Food & Drink

This Fancy Steak Restaurant Quietly Opened Another Branch During the Pandemic

And the owners of El Gaucho say they plan to open more.
IMAGE El Gaucho
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The first El Gaucho Argentinean Steakhouse in the Philippines opened in The Trump Tower in Makati in 2019. The premium restaurant is apparently a success; how else could you explain a second one materializing, this time in the business and social hub of Bonifacio Global City, just over a year later?

That the owners decided to expand so soon isn’t surprising in itself; the chain has opened well over a dozen outlets since the first one opened in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam in 2011. (Trump Tower Manila is the 16th). But the fact that they did it in the thick of the pandemic, when the dining industry has been all but decimated, says something about their optimism and gumption.

El Gaucho Steak

Photo by El Gaucho.
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“The business is down 50 percent and more (because of the effects of the pandemic),” owner, president and CEO Dany Himi tells Esquire Philippines. But that obviously didn’t stop him from going ahead with the expansion at the Seven/Neo building along Fifth Avenue in BGC. “And we are looking to open more in the Philippine,” he adds. 

While the industry might be in a slump, El Gaucho clearly spared no expense in making sure its latest iteration follows the exact same atmosphere and look as all the other branches elsewhere in the world—from Hanoi and Da Nang, Bangkok to Koh Samui, and Prague and Bratislava.

Provoleta with Chorizo Beef

Photo by El Gaucho.
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Floor-to-ceiling glass walls, wooden floors, and textured accents all align with what you would expect a classy steak restaurant to be. Warm incandescent drop lights lend a relaxed, modern vibe to the space. It’s the type of place you wouldn’t be embarrassed to take the date you’re trying to impress. 

El Gaucho Argentinean Steakhouse opened its second branch in Manila in BGC

Photo by El Gaucho.
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But ultimately, it’s all about the food. Order the house specialty, the Tomahawk Ribeye (P1,190/100 grams), and it’s cut by a seasoned waitstaff tableside. Don’t be surprised if the inner caveman (or woman) is unleashed and your mouth starts to water as you watch the meat expertly sliced before your eyes. Starters of warm bread, Beetroot Salad (P790), and the restaurant's famed Creamed Spinach (P490) are all well and good, but you come here for the meat and it does not disappoint.

Cooked medium, the steak is tender and juicy and packs in all the flavors unencumbered by unnecessary seasonings. (They do have things like Chimichurri, Bearnaise or Red Wine, if you must have your meat drenched in sauces). It’s just a good piece of meat cooked right, and really, that’s all you can ever expect from these places. 

1500-gram Wagyu Tomahawk

Photo by El Gaucho.
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There is a fine wine selection, as well as signature and classic cocktails to go with your meal. You might choose to go somewhere else for dessert, but why bother when El Gaucho has a decadent Flan Caramel (P490) and Hot Chocolate Cake with a side of Vanilla Ice Cream (P550)? Both will satisfy sweet cravings.

Photo by El Gaucho.
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El Gaucho might seem pretty pricey (what do you expect from a fine steak restaurant?) but the good news is that it currently has a 50-percent off promotion all day, every day for the entire month of February. If that’s not a good enough reason to treat yourself to some fancy steaks, then we don’t know what is.

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Paul John Caña
Associate Editor, Esquire Philippines
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