iSLAS means Islands


Filipino cooking has evolved over many centuries originating from Austronesian roots to a mix of Malays, Chinese, Spanish, American and indigenous influences. The cuisine centres on the combination of sweet, sour, and salty flavours mainly, however in the regions of Bicol, the Cordilleras and among Muslim Filipinos, spicy flavours form the base of most dishes. 

Vinegar is a common ingredient. Adobo (vinegar-based meat dish) is popular not solely for its simplicity and ease of preparation, but also for its ability to be stored for days without spoiling and improving in taste after a day or two. 

Rice is another Filipino staple served with meat, fish, stews, soup-based mains and vegetable dishes.

Cooking and eating in the Philippines has traditionally been an informal and communal affair centred on the family kitchen. Filipinos traditionally eat three main meals a day: breakfast, lunch, and dinner and often an afternoon snack called meriénda. 

Unlike many of their Asian counterparts, Filipinos do not eat with chopsticks. Due to Western influence, food is often eaten using flatware—forks, knives, spoons—but the primary utensils typically used at a Filipino dining table is that of spoon and fork. Some say that Filipinos can cut anything with a spoon and fork, no knives needed! 

Another traditional way of eating is with the hands, especially dishes that are grilled or fried. The diner will take a bite of the main dish, and then eat rice pressed together with his/her fingers. This practice is known as "kamayan" and is rarely seen in urbanized areas, however, Filipinos tend to embrace kamayan-style eating when amidst nature, on beach vacations, picnics, and town fiestas.

Whether you eat with a knife and fork, spoon and fork or with your hands, we're happy to have you here and hope you enjoy your iSLAS food adventure. Feel free to ask us questions and share your thoughts along the way. The origin of Filipino food was built on a foundation of diverse cultures and influences and this city is shaped in the same way. We're excited to introduce this cuisine to you and hope you love every subo (mouthful)!

Marc Buenaventura


Born and raised in Toronto by Filipino parents that migrated to Canada in the early 70's. Marc grew up with  his siblings and many cousins who frequently had family parties on weekends and BBQ in the parks. Inspired by the food he grew up with and the food he learned about while travelling to the Philippines, he decided to open a restaurant one day that would be a place for people to gather and remind people of the richness and flavours of the homeland. He says, "Toronto needs this place to eat and drink  good Filipino food and be happy." There is so much fruits and vegetables to showcase  from the Philippines. We think about iSLAS as an introduction to our food and culture here in the city. Keeping with traditional styles and  authentic flavours with every dish.

Changing careers in 2013 from the travel industry he worked at various kitchens like Joey's Restaurants, Houstons Steakhouse, Bazille at Nordstrom and Reds Wine Tavern.  "It is a continued education to create new dishes and research the history of our food and culture. The best thing I learned while working in the kitchens was to learn one new thing everyday and apply it."

Mariel Buenaventura


Born and raised in the Philippines, she migrated to Canada in 2013 to join her husband Marc. She has a background in Accounting, and her last role before joining iSLAS was at Scotiabank Mortgage in the Financial District. "There are many options of sit down restaurants in the Philippines and I noticed there aren't many in Toronto "she says. Her vision is to introduce Filipino cuisine and hospitality in North America.



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