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2. AMBOS MUNDOS (1888)
750 Florentino Torres Street, Sta. Cruz, Manila
Tel. no. 734-1160
Open 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily
The restaurant used to be on Echague (now Palanca) Street but it has since moved to Florentino Torres Street near Azcarraga (now Recto Avenue).
As the name suggests, serves the best of both worlds. That is, East and West, or Spanish and Filipino-Chinese cuisine. So you can have Spanish favorites like Paella Ambos (P569 for the smallest serving), as well as well-loved snacks like their Asado Roll (P65).
The menu tags the restaurant as the "Philippines' oldest," which if accurate, means it's just a few months, or maybe just weeks, older than the top restaurant in this list.
Despite its new location, the restaurant gives an Old World aura, mainly because most of its old narra furniture from the Echague place and its Quezon City (Banawe Street and Santolan Street).
In his Walk This Way blog, popular tour guide Carlos Celdran describes the menu as "definitely Rizalian" and the interior design as "Nick Joaquin chic." Patrons will be amused to see a black pig lounging near the entryway of the establishment. The staff says the pig is there for luck.
1. NEW TOHO FOOD CENTER (1888)
422 Tomas Pinpin Street, Binondo, Manila
Open 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday to Saturday and 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday
Five Chinese friends set this up in Binondo, Manila, where the restaurant still stands, in a newer structure also on Tomas Pinpin (formerly San Jacinto) Street which was built after a fire razed the wooden building back in 1984. That explains the slight change in the name. It used to be called the Toho Antigua Panciteria.
After awhile, four of the owners decided to return to China, leaving the place to Tai Tang, whose seven children eventually took over the management, followed by his grandchildren.
The Pancit Canton (P90) remains a favorite, along with treats like the Kikiam (P50 for one piece that's about the size of a jumbo hotdog). The best thing about the place is that you can decide what goes into your pancit. We asked them to just add shrimp instead of pork cutlets to our pancit canton and they gamely complied, serving us a plate heaped with perfectly cooked, shelled shrimp.