Home of the Best Chicken Barbecue in Town
It's finally here! The Aristocrat Restaurant - Quezon Memorial Circle branch is now open located at 1 Elliptical Road, Central Diliman, Quezon City.
It is a recognized institution in its serving as an inspiration to many successful eateries here and abroad.
The Aristocrat Restaurant proudly traces its roots to a loving lady whose greatest pleasure was in cooking delectable dishes served in generous portions at affordable prices. This grand dame endearingly called “Aling Asiang”, learned her kitchen basics from her mother, who equally enjoyed concocting stews and porridges which were welcome fare to the fisherfolk in the then bustling town of Navotas in the early 1900s.
She created the most delicious “kare-kare”, “arroz con goto” and “dinuguan” in their hometown.
Asiang was wooed to an early marriage by Alexander Reyes, a bright young lawyer. Children came one after the other. Soon, Asiang had to rear a brood of twelve plus some ten more relatives that came to live with them. Her passion for cooking and desire to make ends meet saw her open a small canteen in 1928. It was called Lapu-Lapu, the forerunner of the Aristocrat and the first Filipino restaurant serving native menu at a time when American dishes dominated the commercial food scene. Shortly, it was a success. Since Lola Asiang’s brood was growing, she decided that since she was cooking for a lot of people already (the Reyes family had 13 children) might as well earn from all that effort. Asiang quickly converted the ground floor of their house in Marquez de Comillas into an eatery that she called Lapu-Lapu. Early on she decided that she would always cook and serve delicious and affordable Filipino food. Students from St. Theresa (across the street) would come in droves to sample Asiang’s specialties:
- Pancit Luglog
- Dinuguan with Puto
- Lumpiang Ubod
- Arroz Caldo
With this confidence and her entire savings of P80, she further ventured into the food business by converting an old van into a rolling store in 1936. She named the van The Aristocrat. The demand for her good food was ever-growing that she finally decided to open The Aristocrat Restaurant on a more permanent site along Dewey Blvd. in 1938. By then she had refined her philosophy to serve home-style dishes at popular prices - “masarap, malinis at mura.”
- The Adobo Sandwich originated from the Reyes family habit of having picnics at Luneta. Because there was always a need for meals-on-the-go, Asiang would pack easy to get food for her family to eat. She observed that many of the stalls in Luneta were serving American fare like hotdogs and hamburgers so she thought to make a Filipino version. She decided to use chicken adobo as her “palaman.” Soon her native sandwiches became a hit that friends of her children and husband would intentionally stop by their picnic spot just to get the taste of it.
The Original Rolling Store
- The popularity of her sandwiches in the park gave Asiang an idea for a “Rolling Food Store. “Much like the food trucks of today, they converted an old Ford car into a mobile canteen. The rolling food store would go around Luneta Park and the nearby areas serving the same food her family would eat during their picnics. By force of circumstance, the rolling store moved from Luneta to Dewey Blvd, now known as Roxas Blvd. Alex & Asiang decided to put up a restaurant in that same spot where it still stands today.
The Chicken Barbeque
- The Aristocrat survived wartime through Asiang’s resourcefulness and food innovations. All these made Aristocrat the place to be, and soon there were new ventures including a branch in Cubao and Ermita and a beach resort in Las Piñas. But the beach resort posed a new kind of problem for Asiang: her cutlery rarely found their way back to her kitchen since diners would bring them to their beach huts. As a solution, she began to serve food barbecue-style, lessening the use of utensils. This small problem-solving experiment paved the way for one of Aristocrat’s beloved bestsellers - Chicken Barbecue, which is now paired with java rice and java sauce.
Mother of Filipino Cooking
Lola Asiang was recognized as the Mother of Filipino Cooking. Whenever Lola Asiang cooked for her customers, she put in the same love and care as though she were cooking for her own children. She believed that no matter the size of your budget, you can eat like an Aristocrat. That’s how Aristocrat has come to be for Filipinos - a welcoming home where hearty appetites and modest wallets are rewarded with quality food and good old feeling of family.
An Icon in Cultural History
It is no easy feat to survive 80 years in the food industry. The success of Aristocrat is attributed to the clear and simple vision of Asiang to serve quality Filipino comfort food. In recognition of the Aristocrat’s contribution to Philippine culture, a historical marker was installed on July 4, 2013, by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP).
To know more about Aristocrat check out their website:
STORE HOURS: 7AM-9PM
Much credit goes to Aling Asiang’s industry, creativity and pioneering spirit that Aristocrat has raised Filipino dishes to the level of international cuisine. This is a legacy all Filipinos have a right to take pride in. A legacy that perpetuates itself in The Aristocrat Restaurant.