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Top 10 Oldest Restaurants in Manila lists 10 restaurants that have so much history behind them.
By: Alexander T. Magno  |   Published on: Sep 3, 2010 - 3:00pm

Some of the fondest memories of Pinoys are set in restaurants, where they celebrate key events in their lives.

Baptisms, birthdays, graduations, or even just weekend family get-togethers--these are celebrated at the family's favorite restaurant. In fact, certain restaurants have become so revered that they have survived and served at least three generations of Filipinos. Some of them have changed their names, some have revamped their interiors, but their flavors have pretty much stayed the same. For this list, we picked the ones that were at least 50 years old and are still solely owned or managed by the descendants of those who established it. lists 10 restaurants that have so much history behind them.


10. SAVORY (1950)
201 Escolta Street, Sta. Cruz, Manila with various branches
Tel. no. 243-0336
Open from 9 a.m. to 12 midnight daily

In her article, "Classic chicken reinvented," Marge C. Enriquez, Lifestyle writer of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, discusses Savory's history: "It was established by Tony Ting, an emigré from Fujian, and his brothers, Mariano, José, and Vicente, who was the cook. Before the war, they opened Tops Café in Binondo which later became Savory in post-Liberation. The main attraction was the star anise-scented, mildly garlicky chicken, based on a Chinese recipe. They came in three sizes: spring, medium and regular at the price range of P4 to P6."

Today, the descendants of the Ting brothers continue to run Savory, which now has various branches all over Metro Manila. The original Savory's first branch, which is located at the foot of Jones Bridge, is still around. And yes, people still pronounce the name as "Sah-boh-ree." The Savory Chicken (P170 for half and P320 for whole) is still its bestseller.


90 Malakas St. Brgy. Piñahan, Quezon City
Tel. no. 922-4131
Open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily

In the old days, when somebody got a craving for ice cream he would think of the old Selecta restaurant on Dewey Boulevard. But for halo-halo, Little Quiapo on España Avenue, the place now occupied by a Shakey's branch, topped the list of places to visit.

Up to now, people rave about the Special Halo-Halo (P110) here, served in a tall parfait glass with long-handled spoons, not in a bowl as some newer places do. And more likely than not, customers couldn't resist ordering the other popular item here--the Pancit Palabok (P83).

Having built a reputation as a cool soda fountain, where courting couples dated, Little Quiapo has expanded its menu to include Filipino and Chinese dishes. The Quezon City branch has moved from Matino Street, near the Sulo Hotel, to a new location a few blocks away on Malakas Street, behind the SSS Building in Barangay Piñahan. There's another branch in Parañaque City.

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  • har
    just to clarify, the word "MAMI" did not came from shortcut of mamiki, mami literally means beef noodle, miki means fat noodles. pinoy lng nag imbento na mai came from mamiki.
    Feb 28 2013 @ 02:11pm     Reply  
  • Zyzygyman
    Where is La Perla Restaurant?
    Dec 19 2012 @ 03:03am     Reply  
  • Anna Terrenal
    Good Day Spot Team!
    I would like to ask permission if I could use your photos for an article that I'm doing for Mad House Manila -- Vintage restaurants.
    Thank you!
    Dec 17 2012 @ 01:39pm     Reply  
  • Bert C.
    The Ambos Mundos I went to in the 60's was in M.H, Del Pilar St. in Ermita. The old lady running the place was from Cavite. They were open 24 hrs and served the best tasting oversized longaniza and solomillo with fried rice.. I also miss their paksiw na lechon. They closed down during martial law because of the curfew. Anybody know where they went.
    Mar 26 2012 @ 11:07pm     Reply   Hide replies
    • Kristoffer M.
      Hello sir!

      Can I have your no. sir, so I can contact you and may perform an interview about your experience on eating in the said restaurant. It will serve as one of our supporting evidence regarding the existince of the restaurant during that time, 1960's.

      A positive response will be highly appreciated.

      Thank you sir! :)
      8 months ago     Reply  
  • vic morrow
    And another branch in AZCARRAGA(C.M.Recto)across Gotesco and Ever.... including the Pancit PALABOK....
    Dec 01 2010 @ 10:22pm     Reply  
  • Nenette West
    Oh yes, I remember Ambos Mundos, and Aristobackrn(where one can really pig-out for very little money and boy, do I recall how freshly made all their different dishes were!) There was also Nina's Papagallo (or was it spelled Papagayo?)in Ermita. rnCan't really recall now. There was also a bigrnturo-turo where they were re-claiming the land before Imelda Marcos had that building built.rnThis was back in 1966-67. I remember you had to eat with your hands as they didn't have any flatware but the seafoods were fresh and cooked right before your eyes. That was good eating, YUM! Oh what I'd give to be transported back to those times. Good old days? You bet! Thanks for taking me back...Wishing you well, Nenette West
    Oct 06 2010 @ 12:21pm     Reply  
  • Gerry
    I agree with my cousin Bebet. The Gaudinez family own the original Ambos and his mom operated the Ermita Ambos.rnIt's a pity the pseudo owners are using the name Ambos and putting it to shame....
    Sep 22 2010 @ 04:44am     Reply  
  • Bebet Gaudinez
    Bebet Gaudinez commented on your link.rnrnBebet wrote:rn"And the original Ambos NEVER served PAELLA moreso ASADO ROLLS as the article claims. The closest chinese cuisine that Ambos served then, was pancit (bihon or canton), thats it.rnIt was not in Echague, It was in Estero Cegado and there never was an Ambos in Quezon City. It's was also not established in 1888, yes its old but not turn of the century.rnrnWala nga yatang tamang sinabi yung article eh.rnrnWhat is now claimed to be "AMBOS MUNDOS" is nothing but a bastardized copy.rnrnI would definitely stay away from it."rn
    Sep 22 2010 @ 04:40am     Reply  
  • obetski
    I remember MAX Restaurant in the original Quezon City area. This was where we held our wedding reception in January 1971, with Gerry Socco as my Best Man (maybe the second biggest mistake of my life, hehheheh). When we were raising our young family, we never missed eating in this restaurant together with our young children to reminisce our wedding day. And also, Ma Mon Luk. I remember during my college days in the early 60's, I always eat Mami and Siopao at their Quiapo Branch before going home from night school.
    Sep 15 2010 @ 06:06pm     Reply  
  • batoush
    guys, thanks for the info. oo nga pala swiss inn, the famous beef stroganoff at yung beef jerky nila, plus the sausages. Is the original owner still alive? guess not.rnwhat about Sungya at the Aristocrat, which became Sing-Ya at San Marcelino (yutivo bldg)
    Sep 14 2010 @ 03:00pm     Reply  
  • Rollie
    Very nostalgic and mouth watering information.rnWah Nam and Charlie's are real memory triggers.
    Sep 11 2010 @ 07:17am     Reply  
  • Franny
    Growing up in Manila I still have fond memories of the whole family eating at Panciteria San Jacinto (the "fried milk" pancit and camaron rellenado were to die for!) and Taza de Oro (the best ice cream sundae in town called "Damsel's Dream"). Can anyone tell me whether these places are still operating? If so they should be on the list :)
    Sep 10 2010 @ 11:29pm     Reply  
  • katsby
    You forgot to add Old Swiss Inn, since 1946. The original Paco branch is still in operation, with a second branch in Makati.
    Sep 10 2010 @ 05:25pm     Reply  
  • Marie
    have you tried La Perla Restaurant where good complete meals were offered at very affordable prices? I wonder if it still exists.
    Sep 09 2010 @ 07:06pm     Reply  
  • Gil
    @batoush: Delicious restaurant is still open. im not sure if it is the original resto. It is located along Gonzalo Puyat cor. the street of Loas ambos mundos.
    Sep 09 2010 @ 05:11pm     Reply  
  • j2vDXB
    max at sct tuazon was actually THE house before which was recognizable back then before all the remodelling/renovations. I grew up btw in the area.
    Sep 09 2010 @ 04:27am     Reply  
  • ev
    Boy Ching Woo Restauant deseve to be in this spot. It's always been the best restaurant.
    Sep 08 2010 @ 04:55pm     Reply  
    Hi Lukinda!rnrnCheck these stories out:rnrnrn for reading!
    Sep 08 2010 @ 09:41am     Reply  
  • lukinda
    hey next time what about a top 10 of chickens - from savory to max to robina to country chicken?rnwhich one of them is the best?rnrnor the top 10 of pancit canton?
    Sep 08 2010 @ 12:21am     Reply  
  • Vanessa
    Panciteria Lido should be included.Panciteria Lido has been in the market since 1936. Its the home of pugon roasted asado and its used to be in T. Alonzo St. in Binondo but now it has brancges in BF Homes Paranaque, West Ave and E Rodriquez, SM Fairview Quezon City and they will be opening soon in Las Pinas. rnrn
    Sep 07 2010 @ 09:48pm     Reply  
  • Naman
    Have visited Ma Mon Luk a few months ago...Kahit super luma na ang place same pa din ang taste ng Mami at Siopao ;) And in fairness, madami pa din kumakain :)
    Sep 07 2010 @ 01:02pm     Reply  
    Dear Orenj, rnrnWe're still trying to confirm if that is indeed the exact spot in QC. The info given to us just said that the original Max's was set up in the founder's "home in Quezon City." The article will be updated accordingly when we get the verified info.rnrnThanks for reading :)
    Sep 07 2010 @ 12:31pm     Reply  
  • orenj
    There is something very wrong with not mentioning the Sct. Tuazon, QC branch of Max's. I'm not sure if it sits on the exact spot of the original restaurant but it's at the right area.
    Sep 06 2010 @ 10:25pm     Reply  
  • danevillaluz
    i've tasted the savory chicken both in escolta and robinsons metro east near my house. it's interesting that the one in escolta is much jucier and tastier than the one in robinsons, which i found bland. even the fried bananas are different! and when i tasted the former when it has already widen its business, i was so glad it still tasted the same.
    Sep 06 2010 @ 07:44pm     Reply  
  • Jersey
    dapat bbq ang nasa photo ng aristocrat! panalo!
    Sep 06 2010 @ 11:47am     Reply  
  • jazzy

    agree ako na mas masarap ang Savory na nakikita sa mga malls..the best ang long life pancit canton nila :)
    Sep 04 2010 @ 11:25pm     Reply  
  • jazzy

    eto po ba ang binabanggit nyong Delicious restaurant?

    open for business pa rin naman sila hanggang ngayon :)
    Sep 04 2010 @ 11:14pm     Reply  
  • senyong
    wah sun should be on no.11.weird with those snakes and lizards on their 2nd floor main room.boy ching woo's pancit shanghai is the best.
    Sep 04 2010 @ 10:46pm     Reply  
  • purpleesh
    how come SUN WAH (WAH SUN) is not here on the list? It's right across Ambos Mundos if I am not mistaken.
    Sep 04 2010 @ 06:16pm     Reply  
  • badudets
    I was quite surprised to see Boy Ching Woo here, I'm from Caloocan and this is really popular among Caloocan residents
    Sep 04 2010 @ 03:00pm     Reply  
  • CiscoKid

    Matagal na ang ARISTOBACK, it dates back to the 50s pa. I should know, doon kami kumakain pakatapos ng mga party at inuumaga.Favorite din ito ng mga Taxi Drivers back then, mura eh...
    Sep 04 2010 @ 02:33pm     Reply  
  • Blondie
    80s na ang Aristoback. Not old at all.
    Sep 04 2010 @ 01:46pm     Reply  
  • RestlessInBoston
    Growing up in the 70's, I had fond memories of my Dad taking us on (alternating) Sundays, family meals to these restaurants: Aristocrats, Savory, Ma Mon Luk, Ambos Mundos,Ramon Lee and Little Quiapo. It's just too bad Panciteria Moderna did not make it. What a nostalgia, this article brings back good memories of my youth. Sayang, nothing like these in Boston.
    Sep 04 2010 @ 12:23pm     Reply  
  • batoush
    how about ARISTOBACK, sa likod ng Aristocrat?
    Sep 04 2010 @ 07:23am     Reply  
  • batoush
    a good friend, Art (God Bless His Soul) would often treat us to Toho, where one of the sons of the owner would serve us and would not accept payment except from Art. Pancit is really excellent.
    too bad, Delicious restaurant closed. they used to serve the best maki and maki-mi.
    Sep 04 2010 @ 07:19am     Reply  
  • batoush
    growing up in manila, i have fond memories of ambos mundos on florentino torres, republic theater or majestic theater used to be on the same street, and after a double-movie (2nd run) we would sometimes end up at ambos mundos. they serve the best paella at that time. also there used to be charlie's across the street the best mami & siopao.
    of course, the orginal LingNam on Kipuja and Ongpin (?) where lugao (congee) is best.
    Sep 04 2010 @ 07:14am     Reply  
  • Sly
    I think chick means 'the former'. Kasi kung latter, based dun sa statement mo, it just wouldn't make sense.
    Sep 04 2010 @ 04:30am     Reply  
  • J
    @chick. I like the former taste. It brings back good ol' memories to cherish...
    Sep 04 2010 @ 02:49am     Reply  
  • paco
    Even though Aristocrat is not my favourite, it should be the top old restaurant... New Toho ? How about San Jacinto ? It should at least be in the list.
    Sep 04 2010 @ 12:26am     Reply  
  • chick
    There are two types of Savorys: the old, run-down restos that take fifteen minutes to serve a meal and the newer ones in malls and BPOs that offer pre-cooked re-fried chicken and combo meals. Obviously, the latter's fried chicken and pancit canton taste waaaaay better.
    Sep 03 2010 @ 05:43pm     Reply  
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