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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
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Flavor overflows from this Paella dish from Solstice by Ilustrado. Just like the holidays when love and happiness exude the season. Visit us at 8 Rockwell, Hidalgo Drive, Rockwell, Makati. #SolsticebyIlustrado #Solstice #DineatIlustrado #IlustradoRestaurant #RockwellDining #EatManila #LoveLocal #ManilaDining #ChicRestaurant #Minimalist
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
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
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
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Purple yam or ube is mostly unknown to the rest of the world, but is one of the most important elements in Philippine sweets. In this plate, the vibrant purple root crop is presented in different textures, traditional elaborations, and even transformed into the old-fashioned “halaya” or sweet paste together with the only other ingredient that Filipinos traditionally enjoy it with – coconut. Which in this case is made complex by the addition of a refreshingly-perfumed lime kaffir. #GalleryVASK #YamYam
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
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
The Farm Organics
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
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
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