The Manila Story
Manila is the brainchild of owner Marlo Ambas. Being first generation American of immigrant parents from the Philippines, his roots have been centered around family; and where there is family there is food. Local Oshkosh friends raved about the Filipino meals he would cook for them, that he knew he had to bring it to the masses; the concept for his restaurant was born. The name, Manila Resto, highlights the capital of the Philippines, which has long been a melting pot and source for multicultural foods, yet takes pride in its own Filipino cuisine.
In addition to Marlo’s desire to bring high-quality sushi to Oshkosh, Chef Rey Gaza, a Japanese-cuisine trained chef and relative, pitched the idea of a robata grill based on trends he’s experienced first-hand in Europe. The robata grill became part of the concept, which puts Oshkosh ahead of the robata grill trend that is just now reaching Chicago and a few other major metropolitan cities. Extensive renovations to the building and to the dining space brings Manila into the 21st century and offers a cool and modern space to enjoy exclusive cuisine and live entertainment at the bar.
Join Marlo and his wife, Patricia, along with Chef Ninoy, and Team Manila to experience a food you weren’t previously familiar with in an atmosphere that makes you feel welcome.
Flavor of the Philippines
Filipino cuisine is a melting pot of influences— indigenous, Japanese, Chinese, Spanish, Mexican, and American influences have all shaped the cuisine into what you can enjoy today. During the Spanish rule, many dishes were introduced and Philippine natives made their own adaptations. The national dish, adobo, is a perfect example. European bay leaves, Asian soy sauce, and Filipino vinegar—used to keep foods from spoiling in the heat of the tropical islands—are combined together to create the marinade and added to pork, chicken, or whatever other meats are available.
The inclusion of Sushi, and the robata grill, are Japanese influences. Sushi refers to sashimi (raw fish), sushi (hand rolls of raw fish and rice), and sushi rolls (sushi in a seaweed wrap). The Robata Grill is an open flame style of grilling that is very traditional in Japan. Past grills used charcoals and ours today is a mix of propane over lava rocks to keep the heat.