(SPOT.ph) Of all the types of bread you can get from the bakery, the ensaymada will always hold a special place in your stomach—whoops, we meant heart. It’s one of those treats that’s perfect for any of the usual Filipino meal times, whether it's breakfast, pre-lunch snack, lunch, merienda, dinner, post-dinner, or midnight snack. It can be eaten on its own or elevated with a rich cup of tsokolate, and for some reason, always tastes better around this time of year.
For this list, we ranked the ensaymadas based on the quality of the ingredients, overall flavor, cheesy and creamy factor, texture and bite, as well as accessibility and price.
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 restaurants or their owners.
Also read: Top 10 Cheese Rolls in Manila
Looking for the best ensaymada in Manila? Here's where to get them:
10. Ensaymada from Pan de Amerikana (P15)
There's nothing like going back to the basics, and Pan De Amerikana's ensaymada does exactly that. Their version is a throwback to the corner-store bakeries you used to buy merienda from in your old neighborhood, complete with the trademark swirl, soft, almost-chewy bread, a good old slathering of margarine, and a bit of crunch from the sugar. Plus, that P15 price tag is hard to beat.
Pan De Amerikana is at 131 Katipunan Avenue, White Plains, Quezon City and 92 General Ordonez Avenue, Concepcion II, Marikina City.
9. Triple Cheese Ensaymada from Starbucks (P95)
You might run to this coffee joint for your daily dose of caffeine, but they also have a pretty hefty ensaymada that’s filling and not too rich. The bits of white sugar on top add crunch that complements the soft bread and slightly salty frosting. Whenever you’re looking for something to eat with your cup of joe, this one hits the spot.
See a list of Starbucks branches.
8. Ensaymada from Mylene's Ensaymada and Banana Cake (P46)
Biting into an ensaymada from Mylene's Ensaymada and Banana Cake is like biting into soft, cheesy fluffiness. It's a little smaller than most, but what it lacks in size it makes up for with flavor. The bread base is soft to the point of being chewy, with a generous covering of mild cheese and sweet cream. It's a sure crowd-pleaser, especially for the younger set.
See a list of Mylene's Ensaymada and Banana Cake branches.
7. Ensaymada from Hizon's Cakes and Pastries (P130/cheddar, P140/queso de bola)
The original bakery in Ermita, Manila, has been a staple since the '50s, so it's no wonder their ensaymada is a must-try. Their version is lighter compared to others, with a flaky and airy bread base that's almost croissant-like but still dense. It’s coupled with a covering of sweet butter and sharp cheese—it's a hard choice between strong cheddar and salty queso de bola—so you can't go wrong.
Hizon's Cakes and Pastries is at J. Bocobo cor Arquiza Street, Ermita, Manila and Promenade Greenhills, Ortigas Avenue, Connecticut, San Juan.
6. Plain Ensaymada from The Peninsula Manila (P125)
It might look like the usual ensaymada, but one bite proves it’s anything but. It’s got a pillowy soft base with the right amount of spring and it’s topped with a blanket of frosting that’s rich and buttery without stealing the spotlight. What really sets it apart from the rest is the generous sprinkling of stringy salty cheese that’s got stretch and sharpness.
The Peninsula Manila is at Ayala Avenue corner Makati Avenue, Makati City.
5. Ensaymada from Cunanan's (P475/six pieces)
Those who know their cheese would really appreciate Cunanan's offering. The solid bread base is chewy without being cloying, but it's the cheese that really steals the spotlight. An almost powdery layer of queso de bola blankets the bun, which has just enough creaminess for a sweet hit. Just make sure to order it in advance from their bakery in Pasig; these babies get sold out fast.
Cunanan's is at 44 Jasmin Street, Valle Verde 2, Pasig City.
4. Kapampangan Homemade Classic Ensaimada from Imang Salud (P190)
This heritage recipe from Pampanga continues to prove that it's one of the best—and possibly the biggest—out there. Aside from its unusual size (that's a breakfast plate in the picture, btw), it's also got a pillowy bun slathered in lard, a sprinkling of sugar, and a very generous covering of queso de bola. The sweet, crunchy hit from the sugar blends well with the sharp cheese, making for a rich bite that's worth all the calories.
Imang Salud is available at Legazpi Sunday Market, Legazpi Street corner V. A. Rufino Street, Legazpi Village, Makati City. For orders, contact 0920-947-8819.
3. Ensaymada from Conti’s (P48)
With how filling and soft this ensaymada is, it’s easy to forget that it’s less than P50. It tastes like it’s worth more with its dollop of smooth buttercream hugging the moist, springy bread base, liberal dusting of white sugar, and almost-melted cheese. The first bite is good as is, but as you keep chewing, the sugar granules contrast perfectly against everything else that’s smooth and soft.
See a list of Conti's branches.
2. Plain Ensaymada from Wildflour (P95)
You’ve seen Wildflour in our list of chocolate cakes, but their line of pastries also offers this Filipino merienda classic. Its crowning glory? The queso de bola topping that cuts through the airy and moist bread base. A rich and whipped soft buttercream frosting marries heaven and earth to assure an enjoyable bite each and every time. This ensaymada is available in Wildflour and Little Flour Café outposts around the Metro.
1. Ensaymada from Mary Grace (P105)
Allow us to start this off by saying that this is the ensaymother of them all. All jokes aside, we mean it when we say that this has the right balance of everything: a moist and pillowy bread base, a blanket of sweet and buttery frosting, and an abundant dusting of shaved, powdery cheese. While this Mary Grace ensaymada is great in its own right, it gets bonus points for accessibility. Because who knows when you’ll next crave one?
See a list of Mary Grace branches.
Also read: Cheesy Ensaymada Recipe