Thanis Lim

All Rounder Chef and Food Journalist

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Manila Food Guide: Must try restaurants and food in Manila

I have visited Manila for food trips quite a few times now and I must say the Manila food scene keeps on improving every time I visit. Two years ago, when I had never visited Manila, I’ve never regarded Manila as a foodie’s paradise. and I have fears of security and safety issues. Thankfully, my friend Shahrul assured me it’s an awesome place to visit and promised to show me around if I visit. Fast forward two years, I’ve made good foodie friends in Manila and pretty much know how to get around on my own and dine in at the best restaurants in Manila.

 

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Manila is indeed a safe place for tourists and a majority of the taxi drivers speak good English. It is also pretty cheap to grab a taxi – expect around 120 to 250 pesos per trip! Make sure the taxi driver turns on their meter! I like to look out for taxis with green lines on the side – these are better in my opinion. If the taxi driver does not want to use meter, don’t get on it. For this Manila Food Guide, I will advise you on how to get around and make it easier for you to plan your Manila Food and Travel trip. This guide is specially geared towards foodies and shoppers to make full use of their time in Manila and I advise you to choose hotels within Makati near Greenbelt or Salcedo village area. Since traffic jam is a big issue, I would advise to get up early and stay in one location for the whole day – therefore, I will list the best restaurants in each popular location and what you can do there besides eating! Let us begin – The Manila Food Guide – The must try food in Manila and How to get there!

 

Green Belt and Glorietta Area

This is where most tourists would be shopping. Green Belt is more on the higher end side while Glorietta is mid range to budget shopping. Lots of choices in terms of restaurants around here and you can actually hang around this area from morning till supper! There’s plenty of bars and pubs at Green Belt for you to have drinks ~~ the night scene at Havana Cafe, next to Starbucks is a good place for people watching.

Mesa Filipino Moderne

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Mesa Filipino Moderne restaurant is located at Greenbelt 5, shopping hotspot in Makati, Manila, they are pretty authentic when it comes to their food but their food presentation and style of serving in a more classy dining environment gives the modern feel to Filipino Cuisine. Tip: Make sure to book your tables early – I once had to wait 1 hour to get a table.

 

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Simply awesome fragrant basil duck fried rice!

 

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Crispy pork crackling with tender pork flesh ~~ how could you say no to this classic Filipino favourite?

 

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They also serve their own answer to Peking duck ~~ the crispy pork wraps ~~ who needs duck when you got yummy pork!

 

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Fancy some baked scallops ~~ mmm ~~~

Meso Filipino Moderne  Greenbelt 5, Makati

Telephone: +632 728 0886

 

Smokin Hot BarBQ

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SmokinHot BarBQ is located at Level 3 of Greenbelt, the name doesn’t sound like a Filipino restaurant but they serve quite a lot of Filipino dishes in this establishment. Barbecue might be an Australian tradition but the Filipinos are not far behind. They are experts in grilled meats and their marinade seriously packs a punch!

 

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Their signature SmokinHot BarBQ chicken is moist and packed with a flavoursome skin from their secret recipe marinade.

 

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Filipino style rice dishes – the squid ink rice and the crab fat rice – both fragrant and delicious to pair with your dishes ~

 

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Be sure to order Sisig – theirs are served with tortilla wraps – to make your own Sisig wraps!

 

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How can you say no to crispy bacon belly!? Two different salts for you to pair it with!

 

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I don’t care what you say about snails – this coconut sauce and spices snails are very yummy and match very well with rice!

 

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Finish your meal with one of their signature desserts – the Turon 2.0 which is a crispy fried spring rolls with ice cream!

SmokinHot BarBQ, Third Floor, Greenbelt 3 Mall, Greenbelt, Makati City

 

Cafe Mary Grace

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Mary Grace is located at the ground floor of Green Belt 2 is a great place to have hot chocolate and cakes. Come here for breakfast or tea time – or even supper! Since it’s near some pubs, you can even listen to some live singing if you sit outside Cafe Mary Grace at night time!

 

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Their Signature Mary Grace hot chocolate is one of those WOW drinks you will savour. A must try and be sure to try out their Ensaymadas and cakes ~~

 

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Good cup of hot chocolate with this slice of cake ~~ *swoons*

Cafe Mary Grace, Green Belt 2 Ground Floor

 

Ginza Bairin

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. Glorietta is connected to Greenbelt through Landmark, you can easily find it ~~ just ask the concierge staff at Green Belt. You will find more mid range to budget shopping at Glorietta and Landmark. Ginza Bairin is a must visit at Glorietta!

 

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Ginza Bairin boasts one of the best Katsudons and you will not be disappointed! The rice is smothered with a special Japanese sauce, with crispy fried breaded pork, topped with a delicious sunny side up egg! The combination is mind blowing! Plus you get unlimited cabbage and side dishes with hot tea!

 

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I also enjoyed their cheese stuffed pork with curry sauce ~~ ITADAKIMASU!!

Ginza Bairin, Ground Floor Glorietta 2 (along Palm Drive), Ayala Center, Makati City
Telephone: +632 553-7350

 

Mu Noodle Bar

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Mu Noodle Bar is located at the second floor of Glorietta 2 and are quite popular for their creative modern Fusion Chinese cuisine. The ambience looks quite modernistic and stylish.

 

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They have pretty interesting dishes as as this Black Hor Fun which is rice noodles with squid ink ~~ but I think it’s just an okay dish.

 

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They have quite a few soup noodles to try and they’re not bad as well but I would rather have Ramen from Ramen Nagi ~~ more on that later ~~

 

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Their 3 cup chicken is their best dish and I would highly recommend it. Crispy marinated fried chicken served with caramelized garlic soy wine sauce and deep fried basil leaves.

 

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Many had tasted the iconic Liu Shar Bao (oozing salted yolk custard steamed buns) before but MU noodle bar reinvented this dessert by using fried mantou (steamed buns) to give a crisp outer texture, then filled the insides with melted chocolate and salted yolk custard, sealed with lots of fragrant milk powder! Thumbs up to this creative reinvention!

Mu Noodle Bar, Second Floor, Glorietta 2, Ayala Center, Glorietta Complex, Makati City

 

Restaurants within Makati and near Greenbelt/Glorietta

You can grab a taxi from Green Belt to these areas for less than 150 pesos but be mindful of heavy traffic! You can reach within 5 – 10 minutes without traffic but might take up to 1 hour to get to your destination during heavy traffic! It might be faster to walk! If you’re a google map pro ~~ I suggest using the google map ~~ but the lazy me usually just use a taxi!

 

Va Bene Pasta Deli

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Va Bene Pasta Deli is in my favourite restaurant in Manila. In all my trips, I would at least visit here at least twice. Despite having a fast food style decor and located on a second floor of a gas station, they are voted best Italian restaurant of 2013 and very highly rated. If you do not try out this restaurant when you’re in Manila  – it would be a FOOD CRIME!

 

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I still remember fond memories of this delicious eggyolk stuffed ravioli served with pan seared foie gras!

 

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Gorgeous shaved octopus salad! Sooooooo goood!! OMG!! Those tomatoes are so good because they’re air flown from Italy!

 

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Gorgeous crab meat stuffed pasta with saffron sauce and prawns ~~ another winner!

 

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My favourite Squid Ink Pasta with seafood tomato sauce – this dish is a MUST have when you’re here! My brother and me had to control our tears from coming out~~ seriously love this dish!

 

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Simply too beautiful to eat at times! They have a lot of different types of salads and pastas so come a few times to try them all! You won’t be disappointed and the prices are very reasonable for the quality!

MAKATI BRANCH2nd Floor Petron Gas Station EDSA Cor. Pasay Road Dasmarinas, Makati City (about 8 minutes walk from Glorietta if you’re good with Google Maps –otherwise take a taxi)

BGC BRANCH: Cinema Level, 3rd Floor Bonifacio High Street Central Cinemas, Fort Bonifacio Global City

 

Terry’s Selection – Spanish

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Terry’s Selection is located around Salcedo Village area – you can take a cab here and enjoy a good romantic Spanish dinner. What better way to begin your dinner than glasses of Sangria?!

 

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Super-Cochinillo Confit is one of their signatures! A unique suckling pig confit creation with caramelized onions and Calanda peaches and then drizzled with rich Muscovado syrup. Sooo crispy yet tender ~~~ *swoons*

 

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They are also popular for different types of Paellas ~~ I tried the Squid Ink Paella served with their garlic Aioli ~~ which is really good!

Terry’s Selection Segundo Piso: Unit 2, Building B, Karivin Plaza Building, 2316 Pasong Tamo Extension, Makati,

Tel: +632-844-1816

 

Gino’s Brick Oven Pizza

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Gino’s Pizza is located near Terry’s Selection around Salcedo Village as well. The pizzas are lovely here with a more bready airy soft crust ~~ a pretty different style of pizza ~~

 

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My favourite is the home made sausage, mushrooms, cream and egg ~~ mmmmm ~~ I actually can’t stop eating this ~~

 

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A very interesting Nutella Dessert Pizza where it can get quite messy ~~ lol ~~

Gino’s Brick Oven Pizza G/F Finman Bldg., Bautista corner Tordesillas St. Salcedo Village, Makati City
telephone: 0917-5386847

 

Toby’s Estate Cafe

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Toby’s Estate is also nearby and worth a try for their good coffees and pastries ~~ just less than 5 minutes walk from Gino’s

 

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Try to ask for the Gibralta which is pretty strong  double shots ristretto style with a bit of milk! Smooth rich coffee in a smaller glass just slightly bigger than a shot glass! ~ *swoons*

Toby's Estate 125 L.P. Leviste Street, Salcedo Village, Makati

 

Salcedo Saturday Market

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Salcedo Saturday Morning Market is a must visit place for foodies. It is an upscale gourmet food market catering to foodies ~ by foodies who sourced out good quality ingredients ~~ you’re bound to find interesting items here!

 

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Fresh juices and snacks ~~

 

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Exotic or local cuisine ~~ did I see Tamales!?

 

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Gorgeous cakes like these ~~ OMG!!!

 

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You’ll see suckling pig (LECHON) ~~~ *DROOLS*

 

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Stuffed Milkfish (bangus) and charcoal fired pork skewers ~~ OOOoooo LORDIES~~

 

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Even specialty cheese and herbs ~~ *swooons*

 

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Mmmmmmm ~~ Snails ~~~

 

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These will be good souvenirs to bring back home!

Salcedo Saturday Market, Tordesillas St., Salcedo Village, Makati,

 

El Cirkulo – Spanish

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El Cirkulo is a high end Spanish restaurant that is within Makati and you can walk from Green Belt but taking a taxi is fine. They are always candidates for bet Spanish restaurant but they are more on the pricier side.

 

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A delightful appetizer is their 63 degree sous vide egg with sliced Jamon Iberico ~~ mmmmm 

 

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Their slow roasted beef belly is a revealation – so tender and delicious packed with beefy flavour ~~ an expensive dish but worth it!

 

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I also enjoyed their truffle oil and mushroom paella ~~ very very good!

 

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Hmmmm ~~~ pasta with Jamon Iberico? Yes Please!

 

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We had a few desserts but this green tea and chocolate cake Baked Alaska is a clear favourite ~

El Cirkulo Ground Floor Milkyway Building, 900 Arnaiz Avenue (Pasay Road) corner Paseo de Roxas,
Makati City 1200 telephone:810-8735, 810-2763

Kanin Club

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In the Ayala Triangle Gardens in Makati, there's another popular restaurant specializing in modern Filipino cuisine. You just need to locate Ayala Triangle Gardens, and look out for a row of restaurants and find Kanin Club

 

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Their famous seafood kare kare, assorted seafood, dipped in special Filipino style peanut sauce and served with their powerful shrimp paste! Quite a big portion!

 

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I really enjoyed their version of Dinuguan, which is usually pork liver and other porky parts, cooked in a pig’s blood stew, which can be a love it or hate it dish for many. Their version is this Crispy Dinuguan, which is a stew made from Pig's blood and crispy fried pork bits minus the liver! It’s been claimed even anti-Dinuguan foodies will even like it. I personally like the crispy crunch of the pork which matches the pig’s blood sauce nicely! A must try in Manila!

Kanin Club, Ayala Triangle Gardens, Makati

 

Mitsuyado Sei-Men: The House of Tsukemen

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It’s within walking distance from town but just take a taxi over to Mitsuyado Sei- Men. I love this place because it makes you feel like you’re walking into a Japanese street as you enter the restaurant. They are famous for their Tsukemen which means dipping noodles.

 

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A must try here is their Cheese Sauce Tsukemen, which is dipping noodles with parmesan cheese, which you add some creamy cheese sauce and you dip into a spicy dipping sauce ~~ very delicious and unusual experience for a foodie!

 

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Look at that! OMG! Die Die also must try this ok!? They have delicious gyozas as well as their own versions of ramen if there’s a bigger group of you to try out more things!

Mitsuyado Sei-Men: The House of Tsukemen 22 Jupiter Street, Brgy. Bel Air, Makati.
telephone: +632 511-1390

 

Little Tokyo

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Whenever I visit Manila, I take an effort to visit Little Tokyo, it is along Pasong Tamo, next to Makati Cinema Square. To get there, just ask a taxi to drop you at Makati Cinema Square and Little Tokyo will be right next to it. You can sit at the tables and order from different shops in Little Tokyo. I will list some of my favourites here.

 

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Kagura offers quality Okonomiyaki – a Japanese style pancake ~~ which is loaded with vegetables and layered with meet or if you want the special ones ~~ with noodles added too ~~ served with a special sauce! It is quite fun to watch and video them being cooked on the hotplate! You can order one with all the works – bacon prawns squid and share!

 

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Ooooh hello there!!

 

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Gotta love the layers! Nom Nom!

 

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Hana, which is just next door to Kagura, is famous for their delicious Takoyaki ~~ really good!

 

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Urameshiya is also right next to Kagura and serves Yakiniku ~ on some days they serve an all you can eat but usually I prefer to just order just enough so I can try other things. Usually we will order one okonomiyaki from Kagura and one set of takoyakis from Hana, then sit just outside Urameshiya for yakiniku ~~

 

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Sliced pork belly and beef tongue ~~ oooh yesh!

 

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Be careful while you’re grilling as the burning charcoals might catch fire from the fat drippings! ~~ and make sure you don’t overcook them! Delicious!

 

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Seryna has won awards and praises as one of the best Japanese restaurants in Manila so it’s good to come here for lunch or dinner. It’s generally cheaper to come during lunch as there are affordable sets but dinner will give you more range in terms of choices but more expensive.

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Here’s the skewers selection of goodies!Mmmm ~~

 

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The sashimi here is very fresh and soooo damn good! Expensive but worth it!

 

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Our sushi set ~~ I must say it’s really good and I especially love the Uni ~~ not so briny like the ones I’ve had in Malaysia and Brunei! It’s actually has a slight sweet aftertaste!

 

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After all the eating at Little Tokyo, be sure to stop by Choto Shop for some good Japanese snacks and candies as souvenirs!

 

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Candies, snacks, instant noodles and spices! A must stop for Japanese food lovers!

Note: If you’re worried about not being able to grab or find a taxi from here to go back – it’s walking distance to GreenBelt or you can download Grab Taxi App on your phone to call a taxi!

Little Tokyo. Pasong Tamo, Makati (next to Makati Cinema Square)

 

Bonafacio Global City

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Bonafacio is a very good area for foodies and you will be spoiled for choice! You will find my favourite breakfast brunch place Wild Flour here, Market Market for shopping and have cheap facials or massages, Serendra and High Street for casual shopping and dining (many people walk their posh dogs like huskies or chow chow here!) while SM Aura Mall, which houses many fancy dining establishments are all from this area! If you stay in Makati, it’s just 15-20 minutes taxi ride without traffic and costs maybe 150-180 pesos.

 

Wild Flour Cafe + Bakery

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Wild Flour easily wins my favourite place for breakfast and brunch in Manila because of their delicious pastries. I particularly like the decor which makes one feel they’re around Australia or the States. They have two branches, one at Podium, next to Shangri La Mall and one at Bonafacio, right opposite the Mini Cooper Showroom.

 

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The best part is looking at so many gorgeous pastries and you will be spoiled for choice! I super like their mango cream danish!

 

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Creme Brulee Bombolini ~~ which is a doughnut stuffed with cream and with a brulee sugar crust! OMG OMG OMG!

 

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Did I mention their Cronuts are famous here?! *DROOLS*

 

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Do you feel like licking the screen already?! Besides all these lovely pastries, cakes and muffin on display you can also order various breakfast favourites like eggs benedict ~~

 

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Their Croque Madame is soooo good!

 

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Their eggs benedict uses a type of hollandaise with a slight twist in terms of adding some beefy flavours to the sauce. SOOOOOO DREAMY! #eggporn

 

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You also must try their Kimchi Fried Rice with Ribs (at Podium branch) or steak (at Bonafacio branch). Sooo bloody delicious with an added kick! Seriously there’s so much choice I practically have breakfast 4-5 times at Wild Flour whenever I visit Manila!

Wildflour Cafe + Bakery is located at the ground floor of the Net Lima Building 4th Avenue and corner of 26th Street  Bonafacio Global City. They have another branch at Podium Mall which is a bit further out but worth going since it’s next to Shangri-la Mall and Megam Mall where there’s plenty of shopping to do! Just come for breakfast at Podium Wild Flour, there’s also a good coffee place called Coffee Craft and you can do a lot of shopping for gourmet food at Terry’s at the Podium basement floor ~~ I bought some squid ink and some other exotic ingredients!

 

Nolita New York Style Pizzas

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Nolita Pizzas are New York style pizzas and are pretty huge! One slice is enough for one person!

 

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Drools ~~ huge slice of gorgeous pizza! Many choices for you to pick!

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I am quite fond of their burger which uses three different type of cheese and are pretty juicy!

Nolita Restaurant, UG/F, Bonifacio High Street Central, West Superblock, 7th Avenue Corner 29th St S, Taguig

 

URBN Bar and Kitchen

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URBN is located on the third floor of the new Fort Pointe II Building, sporting a spacious bar setting with high ceilings so it’s a good place to grab some drinks and enjoy the food.

 

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Their Manchego Soufflé  with Crispy Jamon Serrano and Truffle Cream sauce is their signature. A very delicious soft texture soufflé using Machego Cheese and enjoyed with the famous crispy Jamon Serrano and a great punch from the truffle cream sauce!

 

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For dessert, their White Chocolate and Cookie Butter Love-Ah Cake is sensationally rich! This is a lovely moist and tender white chocolate cake with a warm, melted cookie butter ooozing filling with a caramel ball inside! Such an exciting dessert!

URBN Bar & Kitchen, 3rd Floor, Fort Pointe II Building, 28th St. BGC

 

Mamou

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In the high street of Serendra hails a restaurant called Mamou by Chef Malou Fores, specializing in good Filipino Comfort Food. The food mostly comes from her creations for her own family.

 

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Pork and Chicken Adobo are very common staples of Filipino cuisine but cooking Duck Adobo is something new. The Duck Adobo shredded into flakes, are served with duck egg topped with truffle oil ~~ mix them up and you have a very delicious combo!

 

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This is their Lorenzo's Truffle Cream Pasta, initial impressions was that it looked so plain but upon smelling the pasta, I can smell the strong kick of the truffle cream! This was so good ~ that me and my brother mopped it up very very fast – poor Shelly who met up with us only had a few bites of this yummy dish!

 

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Their citrus rubbed roast chicken and pork is also one of their specialties. You can choose to have all chicken or all pork. This is served with black beans ~~ and cinnamon roasted bananas. Quite a treat!

Mamou Unit 1C - 15 G/F Serendra, Fort Bonifacio Heights, Fort Bonifacio

 

Ramen Nagi

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The Ramen at Ramen Nagi is a must try when visiting Manila. They are located at SM Aura mall ~~ I recommend the Green and the Black ~~

 

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Simply breath-taking black garlic ramen – packed with flavour and one simply cannot resist those eggs! ITADAKIMASU!

 

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OMG LOOK AT THAT SLICE OF BEAUTIFUL PORK!

 

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The green version might seemed simple but it’s actually a pesto and parmesan ramen. I really enjoyed the taste of the basil herbs! Soooo goood! Order both black and green to try whenever you visit Ramen Nagi!

Ramen Nagi, 5th Floor SM Aura Premier (They have another branch at SM Mall of Asia)

 

Wrong Ramen

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Wrong Ramen is located around the Burgos Circle at Bonafacio. The ramen here is very interesting as they adopted a very different approach to their ramen which will make many Japanese chefs curse or faint at the thought of it!

 

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Their ramen is a pure porkish ecstasy as they boil down different parts of the pig in the ramen broth until a thick greasy porky goodness. In fact when you taste the soup, you don’t feel like it’s a broth, it’s more like a stew of fatty porky paradise, you actually feel sorry for your arteries ~~ but it’s soooooo gooood!

 

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Their F.U Ramen is basically giving a middle finger to ramen and putting sliced crispy spam, fried eggs and loaded with black pepper goodness! A spicy rich sinful ramen ~~ inspired by how we like to add eggs and ham to our instant noodles perhaps!

 

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I really love their funny pictures claiming how wrong they are with regards to ramen! Had such a good laugh!

 

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Wrong Ramen, Forbestown Rd, Burgos Circle, Taguig

 

Mall of Asia

Mall of Asia has plenty of restaurants to check out and they have plenty of places for you to shop here. You can come here for a manicure and pedicure in one of their sections where you see tons of mani-pedi or massage stores. They also have plenty of hair salons!

 

Yabu – The House of Katsu

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One of the great tonkatsu restaurants where you enjoy your soft breaded delicious pork chops!

 

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Oooh gorgeous tender Kurabuta Pork Tonkatsu ~~

 

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Katsudon~~~ hmmmm ~~ goes well with the egg and shaved bonito flakes.

 

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What I like most about these tonkatsu establishments is the unlimited cabbage and I super love their wasabi mayo dressing! *nom nom* ~~ at least I’m eating more veggies!

Yabu Restaurant, Second Floor, South Arcade, Main Mall Atrium, SM Mall of Asia

 

Lugang Cafe

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Lugang cafe specializes in Taiwanese cuisine and is located at Mall of Asia, offering plenty of dim sum options and Chinese delicacies. This pork knuckle stew was simply delicious!!

 

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Seriously spoiled for choice in terms of the dum sum!

 

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I love how tender and silky their chicken with scallions were!

Lugang Cafe, Main Mall, Ground Floor (South Wing) Mall of Asia

 

Best fried chicken! Bon Chon and 4Fingers at Mall of Asia

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My gf and I had a crazy challenge at Mall of Asia and tried all the fried chicken at Mall of Asia. The winner turned out to be Bon Chon, a Korean fast food chain but their fried chicken with special sauces win top marks!

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4Fingers fried chicken is more crispy but loses slightly to Bon Chon in terms of packing a punch in flavour. Both are very good and must try!

Bon Chon and 4Fingers can be easily found at SM Mall of Asia.

 

Abe Restaurant

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Abe restaurant is a must visit for Filipino cuisine and they have many highly rated dishes!

 

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If you love fried pork knuckles – this is a MUST MUST order and in my opinion the best one I had eaten. Try it and be amazed!

 

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Oh sweet mother of Lamb Adobo! Sooo goood!

 

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Crispy Fried Beef Ribs ~~ goes so well with their special vinegar!!

 

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The sisig is very very good as well here! *drools*

 

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Enjoy either with the bamboo rice or this baby octopus rice with salted duck egg!

Abe Filipino Cuisine Restaurant 2/F SM Mall of Asia

 

Greenhills

Greenhills is a good place to shop for knock off bags, shoes and clothes. Be ready to spend a whole day here to shop around for clothes. I have some friends who bring their hand carry luggage with wheels just to bring around their purchases! There’s three restaurants I really like at Green Hills Area.

 

Katsu Sora

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Katsu Sora is very different from other tonkatsu establishments as they have a salad bar for you if you dine in!

 

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Making your own salads with their diverse range of vegetables, fruits and dressings – unlike others which only have cabbage or pickled vegetables.

 

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The best part of their bar is making your own rice mix – with the variety of spice mixes – your rice can be damn delicious! Give them a try!

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They let you choose what type of pork you want and the Iberico Pork is indeed a revelation! The highly marbled pork is so tender and juicy!!

 

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Sora Katsu’s Iberico Pork Tonkatsu gets my vote for most delicious tonkatsu in Manila!

 

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The Cheese and Ohba Stuffed Mille Feuille uses thin sakura pork, rolled into layers, then breaded and fried. Quite a good textural contrast and another must try!

Katsu Sora, 2/F Greenhills Promenade, San Juan

 

Classic Cuisine C2

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Classic Cuisine C2 has many branches in Manila but since you’re shopping at Green Hills – you can check them out here! I personally enjoy their modern versions of Filipino cuisine.

 

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This is their express Sisig – minced up parts of pork ~~ together with crispy chicharon (crispy pork fat) sizzling on a hot plate with a spicy sauce! I can say this is one of my top 2 favourite sisigs!

 

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Crispy Kare Kare – a crispy chunk of pork served with a rich peanut sauce, vegetables and shrimp paste! Love the peanut sauce and crispy pork combo!

 

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For dessert, I ordered their famous bibingka souffle - a classic Filipino dessert using cheese and salted yolks - reconstructed into a souffle! Yummy! I love the taste of the salted yolks along with the creamy coconut cheesy sauce. A salty and sweet dessert! Something you ought to try!

Classic Cuisine C2 Greenhills Branch, San Juan

 

Brasserie Cicou

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Located at a block opposite the Green Hills Shopping area is a very good French restaurant called Cicou. I love the decor and the food here is of high standard with reasonable pricing!

 

 

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I am very impressed with their wine bottle and wine glass chandeliers! So unique!

 

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A very interesting soup ~ prawn bisque with a sea urchin flan at the center! Mmmmmmm!

 

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I really love this French version of pasta ~~ Coquilletes  which have a cappucino foam like sauce with crispy bacon, mushroom and parmesan! TWO THUMBS UP!

 

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le boeuf bourguignon which is a beef stew with red wine French style ~~ a classic French dish!

 

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Another star of Cicou is kouign amann with salted caramel ice cream. The flaky crispy layers of this pastry goes so well with the salted caramel ice cream! A beautiful dessert!

Brasserie Cicou, 57 Annapolis St. Greenhills, San Juan

 


 

Rockwell

Rockwell area consists of the One Rockwell area and Powerplant Mall. There’s a very good gourmet food shop at Power Plant Mall as well as a huge selection of restaurants. Shopping is quite good here as well with Zara and Tyler, two very good fashion boutiques here. Take a taxi from Makati and tell them Power Plant Mall – it should cost less than 150 pesos and it’s pretty near – less than 10 minutes without traffic.

 

Chef Jessie

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Chef Jessie has two branches – one is located at Salcedo village on top of Citibank while another branch is at Rockwell Club, which is just opposite Power Plant Mall. The rooftop branch at Salcedo is more romantic and offers a good night view but the one at Rockwell club is easier to find. Come here for their set lunches which are more affordable! Ala Carte can be quite expensive but their desserts are very good!

 

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Of course – escargots with garlic are yum!

 

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Duck Orange ~~ pretty moist duck with a classic orange sauce.

 

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Their herb crusted lamb rack is delicious too ~~ nom nom ~~

 

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Their cheese souffle is epic too ~~ look at that sauce!

 

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Quite a selection of good souffles for dessert – you can never go wrong with them here. It’s their specialty!

 

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The star of Chef Jessie is this Princess Carmen, named after the chef’s mother. Layers of wafer and cream, covered with pistachio nuts and topped with a mango flower – this is a delicate French dessert. Simply heaven on a plate! Sophisticated and beautiful. And guess what… it’s delicious! It actually took the spotlight off the famous soufflé! With every good food, comes with a story which inspires it. Princess Carmen is a TOP TOP Quality dessert!

Chef Jessie  at Rockwell Club, G/F Amorsolo Place | Amorsolo Drive, Rockwell Center, Makati,

 

Angel Kitchen Bistro

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Ak Bistro is located at One Rockwell around Rockwell Drive. I suggest coming here for their delicious complimentary chicken liver pate and their apple pie!

 

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Their liver pate is one of the best I’ve tried and the best part is – they’re complimentary! Sooo soo good ~~ it actually is the reason I dine in here!

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Pinakbet Rice with Lechon Kawali and Chocolate Bagoong.is their signature dish – a very Filipino modern twist especially with the chocolate bagoon. It’s an acquired taste type of dish I must say but good to try!

 

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Honey Garlic Spareribs with XO fried rice is quite delicious – one of the most delicious crispy baby back ribs (bones removed) served with a honey lemon sauce and simply gorgeous XO sauce fried rice. The crispy fragrant crunchy goodness goes very well with the good quality honey sauce.

 

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AK Bistro has an epic apple pie! The apples still retain a bit of bite while the crust is baked – the top is actually fried ~~ offering a good textural contrast! A top top quality apple pie! A very good reason to drop by!

AK Bistro, Ground Floor, One Rockwell, Rockwell Drive, Poblacion, Makati.

 

Tagaytay

Tagaytay is about one hour away from Makati and you will need to hire a driver to take you there. At Tagaytay, you can see the Taal Volcano crater from Starbucks along the way but there’s two famous restaurants you must try.

 

Antonio’s

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Antonio is considered by many foodies as one of the best restaurant in Manila that even when it’s so far out, people willingly travel there. A reservation is needed before you can enter the premises. They have a very pretty outdoor garden dining concept as well as indoors!

 

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Tempura Foie Gras Salad ~~ ooooo soooo goood!

 

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Their top signature – Duck Leg Confit is a must try ~ sooooo crispy man the skin ~~ and the meat is moist ~~~ SUPER AWESOME!

 

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Gorgeous rack of lamb ~~

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Crispy pork knuckle is fantastic too!

 

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They have quite a few desserts to choose from and we had their pudding and ice cream which are a good finish to our meal. They do have quite a lot of dishes which you can order according to your preferences but I highly recommend the Duck Leg confit.

Antonio’s, Purok 138, Barangay Neogan, Tagaytay City, Batangas, Philippines

Make your reservation at website: http://antoniosrestaurant.ph

 

Sonya’s Garden

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Sonya’s garden is a good place for healthy food where the vegetables and edible flowers are all grown in the garden and they have a very good buffet spread!

 

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Garden Salad – freshly harvested lettuce and arugula with mango, beans, cucumber, jackfruit, pineapple, corn, and whatever fruits that are in season. Sonya’s Garden Secret Salad Dressing is simply the bomb!

 

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You gotta admit – that’s going to go into my salad bowl with lots of Sonya’s secret dressing!

 

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You can also make your own bruschetta's with this mix of ingredients ~ freshly baked whole wheat sesame bread with an array of homemade dips and toppings such as basil pesto, white cheese, anchovies, mushroom paté (OMG SO GOOD) black olive tapenade, and fresh green peppercorns in olive oil.

 

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Check out my bruschetta creations!

 

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They also have a buffet spread at their buffet table: pasta served with two kinds of sauces (tomato based or cream based) and toppings, ratatouille, salmon belly, shitake mushrooms, black olives, capers, and grated parmesan cheese. Here’s my first round plate from the buffet table.

 

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I really love the tarragon tea! Super good ~ ahhhhh ~~

 

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The secret dressing that you must bring home as souvenir! I regretted not buying more!! Sooo goood!! They say the owner will take this secret recipe to her grave!

Sonya’s Garden, Barangay Buck Estate, Alfonso, Cavite, 4123, Philippines

 

Balut

Now you can buy balut – the bizarre dish of the Philippines – the egg embryo – in any 7 Eleven stores – just ask for Balut but I think the one at Balut Eggspress at Robinson’s Department store in Malate is pretty good. Robinson’s another place for you to shop – They also have a Classic Cuisine C2 branch here. Can drop by here for lunch then shop till dinner time. If you don’t have the time – just get them from 7 Eleven.

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Look for this stall near the Robinson food court!

 

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They might look scary but it’s actually pretty yummy~~ they have the steamed version and the battered and fried version.

 

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I quite like the fried version ~~ pretty good!

 

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The fried Day Old Chick looks scarier in my opinion but I gave them a try – taste like tender quail and you can munch on the bones since they’re very soft. I’ve seen a few 9-12 year old girls buying them and munching on them like snacks!

Balut Eggspressnear foodcourt of Robinson’s Mall at Malate (or just buy from any 7 Eleven to try)

 

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Phew! Now that was such a long post! There are still lot’s of places to try in Manila and with the rapid growth of Manila – there’s a lot of new restaurants opening up every month – so there will be come new ones that you can try as well! For sight seeing – a trip to Intramuros is a much to see the historic churches and parks – just make sure to do your research well and don’t get scammed by ‘guides’ – do the walk on your own ~ don’t use any guides! I also recommend you take a taxi to Shangri-La Mall which is next to Megamall where H & M and Uniqlo opened there – you can also see Tim Ho Wan Hong Kong dimsum there! Ask the Taxi Driver to drop you at Podium and have breakfast at Podium Wild Flour, there’s also a good coffee place called Coffee Craft and you can do a lot of shopping for gourmet food at Terry’s at the Podium basement floor! Though I will probably finish my shopping at SM Mall and Shangri La Mall before buying lots of stuff at Terry’s so you don’t have to carry them whole day!

I hope you have an awesome trip to Manila and I hope my guide was very useful to you!

 

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Special shout out to my two friends in Manila Shelley and Sarah! Look forward to seeing you two again!

 

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Special shoutout to Jan as well who showed me great hospitality during my Manila trips. Looking forward to see you too!

 

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Special thanks to very prominent food bloggers Jin Loves to Eat and Shoot First Eat Later and it’s such a pleasure to meet them! For more in depth research on the latest Manila food scene – their websites are a must visit!!

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