Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Country Chicken Restaurant of Zamboanga City: Serves More Than Just Fried Chicken

 Wazzup Pilipinas!

We just came from a very long Grand Civic and Military parade that was participated by local government agencies, college students and teachers, and of course the military, and immediately after was a night concert graced by local talents from the Mindanao areas singing in their local dialects at the Paseo Del Mar right beside the enchanting musically gyrating water fountain

Ricky Manzano, a cousin of the popular actor and TV host Edu Manzano, (or should I say the uncle of Luis Manzano since Luis is more prominent now in showbiz than his dad) bought the Country Chicken restaurant, one of the city’s oldest restaurants, from its previous owners (The Fernandez family) and continued to serve its most popular dishes maintaining the well-loved recipes and introducing new ones to tickle more of the palate of its patrons. It is located right beside Oliva, his fine dining restaurant that is also a popular eating destination.

They have two branches, one at Pasonanca park and another one that's smaller at Paseo Del Mar. We visited the one at the Pasonanca park to have dinner, and to try out their popular homemade ice cream.

At first it seems like it's one of those fastfood restaurants because of the signage outside. But when we got inside where a waiter took our order then we realized it's a level higher than those typical fried chicken houses.

Well, I knew it would be something better because the Department of Tourism recommends it as a DOT  accredited restaurant. Having a DOT accreditation means the restaurant has passed world-class standards suitable for tourism efforts. It's a valuable and respected recognition accorded to establishments that meet the approval of our government agency.

The exteriors of the restaurant shows somewhat like a brick house with barn-like orange doors and white-painted windows seemingly reminiscent of houses in the American countryside. The light inside is glowing yellow and obviously not coming from fluorescent lighting.

It's most probably intentional to create the soothing atmosphere. My only disappointment is I would be challenged in taking photos inside since the lighting will be somewhat dark and dreary for good quality shots.

Inside were tables laden with red and white checkered tablecloths, and metal chairs with foam. The lights are coming from a few chandeliers thus the eerie lighting of the restaurant. The situation may be totally different during the day.

There were only a few customers inside the restaurant that evening but it was actually too early for dinner. We were there at around 6 pm because we needed to get ready for an early morning birdwatching activity the following day.

We will be joining the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines, as well as foreign delegates, at Mt. Baluno to experience how it is like to watch birds.

You actually have a choice to eat inside, or at the open-air tables located around the back and sides of the restaurant.

There were around three or four chandeliers hanging from the ceiling and was intended not to illuminate enough to give a country-style ambiance.

There was even a brick stone chimney at one side of the restaurant. I am just not sure if it is working and being used, or is just another decorative feature of the restaurant.

I don't really believe they are using this because the Philippines is a tropical country so this is probably just to create an ambiance.

They also have this statue with chest displayed near the entrance.

 On the walls are decorative frames of different shapes and sizes that adds a more country-style aura.

The table setup is plain and simple, with just a single plate beside a fork and knife pair and placed on top of a table mat..

Our Department of Tourism (DOT) host ordered for us because she would know best what's the specialty of the restaurant. She ordered a three-cheese topping pizza as starters while we wait for the main dish.

The pizza has authentic cheese toppings as I could really taste the flavors of each. Tasty, succulent, mouth-watering, home-style oven-baked thin-crust pizza that's full of flavorful cheese.

When the Paella came out, I knew it would be a festive night. Turmeric lends an intense yellow color and a wonderful bittersweet, pungent flavor to this hearty shrimp paella entrée. This order is good for 4 persons depending on how hungry the group is. Though we ordered another viand aside from the paella so this was already more than enough for the 4 of us.

The Crispy Pata was so tempting but dangerous for me since I have to stay away from meals like this but being a blogger requires me to taste the dish. My other companion also watches his weight and even has a daughter checking up on her during mealtime asking what he was having for lunch or dinner.

I say, a few spoonfuls won't hurt much, but if you only you how good it was, you'll be totally disappointed you couldn't eat as much as you want.

Of course, visiting a restaurant named after a chicken will be quite disturbing if you don't try out its namesake chicken specialty.

This is not your fastfood fried chicken. This is fried chicken heaven. Nuff said.

My favorite drink of all time is the mango shake so it was always my first choice when there's too few to choose from, or when there is nothing really special from the menu.

Lastly, we could never leave without tasting its special homemade ice cream with a single piece of an Apollo wafer stick (of which I bought a few boxes of on the last day of my Zamboanga visit). There were two flavors available so we requested for a scoop of each. The combination of strawberry and chocnut flavors was dreamy.

Our dining experience at Country Chicken restaurant was delightful story to share with our readers. Though the restaurant is known for its chicken, their other dishes are nothing short of deserving equal praise. I would recommend this restaurant anytime to visitors of Zamboanga.

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  1. Country Chicken is one of the finest restaurants in Zamboanga.

  2. My mother used to work as a laundry woman in the late 80's and early 90's in this establishment. While my siblings and me were working students of the Fernandez's. During those days, this resto was considered as one of the best in the city..I still vividly recall those memories when I joyfully gathered those ripe mango, santol, mangosteen, guava and duhat fruits within the vicinity of the resto. Since only me and my sister were youngsters then, we had fully enjoyed harvesting all kinds of produce.😁 Just so grateful for the events happened in my life in this place. Moreover, much thanks for the opportunity to serve as living witness of the grandeur this restaurant enjoyed then.


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