(SPOT.ph) Filipino restaurants are a tricky thing. Some people would rather have Filipino food at home, where it’s cooked the way they like it. But there are lots of Filipino restaurants that come close to mom’s cooking. If you’ve got a hankering for the best Pinoy food out there, here’s a list you can check out.
The offshoot of Manam serves the same Filipino fare you’ve come to know and love—but they’ve also got Pinoy desserts to indulge in after a hearty meal. They also serve all-day breakfast, so you can have your fill of Ube Champorado (P155) any time of the day. After polishing off plates of your Manam faves like the House Crispy Sisig (get it as a silog for P265) or the newer Pork Belly Bicol Express (P205/small, P360/medium, P645/large), make room for the Ube Sticky Roll (P115) and a mug of Hot Tsokolate (P90).
Manam Café is at 3/F SM Mega Fashion Hall, SM Megamall, Ortigas, Mandaluyong City; and G/F The Podium, 12 ADB Avenue, Ortigas, Mandaluyong City.
The restaurant created by Chef J. Gamboa of Cirkulo had its beginnings as a dairy bar in Old San Miguel in the 1950s. Since then, they’ve become a reliable go-to for Kapampangan dishes, whether you’re there for merienda of Dinuguan at Puto (P295) or any of the all-time favorite versions of Sinigang (P395-P595). And who can resist the MilkyWay Halo-Halo (P255), a consistent winner on our top 10 lists with the perfect balance between the toppings and creamy, milky ice?
See a list of MilkyWay branches.
The place “where good friends dine” is dedicated to Larry Cruz’s father, writer and artist E. Aguilar “Abe” Cruz. They serve Filipino food, focusing on Kapampangan favorites and gourmet fare inspired by the younger Cruz’s travels. The menu reads like a storybook, with a section filled with artists' and writers’ fave dishes. Order the Lamb Adobo with Popped Garlic (P545), Binukadkad na Crispy Pla-Pla (P425), and Paco Fern and Tomato Salad (P185).
See a list of Abe branches.
The restaurant, part of Chateau 1771 Group of Restaurants, prides itself on being one of the first to offer modern twists on Filipino staples. Their signature dish, Sinigang na Corned Beef (P319.99/small, P639.99/sharing, P989.99/family), catapulted them to fame and remains a favorite to this day. Don’t leave without sampling their Fried Suman & Mangoes (P180) or a slice of Coffee Pie (P250).
Sentro 1771 is at G/F Serendra, Bonifacio Global City; and Uptown Mall, Uptown Bonifacio.
XO 46 Heritage Café
Though not exactly the best of times, the Spanish colonial period contributed a lot to Filipino cuisine, which is something XO 46 Heritage Café celebrates. The interiors immediately bring you back to this time, with wood furnishings that resemble those you might find in a home in Colonial Manila. Your food is also served by staff in baro’t saya and barong Tagalog. Start your meal with the flaky Empanadang Bilbao Ala Vigan (P395), which looks and tastes like a more refined version of Ilocos empanada. Another must-try is the Kare Kareng Crispy Tadyang (P675), with crispy beef ribs complemented by a smooth and rich peanut sauce.
See a list of XO 46 Heritage Café branches.
It was only a matter of time before retail giant Bench finally dipped its toes into the food industry. Bench Café is the group’s first homegrown food venture and seeing as they’ve already opened a second branch months after the first, it looks like it won’t be the last. The homey Pinoy restaurant is dressed in modern-chic interiors that its owners call “glamourized turo-turo.” Try any of their Bench/to meals (P319 to P399) that come with two viands, salsa, dip, and Ifugao rice.
See a list of Bench Café branches.
If you’re in the mood for home-cooked Filipino meals that almost seem like they came right out of your own kitchen, pay a visit to this Maginhawa fave. If the vehicles that fill its parking are any indication, this restaurant never runs out of diners. Be sure to have their rich and creamy Laeng ni Ateng (P270) with pork and generous amounts of chili. You also cannot miss their Bibingka (P150), which topped the 2018 list of the best ones in Manila for a hefty snack with a rich and gooey center and generous toppings of salted egg and coconut sugar.
Provenciano is at 110 Maginhawa Street, Teachers Village, Diliman, Quezon City.
This casual dining spot is a go-to for couples, families, and friends looking to have a dining experience not easily forgotten. The mishmash of décor can be a bit jarring at first but you kind of get used to its charming and quirky theme. Make sure to order the Juanita Caesar Salad (P268), Three-Way Pork Adobo Ribs (P557), and Callos Juanita (P450).
Café Juanita is at 19 West Capitol Drive, Kapitolyo, Pasig City.
Chef Florabel Co takes inspiration from international cuisines like Spanish, American, Japanese, and Chinese, and fuses them with local flavors to come up with Filipino dishes unique to this restaurant. Try their Paella Filipino (P450) and Valencia Lechon (P1,500/quarter, P6,500/whole). For dessert, have some Maria Clara Sans Rival (P165) or Kapitana Maria Frozen Brazo de Mercedes (P195).
Crisostomo has branches at Alabang Town Center, Blue Bay Walk, Eastwood Mall, Fairview Terraces, UP Town Center, Vertis North, and Newport Mall.
Steer clear if you’re currently on a low-carb diet, because as its name suggests, you won’t be able to resist rice in this place. Their extremely flavorful Pinoy dishes are made for a hefty serving of steaming rice. Some dishes you shouldn’t miss are the Ensaladang Mangga with Salted Egg (P230), Seafood Kare-Kare (P400), and Crispy Dinuguan (P345). You’ll also feel right at home with their modern kubo interiors and cozy ambience.
See a list of Kanin Club branches.
Happy Ongpauco-Tiu, whose family owns Barrio Fiesta, offers dishes curated from over 100 years of family recipes and delicious heirloom dishes at Pamana. From the Lumpia Trio (P280) filled with longganisa, kesong puti, and tinapa to Adobo Flakes (P265) that may taste familiar to fans of World Topps, there are so many starters to sample, you’ll forget you still have your mains to order. It’d be a shame to miss the Cebu Lechon Roll (P275/1/4kg, P650/1/2kg, P1200/1kg), and the Pamana’s Original Bagnet (P365/one-piece, P730/two-piece) though.
See a list of Pamana branches.
Long before the brainchild of Chef Jordy Navarra received the 2018 Miele One to Watch Award by the organizers of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants, Toyo Eatery has been getting rave reviews online and by word-of-mouth. But you won’t find your favorite sinigang or adobo here. Instead, the Toyo team takes familiar Filipino flavors and reimagines them into dishes that aren't only satisfying but are also a feast for the eyes. Toyo offers tasting menus that range from P2,900 to P3,500 depending on the main dish.
Toyo Eatery is at Karrivin Plaza, 2316 Chino Roces Extension, Makati City.
This Ilocano restaurant—a stone’s throw away from the Tomas Morato—feels a lot like lola’s house on Sundays. With old-Manila-style interiors and staff dressed in spiffy vests and trousers, Victorino’s will take you back to yesteryears. Get the Poqui-Poqui (P170), a classic Ilocano dish of grilled eggplant sautéed in onions and tomatoes, Chicken Galantina (P485), and Sinigang nga Ulo ti Salmon (P380).
Victorino’s is at 11th Jamboree, Diliman, Quezon City.
Ilonggo Food Company
For anyone who’s ever had the pleasure of traveling to Bacolod, the thought of having Ilonggo food at arm’s length is a dream. Thankfully, more and more restaurants are opening here in Manila to serve the famously tasty fare, like Ilonggo Food Company. The team behind the resto grew up in Negros, so you know what you’re getting is at real as it gets. Go straight for the Kansi (P385) and Chicken Inasal (P295) paired with Chicharon Rice (P210). And just between us, if you order a cup of coffee, it comes with a side of napoleones. Namit gid!
Ilonggo Food Company is at G/F Commercenter Building, 4th Avenue corner 31st Street, Bonifacio Global City.
Fairly new in Poblacion but already drawing crowds since its opening, Lampara takes classic Filipino favorites and elevates them using modern cooking techniques. Their take on the lumpia, Rice Cups (P220), come with an assortment of fillings like longganisa, taba ng talangka, and ubod. Try their Chicken (P290)—the best-selling barbecue-chicken dish will remind you of inasal, especially when paired with the green papaya salad that has three different kinds of vinegar. For a sweet ending, have the Yema & Chocolate (P220), which uses both Malagos chocolate and tablea. And don’t forget to try any of their delicious cocktails made with a blend of fresh ingredients and local liquor like Don Papa rum.
Lampara is at 5883 Enriquez Street, Poblacion, Makati City.