(SPOT.ph) Whether you’re going on a first date, celebrating your anniversary, or simply treating your special someone, food will always be at the center of the occasion. Couple it with excellent ambience and you’re in for a memorable dining experience. It might be time to bring out your fancy clothes and check out this list of romantic restaurants that would impress your date while in this side of town.
Part of Blackbird’s charm comes from the fact that they’re located at the historic Nielson Tower, which was built in 1937. The space was once the country’s first commercial airport but has now been revamped into a contemporary European and Asian restaurant, managing to maintain the structure’s original Art Deco design. A lot of natural light comes in during the day, while the high-ceiling interiors become elegant and glamorous at night—Blackbird might be the perfect place to wine and dine with your special someone. Indulge in their dreamy Lamb Cutlets with Potato Gratin (P1,280) or juicy Jack’s Creek MB5 Wagyu Striploin (P1,120/100 grams), with mushroom and spicy peppercorn sauce. You can even linger with some of their signature cocktails or your choice of libation.
Blackbird is at Nielson Tower, Ayala Triangle Gardens, Salcedo Village, Makati City.
Top of the Citi by Chef Jessie
Where else can you get a 360-degree view of the Metro while enjoying dishes made by the first Filipina pastry chef but at Top of the Citi by Chef Jessie? Situated on the 34th floor of a towering skyscraper in Makati’s Central Business District, this fine-dining restaurant boasts an up-to-the-minute bar and a romantic al-fresco area at the terraces. Their menu has a good selection of U.S. steaks, but their other offerings will make your mouth water as well. Go for the grilled Chilean Sea Bass topped with Pan-Fried Goose Liver (P1,600) or the Charcoal-Grilled Lamb Chops in Adobo Sauce (P1,700). A delicious dinner like that deserves an equally decadent dessert and Chef Jessie Sincioco’s Baked Cheesecake (P395) won’t disappoint, especially with topping options like blueberry, cherry, or mango. You’ll feel like you’re on top of the world after a memorable meal like that.
Top of the Citi by Chef Jessie is at the 34/F Citibank Tower, 8741 Valero Street, Salcedo Village, Makati City.
You’d be surprised to find a fine-dining establishment amidst the hip and happening scene of Poblacion. In place of lavish interiors, you’ll see a simple and relaxed ambience at Bistro Manuel, which features an open kitchen where diners can watch the chefs cook. This concept of Chef Ariel and Mia Manuel (of Lolo Dad’s fame) showcases French-style dishes such as Lolo Dad’s Café Baked Oyster with Foie Gras (P235/piece), which is arguably one of the best baked oysters in the Metro, and must-try mains like Sous Vide Kurobuta Pork Belly and Grilled Pork Neck (P1,120), with duck fat-fried potatoes, or the Lamb and Lamb with Lamb (P860), which brings together three kinds of lamb dishes. They have the type of food you’d love to have during romantic dates and other (extra) special occasions.
Bistro Manuel is at 2/F Six Axis Center, 4347 B. Valdez Street, Poblacion, Makati City.
M Dining + Bar
Those familiar with the now-defunct Masseto would be happy to know that another fine-dining spot took its place. M Dining + Bar combines old favorites with new dishes in their revamped menu that highlights both French and Italian cuisines. Your taste buds would enjoy the Beef Cheeks with polenta, spinach, mushrooms, and pork jus (P1,075), or go for gold and get the option to accompany this dish with foie gras (P550). One of the new entrées that’s worth trying is the Seabass with Truffle Mushroom Broth (P650), a light and fragrant dish that’s a feast for your senses. For after-dinner drinks, go to the bar next door and take your pick from their cocktails, gin menu, and single-malt selection.
M Dining + Bar is at 3/F Alegria Alta Building, 2294 Chino Roces Avenue, Magallanes, Makati City.
Something far from the madding crowd is a hole-in-the-wall called 12/10 (from the same owners of The Girl + The Bull), an izakaya which has an industrial feel thanks to its white brick wall, metal lighting fixtures, exposed ceiling beams, and curated artwork. It has a pretty straightforward menu that showcases contemporary Japanese cuisine. You can customize your own degustation here and take your pick from their IG-worthy dishes like Tuna (P280), a raw tuna salad with cucumber, nori, and other secret Japanese ingredients; Salmon Kushiyaki (P320), or salmon skewers with truffle oil, curry, and corn flakes; and Onigiri (P420), spicy tuna with foie gras, and scallions. Complete your experience by complementing your meal with some of their Japanese beer, sake, or even a highball.
12/10 is at 7635 Guijo Street, San Antonio Village, Makati City.
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It’s all about European fine dining at Sala, which is helmed by Scottish Chef Colin Mackay. The restaurants offers two- or three-course lunch sets, but it’s best to take in their simple yet elegant night scene where you can have a pleasant dinner with good conversations. If you’re a fan of surprises, you’ll appreciate how Sala occasionally changes their dishes. Either go à-la-carte or opt for their Tasting Menu (P3,400 for five courses). Some of the dishes included in the tasting menu are grilled octopus, seared king scallops, soft polenta with swimmer crab, and grilled lamb fillet. Sala’s extensive wine list could be quite overwhelming so it might be a good idea to give their wine pairings (P1,450/90ml pours) a go with your Tasting Menu (at least you don’t have to pretend to be a sommelier while on a date!).
Sala is at the Podium Level, LV Locsin Building, 6752 Ayala corner Makati Avenue, Legaspi Village, Makati City.
Smith Butcher & Grill Room
It’s difficult to find a place in the Metro where you can get a selection of meat from four different continents under one roof. Smith Butcher & Grill Room elevates your steak-eating experience like no other since they have a Steak Room where diners can choose their preferred cuts. The restaurant’s ambience completes the dining experience—from the leather furnishings and hardwood tables, to quirky wall mounts and even cowhide upholstery. Prime cuts are definitely in the limelight here. Splurge on grass-fed, wet-aged Australian Porter House (P3,980/1kg) or chilled Japanese Matsusaka Rib Eye (starts at P4,980), which is air-flown directly from Tokyo. These are grilled over native wood and charcoal and are served with complimentary sides and sauce.
Smith Butcher & Grill Room is at ACI Building, 147 H.V. Dela Costa Street, Salcedo Village, Makati City.
Let your palate take a trip around Europe with Pablo Bistro’s fusion of cuisines inspired by Mediterranean, Spanish, and other international flavors. Here, some menu items change according to season, but what’s constant is their elegant interiors and wide selection of high-quality wines and spirits. Whet your appetite with some of their tapas or cheese and cold cuts platters, but make sure to leave room for Pablo’s signature entrées like the Salmon Confit (P810) with sweet potato purée and caramelized onion, or the Cochinillo Asado (P4,500/half; P9,000/whole), specialty suckling pig that you have to pre-order at least six hours in advance. Good food is worth the wait after all.
Pablo Bistro is at The Picasso Boutique Serviced Residences, 119 L.P. Leviste Street, Salcedo Village, Makati City.
Your eyes might glaze over the unassuming façade of Stockton Place, but once you get in, you’ll realize that their food is anything but. The vibe here is quite trendy with a black-and-white theme you’ll see from their ivory walls, dark chalkboards, and geometric floor tiles. The establishment may be small but their food delivers big on flavors, not to mention its presentation. Sample the Sweet Potato Tortellini (P390), which has a beautiful brown butter-thyme sauce, or the Poached Maine Lobster Tail (starts at P235) served with cauliflower cream and garlic chips, or the much raved about Prime Grade Rib-Eye Steak (P525/100g) with bordelaise sauce and crispy potatoes. End your meal with coffee and dessert or a sparkling cocktail or two—either way, you can’t go wrong.
Stockton Place is at 227 Salcedo corner Gamboa Street, Legazpi Village, Makati City.
Paper Moon Manila
It’s hard to compete with Paper Moon Manila, a restaurant from Milan, when it comes to real Italian food and a stunning view. Though this version is more upscale than the original, the place has managed to keep its homey charm with black-and-white framed photos of Italian celebs and dim lights to set the mood. A good conversation piece is the eye-catching brick pizza oven in the middle of the dining area. Start with a palate pleaser like the Prosciutto e Melone (P799), which combines Parma ham shaped like a rose and placed on top of a ring of cantaloupe slices. Share a serving of Pizza Edi (P680), with tomatoes, mozzarella, beef pepperoni, onions, and fresh chili, and make sure to cap off your meal with their classic dessert, the Tiramisu (P399). Good meal with great view—what more could you (and your date) ask for?
Paper Moon Manila is at the Roofdeck, The Knightsbridge Residences, 4392 B. Valdez Street, Poblacion, Makati City.