Bento-Ya, BF Homes

Deep in the heart of BF Homes along the stretch of El Grande avenue lies one of the best Japanese restaurants the town can offer…if you can find it. I’ve been eating at Tatsunoko Restaurant (more popularly known as Bento-Ya) for the past four or five years, and I still have to drive really carefully so I won’t miss because it the outside looks like a some run-down, seedy warehouse where members of the Yakuza meet for parties or whatever. But don’t let appearances fool you; they offer great-tasting, authentic Japanese cuisine. Why do you think I keep coming back?

The only decent interior shot I got. I forgot to change my lens,
so I couldn’t do any wide shots. 😦

I went there with college friends for a despedida dinner. Riane and I went there early to get a good parking slot and reserve a table, since the place tends to get really packed by dinner time. We were greeted by a couple of cheerful waitresses in Nihon-go and led to a big table in the smoking area (the tables in the non-smoking area could only seat 4-5 people), right beside a group of Japanese men drinking sake. We’d always see Japanese clients every time we go there, which is testament to the quality of the food. Anyway, our friends arrived much later, and dinner was served.

Salmon Sashimi (Php180). Served fresh and cold.

Sukiyaki (Php190). Serves 2-3 people. I love the sweet-salty broth. The vegetables are crisp, the meat is tender, and the noodles have an interesting and rubbery texture. I am officially addicted to this thing.

Beef Shirataki (Php135). Tastes like Sukiyaki without the broth and veggies. Maybe if you wanted extra meat and noodles in your Sukiyaki, just dump these into the bowl. 

Gyoza (Php90). Minced meat, veggies and garlic. One of my favorites here, because the garlic doesn’t overpower the meat unlike some Gyozas I’ve tasted. 

Onigiri – Umeboshi/Pickled Fruit (Php45), Salmon (Php55), Katsubushi/Smoked Tuna (Php45).

Sea Urchin (Php70). I’m not sure how to describe what this tastes like…”raw” and “sea” are the first words that come to mind. I may have to take another shot at this to really understand the flavor. But it does taste pretty good when dipped in soy sauce and wasabi.

California Maki (Php135). That dollop of Japanese Mayo makes all the difference.

And now, for the million-peso question: Which is better, Bento-Ya or Little Rio? The latter has its own specialties, like the Crazy Maki, Shoyu Ramen and Misou Ramen, but the former gets everything else in my opinion. Or maybe I should comb Little Rio’s entire menu first. *Food trip alert*

Bento-Ya will always and forever be one of my favorite pig out spots here in BF Homes. Great food, great service, great Japanese atmosphere, and most of all, it’s cheap. It just goes to show that you don’t need a grand and sophisticated facade – it’s what’s on the inside that counts.

Location: 452 El Grande Ave., BF Homes Parañaque City

Contact Number: (02) 825-0551

Store Hours: 11AM to 10PM (closed on Sundays)

Cuisine: Japanese

Price: ~Php150

Payment Method: Cash