(SPOT.ph) Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. But, let’s be real: You don’t need to go far when you’re looking to have a romantic night out with a special someone or even just by yourself—sometimes, you can find amazing spots right under your nose. In case you’re looking for that dreamy place right smack in the middle of the Metro, look no further than these restaurants in Pasig and San Juan.
Café Ysabel may be back at a new location, but that doesn’t mean they’ve completely changed—they’ve still got that rustic, intimate, and cozy charm diners keep coming back for. Here, every corner is picturesque and date-night worthy, setting the mood for a memorable fine-dining experience ahead. Their succulent and savory Salisbury Steak N’ Eggs, served with buttered rice, bacon, and peppered gravy is a great introduction to their extensive steak menu. There’s also the sinful Roasted Bone Marrow Plate, coated with aromatic truffle oil and served with a side of crunchy toast. If you want to go for something lighter and equally flavorful, the Prawns Thermidor is a hefty platter of baked prawns topped with umami mushrooms, vegetables, and cheese.
Must-tries: Salisbury Steak N’ Eggs (P418), Roasted Bone Marrow Plate (P308), Prawns Thermidor (P658)
Café Ysabel is at 175 M.J. Paterno Street, Pasadena, San Juan City.
Café Juanita is practically an institution in this side of town, known for their amazing fusion of European and Asian cuisine. You and your date will love the Kare-Kare ni Juanita, a more refined version of your childhood favorite that uses a rich blend of ox tail and tripe. Meanwhile, the Crispy Pata is a must-try—crispy on the outside but delicately tender on the inside. If you also want a taste of their various European offerings, the Paella Valenciana is a good start. Plus, it's perfect for sharing.
Must-tries: Kare-Kare ni Juanita (P695), Crispy Pata (P629), Paella Valenciana (P677)
Café Juanita is at 19 West Capitol Drive, Kapitolyo, Pasig City.
For a taste of Italy, head over to Francesco’s Kitchen, where you and your date can enjoy traditional Neapolitan dishes whipped up by Chef Francesco Rizzo himself. The Spaghetti Con Polpette Al Pomodoro might sound like a mouthful, but it’s essentially their take on spaghetti with meatballs, making use of only the freshest ingredients they could find. The restaurant also has a wide array of brick-oven pizza flavors, but you can’t go wrong with the Pizza Francesco, with mozzarella, fresh sausage, assorted mushrooms, roasted bell pepper, and a layer of pungent gorgonzola. After that, order a serving of the Tiramisu Al Amaretto. It’s the perfect sweet ending to your meal.
Must-tries: Spaghetti Con Polpette Al Pomodoro (P540), Pizza Francesco (P580), Tiramisu Al Amaretto (P420)
Francesco’s Kitchen is at 863 A. Mabini Street, Addition Hills, San Juan City.
You can’t go wrong with 22 Prime if you and your date are hankering for steak. All their steaks are USDA Certified Prime-Grade Angus beef and every order comes with three signature sauces. It’s hard to mess up a classic T-Bone Steak or a juicy Wagyu Hanger Steak, so we suggest to order any of those (or get the two if you’re both really hungry). Not in the mood for beef? This restaurant with a nice city view also makes a mean Baby Back Pork Ribs, while seafood lovers will enjoy their Crispy Salmon Fillet, which comes with a nori-potato purée, a medley of asparagus and burnt roasted cauliflower, and a side of spicy wasabi cream.
Must-tries: T-Bone Steak (P1,965), Wagyu Hanger Steak (P2,150), Baby Back Pork Ribs (P480), Crispy Salmon Fillet (P990)
22 Prime is at 22/F Discovery Suites, 25 ADB Avenue, Ortigas, Pasig City.
Even from the outside, you can see that Florabel is an elegant and dainty spot for a romantic date night. It’s complete with hanging plants and lush greens that will make you feel like you've transported to another place (even if you are technically just inside a mall). Their dishes are also something you and your S.O. can look forward to—their take on the classic French Onion Soup, for example, will surely get the both of you in the mood for their mains. Try the Three Mushroom Pizza, complete with goat’s cheese and caramelized onion for that distinctive umami flavor. The Spanish Sardines Pasta, on the other hand, is a light olive oil-based pasta dish that’s made with sardines, tangy sun-dried tomato, fennel, and with pistachio for that extra-special crunch.
Must-tries: Classic French Onion Soup (P295), Three Mushroom Pizza (P595), Spanish Sardines Pasta (P425)
Florabel is at G/F North Wing, Estancia Mall, Capitol Commons, Oranbo, Pasig City.
This low-key restaurant in Little Baguio isn’t only known for their vibrantly hued and cozy interiors perfect for a casual date night. It’s also a place where you can have a taste of Spain’s regional dishes through their traditional tapas menu. Start your night with their best-selling Croquetas, which is stuffed with your choice of sole fish or squid in black ink. You’ll also enjoy the Cordero Adobado, or twice-cooked lamb with a signature smoky flavor that’ll be hard to forget for days. For something a bit more familiar, try the Chorizo Sisig, with Spanish chorizo prepared and served on a sizzling plate. Don’t forget to grab a bottle of Spanish red wine with it!
Must-tries: Croquetas (P280), Chorizo Sisig (P300), Cordero Adobado (P610)
Calderon is at 403 F. Calderon Street, Little Baguio, San Juan City.
Flossom Kitchen + Café
Like their sweet, garden-inspired interiors, Flossom Kitchen + Café dishes are just as pretty. Their all-day breakfast menu puts the spotlight on the creamy Avocado Toast and Smoked Salmon Benedict; the latter a medley of smoked salmon, caramelized onions, grilled tomatoes, and pesto potato with hollandaise sauce. The restaurant’s menu is also packed with pizza and pasta choices, like the lip-smacking Honey Chorizo Pasta, made with Spanish chorizo, spiced honey, mixed bell peppers, and garlic, cooked in a zesty red sauce.
Must-tries: Avocado Toast (P280), Smoked Salmon Benedict (P350), Honey Chorizo Pasta (P320)
Flossom Kitchen + Café is at Flossom Place, 187 N. Averilla Street, Greater San Juan, San Juan City.
Amare La Cucina
Amare La Cucina is a charming little spot amid other great dining places in Kapitolyo. Their dishes are straightforward and fresh, as Italian food should be. The Pizza Con Prosciutto is a crowd favorite, topped with juicy plum tomatoes, mozzarella, arugula, olives, and salty prosciutto for that extra-savory bite. They also whip up a rich and meaty Ragu Bolognese Pasta, with slow-cooked ground beef, Italian sausage, and bacon that are sure to attract any meat-loving couple out there. If you’re hankering for something even meatier minus the carbs, their Wood-Fire Ribs can satisfy even the most serious of protein fans.
Must-tries: Pizza Con Proscuitto (P550), Ragu Bolognese Pasta (P350), Wood-fired Ribs (P430/with vegetables, P355/with orzo pasta)
Amare La Cucina is at 91 East Capitol Drive, Kapitolyo, Pasig City.
Ba Noi’s Ca Phe et Boulangerie
Ba Noi’s Ca Phe et Boulangerie's branch in Kapitolyo is particularly special for their French-inspired al-fresco area, but it's still home to no-frills Vietnamese cuisine. For starters, try the classic Cha Gio, or fried spring rolls made with ground pork, taro, and black fungus, and served with a traditional sweet-salty Nuoc Mam dipping sauce. On the other hand, the hearty Pho Bo is good to share, with a savory broth that’s brightened up by fresh herbs and a squeeze of lime.
Must-tries: Cha Gio (P225), Pho Bo (P290/regular, P420/large), Bahn Mi Ga Nuong (P180)
Ba Noi’s Ca Phe et Boulangerie is at 12 East Capitol Drive, Kapitolyo, Pasig City.
House of Wagyu
When it comes to fork-tender steaks served on a sizzling stone platter, you can’t go wrong with this crowd-favorite romantic destination—after all, it’s one of the best places for steak in the Metro. House of Wagyu offers their Wagyu steaks in all kinds of cuts, sizes, and grades, depending on your appetite (and budget). Their Top Sirloin Grade 10 is a definite pleaser, while their Wagyu Salpicao is sure to appeal any Pinoy's taste buds. Plus, every order from their Wagyu menu comes with soup, vegetables, and potato sides so you know it’s worth every peso.
Must-tries: Top Sirloin Grade 10 (P1,950/220g, P2,950/350g, P4,200/500g), Wagyu Salpicao (P2,675)
House of Wagyu is at McKinley Arcade, Ortigas Avenue corner Club Filipino Road, Greenhills, San Juan City.