(SPOT.ph) Poblacion has, for a while, stayed an underrated part of a city that’s buzzing with energy, more so now that there seems to be a new restaurant popping up every week or a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. But more and more people are discovering that the area is an edgy neighborhood with restaurants that are just as offbeat. We round up a list of eats to try—beyond El Chupacabra.
Kite Kebab Bar
At first glance, Kite Kebab Bar may seem intimidating. The Mediterranean spot looks like a high-end hole-in-the-wall with its dark concrete walls and twinkling lights. Food-wise, you’ll find that they have the meatiest and most tender kebabs which are the perfect complement to beer! This tavern is a great break from the monotony of your usual post-work hangouts.
Must-tries: Spicy Chicken (P120), Lamb Kebab (P245), Classic Kebab (P155)
Kite Kebab Bar is at 5772 Ebro Street, Poblacion, Makati City.
The Wild Poppy
Warm and homey are the first few descriptions that will come to mind once you step into The Wild Poppy. Situated on the second floor of a converted house, it features a vibrant Pinterest-inspired indoor dining area and al fresco seating, perfect for when you’re looking to escape the city without actually leaving it. The menu is simple, treating you to an all-Asian spread that ranges from Thai to Indonesian, Korean to Japanese—all of which are delightful and affordable. Their tapas-style small plates are savory and perfect, and we recommend them paired with The Wild Poppy’s bevy of cocktails!
Must-tries: Yaki Tomorokoshi (P150), Kim and Reuben (P260), Pokpok Bites (P160)
The Wild Poppy is at 5666 Don Pedro Street, Poblacion, Makati City. Read more about The Wild Poppy.
On the other side of P. Burgos is Empingao!, a Latin-American joint that’s anything but ordinary. Chef Mikel Zaguirre thinks very much the same way he cooks: “Very modern, a bit different.” The Elena Ruz sandwich alone is enough to keep you wanting more, but everything from the hard taco shells to the empanaditas will make you fall in love with this unassuming restaurant. It’s not obvious from their exterior, but they also serve the most decadent desserts. There's really no losing in this restaurant.
Must-tries: Elena Ruz (P480), Salmon Tacos (P290), Tres Leches (P270)
Empingao! is at P. Burgos Street corner San Lucas Street, Barangay Poblacion, Makati City. Read more about Empingao!
Royal Indian Curry House
Royal Indian Curry House is a dream for your Indian food cravings. From the curry to tikka to rice dishes to roti down to the lesser-known Indian delicacies, everything is spice-infused, flavorful, and authentic. To this day, we have yet to meet someone who left this place unsatisfied.
Must-tries: Masala Papad (P119), Hyderabadi Biryani (P499)
The Royal Indian Curry House is at 5345 General Luna Street, Poblacion, Makati City. Read more about Royal Indian Curry House.
One-half street and one-half restaurant, this hole-in-the-wall is a charming surprise. Mismatched plastic plates, vinyl flowered tablecloths, festive glass lanterns, and turquoise walls make it look like a hash house. The dishes are generous ni portion sizes—kind of like what you expect at home. The flavors are powerful—their Thai chicken dishes, especially. Later in the evening, the Crying Tiger transforms into a lively pub that offers imported wine and local craft beer.
Must-tries: Mee Goreng (P199), Thai Pork BBQ (P25/stick), Thai Fried Chicken (P69-P499)
Crying Tiger is at Guanzon Street, Makati City. Read more about the Crying Tiger.
Formerly situated in Salcedo Village, Commune Café relocated to Poblacion. The cafe hasn't changed, however; it still finds the perfect balance of what every caffeine junkie is looking for—a cozy ambience and good coffee. The café is bright and cheery, the tables are sectioned and perfect for conversations, and their coffee is divine. They even make the cutest latte art!
Must-tries: Commune Blend (P100), Iced Toddy (P145), Homemade Apple Pie (P180)
Commune Café is at 36 Polaris Street, Makati City.
Tambai Yakitori Snackhouse
Just as the name implies, Tambai Yakitori Snackhouse is perfect for hanging out. They serve a small list of crowd-favorite skewers: pork, chicken, beef, innards, vegetables, and seafood, all of which are perfect as pulutan. Their alcohol menu includes local and Japanese beer, as well as one-shot sakes. They maximize the space by setting up an outdoor affair of tables and stools for groups, so don't forget to bring your friends!
Must-tries: U.S. Beef Isaw (P40), Chicken Gizzard (P35), Tofuyaki (P70)
Tambai Yakitori Snackhouse is at 5779 Felipe Street, Barangay Poblacion, Makati City. Read more about Tambai Yakitori Snackhouse.
Pasha Turkish Restaurant
Not a lot of Mediterranean restaurants in Manila serve authentic Turkish food, but with two branches in Poblacion alone, Pasha Turkish Restaurant is the exception. Liquid seasoning isn’t a thing here; all the aromatic spices are shipped directly from the motherland. The stocks are made from scratch and the meats are marinated until herbs and spices are absorbed. You might just end up feeling like you're sitting by the Aegean Sea.
Must-tries: Sultan Kebab (P480), Argos Meatballs (P350), Salcali Kofte P380)
Pasha Turkish Restaurant is at General Luna Street, Poblacion, Makati City. Read more about Pasha Turkish Restaurant.
If you’re looking for a place that’s affordable but will still keep you satisfied, SALT is a great place to start. The portions are big enough to share so that people can order different dishes and try a bit of everything. We would’ve gladly shelled out for their steaks, chicken, and dessert alone, but the best part about SALT? Nothing on the menu is above P350!
Must-tries: T-Bone Steak (P190), Grilled Cajun Chicken (P180), Frozen Brazo de Mercedes (P110)
SALT is at 5887 Fermina Street corner Enriquez, Poblacion, Makati City. Read more about SALT.
Mando's Wing Shack
Super cheap wings in extravagant flavors are what you’ll find at Mando’s Wing Shack. Their motto says it all: “Let’s get messy,” because everything on the menu is meant to be enjoyed with your hands! The servings are generous and Mando’s doesn’t scrimp when it comes to sauce and toppings. The slew of wings, tacos, fries and burgers—the entire menu, rather, is to die for.
Must-tries: Loaded Mando Nachos (P180), Shoryuken (P110), Beer Barbecue Sauce and Sweeracha Wings (P155/half order, P300/full order)
Mando's Wing Shack is at 1158 Antipolo Street, Poblacion, Makati City. Read more about Mando's Wing Shack.