10 Most Beautiful Restaurants in Manila (2014 Edition)
Nothing complements food better than a great setting.
(SPOT.ph) Manila's dining scene is having a moment, and nowhere is this more evident than in the evolution of local restaurant design. Sure, the food's important, but the setting in which it is served definitely makes an impact. Details matter-whether it's luxurious marble countertops, an artfully arranged display of pastries that will make any dessert lover go weak in the knees, an entire wall of beautifully framed botanical prints, or tiled floors in a cheery chevron. Eating out should be an extraordinary experience, and these 10 restaurants certainly know how to set the scene.
This list is not ranked.
Early Bird Breakfast Club
Cuisine: Comfort breakfast food
Aesthetic: Cheery charm
A sweeping mural of birds and flowers painted by Soleil Ignacio adorns one of the salmon-colored walls, while the bright yellow dining chairs are upholstered in a honeycomb-patterned fabric. On another wall, swirly calligraphy declares the restaurant's philosophy-"beautiful breakfast, morning, noon, and night"-next to a faux vertical garden. Designer Jackie Mitra Bailon paid attention to the details, and it shows.
Design Highlights: Gray and white chevron tiles, floral armchairs, a statement mural
This branch of Early Bird Breakfast Club is at Century City Mall, Kalayaan Avenue, Makati City (403-1897, 0905-331-1897)
Aesthetic: Rustic industrial
Margarita Forés' latest restaurant is an homage to farmers and sustainable cooking. Designed by Jorge Yulo, Grace Park's walls and floors are minimalist in bare concrete, a restrained backdrop for the strange yet beautiful mix of repurposed iron grills, vintage glasses, mismatched cutlery, and custom-made ceramic plates by Lanelle Abueva. It's an eclectic mélange, but one that Forés pulls off beautifully.
Design Highlights: Whitewashed wooden tabletops, crystal chandeliers, old bricks
Grace Park is at G/F One Rockwell, Rockwell Drive, Rockwell Center, Makati City (843-7275)
Vask's cutting-edge cuisine is served in a stylish, modern space with all the right details. Renowned architect Carlo Calma made sure nothing slipped by, from the Emmental cheese inspiration to the plates he personally designed. Chefs put finishing touches on dishes in the open kitchen's beautiful marble countertops and orb-like pendant lamps hang from the ceiling. And that's just the main dining room. Out on the deck, you'll find larger-than-life sculptures, while the Curve and Gallery rooms on the other side are decorated with avant-garde art and designer chairs. A statue of Darth Vader as Sto. Niño right off the entrance is an irreverent reminder of the restaurant's unorthodox approach to modern cooking.
Design Highlights: Cutout details on the walls and ceilings, marble countertops, pendant lamps
Vask is at Clipp Center, 11th Avenue corner 39th Street, Bonifacio Global City (0920-974-4742)
The Wholesome Table
Cuisine: Healthy and organic
Step inside The Wholesome Table and you'll feel like you're in a cozy farmhouse. Beautifully decorated by Mia de Lara and Kitty Bunag, the duo behind Craftsmith, the interiors here perfectly match the menu of whole-grain salads and superfood smoothies. Beige brick walls and panels of distressed wood add character to the space, while the long sofas and pillows scattered about make the space feel homey and comfortable-you'll definitely want to linger.
Design Highlights: Cage lamps, chalkboard menus, brick walls
The Wholesome Table is at Bonifacio High Street Central, 30th Street corner 7th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City (867-0000)
Aesthetic: Elegant mid-century
The Nielson Tower is the only pre-World War II structure in the Makati Central Business District today. Once an airport control tower, it has also been a library, police headquarters, and an office. This year, it has been reinvented again, this time as a restaurant with Chef Colin Mackay at the helm. Simple Art Deco with jewel tones? The results are breathtaking, and the fact that it’s a successful preservation of one of Manila's heritage buildings is just one of the reasons why. They just don't design buildings like they used to.
Design Highlights: Spiral staircase, geometric tiles
Blackbird is at Nielson Tower, Ayala Triangle, Makati City (828-4888)
Aesthetic: Rustic modern
Las Flores is essentially a wine and tapas bar, but it draws design influences from all over. At the bar, Machuca tiles line the countertop and beautiful copper mugs hang from hooks. The walls are decorated with framed botanical prints, a subtle allusion to the restaurant's name. Designer Anton Barretto adds an industrial feel to the space with burlap dining chairs and stark black pendant lamps. Tying it all together is the menu, presented in a hardbound volume and featuring an unusual mix of pastel-hued patterns and bold typography. Like the restaurant itself, it's eclectic, but it works.
Design Highlights: Botanical prints, Machuca tiles, concrete floors
Las Flores is at G/F One McKinley Place, 25th Street corner 4th Street, Bonifacio Global City (552-2815)
Wildflour Café + Bakery
Cuisine: Brunch/comfort food
Aesthetic: Warm industrial
Every Wildflour branch looks slightly different, but they have one thing in common: They're all beautifully designed. Here at its Salcedo Village outpost, subway tiles and fire-engine-red pendant lamps take center stage, and while those two design clichés may feel a bit worn out in other places, here the idea still manages to feel fresh. Stealing the show is Wildflour's trademark mouthwatering spread of pastries and desserts, laid out on the counter for you to drool over. Designed by Los Angeles-based chef and owner Walter Manze and executed by architect Lara Fernandez Barrios, this cozy neighborhood spot definitely takes the cake!
Design Highlights: Subway tiles, wooden and metal shelving, graphic tiles
This branch of Wildflour is at 125 L.P. Leviste Street, Salcedo Village, Makati City (808-7072)
The Black Pig
Aesthetic: Modern industrial
Grab a seat by the bar, where industrial stools stand in for chairs, steel shelving is used to store craft beers and wines, and yes, the silhouette of a jaunty pig has been painted on the back wall. Accented by black, gray, yellow, and white triangles, the bar is easily this restaurant's most striking feature. But Design HQ didn’t slouch on the rest of the space-the gorgeous wooden tabletops are the perfect backdrop for your Instagram photos (oh, you roll your eyes now but you know you're going to take ’em) and the balcony outside is the perfect place for long nights spent shooting the breeze.
Design Highlights: Stunning ceramic plates, wooden tables, steel shelving
The Black Pig is at 2/F Commercenter Building, E Asia Drive, Muntinlupa City (808-1406)
Cuisine: Refined cooking
The black-and-white checkerboard floors add a playful retro feel to the restaurant, but the dining chairs-upholstered in a dark red, matte leather-ground the space and add drama. Speaking of color, the restaurant's trademark red is everywhere you look, from the oversized chandeliers presiding over the al fresco dining area to the visually striking wooden beams, unifying the space.
Design Highlights: Oversized chandeliers and checkerboard floors
Mamou is at G/F Power Plant Mall, Rockwell Center, Makati City
Cuisine: Modern Spanish
Aesthetic: Masculine minimalist
Eating at Rambla feels like being a guest at an impossibly hip friend's bachelor pad. There's a Chesterfield sofa the color of coffee right next to the entrance, a vintage bike perched on a shelf, and Art Deco posters on the walls. If you want to be where the action is, the best seats in the house are by the open kitchen, which dominates the ground floor of this two-story loft. The second level is much more quiet but has plenty to offer, with an impressive bar and a backlit cabinet that the restaurant uses to store its aged cocktails and spirits.
Design Highlights: White brick walls, Machuca tiles, leather dining chairs
Rambla is at G/F Joya Building, Rockwell Drive, Rockwell Center, Makati City (823-6468)