10 New Restaurants You Need to Try This December
The latest places to check out in Manila.
(SPOT.ph) Stumped on where to eat? Are there too many choices? We're breaking down Manila's extensive dining landscape with a list of places to try every month. Always keep your restaurant index fresh!
Ibarra Padolina has a Japanese obsession. It's perfectly logical that he follows up the success of his vegan ramen joint, Wabi Sabi, with a Japanese dessert destination. This time, he specializes in kakigori, which is the Japanese version of our halo-halo. At Ikigai Kakigori, everything is made from scratch—from the mochi balls to the shiratama to the milk ice to the ice cream. There are no preservatives and no artificial additives. The ingredients and combinations are kept simple because Ibarra believes (and we agree) that it helps make the natural flavors stand out.
Ikigai Kakigori is at POS Building, Scout Madriñan corner Tomas Morato Avenue, Quezon City. Read more about Ikigai Kakigori.
Everyone's always talking about sushi and sashimi and ramen and katsu and sukiyaki, but what about okonomiyaki? Dohtonbori on Missouri Street is giving this Japanese "omelet" the spotlight. Enter and it feels like you just stepped out of Manila and into one of those corner restaurants in Osaka. The tables are equipped with a grill because okonomiyaki (which is when a variety of ingredients is folded into an egg) is a performance and a meal best enjoyed fresh.
Dohtonbori is at 8 Missouri Street, Northeast Greenhills, San Juan City. Read more about Dohtonbori.
Buta + Wagyu
You might have heard of a little steak place called Wagyu Japanese Beef. It's a meat shop in Sunvar Plaza that offers minimal seating for those who want a little taste of their products—the most glorious bites of melt-in-your-mouth Wagyu. Buta + Wagyu is its actual restaurant counterpart...and then some. The same delicious steaks are available, of course, but the expanded menu also includes other Japanese classics like ramen, sushi, and gohan. There's kimchi there, too!
Buta + Wagyu is at SM Aura Premier, Bonifacio Global City. Read more about Buta + Wagyu.
Miguel and Maria
For a place that looks so dainty on the outside, Miguel and Maria pops out jaw-dropping portions. Co-owner Miguel Gloria aims to be that after-work habit–from dinner to drinks—and for him, big food in affordable prices is the way to relieve you of stress. There's an obvious Western theme in the interiors (a silhouette of the New York skyline, photos of distinguished African-Americans) and the menu (burgers, mac and cheese, you get the drift), but look into the details and you'll see a deeper story. The corks in the shadowbox are collected from drinking sessions with Miguel's family, while the barrels near the entrance were from his mom.
Miguel and Maria is at 89 Lilac Street, Marikina City. Read more about Miguel and Maria.
Filipino and South American flavors meet at Sobremesa. Sobremesa could mean two things: friendly conversation over a meal or dessert. You get both at this restaurant. Chef Benjo Tuason uses heirloom recipes and flourishes them with the bright and citrus flavors that define South American cuisine. There are displays of experimentation, too (including a bold, coffee-crusted steak that was the product of a failed recipe). Every dish is an unabashed explosion so make sure your taste buds are prepared.
Sobremesa is at The Sapphire Bloc, Sapphire Road, Ortigas, Pasig City. Read more about Sobremesa.
Din Tai Fung
We advise that you go early because the lines at Din Tai Fung rival NAIA during Christmas season. Use the time to bond with your friends, catch up on your reading, or, build up your appetite. The local Din Tai Fung is one of the few franchises allowed to make their dough (cheers to our local flour!), which is flattened to precise discs and folded 18 times to create the perfect little basket for the flavorful broth and silky filling. If you've already had your soup-bun fill abroad, you should definitely try the dishes made especially for the Philippines! We can't wait for the foie gras xiao long bao.
Din Tai Fung is at G/F SM Mega Fashion Hall, Mandaluyong City. Read more about Din Tai Fung.
This nook is mostly Canadian, a little bit British, and wholly comfort. Couple, chefs, and owners Evan and Michelle Corby are pushing for easygoing soul food, with their set of made-from-scratch burgers, sausages, and bacon. It's a quiet, no-frills spot where you can just hide away and relax.
HotBox Kitchen is at 450C P. Guevarra Street corner Wilson Street, San Juan City. Read more about HotBox Kitchen.
Remember that old stall at the heart of Mandaluyong that churned out surprisingly good, nay, the best liempo in the Metro? Well, they've just moved. King's Roast, which is tucked in a mall food court, carries the same delicious roasts as Captain Manok, but in a more convenient dining setting. Chef Raj Daswani makes sure that the move didn't affect his carefully crafted flavors.
King's Roast is at Glorietta Food Court, Makati City. Read more about King's Roast.
Craving something sour? Sinigang is your quick tour through the regional varieties of our beloved sour soup. Married owners Isaac and Korinne Ortega decided to convert their old project, Orange Whisk, into something much more forthcoming and relatable. Don't worry. Korinne's famous desserts are still there.
Sinigang is at 162 Aguirre Avenue, BF Homes, Parañaque City. Read more about Sinigang.
This Panay Avenue haunt is your introduction to Lebanese food. If you're wondering how Lebanese cuisine is different from other Middle Eastern delicacies, we were told that even though the final product—kebabs, shawarmas, baba ghanoush—are all the same, their approaches are different. Spices vary and so do the cooking methods. Technicalities aside, we love how Beiruti Bite pushes for authentic and pronounced flavors, using local ingredients to keep prices at a reasonable level.
Beiruti Bite is at Panay Avenue corner Timog Avenue, South Triangle, Quezon City. Read more about Beiruti Bite.