Passing by the busy street of Chino Roces Extension, it’s easy to miss Chingolo Deli & Kitchen which stands among car dealer showrooms and construction companies in the area. Other than its red signage by the facade, Chingolo, despite the famous influencers behind it—Nico Bolzico and Erwan Heussaff—looks every bit an unassuming little steakhouse in Makati.
Upon entering, you’d think it’s just another deli with the usual offerings of meats, sauces, wines, and cheeses—until you are led to another door that opens to a 20-seater joint, with relaxing dim lights, a bar and an open kitchen. It’s that one place you’d like to go if you wish to enjoy a meal by yourself.
We happened to visit on a stormy weekend and had the place all to ourselves. But we were later told it was just luck that we chanced upon the restaurant at a rare quiet time, because Chingolo is always packed with diners during lunch and dinner, on weekdays and weekends. The staff highly advise calling for a reservation first. It’s more like an open secret among people who live or work around the area that the joint serves great steaks at friendly prices. A good quality 250-gram ribeye steak or tenderloin, for instance, is only P1,350. A 300-gram sirloin goes for P1,250; 250 grams of picanha will set you back P1,100; 350 grams of cuadril is priced at P1,100; and a 200-gram skirt can be enjoyed for P990.
“You can enjoy your steaks the way you want them,” says the restaurant’s head chef Ralph Salao. “Do you want the most tender part of the beef? Get the tenderloin. You want the marbling, order the ribeye. You want your meat lean? We have the cuadril or sirloin. If you want lots of fat, have the picanha.”
What makes their meats special is that the beef cattle are raised in the Bolzico family farm in Argentina. They are grass fed, which gives the beef a distinct, more robust, earthy flavor compared to grain-fed beef. The steaks are leaner, tender and flavorful, they could rival those from premium steak houses like Wolfgang’s and Mamou’s. Their meats are, yes, more affordable because they are directly imported from the Bolzico farm. “Walang middle man,” Salao offers.
By the way, Chingolo is named after a beef cut equivalent to the USDA’s chuck tender, and also refers to a type of sparrow commonly found in Bolzico’s hometown of Santa Fe in Argentina.
The steak house offers a variety of side dishes to complement their meats. We loved the garlic parmesan fries, which remain crunchy even when they get a bit cold. The beef oil they add to the fries makes a lot of difference. You dip them in black pepper aioli and you’re in French fry heaven.
When you go visit, don’t skip their beef empanadas. We suggest you order their sampler which includes five must-try flavors—original beef, chili and cheese, cheesy beef barbecue, birria, and creamy mushroom. These are best enjoyed with the house chimichurri. “Ito talagang pure beef empanada, no extenders,” Salao offers. He says it was co-owner Nico’s idea to add empanada on the menu because these are quite popular in Argentina.
They also make really good beef tacos. The beef tenderloin, says Salao are marinated in chimichurri, so it has that bright, fresh flavor. The soft shell tacos are made in house.
If you’re dropping by for a quick snack, you might want to order the Chingolo burger—double beef patty with crisp bacon, cheese, chimichurri, and garlic aioli, served in brioche buns. For P585, this already comes with fries. “This is bigger than a quarter pounder—180 grams of meat patty,” says Salao.
Craving for some sweets? Try their Dulce de leche ice cream (caramelized milk ice cream with butterscotch), dark chocolate lava cake (chantilly cream, sweet balsamic macerated strawberries), or their homemade baked cheesecake with citrus marmalade. In short, when at Chingolo, you’ll never leave your chair disappointed or unsatisfied.
Chingolo Deli & Kitchen is located at UPRC III Building, 2289 Chino Roces Extension, Makati City, (0915) 266-3581, Instagram @chingolodeli