10 Best Cafes for Hanging Out in Manila

Whether you’re on a date, just waiting, or cramming like crazy, these cafes will cater to your needs.
by Sasha Lim Uy
November 21, 2013


(SPOT.ph) You have to admit: Despite the rising number of coffee shops, not all are conducive for chilling out. Some are too noisy, some are too crowded, and still others don’t have a good enough menu worth sticking around for. Don’t worry. We’ve taken care of your cafe-searching requirements. From waiting to cramming to just simple bored-at-home, we’ve listed 10 cafes that are perfect for all your hanging-out needs.


The establishments on this list were chosen based on location and purpose.



Cafe de Seoul

Tailor-made for students in the area, Cafe de Seoul caters to study groups, solo reviewing, and just plain chilling out. The colorful Korean-themed space has an entire wall filled with imported magazines from Allure to Time as well as bar tables with built-in Samsung tablets for quick research and/or games. A large mirror covers the ceiling which is convenient for barkada selfies. As for refreshments, they have kicky White Chocolate Mocha for those panicky we-have-a-paper moments and the soothing Honey Yuja Lemon Tea for kicking back after finals.

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Drink to nurse: Dutch Coffee (P150), Ddalgi Sonagi (P155), Honey Yuja Lemon Tea (P130), White Chocolate Mocha (P140),

Cafe de Seoul is at One Archer’s Place, Taft Avenue, Manila City.




Cafe Shibuya

If you’re looking to get to know a potential "special someone," Cafe Shibuya is intimately sweet. There’s no WiFi at the moment, which means you won’t have any social media distractions. The place is both cute and cool without trying too hard, and signs like "There’s always room for dessert," inspire one to order more even after a plate of their hefty pastas. You should though. Prolong your date with a plate of their special ice-cream-topped toasts made soft and fluffy via a special panning technique. You’ll find they’re a sweet ending to a beautiful new beginning.


Drink to nurse: Anything from the Ghirardelli menu (Premium Dark Chocolate Latte, P145; PBelow Zero Chocolate Frappe, P155; Mocha Frappe, P155), Amaretto Latte (P145)

Cafe Shibuya is at UP Town Center, Katipunan Avenue, Quezon City.


Caffe Dolce

Hidden in the heart of Banawe is this Taiwanese franchise that’s quietly been collecting a loyal following in the last few years. The place is located on the second floor of an office building (very inconspicuous against the landscape of bright Chinese-restaurant signage in this neighborhood): It’s a cross between a flower shop and a cafe, just a few footsteps away from becoming Cupid’s Den. But while the teddy bears and flowers take a bit of getting used to, this cafe is popular for its many permutations of tea and coffee, as well as the cool presentation of such creations. Despite its inclination to inspire affections, it comes as a surprise to learn that students more than lovers frequent this romantic place.


Drink to nurse: Iced Mint Caffe (P145), Caffe Dolce Nocciola (P165), Cinnamon Cappuccino (P105), Rose Caffe Latte (P135)

Caffe Dolce is at Banawe corner Linaw Street, Sienna, Quezon City.




Da.u.de Tea Lounge

Serious tea drinkers would appreciate Da.u.de’s no-nonsense approach to brewing authentic tea. Everything on the menu is tea-infused, and owner and tea master Renee Sebastian approaches tea preparation as both a science and an art form. The cafe is New York-inspired-airy and with a black and white palette. An entire wall covered with giant tea canisters serves as an interesting aesthetic and a conversation piece. This place is for those with mature tastes and an appreciation for the finer, more artisanal treatment of beverage.


Drink to nurse: Teas like the Energy Booster (P200), Lemon Thirst Quencher (P120); Coffee Almond Macchiato (P140)

Da.u.de is at 4th Avenue corner 26th Street, Bonifacio Global City.





There’s a reason why Starbucks has 20,900 (give or take) branches worldwide. Yummy moderately priced beverages and a relaxing ambiance is a formula so winning, they don’t even need to put words on their logo anymore. The thing about Starbucks is that every branch, though leaning on the same neutral color scheme, looks and feels different. The Fort branch emphasizes rusticity, the Pioneer branch on group activity (they have long tables), branches near universities mix large tables with tiny ones (for your study needs). They also come complete with WiFi, book stands, and outlets.


Drink to nurse: Frappucino lineup (P135 to P175), Caramel Macchiato (P115 to P160)

Click here for a list of Starbucks branches.




Afters Espresso and Desserts

This neighborhood cafe will hit you with the smell of caffeine as soon as you enter. So much so that you won’t need to order a cup of joe for that much-needed fix because really, you're at Afters for their freshly churned gelato. The owner is a graduate of the Gelato University in Italy (yes, it is real; Hogwarts is not) and his popcorn and kalamansi flavors are kitschy bestsellers that will have you ordering by the gallon. This isn't to say their coffee isn't good. Afters has a strong family following, but you'll stumble upon the occasional students and/or stay-at-home employees. The latter will usually have a shot of espresso or a warm cup of latte on the side.


Drink to nurse: Single Drip Coffees (Nicaragua and Brazil, P150 per cup)

Afters is at Lansbergh Place, Tomas Morato Avenue corner Scout Castor, Quezon City



Tutto Domani

Rusticity and eccentricity collide in this New World Hotel enclave. The walls and floors are bare white and concrete, but every blank space is filled with the kitschiest elements: creepy-looking owls, plastic figurines, toys, kitchen utensils, a guitar precariously balanced on top of an X-shaped bookshelf. There are snazzy polypropylene chairs as well as plaid-upholstered stools, neon ghost benches, height-adjustable tables. The furniture mishmash could be attributed to the fact that Tutto Domani used to be a home store, but we like how the "careless" arrangement gives it a fun eclectic appeal. A fuss-free, kick-your-legs-back coffee shop, this is perfect for those who don't take coffee breaks too seriously.


Drink to nurse:Bundaberg Sarsaparilla (P80)

Tutto Domani is at New World Hotel, Esperanza Street corner Makati Avenue, Makati City



Magnum Opus Fine Coffee Gallery

But for the person who loves a serious, artisanal approach to their brew, this Parañaque hub will show you how it's done. Customers can get a glimpse of the craftsmanship that goes into each cup when they sit at the bar. No instant blends here. Using espresso as base, coffee guru and owner Jonathan Choi has an impressive lineup of lattes, cappuccinos, and espresso shots which may be served hot or iced and may be made using the customer's preferred method (drip, siphon, or pour-over). Magnum Opus is for coffee-shop regulars who go for the coffee more than anything else.


Drink to nurse: Belgian Heartbreaker (P175)

Magnum Opus is at 115 Aguirre Avenue, BF Homes, Parañaque City.




Café Maxims

Hotel Maxims' signature café is located between the hotel and the casino and just a few steps away from the shopping area. It has a non-descript classiness with nothing more than a counter with several small round tables and chairs. It doesn't look like much but they have an upscale approach to caffeine; they use the expensive Civet seasonally. Café Maxims is a great hangout when you're waiting for a movie to start, for your mom to finish up at the slots, or for meeting up with the rest of the barkada.


Drink to nurse: Affogato Amaretto (P280), Cafe Vienna (P190)

Cafe Maxims is at G/G Hotel Maxims, Resorts World, Pasay City.




Café Mary Grace (Greenbelt 2 branch)

The flagship branch of this successful coffee chain, the loft-style Café Mary Grace at Greenbelt 2 exudes a country home atmosphere with dark wood furnishings, lantern chandeliers, and stained glass accents. Little touches like the fake dragonflies inside the lantern lights add a thoughtful and pretty charm. In a very subtle way, this café pushes for women empowerment. There's an alcove that features a Women's Corner (items and food products made by female home bakers or small-business owners). With their pillow-soft ensaymadas to their hot chocolate, Café Mary Grace appeals to all ages, but it's a common sight to see amigas trading gossip at a corner over a cup of cappuccino.


Drink to nurse: Tsokolate (P50), Hot Chocolate (P110)

This branch is at Greenbelt 2, Makati City; click here for a list of other branches.

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