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When I visited Manila, the one thing which blew me away was the culinary scene. Year by year, Manila’s local food scene has been flourishing, and it’s clear that mealtime reigns supreme in the capital of the Philippines.

Filipino cuisine has new legs to stand on thanks to a number of innovative and passionate Manila-based chefs who are not afraid to push boundaries. And there are now so many incredible places to eat.

Whether they’re flying in produce from far flung places, or staying true to locally sourced ingredients, it’s an exciting time to dine in Manila. The following are not only the best restaurants in Manila for your taste buds, but also your meticulously curated Instagram feeds. Where to eat in Manila. 

The Best Restaurants in Manila: Where to Eat in the Philippines

Pro Tip: Manila is known for it’s cheap drinks and lively clubbing scene. Pick one of the following restaurants for a proper meal before exploring the best clubs and nightlife.


744, General Luna St, Intramuros

If you’re craving traditional Filipino-Spanish cuisine, head to Ilustrado. Open since 1989 inside the historic walled city of Intramuros, this is one of the best restaurants in Manila for fine dining. Intramuros restaurant. 

The Hispanic inspired space consists of a Spanish garden courtyard, a casual cafe decked with art and art posters and a neo-classic main dining room that has seen several international heads of state.

Discover old-world charm with modern style – and enjoy the best of both worlds. An inspired blending of traditional Filipino dishes, Asian flavors with heritage Spanish and Global cuisines creates a unique dining experience.

Intramuros is the oldest district in Manila, so we recommend a historic walking tour before or after your reservation. It is an open air museum into Manila’s history, among the best museums in the city.

Try: Paella Ilustrado and Sampaguita Ice Cream

 Website / Instagram

Toyo Eatery

2316 Chino Roces Ave, Makati

If you’re wondering where to eat in Makati, Toyo Eatery is one of the best Filipino restaurants in Manila. Chef Jordy Navarra has dared to be inventive with Filipino food, without losing sight of the traditional flavors we crave.

He takes the essence of Philippine flavors, traditions and techniques to new gastronomic heights, serving quintessential comfort Filipino food, elevated into another level by technique, skill, and flavor. Best restaurants in Makati.

Their focus is on local ingredients, simple dishes, and a carefully thought-out menu. And the cocktail list doesn’t disappoint either.  Cocktails are by David Ong of The Curator, named Asia’s #18 best bar of 2016.

Try: Three-Cut Pork BBQ and Cassava Cake

FacebookRestaurant Review


1013 Estrada Street, Malate

Cuaderno is a library-inspired Filipino-Mexican book cafe. It does a fabulous job of marrying Filipino and Mexican food, serving up dishes like sisig nachos, Mexican braised beef ribs, and nacho chili con rice.

It’s mission is to encourage a culture of knowledge, so offers a wide range of books for reading that its customers can enjoy while dining.

You’ll find students finishing up work after class (it’s a very conducive environment for work), catching up with friends, or getting lost in a good book (some of them are for sale). Top restaurants in Manila. 

Try: Mexican Braised Ribs and Beef & Cheese Quesadillas 

InstagramFacebook / Restaurant Review

Gallery Vask

5/F Clipp Center, 11th Avenue / Corner 39th Street

Bonifacio Global City, Taguig

With a menu which truly represents the Philippines, you wouldn’t be able to guess that Gallery Vask is run by an international Chef.

Spanish Chef Chele Gonzalez focuses on Anthropological Cuisine, with a mission to utilize native Philippines food in innovative dishes. He traveled the country widely to connect with local growers, producers and breeders, and his menu truly reflects the cultural experiences he collected along the way.

He makes a point of working with local farmers and fishermen from all over the country, and has fast established one of the most famous restaurants in the Philippines. Food trip in Manila. 

Visit Gallery Vask for an insight into the country’s history through the usage of local ingredients. This is one of the best places to eat in Manila to truly experience Philippines food. Manila food. 

Try: Signature sour ribs & Buen Viaje dessert

Website / Instagram / Facebook / Restaurant Review

 BITE – (Buffet In Time Esplanade)

2/F JT Centrale, 1686 V. Fugoso cor Felix Huerta, Sta. Cruz

BITE (Buffet in Time Espalanade) offers the best cheap buffet in Manila, and the first to offer a time-based buffet in the Philippines.

They offer a wide selection of an eat-all-you-can Asian and Western dishes, and as the name suggests, you can enjoy everything on the buffet table, for a limited amount of time.

It’s a fabulous choice for people who are on a budget, but still want a heavy meal. It’s not for people who want a sit down meal. By far one of the best buffet restaurants in Manila.

Try: P368 buffet rate for unlimited time

Facebook / Phone: (+63 2) 246-9069 ext: 950

Mecha Uma

25th street, between 5th & 6th Avenue

RCBC Savings Bank Corporate Center, Taguig

Mecha Uma is a trendy Japanese restaurant in Manila; a passion project of one of the country’s star chef’s, Bruce Ricketts. Recently named one of six trending restaurants to visit in Southeast Asia by the World’s Best 50 Restaurants Academy, this is one you don’t want to miss.

It is a privately run chef’s table (you sit at the counter at the open kitchen) which serves predominantly Japanese food (though the menu includes global cuisine too). The seasonal tasting menu stands out above any other Japanese restaurant in Manila, as they fly in local organic produce.

The name Mecha Uma is a Japanese expression for absurdly delicious food. Fitting! Best Japanese restaurant in Manila. 

Try: See the Blackboard Menu of rotating seasonal specials

Website / Instagram / Restaurant Review

The Farm Organics

Multiple Branches

If you’re looking for the best steak in Manila, the Farm Organics is a farm-to-table concept that prides itself on being the first and only restaurant to offer local certified organic grass-fed beef in the country.

Sourced from their own breeding cattle farm in Masbate, where they are free to roam and graze on grass that hasn’t been treated with any synthetic pesticides, this is a socially conscious agricultural business operating since 1976.

People are absolutely raving about their steaks, burgers, and truffle pasta.

Try: Rib Eye steak

Instagram / Facebook / Restaurant Review

Hey Handsome

G/F Net Park, 5th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig

Hey Handsome has been the talk of the town since opening in August 2016. It was one of the most highly regarded restaurant openings of last year.

Peranakan is the focal point, and the cuisine is a melting pot mix of Singaporean, Indonesian, Malaysian, Chinese and Indian. Chef Nicco Santos has created his menu to reflect an increasingly multicultural society, where people are “collaborating, and mixing things up”.

Try:  Beetroot Paneer and Nasi Lemak

Instagram / Restaurant Review


Philippines Travel Guide Amazon

Lonely Planet Philippines

Philippines Travel Guide Amazon

An Expat’s Travel Guide 

Philippines Travel Guide Amazon

The Philippines: 100 Travel Tips


Megan is an Australian Journalist and award-winning travel writer who has been blogging since 2007. Her husband Mike is the American naturalist and wildlife photographer behind Waking Up Wild; a website dedicated to opening your eyes to the wild & natural world.

Committed to bringing you the best in adventure travel from all around the globe, there is no mountain too high, and no fete too extreme! They haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on their list.

If you enjoy getting social, you can follow their journey on FacebookTwitterYouTubePinterest and Instagram.


  1. I totally would love to try Filipino-Spanish cuisine – what an interesting combination! But Gallery Vask sounds the most intriguing for me – I love that it is genuinely Filipino food and the chef works closely with all things local. But a great steak would be amazing so would love to check out The Farm Organics too! This post has totally gotten me so hungry!

    • Great time to be in Manila right! There are so many foodie hotspots you could easily just spend your whole vacation eating :D

      Gallery Vask is a great choice if you love genuine Filipino food, and then you can’t go wrong with the Farm Organics if you’re craving a good steak!

      Hope you have the chance to travel soon!

  2. Delicious guide! Probably because of lack of travel in Asian Continent i have to admit Purple jam is something see first time today:) Looks like every taste finds its restaurant in Manila!

    • Thanks Nina! And you HAVE to try purple yam if you make it to Manila – Gallery Vask has an incredible chef!

  3. Hi Meg,

    All the dishes looked so good.

    Purple yam dish? My fave of the lot, methinks. The color alone drew me in. Which is rare considering I am not a presentation type of guy. But that, and knowing the yam sweetness makes for an attractive bite to eat.

    We only grabbed a few meals at the airport during a quick layover so barely had time to venture into town. Even from those quick little bites, I give a thumbs up to local cuisine. I also saw the coffee game was tight in this land so thumbs up there too and of course, everything was affordable and to top it off, Filipino folks are so incredibly nice. The people serving and preparing the dishes can make the dish almost as much as the flavors, seasoning, all that good stuff.

    Thanks for the yummy post Meg.


    • Purple yam from Gallery Vask definitely comes in at the top if we’re breaking it down by dish – they have an incredible chef!

      Glad you enjoyed the post Ryan, and hope you have the chance to head back to explore further out from the airport soon. Definitely agree though that Philippine hospitality is of equal standard as their food – as a whole, the people are some of the friendliest, and welcoming I’ve come across in my travels yet.

      The people serving and preparing the dishes can absolutely make the experience just as much as the flavors can :)

  4. Oh I can’t believe I haven’t been to the Philippines yet. I have to say I wouldn’t have thought of food when thinking of Manila! I always just get drawn in by those beach photos when thinking of the Philippines but Spanish Filipino would be a great foodie combination. Ilustrado sounds like one of the best to try for that reason and obviously Farm Organics would probably become a regular for us during a stay.

    • You must visit! Glad we could shape your perception of Manila as a foodie paradise – as Adrenalin Romance said in their comment below, the city is one long smorgasbord of gastronomic delights!!

      And what better way to enjoy those incredible beaches than with some incredible food right :D Can highly recommend both Ilustrado and Farm Organics – you’ll have a great time :)

  5. Great selection! Personally, we may not like Manila for the traffic, pollution, density. However, we would definitely do a food trip the next time we visit Manila. I think the city is one long smorgasbord of gastronomic delights.

    • Thanks guys! Yes, the traffic, pollution and density of the city itself was quite a culture shock at first here too – but it’s something you look past to discover the real heart and soul of the city … which could definitely be argued is it’s food! :D

  6. Thanks for featuring my beloved country! I haven’t tried any of these though because they’re on the high-end scale of Filipino restaurants. Maybe for days when we want to splurge but if you want to have a taste of what the locals on a budget eat, best to find a local who knows the cheap but oh so yummy hole in the wall restaurants. They’re usually not in a luxe setting but damn are they gooooood. Comfort Filipino food at it’s best!

    • Thanks for the tip Gem! It’s always an awesome feeling when you come across a local hole in the wall with incredible food – I’ll have to hit you up for some recommendations when I have the chance to visit again.

      And def check out one of the above if you’re in the mood for a splurge, or a special occasion perhaps!

  7. Cuaderno really sounds interesting especially the fusion of Mexican cuisine, my favorite! I’m curious, what are some traditional Filipino dishes! This is such a comprehensive list that I’m sure visitors can find anything they crave!

    • If you’re a fan of Mexcian and find yourself in Manila, definitely hit up Cuaderno – and I love the book theme!

      Re some tradition Filipino dishes, check out this post by my friends Claire and Rosemary, they’ve done an amazing post which details national dishes:

  8. I want to go to Manila so bad! They have excellent diving sites. I also like to taste some of the local cuisine whenever I visit a country. Ilustrado looks really good. I will definitely visit them after a dive!

    • I didn’t get the chance to do any diving, but I’ve heard the Philippines is great for that. I’m sure you work up quite the appetite after a day under the water – no better way than by diving into local cuisine right!!

      Can highly recommend Ilustrado :)

  9. Good food, great people – amazing combination. I think this is why Filipino cuisine is so popular. The list of places mentioned looks wonderful although I haven’t been to any of them. It might be quite a difficult choice to choose one among these. I guess I need to visit Manila again just to enjoy the food trail.

    • Totally agree Ozzy – it’s definitely a combination of incredible food, and the famous Filipino hospitality. Definitely the most difficult choice is deciding where to eat – why not spend 5 days and visit two a day – one for lunch and one for dinner – makes for quite the food trail!

  10. I’m really feeling Cuaderno. Fusion is not easy to do, and I would love to see it done well with Mexican and Filipino cuisines. I’m a sucker for some good Mexican and would love to be introduced to Filipino food in some way, and I think this restaurant could be a really interesting way to do that. Your dish to try is making me crave it, and I’m in Italy, so I don’t think I’ll get Mexican any time soon :-P

    • Totally agree – it’s a talented chef who pulls off a fusion restaurant, and Cuaderno does a great job of it :) If you’re already a fan of Mexican, this could be a great place to stop for an introduction to Filipino cuisine.

      Hope you’re having an amazing time in Italy! Maybe Manila for your next stop :D

  11. I definitely have to save this list for later! Visiting Manila is still high on my bucket list. I would love to go to Gallery Vask and try the purple yam or ube from the Philippine sweets. It looks very weird to me, and since it is local, I would love to try it! =)

    • Anything from Gallery Vask means you’re in for a treat! Glad you enjoyed the post – hope you have the chance to visit Manila and hit the food trail soon :)

  12. I was Manila only two weeks ago on a presstrip and I have to say I really enjoyed the food that I had there. Unfortunately, I was only there for two days, so didn’t have time to explore as much as I wanted too. I did get to try Purple yam ice cream which I really enjoyed. I would have been keen to have tried Farm Organics as I love steak

    • Purple yam ice cream is incredible! So glad you got to enjoy that treat :) Sounds like a great press trip! Hope you have the chance to get back and further explore the culinary scene :)

  13. Hi Meg,
    As I’ve read your blog I’m really enjoying it and it makes me crave for the foods in the photo most especially the Mexican braise ribs. Thanks also for including the exact address of the restaurants :)

    • You’re welcome WK, so glad you enjoyed the post – hope you have the chance to order some of those Mexcian braise ribs yourself at some stage :)

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