By Chloe Maddox
In the heart of downtown Santa Ana lies a cozy, tropical getaway. The hole-in-the-wall restaurant, Irenia, offers up a piece of traditional Filipino cooking with a gourmet flair. The chill, eclectic music and modern decor creates a welcoming atmosphere and even more welcoming are the staff. The best part though, is the food.
When I think of Filipino food, pancit automatically comes to mind. The fresh, chewy egg noodles in a garlicky, fish sauce are absolutely amazing. Their approach on the traditional dish was one that resulted in a fresh, and flavorful pancit. Filled with crunchy green beans and carrots and juicy prawns, it was delightfully memorable. Made even better with a dash of chili oil for a little kick. Next was the Adobo. The Adobo, resting on a bed of lentils and braised mustard greens is a satisfyingly salty piece of pork shoulder, slow roasted to perfection. So tender that your fork can just glide through it. It was a little crispy so it paired beautifully with the jasmine rice. To finish was the Ube Sugarpie. The entrees were amazing but the Ube Pie really took the cake, well pie in this case. The pie is reminiscent of a sweet potato pie with a crunchy oat crust and a decadent brown sugar custard. It was the perfect note to end on.
With its fun atmosphere and amazing food, Irenia is a must visit for some flavorful filipino food.