New Indonesian Restaurant Alert: Restoran Garuda in Legazpi Village, Makati

This will probably be the most photographed part of Restoran Garuda, which just opened three weeks ago-- a mural depicting a female spirit

We don’t have a lot of Indonesian restaurants in the Philippines. So I was thrilled when I found out that a new one called Restoran Garuda opened its doors in Salcedo Street in Legazpi Village, Makati just three weeks ago. When I did a quick Google search before checking it out for lunch with my dear friend Melo Esguerra, there wasn’t much information about it. All I know was that it was located right across the Indonesian Embassy (thank you for that bit of information, Ram Bucoy!) and it received some pretty positive reviews on community sites like Trip Advisor, Zomato and their own Facebook page.

The entrance to Restoran Garuda on 166 Salcedo Street, Legazpi Village, Makati
The entrance to Restoran Garuda on 166 Salcedo Street, Legazpi Village, Makati

So when there’s no third party information about a restaurant available, you go straight to the source. So while I was waiting for Melo, I decided to ask the wait staff some questions. “Why the name Garuda?” He answered, “It’s the name of the Indonesian airline.” Yes, we know Garuda Airlines but why did they pick that as the name of the restaurant? He didn’t know. So I asked, “Who owns the restaurant?” He said he didn’t know their names but they were “foreigners” and “neither Filipinos nor Indonesians.” Hmm…. ok. Anyway, so the manager Leo came and he explained that Garuda was a franchise, with branches in Jakarta and Medan in Indonesia and in Singapore- hence the owners aren’t based here, but they report to an operations manager here.

I asked about the striking mural of a lady with multi-colored hair on the wall, and Leo reverted to us that the idea behind it is a “free spirit.” (When we got home, Melo Googled Garuda’s real definition and it is “a mythical bird in Javanese folklore” so I guess you can infer the connection.) The Restoran Garuda website I found is in Bahasa, and if this is their mother restaurant, then according to Google Translate, it was founded in 1976.

So… this blog post isn’t very informative as that was the only info I could gather– and directly from the restaurant people, too. (*Anyway there should be more information on hand when you go, please feel free to share with me and I’m happy to update this post.) But what I can tell you with certainty that the food is delicious! (*We noticed that there were alot of Indonesians dining there, too.)

When I asked for their recommended dishes, they said the chicken sate and the beef rendang. I’m sure they’re delicious (I read rave reviews about them, especially the rendang) but they’re also so common. Melo and I wanted to try something not so readily available in Manila, so we ordered:

Beef Martabak (PHP385) *This was my fave!!!

This beef martabak (savory pancake) is da bomb! Pan-fried to a crisp, alright. IT takes 15-20 minutes to prepare so order ahead. They also have a chicken filling.
This beef martabak (savory pancake) is da bomb! Pan-fried to a crisp, alright. It takes 15-20 minutes to prepare so order ahead. They also have a chicken filling.

Nasi Goreng Rendang (PHP295) and Ayam Kremas (PHP395) 

Nasi Goreng Rendang (left) is fried rice infused with their signature beef rendang- and Ayam Kremas- fried chicken seasoned with Balinese spices with crisp spicy flakes. Both also good with the red and green chili sauces! I was just really stuffed from the martabak when these came along.
Nasi Goreng Rendang (left) is fried rice infused with their signature beef rendang– topped with fried egg and krupuk (what we know as kropek, yay!!!) and Ayam Kremas– fried chicken seasoned with Balinese spices with crisp spicy flakes. (Made from rice flour with chicken stock I think). Both also good with the red and green chili sauces! I was just really stuffed from the martabak when these came along.

You know what, all the dishes, especially the beef martabak were good– simple, no-frills delicious meal, one that you would and could eat casually and regularly. I wanted to try the pangsit udang (fried prawn dumplings) and ayam goreng garuda (classic fried chicken topped with coconut flakes) but they were not available.  Their green and red chili sauces also packed a punch. (I love spice.)

Restoran Garuda- Garuda Indonesian Restaurant- Legazpi Village, Makati, Philippines
Yeah, why not???

So yes, people looking for a new restaurant to try in the metro (with good food), Restoran Garuda is it! I want to visit Indonesia one day to learn more about their food :-)

PS They also serve liquor (vodka, gin, rum, tequila, etc.), wine (Two Oceans is the only one on the list- and by the bottle) and beer (local and imported).

Cheryl Tiu, Melo Esguerra- Garuda Indonesian Restaurant, Legaspi Village, Makati
It was so great catching up with my queen Melo Esguerra! Just like the woman in the mural, we are free-spirited ladies, too! :-D

Restoran Garuda is open daily from 11AM to 11PM. It is located on the G/F of 166 Salcedo Street, Legazpi Village, Makati City, Philippines. For reservations, phone +632 824 3440 or email garudaphilippines@gmail.com. They are on Facebook here, and on Instagram here.