10 Restaurants for Dining Solo in Manila (2018 Edition)
ICYMI, February 14 is also Singles Awareness Day.
(SPOT.ph) They say a meal is better when shared—well, that’s not always the case. Filipinos are so used to eating with a group that they sometimes dismiss solo dining as awkward, tricky, if not sad. Newsflash: Whether you’re in a hurry, single or part of the Broken Hearts Club, or just not in the mood to share your meal (admit it), it shouldn’t be. Here are some places to get you started. After all, being alone isn’t that bad when you’ve got food as company.
This new oyster bar in Poblacion has “solo” written all over it—well, not literally but you get the point. With only two long bar tables and 16 seats, it’s easy to just slide in and dine here and not feel too self-conscious of your singularity. Another bonus is most of their serving sizes are good for one person! Where else can you get oysters at P50 a pop in the Metro?
Must-tries: Baked Oysters (P50/piece), Fried Chicken Curry Bowl (P250)
Wantusawa is at Tambai Alley, Felipe Street, Poblacion, Makati City.
At Tsuta, the best seats in the house are actually at the bar, which gives you the finest view of their open kitchen. Their unique truffle-infused ramen is made with handmade soba noodles and fresh ingredients prepared on the spot, so you’re sure to get your money’s worth. It’s hard to feel alone here—who needs a partner when you’ve got friendly chefs chatting you up from time to time, not to mention the hot bowl of soup in front you that feels like a tight lover’s hug.
Must-try: Miso Soba (P410)
Tsuta is at UG/F C3 Bonifacio High Street Central, 7th Avenue corner 30th Street, Bonifacio Global City.
Many cubicle-dwellers visit Panaderyo Toyo for two things: The bakery’s freshly baked bread and for some peace and quiet. This new casual-dining destination at The Alley seems like it’s made for those who want some alone time. Pick a book, order some coffee to go with their sublime pan de sal, and grab a seat at the long communal table by the huge glass window—it’s the perfect spot for those who want to hide from the world, even just for an hour or two.
Must-tries: Pan de sal with Scrambled Eggs, Crispy Fish, and Tortang Talong (P290), Barra (P250/loaf)
Panaderya Toyo is at The Alley at Karrivin, 2316 Chino Roces Avenue, Makati City.
This Fil-Mex joint in Legazpi Village has tables dedicated to solo diners at the rightmost side of the restaurant. Co-partner Gerard Cancio explains that they saw the need to create single tables because more and more office workers are having lunch by themselves. Sad? We don’t think so—how can you be when there’s a plate of tacos waiting for you?
Must-tries: Shiitake Mushroom Tostada (P168), Chili Con Carne Tortilla Bowl (P228)
Vengo is at C. Palanca Jr. Street corner Dela Rosa Street, Legazpi Village, Makati City.
Although Chinese restaurants are typically family-oriented, with large, round tables and all, this xiao long bao eatery in Uptown Bonifacio welcomes diners of all numbers and sizes, whether they’re part of a big group or dining alone. Unlike the usual 10-piece soup-dumpling order, Bai Nian Tang Bao’s Instagram-famous supersized XLB—or the Giant Tang Bao—is good for one person, if you're not the type to share meals.
Must-tries: Giant Tang Bao (P258), Pork Guo Tie (P138)
Bai Nian Tang Bao is at G/F Uptown Parade, Uptown Bonifacio.
If you can’t find a date, coffee shops are always a solo eater’s best bet. This café in Makati is non-intimidating—they’re known for their homey atmosphere, apart from their superb handcrafted brews, of course. West Town’s Coffee covers the usual gamut of coffee, from espresso beverages and pour-overs to ice-blended drinks that give you that giddy, sugar-rushed feeling your ex never made you feel. They’ve got a nice selection of homebaked pastries, too, for brunch-time caffeine runs.
Must-tries: Matcha Latte (P160), Salted Caramel Affogato (P190)
West Town’s Coffee is at Milano Residences Piazza, Valdez Street, Century City, Makati City.
If you think about it, tapas seems like every solo flyer's ideal order—these savory hot or cold snacks served on small plates are easy to scarf down without the help of a partner. Plus, they’re great matches for a glass of sangria! This vivacious bar in Bonifacio Global City lays on a killer assortment of tapas, which ranges from exciting versions of chicharon to pulpo.
Must-tries: Chicharron y Salmon (P490), Pulpo a la Tomatito (P595)
Tomatito is at 30th Street corner 11th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City.
This restaurant from Japan puts the spotlight on ramen’s less popular cousin, udon. The place feels like a hole-in-the-wall in Tokyo subway stations, but bigger and brighter, and having the same self-service concept where diners can easily grab-and-go. Solo diners will cheer at the fact that Marugame Udon’s meal servings are mostly good for one—their ebi tempura and chicken karaage are sold per piece, while rice bowls can easily fill you up.
Must-tries: Gyudon Rice (P170), Chicken Karaage (P60), Beef Ontama Bukkake Udon (P210)
Marugame Udon is at B7 Bonifacio High Street, Bonifacio Global City.
Sitting along P. Guanzon Street where Crying Tiger and Dulo MNL are located, Taqueria Seta is one of the newest street-food joints to enter Poblacion. Besides the smell of freshly made tacos and burritos, their colorful Mexican-inspired murals will draw you in, if not make you want to linger. While their bar seats give you a first-hand look of how the baristas concoct Taqueria Seta’s boozy drinks, say the frozen mojito, their small tables by the wall is perfect for those moments when you’re not feeling chatty.
Must-tries: Carne Asada Tacos (P120), Desayuno (P265)
Taqueria Seta is at 4988 P. Guanzon Street, Poblacion, Makati City.
There’s a new secret nook in Makati everyone’s curious about—Tambai Alley. Found it? Look closer and you might just stumble upon Ebi10, a fascinating little tempura joint that can accommodate only a few people at a time. The restaurant is perfect for those going on their own as the place is compact, much like Tokyo’s izakayas where locals usually dine alone. If you’re up for some much-needed alone time, here’s a good place to reward yo’ self with a bottle or two and some comforting deep-fried treats.
Must-tries: Uni Sashimi (P390), Bacon Yakisoba (P150), Jumbo Shrimp (P120/piece)
Ebi10 is at Tambai Alley, Felipe Street, Poblacion, Makati City.