Pleasing a man with an appetite for any home-cooked meal – or even anything appropriate with rice – is pretty kindergarten. No primadonna attitude to worry about. Just a decent plate of meat, vegetables and rice satisfies. My dad, the only guy in our small family of 4, never gave us a hard time in choosing where to eat. Like a cowboy, he can eat anywhere – even in Jollyjeeps lined up around Makati streets. Hehe. We could take him to Jollibee or McDonald’s for his birthday. I don’t think dad would bother. However, we never did that to him. In our family, we give birthday celebrations extreme importance. Added with extra love, care and surprises.
Last November, the ladies (mom, Reine and I) thought of surprising him a day before his birthday for lunch. He knew about the lunch but he didn’t have any idea where. I think he was guessing it was at NIU by Vikings since I kept on talking about the place days before. My dad, a Miami Heat fan, never had a clue we were taking him to NBA Cafe at SM Aura. 
Every man, who is into basketball, would have sparkling eyes when they first enter the restaurant. Overwhelmed side by side with wide and tall LED screens flashing with NBA basketball games. I saw dad’s face, stunned as he entered, when Lebron James’ giant photo welcomed him by the entrance. Applause for us, we fed dad’s eyes alone with NBA memorabilia, art, photos, etc. Time to feed his stomach now.

The Food:

Beer Battered Fish and Chips (Php 320)
Rate: 4/5
I knew mom would approve of Beer Battered Fish and Chips. A starter for dad but as a main course for her. Served with hand cut triple cooked kennebec fries, tartar sauce, and coleslaw.

Cheese Burger (Php 385)
Rate: 4/5
Cheese Burger topped with melted Gruyere cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, sliced dill pickles and truffle aioli. Watching NBA on screens in front of us made burgers more enjoyable at that venue.
Three Cheese Pizza (Php 495)
Rate: 4/5
Ice, my 8-year old cousin, could be bribed with pizza or fries alone. Fries as his appetizer, while pizza as his main course. NBA’s Three Cheese Pizza – mozzarella, cheddar and blue cheese – passed the pizza standard of my cousin who seriously knows his pizza very well. Except, he rejects any form of vegetables on his pizza. He’d rather keep it simple like an all-cheese flavor or close to classic flavors.

By the way, I let him try Pizza Hut’s Flavors of the World edition and he gave me reasonable feedback for each flavor.

Sloppy Joe (Php 390)
Rate: 5/5
Bounced to my Sloppy Joe from time to time, my typical basketball sandwich. Juicy ground beef, slow cooked in a spicy, rich tomato sauce.
Baby Back Pork Ribs (Half/Php 560; Whole/Php1,120)
Rate: 4/5
“Excuse me. Is this really half?” I asked the waiter twice while transferring the Baby Back Pork Ribs from his tray to our table. Mistaken as I thought. NBA Cafe’s half looked like a whole slab of ribs for us. Huge, long, and meaty, how we described from our first sight of the half ribs. With flowing sweet Kansas BBQ sauce, corn and sautéed vegetables on the side. The ribs stayed closer to dad’s side of the table, which was slowly turning invisible minute by minute.
Lemon Brined Roasted Chicken (Php 450)
Rate: 3/5
Minutes before Baby Back Ribs landed on our table, thinking half ribs look small and insufficient, we were a bit anxious our orders may not be enough to fill everyone’s hungry bellies for lunch. Hence, we had an additional order of Lemon Brined Roasted Chicken. A strong sour zest of lemon sticking on its chicken meat, which didn’t strike an appeal to everyone, accompanied with a bed of mashed potatoes, succotash, and parsley gravy.

One of the funniest birthday greeting coming from a restaurant came from NBA Cafe Manila. During reservation, I was at peace knowing the waiters could sing and greet dad with a birthday song. I had to double check from their receptionist, asked if they sing happy birthday to celebrants. When the time finally came to sing and greet the celebrant, the big surprise on my face reacted upon seeing only 2 men (yep, just 2!) with tenor voices singing beside dad while holding a slimy chocolate cake. Three claps for their sweet effort and customer service! At least, the cake was a winner!

The Ambiance:

By the window where we sat, the view of Market Market to calm our NBA-filled eye sight.
LED television screen playing live NBA games.

Any side of the room, television screens will catch your eyes for you not to miss out on live basketball games.

The theme of NBA is clear from start to end. Roll your eyeballs all over the room, NBA decors will seduce you to take a photo of and/or with them.

My take on how my dad feels inside NBA Cafe? The feeling of being in a restaurant surrounded with shoes! :p

Have you visited NBA Cafe Manila?

Share with me your thoughts foodie! 🙂

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Pray, Eat and Love.
The Food Scout
Location: 5/F SM Aura Premier, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City, Metro Manila, Philippines
Operating Hours: 10:00AM-10:00PM
Contact: (+632) 556-1683
Instagram: @nbacafe_manila
Budget: PHP400++

Food 8/10
Ambiance 9/10
Service 9/10
Cost 8/10
Overall 8.5/10