Yay or nay: In-N-Out-inspired CaliBurger opens in Manila

By Karen Flores, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Feb 20 2014 08:15 PM | Updated as of Feb 21 2014 06:10 PM

MANILA -- The newest burger joint in Metro Manila is a franchise that is "heavily inspired" by In-N-Out, a popular burger chain in the United States.

Like In-N-Out, CaliBurger offers California-style burgers, fries and milkshakes. The design of the menu itself will strongly remind diners of In-N-Out's -- from the font to the choice of colors.

CaliBurger's menu. Photo by Karen Flores, ABS-CBNnews.com

Both companies also promise to offer fresh and 100% pure beef, with the burgers only cooked to order.

CaliBurger opened its first branch at the new Century City Mall in Makati last February 17, with the second outlet located along Timog Avenue in Quezon City welcoming customers two days later.

In-N-Out, on the other hand, put up a "pop-up" store at the Bonifacio High Street in Taguig in March last year, attracting long lines of hungry customers.

WIll CaliBurger be a hit in Metro Manila, which is already home to several foreign and homegrown burger concepts? We'll find out soon enough.

Taste, price

I was able to taste the freshness of the beef in the Cali Double (P295 for the burger, P395 with fries and soda) and the Cheeseburger (P225 for the burger, P325 for the meal). The patties were juicy and not too greasy, but they tend to fall apart easily.

The Cali Double. Photo by Karen Flores, ABS-CBNnews.com

The grilled onions -- you also have the option of getting them raw -- added more flavor to the burgers, which needed more seasoning. The cheese and the rest of the ingredients only played a minor role in the product. It's safe to say that CaliBurger's items are quite close to In-N-Out's, only a bit bland.

The fries taste like, well, fries. They were hot and crispy and fun to eat, but they do not really stand out. As for the milkshakes, I've yet to try them -- maybe that's where they will make up for the other items on the menu.

Cheeseburger with fries and soda. Photo by Karen Flores, ABS-CBNnews.com

When it comes to taste, CaliBurger is not bad at all, but it's not that great either -- at least for now. I'd like to think this is because the restaurant is still on soft opening. Perhaps after a few days or weeks, some creases will be ironed out.

However, I cannot say the same thing about the price. For burgers served in a fast food setup, they are quite expensive at P195 to P295 each. A meal, on the other hand, will cost you P295 to P395 -- comparable to, if not more expensive than, those offered in sit-down restaurants.

But if you are a die-hard fan of CaliBurger or In-N-Out, I guess this is a small price to pay for a taste of California.