Rada Radar: 10 Restaurants to Try on Rada Street and the Rest of Legazpi Village
From cozy cafes to hush-hush speakeasies
(SPOT.ph) Neighborhoods are in. Malls are convenient places, of course, but it can't quite match the warmer promise of walking into a restaurant and saying "hi" to the manager like an old friend. More and more eateries are realizing this potential, opting instead to build a sense of community from regulars and attracting the occasional curious outsider. Legazpi Village is one such neighborhood. Rada Street, particularly, is a bustling little strip. It pools together exotic treats to comforting breakfasts to hearty Pinoy, and just a few steps away, on the surrounding streets, gives you even more choices.
On your way to Makati? Drive on over. No matter how difficult parking is, it's worth it.
This teeny spot makes us understand why fusion cuisine exists. It seamlessly puts together the delicacy of Japanese cooking styles with the poppy flavors of Peruvian gastronomy. What we're trying to say is: Imagine your favorite sushi, but with a tropical twist and a whiff of barbecue. The dishes at Nikkei—that's the term used for Peruvian-Japanese food, by the way—are mostly bite-sized, slightly bigger than tasting portions. Don't worry, the flavors are dynamite.
Must-tries: Nikkei Tataki (P160), Green Ceviche (P360)
Nikkei is at Frabelle Building, Rada Street, Legazpi Village, Makati City. Read more about Nikkei.
Rural Kitchen of Liliw, Laguna
Rural Kitchen was recently chosen as the 64th best restaurant in Asia, but that's not why we love this restaurant. It's all about the rusticity, which makes Filipino home cooking so idyllic. Their 28-year-old chef runs the business like a seasoned veteran, churning out the practiced and perfected recipes of his grandmother in the kitchen. The flavors are traditional and comfortingly heirloom, but the young chef does a bit of improv, too. The deconstructed adobo is how he enjoyed the national dish as a kid.
Must-tries: Crispy Squid (P285), Pork Adobo (P340)
Rural Kitchen of Liliw, Laguna is at HRC Center, 104 Rada Street, Legazpi Village, Makati City. Read more about Rural Kitchen of Liliw, Laguna.
We try not to play favorites, but the Wildflour on this side of Makati might just be the best one yet. It's airier, with a wider counter that really gives those freshly baked breads the exposure they deserve. Wildflour carries over their epicurean flair easily to Legazpi Village. Their upscale comfort food fits the cozy neighborhood setting, and breakfast has never been so great.
Must-tries: Wildflour Breakfast (P410), Croque Madame (P420)
Wildflour is at Rada Street (next to Nikkei), Legazpi Village, Makati City. Read more about Wildflour.
Giving another sampling of Pinoy cuisine is Chef JP Anglo's renowned Negrense abode. Sarsa gives you unabashed profiles in the way Filipinos love—with lots of sauce! Its Bacolod roots make it a haven for sweets, batchoy, and inasal, but this chef isn't one to settle for classics. He tweaks them a bit to his liking. He has, for example, a chocolate sauce for lechon kawali.
Must-tries: Sarsa Special Batchoy (P275), Chicharon Bulaklak Dinuguan (P260), Sizzling Kansi (P380)
Sarsa is at Rada Street, Legazpi Village, Makati City. Read more about Sarsa.
We weren't there, but it must've been a a glorious moment when Susan Dalmacion passed the torch to her son Toti and his wife, Rica. Susan, of course, started this Cubano sandwicheria back in 2006, but it's Toti and Rica who brought it to Legazpi Village and turned it into a full-fledged, albeit tiny, restaurant. This quaint 16-seater maintains the simple, hearty, and deeply satisfying flavors that made theirs Cubanos famous pre-Favreau. Everything is still made at the commissary (using Susan's secret recipes!), and freshly flattened in the store.
Must-tries: Cubano (P250), Media Noche (P150)
Pepi Cubano is at Unit 7, G/F Tropical Palms Condominium, Dela Rosa Street corner Gallardo Street, Legazpi Village, Makati City. Read more about Pepi Cubano.
Bondi & Bourke
This grub hub clarifies the question: "What do Australians eat when they're not eating Vegemite?" Apparently, there's a lot of meat involved. And huge, hearty servings. The posh interiors make Bondi & Bourke look like a fine-dining operation, but there's really nothing fussy or intimidating here. Chef Wade Watson, a New Zealander who grew up in Australia, makes his menu as straightforward—and protein-heavy—as possible. Dress codes, after all, might be hard to negotiate when dealing with their monster-sized burger.
Must-tries: Beef Burger (P585), Classic Australian (P795), Classic Steak (P445)
Bondi & Bourke is at G/F Cattleya Building, Salcedo Street, Legazpi Village, Makati City. Read more about Bondi & Bourke.
This little purple space is a sneak peek at the Ongpauco home. Chef Happy Ongpauco Tiu shares a little piece of her family's history, from the rusty flat iron that belonged to a grand uncle to the crispy pata that made their family famous to begin with. Bistro Pamana also takes you around the Philippines with some regional specialties. Here, dishes aren't just meant to pepper your conversations with family and friends. They're stories in themselves. On a side note, we love that there's a Pinoy-themed afternoon tea.
Must-tries: Bulalong Corned Beef (P270), Cebu Lechon Belly Roll (P230), Salmon Belly sa Sampaloc at Pinya (P260)
Bistro Pamana is at G/F Greenbelt Mansion, 109 Perea Street, Legazpi Village, Makati City. Read more about Bistro Pamana.
Legazpi Village doesn't lack in coffee shops. You have the popular The Curator and the proudly local Local Edition, but we can't forget about the fun and frisky Lizzy Latte, too, which puts up some kooky coffee flavors like Piñacolada and Mocha Mint. Like nearly everything else in this neighborhood, it's not huge and promotes a sense of coziness. Beans are sourced from four other countries and (the requisite) coffee art isn't neglected. It's one of those hideaway types.
Must-tries: Blueberry Bliss (P160), Green Tea Grandeur (P160)
Lizzy Latte is at G/F Builder Center Building, Salcedo Street, Legazpi Village, Makati City. Read more about Lizzy Latte.
The Bonbon Club
Hey, we're not supposed to talk about this. All we're telling you is that it's owned by the same folks behind Finders Keepers. And that they allow you to cross-order from Pepi Cubano. Shhh!
The Bonbon Club is at G/F 16 Tropical Palms Condominium, Dela Rosa Street corner Gallardo Street, Legazpi Village, Makati City.
Wagyu Japanese Beef
Back when we wrote about this clandestine Japanese meat shop in 2014, it was a hidden gem to be dug out by foodies and meat lovers. Now, it has two branches, but the first one still holds a special place in our hearts. Japanese Wagyu Beef totes Wagyu A5, the highest beef grade based on marbling, firmness, fat, color, and texture. You can get them frozen to enjoy at home, but you can sample them then and there, cooked on stone and seasoned very lightly with salt. For the quality you're getting, it's pretty reasonable!
Must-tries: Ribeye (P1,150/100 grams), Wagyu Tataki (P750)
Wagyu Japanese Beef is at G20 Sunvar Plaza, Amorsolo Street corner Pasay Road, Legazpi Village, Makati City. Read more about Japanese Wagyu Beef.
If you're looking for Legazpi Sunday Market, Kitchen 1B, Yardstick, The Curator, and Your Local, read Neighborhood Guide: Legazpi Village, Makati City.