10 No-Fail Hole-in-the-Wall Restaurants in Manila

Keep your eyes peeled for these hidden gems.


(SPOT.ph) Big-name restaurants are convenient and accessible when you’re in the city, but sometimes it wouldn’t hurt to go a little out of your way—especially for a place that serves damn good food. Even though the Metro is filled with eateries and cafés of every shape and size, it’s also important to note that it’s also great for one-of-a-kind haunts. Just a little word of advice: Don’t blink. They’re not called hole-in-the-wall for nothing!






PappaRam Malaysian Kitchen

This open-air eatery is as homey as it can get, with knickknacks donated by PappaRam’s regulars—a testament to how much they love the food. Chef Ramzu Nasri spent 12 years working as a chef for hotels abroad before settling down in Marikina to cook up dishes he grew up with in his home country, Malaysia. Warm up with their Curry Laksa Power (P165), with a comforting spiced coconut milk broth. The Nasi Goreng USA (P175) and Beef Rendang (P255) are also as close to authentic as it can get, with Chef Ramzu shipping spices from Malaysia and using his own home recipes.


PappaRam Malaysian Kitchen is at 45 J.P. Rizal Street, Kalumpang, Marikina City.




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Hummus Elijah

If a light snack is what your tummy needs, Hummus Elijah may just be the ideal new destination for you. Opened late in 2016, this hole-in-the-wall serves one of the best and most-raved about hummus in the Metro. Although finding this Middle-Eastern joint can quite be a challenge (keep your eyes peeled for a massage parlor right below it), we guarantee the haunt will be worth it. Their classic Hummus Elijah (P250) is an all-time favorite made of homemade hummus with tahini, olive oil, and secret herbs and spices and is served with two fluffy pieces of warm pita bread.


Hummus Elijah is at 7850 Makati Avenue, Makati City.






Wai Ying Fast Food

When it comes to Chinese food, Binondo is always top-of-mind, and one of the best in the area is Wai Ying Fast Food. This eatery is easy to miss, so be on the lookout for their display of tantalizing roast duck and chicken. Don’t be fooled by their simple appearance though, because their menu is full of Chinese favorites that are not only easy on the pocket, but are also on par with what’s served in fancier restaurants. A must-try is their dim sum like the plump Hakaw (P90/four pieces) (which made it on our Top 10 Hakaw list), which you can pair with Fried Rice (P110). You can also get a good Roasted Duck Rice here for only P200.


Wai Ying Fast Food is at 810 Benavidez Street, Binondo, Manila.






BON Pho&Roll

Located along the stretch of Mayapis Street in San Antonio Village is BON Pho&Roll, which can give you a bit of trouble when you first try to track it down. This little soup joint sits right beside famous banh mi shop BONBanhmi and looks like any street-side diner in Ho Chi Minh, with homey furniture and ornaments scattered around their small space. Regulars swear by the restaurant’s Bun Bo Hue (P200) or beef noodle soup, a comforting hot meal that has flavors ranging the whole taste spectrum: Spicy, sweet, sour, and salty.


BON Pho&Roll is at 8390 Mayapis Street, San Antonio Village, Makati City.






Eat Fresh Hong Kong Style Street Food

For your fill of Asian skewers, head to this humble food stop in Little Baguio. You can get as many skewers as you want because prices for sticks start at P28 and go up to no more than P120. If you’re hungrier, Eat Fresh also offers filling Claypot Rice—regulars swear by the Beef Brisket (P165), which is served with a special clay pot sauce. You can also get your fill of Black Gulaman here, which you can order by the liter (P60).


Eat Fresh Hong Kong Style Street Food is at 691 Jose Abad Santos Street, Little Baguio, San Juan City.






Don’t be fooled by looks—Snackaroo serves some of the best and most affordable steaks in Quezon City. Never mind that the restaurant isn’t air-conditioned and may even make some delicate flowers cringe, but people usually visit this hard-to-locate gem for the kick-ass steak and home-style meals. Their T-bone (P160) and Porterhouse (P160) are best had with Snackaroo’s signature creamy gravy, a sprinkle of Worcestershire, and a cup of steaming white rice, of course.


Snackaroo is at Judge Jimenez corner K-2nd Street, Kamuning, Quezon City.






Krung Thai

A local wet market isn't exactly the first place you'd go when looking for traditional Thai food. Located just beside the Marikina Public Market, Krung Thai is arguably one of Marikina's best-kept secrets. This hidden gem serves affordable Thai homecooked meals, like the Tom Yam Goong (P379), where perfectly cooked shrimps and vegetables swim in a clear, sour broth, and best-selling Krung Thai Fried Chicken (P299), a crispy treat that goes well with their savory Thai Bagoong Rice (P199).


Krung Thai is at P. Burgos Street, Marikina City.






Pat Pat’s Kansi

Many restaurants have come and gone in San Antonio Village but Pat Pat’s Kansi, along with a few others, has managed to stay. It’s safe to say that the carinderia-style eatery is an institution, and rightfully so—people mainly come here for their signature kansi. Think of it as the Ilonggo version of bulalo, where you’ll also get slivers of bone marrow and beef chunks swimming in a clear and sour bone-broth soup. It’s nothing short of delicious, especially on a cold night.


Pat Pat’s Kansi is at 8809 Sampaloc Street, San Antonio Village.






101 Hawker Food House

Singaporean hawker cuisine never really goes out of style, with new street-food-themed restaurants popping up every few months in the Metro. 101 Hawker Food House is a classic hole-in-the-wall in Makati that brings the goodness of Singaporean cooking to you. Don’t expect fancy interiors—this eatery in Legazpi Village looks just like any other carinderia, plastic chairs and all, but their traditional dishes are the real stars of the show. Their Hainanese Chicken (P115) is a house specialty that features a succulent poached chicken and good-on-its-own chicken rice cooked in chicken broth.


101 Hawker Food House is at 102 Campos Rueda Building, 101 Urban Avenue corner Amorsolo Street, Legazpi Village, Makati City.






Goto Believe

This hip gotohan serves the classic Filipino porridge leveled up. Here, you start with either Plain Lugaw (P30) or Goto Heaven (P55), before choosing to top it up with egg (with choices ranging from the usual hard-boiled, and scrambled, to Century Egg or a poached egg), isaw, chicken heart, and chicken liver, to fancier options like cream dory and bacon. The result is probably the most picture-perfect carinderia goto you’ll encounter.


Goto Believe is at 630 San Rafael Street, Mandaluyong City.


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