea meets Mexican with the use of sweet and spicy honey tequila sauce. The dish is served with deep-fried masa-battered jalapenos and blue cheese dipping sauce.
The soft-shell tacos come in 2’s or 3’s and range from PHP 290 to PHP 430. Choice of Meat:
–Barbacoa Pork – Slow-braised sweet and spicy pork shoulder, cilantro, chopped onion and Vatos hot sauce.
–Korean Pork Belly – Pork belly marinated with Korean soy paste, ssamjang, ailoi, sliced onion, sesame seeds and pickled onion.
–Braised Carnitas – Slow-braised citrus flavored pork shoulder, cilantro, chopped onion and Vatos hot sauce.
–Carne Asada – Spice-rubbed and grilled pork, cilantro, chopped onion and Vatos hot sauce.
–Wagyu Galbi Short Rib – Marinated short rib, ssamjang aioli, Asian slaw, cilantro, chopped onion, cabbage slaw mix and roasted sesame seeds.
–Spicy Chicken – Spicy marinated chicken,pico de gallo, lime cream, cilantro onion, Mexican cheese and Vatos hot sauce.
–Chimichurri Chicken – Vatos spicy chicken, chimichurri salsa, lettuce, lime cream, cilantro onion and Mexican cheese.
–Baja Fish – Beer-battered white fish, spicy chipotle mayo,
pico de gallo and apple coleslaw.
–Chili Lime Shrimp – Flash-fried shrimp, Asian slaw, pico de gallo and lime crema
Sid’s Burger and Fries (PHP 420) – All-beef patty topped with BBQ pulled pork carnitas, grilled jalapenos, apple coleslaw , sweet pickled red onions, Mexican cheese, crushed black pepper and chipotle relish.
Chorizo Kimchi Fried Rice (PHP 330) – Aged sauteed kimchi and chorizo, stir-fried with rice, carrots, onions, cilantro and topped with spring onions, toasted sesame seeds and a sunny-side up egg.
Everything has a hint of spice, something that both the Mexican and the Korean cuisines share. Even the Bacon Jalapeno Brownie was spicy, with a slight tingling sensation!
Vatos ‘Ritas – Beergaritas with a wide range of flavors varying in sweetness.
Corona Rita (Classic Corona) –> I’m Rick James, Peach (Peach) –> Dos-A-Rita (Classic Dos Equis) –> Grow A Pear (Passion Fruit) –> Dae Han Mango (Mango) –> Gold Digger (Apple) –> Sexy Sanchez (Strawberry)
Taco Tuesdays – 2 Pieces of Tacos at PHP 100
Feel Good Fridays – Buy 1 Take 1 on All Beers and 30% off on Bottle Spirits
Daily Happy Hour (2PM to 7 PM) – Buy 1 Take 1 on All Alcoholic Drinks
*March Promo – 50% off on Vatos Favorites until End of March
Location: Net Park Building, 5th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City,, Metro Manila, Philippines
Monday to Thursday: 8 AM to 11 PM
Friday to Saturday: 8 AM to 12 AM
Sunday: 8 AM to 10 PM
Contact Number: (+63 2) 459-7009 / (+63 967) 246-4781)
Instagram: @vatosphilippines #vatosph