(SPOT.ph) Grilled cheese is one of the simplest dishes to make, but when done right, it’s also the most satisfying meals. Anyone can make a grilled cheese sandwich, but what makes the perfect grilled cheese? The bread has to be firm enough to carry all of that gooey cheese that oozes out once you take a bite. Cheese, of course, is the main event—equal parts stretchy, creamy, salty, smoky. The classic pairing to the grilled cheese is a hearty tomato soup perfect for dipping bites of the sandwich, but not exactly a prerequisite.
For this list, we went back to the basics. None of those elevated sandwiches with frills that sometimes take away from the real stars of the show: the bread and the cheese, of course! We tried various spots around the Metro to see which grilled cheese is worth your hard-earned money and precious time, judging the quality of the bread, the choice of cheese, and the sides they come with, as well as value for money and serving size.
All SPOT.ph Top 10 lists are researched, paid for, tested, and selected by the writers and editors. They are discreetly conducted without any notice made to the establishments or their owners.
Here, we list the best grilled-cheese sandwiches in Metro Manila:
10. Grilled Cheese Sandwich from YDG (P190)
The Grilled Cheese Sandwich at this third-wave café tucked away in the middle of Mandala Park is your no-frills, back-to-the-basics sandwich—it might just take you back to when you were a kid having a grilled cheese on your kitchen counter. There are three kinds of cheese enveloped in between sourdough bread grilled to a buttery toast—a punchy flavor that reminds us of The Laughing Cow from our childhood. Instead of the typical tomato soup or dip, the Grilled Cheese Sandwich comes with a sweet tomato jam that complements each savory bite. It’s also quite reasonably priced, so you’re getting more bang for your buck.
YDG is at Mandala Park, Shaw Boulevard, Mandaluyong City.
9. TFS Classic from Fat Seed Café + Roastery (P310)
Bite into the brioche that’s turned golden brown and crunchy and get that four-cheese melty goodness. There’s a mix of sharp and creamy cheese, plus, it’s got that pull-apart stretchiness that adds extra wow to any grilled cheese sandwich. The tomato soup served on the side is a welcome addition. It doesn’t overpower the sandwich and can be eaten either on its own or as a tasty dip. Order this as an appetizer to share or on its own as your main; the serving is pretty filling.
Fat Seed Café + Roastery is at G/F UP Town Center, Katipunan Avenue, Quezon City.
8. Grilled Cheese from Toby’s Estate (P295)
The toasted ciabatta provides a cozy embrace to the double whammy of cheddar and mozzarella in this iteration of the American classic by Toby’s Estate. The sharp cheddar is enough to elevate the mozzarella without making the entire sandwich too salty. It’s also served with fried baby potato chips and a tub of tomato paste if you feel like mixing it up a bit.
See a list of Toby’s Estate’s branches.
7. Say Cheese! from Common Folk (P280)
The bread is buttery and flaky and could very well be good on its own—it’s by 28 Derby, which supplies a lot of cafés and restaurants in Manila. There’s a mix of three cheeses in here, and it makes for quite a tasty bite—velvety smooth with just a bit of stretch that’s rich and savory. It also comes with tomato sauce you can dip your sandwich into, but we think it can stand on its own.
Common Folk is at 79 Katipunan Avenue, White Plains, Quezon City.
6. Classic Grilled Cheese from The Bowery (P250)
It can’t get any more classic than Cheddar and Monterey Jack on sourdough. The bread is light and just the right level of crunchy, a fitting accompaniment to the rich and smoky flavor of the cheese that’s melted in between. The side of honey mustard adds just a touch of zing to the whole affair. The serving is generous and quite filling whether you’re dining solo or splitting with a friend.
The Bowery is at G/F Rizal Drive corner 29th Street, Burgos Circle, Bonifacio Global City.
5. Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup from Borough (P320)
This NYC-inspired restaurant has had this on the menu ever since it first opened in 2010. Though the menu has undergone a makeover since its reopening in BGC, the Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup is here to stay and its taste has remained the same. The toasted brioche is a great contrast to the melty mozzarella and cheddar cheese, and still goes well with the creamy tomato soup.
Borough is at UG/F C2 Bonifacio High Street Central, 7th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City.
4. Grilled Cheese from Wildflour (P495/part of Soup, Salad, Sandwich set)
Wildflour’s version is made with crusty batard and creamy Gruyère with caramelized onions melding tantalizingly into the cheese. It’s a mix of different textures—crunchy, creamy, chewy—in one complex bite that’s sweet and salty at the same time. It holds its own and yet it’s made even more satisfying with the tomato soup and fresh salad on the side.
See a list of Wildflour’s branches.
3. 3-Cheese Toastie from Exchange Alley Coffee House (P250)
Exchange Alley Coffee House takes the comfort-food classic up a notch with a mix of three cheeses—cheddar, mozzarella, and smoked gouda on sourdough, which is also supplied by 28 Derby. Each order comes with a chunky tomato sauce and salt and paprika-seasoned potato chips. It may not seem like anything other than a normal sandwich when served, but once you bite into it, you’ll know why it’s on this list. You get a rich, buttery base from the grilled sourdough and a smoky, tangy flavor from the three-cheese blend. Overall, it offers a rewarding taste in every single bite.
Exchange Alley Coffee House is at Unit 3, Molito Lifestyle Building 7, Madrigal corner Commerce Avenue, Alabang, Muntinlupa City.
2. Grilled Cheese from The Mess Hall (P290)
This salty, smoky flavor bomb is worth the traffic heading to Makati for this Mess Hall-exclusive dish. The hefty creation is stuffed with three cheeses—Gruyère, cheddar, and mozzarella, sandwiched by light but firm slices of bread to hold all that cheesy goodness. Each serving is humongous and can be shared by two people if you’re ordering another main. It’s served with skinny fries on the side, which you can happily nibble on after polishing off every satisfying bite.
The Mess Hall is at The Moplex, 2316 Karrivin Plaza, Pasong Tamo Extension, Makati City.
1. Gruyère Grilled Cheese Sandwich from Elephant Grounds (P475)
This, to us, is what makes a good grilled cheese: crusty sourdough bread with just the right amount of thickness, buttery and toasted to perfection, plus melty cheeses that taste great on their own—in this case, Gruyère and yellow cheddar. The addition of sweet caramelized onions is what seals the deal. It’s one umami-filled bite after the other, which you can break with dips into the equally tasty tomato soup that’s served on the side. Though it may be one of the most expensive picks on this list, we say it’s worth the splurge.
Elephant Grounds is at LG/F One Bonifacio High Street Mall, 5th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City.
Photos by Hans Fausto