(SPOT.ph) While we’re always on the lookout for deals and meals that won’t hurt our wallet, some occasions do call for a splurge here and there. Or sometimes, you just really want to treat yourself, and there’s no harm in that. But, because you’re shelling out a lot, you do want to be sure you’re getting your money's worth. Here are some restaurants in Manila that give you the most bang for your buck, in food and experience.
FOO’D by Davide Oldani
While dining at FOO’D is a splurge, you’ll be surprised at how affordable the actual cost of having a meal here is, at least compared to other fine-dining restaurants of the same caliber. For P800, you can get a five-star quality, three-course dinner while a four-course meal will cost you P1,200. Menu varies every now and then but be sure to have Chef Davide Oldani’s signatures when available: The Cipolla Caramellata arrives looking like an exquisite pastry but is actually a caramelized onion topped with 24-months-aged Grana Padano gelato, and hot Grana Padano cream, a combination that results in a complex symphony of contrasting flavors and textures.
FOO’D is at G/F Shangri-La at the Fort, Bonifacio Global City.
Kyo-to Kaiseki Restaurant
Easy to miss amidst Legazpi Village’s high-rise buildings, a traditional Japanese doorway hides Kyo-to Kaiseki Restaurant of Chef Ryohei Kawamoto. For the uninitiated, a kaiseki is a multi-course dinner and an art form, with the chef challenging himself to create exquisite-looking and -tasting dishes using seasonal produce. This means you never quite know what you’ll get—prices also vary but they average to around P4,500 per diner—but with Chef Ryohei’s mastery of centuries-old techniques, you can be sure to get a five-to-seven course dinner you won’t forget. If you’re lucky, you might even be able to have the Wagyu A5 Ohmi Sirloin, a simple yet incredibly delectable beef dish with little dots of wasabi to excite the taste buds.
Kyo-to Kaiseki Restaurant is at G/F 199 C. Palanca Street, Legazpi Village, Makati City.
The Manila iteration of chef and owner Gaston Riviera’s parilla or steakhouse on Ayala Avenue is undoubtedly one of the best steaks you can get in Makati City. Chef Gaston has a special grill custom-made for his parilla and patterned after his grandfather’s open pit where he uses mango wood that infuses his beef with a distinctive mildly sweet flavor. La Cabrera’s extensive menu can be overwhelming but you can’t go wrong with the Ojo de Bife (P2,680/500-grams), rib-eye steak seasoned only with salt and pepper but slow-grilled to be incredibly flavorsome. This arrives with an array of sides—your choice of hot (mashed potato with mustard, applesauce, brown rice, and smashed pumpkin with raisins) or cold (olive tapenade, peas and corn, couscous, and marbled potatoes). A standard order comes with three sides but you can order as many as 30—and they’re all unlimited, too, so it goes without saying that you better visit hungry. For folks who find the drive to Makati troublesome, La Cabrera is also set to open a branch at EDSA Shangri-La (replacing Paparrazi).
La Cabrera is at 6750 Ayala Avenue Business Tower, Glorietta Complex, Ayala Avenue, Makati City.
Fans of Lolo Dad’s will feel a twinge of nostalgia when dining at Chef Ariel Manuel’s Bistro Manuel, but even new diners will find lots of reasons to fall in love with the sleek, understated space and well-executed menu. If you’re going to splurge, you might as well have the “Only for the Rich” Grilled Pizza (P1,320), which comes topped with lobster, salmon, prosciutto, salami, scallops, goat cheese, arugula, and porcini mushrooms—a combination of toppings that surprisingly work. Treat yourself further with the All About Duck (P680), with a perfectly-fried foie gras that’s paired perfectly with a balsamic reduction, poached duck egg, and a duck rillette plus house-made bread.
Bistro Manuel is at 2/F Six Axis Center, 4347 B. Valdez Street, Poblacion, Makati City.
Lusso by Margarita Forés
There’s no question that you’re in for a luxurious experience at the restaurant named after the Italian word for “luxe,” from the show-stopping chandelier to the gold fixtures and lush garden. The menu is just as indulgent: Expect deluxe takes on classics like the Foie Gras Croque Monsieur (P995) with ham, gruyère, Bechamel sauce, and lots of foie gras, and the Lamb Shank Osso Bucco (P995), which comes served on top of a saffron risotto. And because this is a Chef Margarita Forés-restaurant, don’t skip the pasta: The Spinach Taglierini “Alla Checa” (P325) and Luxe “Mac & Cheese” (P645) constantly get rave reviews.
Lusso by Margarita Fores is at G/F Greenbelt 5, Ayala Avenue, Makati City.
At New York steakhouse Wolfgang’s, a Porterhouse for two can easily set you back by almost P6,000; a rib-eye, on the other hand, goes for almost P4,000. They’re prices exorbitant enough to make you question your sanity as you order a plate for yourself (and perhaps a date?), but at least you can be sure that you’re getting the most bang for your buck. For one, all their beef is either USDA-certified Prime Angus or Black Angus—all shipped fresh from the United States. They don’t freeze their steaks, either, and dry-age them all on-premise. It’s a lot of hard work that results in a steak that melt-in-your-mouth tender with a flavorful sear that makes all thought of additional seasoning fly out the window. Be sure to get a Creamed Spinach (P448), too—creamy to the point of buttery, this side is the best way to have your veggies.
See a list of Wolfgang’s Steakhouse branches.
BCN by Rambla
With the folks behind Rambla and Las Flores behind BCN, you can expect the same high-quality, seriously tasty tapas and Spanish fare. BCN, named after the airport code of El Prat Airport in Barcelona, is the Bistronomia group’s love letter to the city, and also where they showcase dishes you may not find in their other concepts, or even in other restaurants. The Foie Mi Cuit Con Calabaza y Yogurt (P695) packs a lot of flavor in a single bite—foie terrine, sweet pumpkin, yogurt, and a Pedro Ximénez white-wine reduction cover a full spectrum of flavor from sharply salty to sweet. For heavier stuff, have the Arroz de Bogavante a La Parrilla (P2,995), an Arroces a La Leña (a rice dish cooked over a charcoal grill) that comes topped with a whole, charcoal-grilled lobster. It’s also a must to pair your meal with wine—BCN has a wine cellar full of Spanish labels handpicked by the owners.
BCN by Rambla is at Unit G10, Bolanos Street, Legazpi Village, Makati City.
Lemuria Restaurant and Wine Bar
For special occasions that call for an extra romantic mood—like a proposal or a milestone anniversary—Lemuria is one of the most popular choices. After all, it’s hard to resist the rustic charm and intimate vibe, which they keep at both their first branch in Quezon City and the new one at Arya Residences in Bonifacio Global City. Plus, everything on their French-Mediterranean menu, six-course and nine-course dégustations, is made from scratch so you’re sure to get your money’s worth. For starters, have the Foie Gras Trio (P1,115), with foie gras prepared three different ways: Pan-seared, ballotine, and mousse. The Beef Bourguignon (P940) meanwhile, is braised in red wine for eight hours, resulting in beef that’s fork-tender and rich in flavor. Be sure to pair your meal with a glass of wine—they are a wine bar, after all!
Lemuria Restaurant and Wine Bar is at 5 Julieta Circle, Horseshoe Village, New Manila, Quezon City; and The Plaza at Arya Residences is at McKinley Parkway, Bonifacio Global City.
Gallery by Chele
Despite occupying Gallery Vask’s former space, those familiar with the restaurant and its casual counterpart, Vask Tapas Bar can expect an entirely different experience at Gallery by Chele. Chef Luis "Chele" Gonzalez combines the elegance of Gallery VASK and the laid-back atmosphere of its tapas bar, for a space that exudes effortless sophistication without feeling too stuffy. The menu consists of bites that showcase local ingredients presented with modern techniques—while a far cry from Chef Chele’s previous menu of Spanish dishes, expect the same quality that got them on Asia’s 50 Great Restaurants twice. To sample the best of what Gallery has to offer, have the Tasting Menu—you can get an eight-course tasting menu for P2,900 (add P1,395 for cocktail pairing, add P1,995 for wine pairing).
Gallery by Chele is at 5/F CLIPP Center, 11th Street corner 39th Street, Bonifacio Global City.
Even before Chef Jordy Navarra and the Toyo Eatery team won the 2018 Miele One To Watch Award by the organizers of Asia's 50 Best Restaurants, the Filipino restaurant has constantly been making waves since they opened in March 2016 for their creative, modern takes on Filipino cuisine. For a full picture of the best of what this Filipino restaurant has to offer, have the Set (P1,000) with your choice from three different starters—the Garden Vegetables combines all the vegetables mentioned in the folk song "Bahay Kubo" in one fresh salad—your choice from three different mains, and sweets.
Toyo Eatery is at Karrivin Plaza, 2316 Chino Roces Extension, Makati City.