Opening Hours: 11:00 A.M. – 3:00 P.M., 5:00 P.M. – 11:00 P.M. (Monday – Sunday)
Phone Number(s): (+63 2) 729-0047, (+63 2) 729-0013
Like Franco's, Lorenzo's Way has a not-so-typical story behind it. The restaurant's namesake, Lorenzo "Larry" J. Cruz, started off not as a chef or experienced restaurateur, but as a journalist. Deciding to make a living out of his love for food, Cruz opened his first restaurant — Café Adriatico — in 1979. Eventually, he expanded into other establishments (Abe, Abe's Farm, Fely J, Ang Bistro sa Remedios, Café Havana, Larry's Café & Bar and Lorenzo's Way), grouped them under the "LJC Restaurants" banner and the rest — as they say — is history.
In particular, Lorenzo's Way collects the "best of the best" of the LJC Group of Restaurants. Having opened in 2008 (the same year Cruz passed away), the restaurant is a tribute to Cruz's philosophy of melding together Kapampangan and Spanish influences to create some of the best dishes from this side of the archipelago. Also, as you'll see in this review, there are a few other things that make this restaurant special.
Entering Lorenzo's Way is like going back in time. The wooden panels are reminiscent of Spanish-Filipino homes, while the tasteful paintings and leather chairs are a throwback to the Baby Boomer and Gen X years. It might feel "old" compared to similar establishments around Greenbelt/BGC, but that's a good thing in this case: It gives Lorenzo's Way a relaxing, somewhat romantic ambience. Also, Spanish/Filipino music plays in the background, which helps keep worries at bay while you wait for your order.
Before you eat, you'll have a complementary appetizer of chips (pictured above). It looks like a variant of Lay's at first glance, but after biting into it, you'll be pleasantly surprised to know that it's actually thinly-sliced deep-fried bananas! Neither too greasy nor too salty, it's a healthy way to stave off hunger pangs before you get to the meal proper.
Next up, we had the Kesong Puti Caprese.
For the main course, we had the Knockout Knuckles. This is the restaurant's take on the classic crispy pata dish, or deep-fried pork leg with atchara and sauce made from soy sauce, brown sugar, vinegar and chopped onions.
Finally, because you can't have a complete Lorenzo's Way meal without dessert, we ordered their Halo-Halo Espesyal.
And lest we forget, we also had a sip of their Grand Iced Tea.
We don't have (too many) complaints about the service. They gave us the nicest chairs available, given the number of people in our group, and they always made sure to take away used dishes once we're done with them (unlike in other restaurants, where the staff wait for you to finish everything before they clean up your table). Granted, the orders took a little long to arrive, even though there weren't a lot of people in the restaurant at the time, but we suppose good food always takes time to prepare.
Overall, the staff were friendly, polite and attentive. The LJC Restaurants have a policy of asking for written feedback from customers once you're done with everything, so you have an opportunity to praise — and point out areas of improvement — before you leave.
Aside from Sentro 1771 and Wooden Spoon, Lorenzo's Way is the restaurant we recommend to non-Filipinos trying out Filipino cuisine for the first time. The food is great, the approach is unpretentious and the service is one of the best in the Metro. We give it two thumbs up!