Foodies: A global fare awaits at Seva restaurant

Led by couple Neil Dy and Amanda Hao, this new dining spot in San Juan City promises a gastronomic experience fit for all kinds of foodies

At a glance

  • Featured photo by Oly Ruiz/Metrophoto for Brands

  • Art direction by Jerico Villamonte

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Neil "Niggy" Dy

In a restaurant in San Juan City, comfort food meets global flavors, promising a dining experience fit for all kinds of foodies.

Led by couple Neil Dy and Amanda Hao, Seva restaurant opened its doors in January this year, marking their new chapter as restaurateurs. It was their passion for traveling and love for good food that fueled these self-taught chefs to launch their restaurant. While they didn’t have the traditional training professional chefs had, the two have been students of their families’ kitchens and the world long enough for them to muster the courage to enter the restaurant business full on.

“I owe it all to my mom. My mom, I guess, was my first mentor in cooking,” Niel says. “She's not a chef as well, but I consider her a good home cook. She would cook good food for us at home. I think, that also inspired me. I got a lot of tips and techniques from her.”

Seva wasn’t Neil’s first foray into the food industry. He was one of the leaders of Katipunan-based bar The Rooftop. He and Amanda also helmed a private dining concept 29 Sang. But he admits that Seva was a different thing to manage, albeit a fun one. Unlike their other ventures, Seva serves a more diverse group and also has a bar to go with its kitchen to manage.

“[The idea] started during the pandemic,” he recalls. “We were doing 29 Sang. We would cook for a small group of 10 to 16 people. It is not degustation. It’s basically family-style comfort food. We have been doing it for around two years. Around that time, toward the latter part, I feel like I'm ready to open a restaurant.”


After a while, Neil, Amanda, and their business partners found the perfect spot in San Juan City to be the home of Seva. According to Neil, he and Amanda share the task of managing the kitchen and conceptualizing the dishes for the menu. But during service, he handles the front of the house while Amanda is in the kitchen. He also leads the bar and the backend operations of the business.

Spicy Vodka Rigatoni (Photo by Sonny Thakur).jpeg
Spicy Vodka Rigatoni (Photo by Sonny Thakur)

As for its dishes, Neil defines their food as a global fare. What they put on the plate are dishes inspired by their many travels. It is a culmination of flavors—from European and American to the best of Asian cuisines. The featured dishes are the items the couple loves to eat, only reimagined to suit the palate of Seva diners.

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Hot Crab Dip(Photo by Sonny Thakur)

The best way to start a dining experience at Seva is by trying its Hot Crab Dip. A true comfort food, the dip features blue crab with mozzarella fresca and leeks served with sourdough bread with smoked butter. Another must-try at the restaurant is the Ahi Tuna Tartare. Fresh slices of tuna are mixed with yuzu ponzu, tobiko, and spicy aioli on top of a crispy wonton.

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Ahi Tuna Tartare (Photo by Sonny Thakur)

Seva’s menu features three pasta dishes. For Neil, one of the things diners shouldn’t miss trying is the Spicy Vodka Rigatoni. Diners could do no wrong with ordering its prime ribeye, served with shishito pepper and steak rice, and lamb with roasted potatoes and confit tomatoes on the side. To round up the experience, he recommends the crème brûlée for dessert.

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Creme Brulee (Photo by Jonas Tamayo)

Neil worked with Niko Tiutan, co-owner and beverage director of Ito Space, in crafting special cocktails for the restaurant. His top picks include the PB&J Amaretto Sour, a mix of peanut butter-washed amaretto and bourbon, lemon, and blueberries, and Seva’s signature cocktail, which packs a kick with shishito pepper tequila, earl grey, vanilla tincture, allspice, and lime inclusion.

PB&J Amaretto Sour (Photo by Jonas Tamayo).jpeg
PB&J Amaretto Sour (Photo by Jonas Tamayo)

Seva, in Hinduism, means selfless service. Neil wants to mirror that in the restaurant, whether through the eats and sips they serve or the way they make customers feel at home in their place.

“I believe, what makes us stand out is how this came to life. It is very organic. We built this based on our food experience,” Neil says. “When people come here, they’ll feel that we really thought of everything. from the food to the design of the place, to make it a different experience for people.”

Seva is located at 2F LYH Bldg. 714 Jose Abad Santos St. Brgy. Little Baguio, San Juan City. To know more about it, visit @seva.dining on Instagram