(SPOT.ph) At its core, we’d like to think true love can survive anything—but you’ve gotta admit that there’s no better foil to spending time with that special someone than great food in a great setting. Whether you’re just getting to know each other or celebrating your 27th anniversary, where you spend your date can make or break the experience. We’ve rounded up 10 romantic restaurants in Manila where you can take your S.O. for an especially memorable time.
Here are the 10 most romantic restaurants in Manila for your future dates:
Chef Colin McKay and team have transformed The Nielson Tower—originally the control tower and passenger station of the country's first commercial airport—into the restaurant known today as Blackbird. Going by an Art Deco motif, the restaurant conveys a feel that’s at once tranquil, yet stylish and sophisticated, with Prussian blue chairs and a bouquet of flowers adding a pop of color to the mostly monochromatic interiors. It’s a great date place no matter what the hour: during the day, there’s just enough natural light from the windows; come nighttime, the venue transforms into a low-lit space that’s perfect for a memorable date. For the ultra-romantic, they’ve got an outdoor garden, too. The food is an eclectic mix of contemporary European dishes with Asian touches here and there—think Prawn Scotch Eggs with betel leaves and coconut chili sambal (P280), and Grilled Shortrib with green onion and ginger, kimchi, hot bean paste, lettuce, and rice (P980).
Blackbird is at the Nielson Tower, Ayala Triangle, Makati City.
Beso Beso recently relocated to Chino Roces Avenue Extension, bringing a more refined feel to their Filipino-European theme, with got wooden fixtures and rattan chairs alongside wine glass-topped marble tables. Dubbing their food philosophy “Filipiniana,” Chef Rob Pengson takes elements of Filipino cuisine and employs European techniques to create dishes like the Adobo Paella (P495) and their modern take on Buko Pie (P250). For the best experience for you and your beau, you’ll want to try their tasting menu (P3,500), which lets you get a taste of the full range of Pengson’s culinary talents.
Beso Beso is at 2/F Aleanza Institute of Arts, Autometics Center, 2257 Chino Roces Avenue Extension, Makati City.
This French restaurant was originally an institution in Quezon City, but in 2018, they also opened their doors in Arya Residences, BGC. While the latter is smaller and has more modern touches to it, the two branches nonetheless share the quality of exhibiting a feel that’s as vivacious and summery as it is relaxed and refined. Wooden chairs mingle with white tablecloths and indoor plants with wine racks, overall displaying a distinctly French-Mediterranean charm. The food side of the equation is French food of a fine-dining caliber, made for pairing with fine wine—which they’ve got plenty of, by the way.
See a list of Lemuria branches.
L’Opera Ristorante Italiano
This Italian establishment located at The Fort Strip is about as old-world Italian as you can get. Entering its premises feels like traveling back into the renaissance period, what with brick walls, plush tablecloths, red curtains, and chandeliers dominating the low-lit space. The food follows suit—classical renditions of known Italian dishes, including pasta dishes like the Spaghetti Alla Pescatora or spaghetti with fresh seafood in tomato sauce (P570), and mains like the Osso Buco alla Milanese or Milanese-style veal shank with saffron risotto (P1,320).
L’Opera Ristorante Italiano is at Fort Strip, 26th Street corner 7th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City.
Caviar Restaurant and Champagne Bar
This Alabang restaurant exudes luxury and refinement all over, with chic lawson chairs, wooden tables, and an extensive wine library that’ll leave your date impressed. Their dining menu includes fine-dining French fare, such as Duck Leg Confit with Red Cabbage, Potato, and Pomegranate Sauce (P890) and Kobe Wagyu Steak Platter (P4,200). If you’re looking to set the mood to get some uh, action later—wink, wink—they also boast of a selection of premium imported oysters in varieties like the Fine de Claire (P250/piece) and the Tsarskaya (P390/piece). Really wanna take the experience over the top? Ask them about their caviar and splurge on Baeri (P3500/30g), Oscietra (P4,200/30g), or even Beluga (P15,000/30g) varieties.
Caviar Restaurant and Champagne Bar is at Westgate Center, Filinvest City, Muntinlupa City.
If the thought of fine dining sends you (or your S.O.) shuddering at the many stuffy rules and formalities it typically calls for (which, let’s face it, can be a total mood killer), Pinot might just be the gateway restaurant for you. This hidden restaurant in BGC features an ambience that’s as suave as it is homey, with warm wood tones, oxford blue chairs, and white tablecloths. Dining-wise, Pinot delivers on topnotch modern European food, including their tender Roasted Lamb Rack and Sea Bass, which you can have as part of their prix fixe menu (P1,500/two courses, P1,900/three ourses, P2,300/four courses). Alternatively, you can go ahead and share their US Ribeye on the Bone (P5,900), which is good for two to three.
Pinot is at The Spa Building, Lane P, Bonifacio High Street, Bonifacio Global City.
With high ceilings, Art Deco-inspired interiors, and an al-fresco area that evokes the feel of European bistros, Osteria Daniele certainly offers a good amount of eye-candy that makes it hard to resist snapping a few pics (Instagram husbands—and wives—take note). But even more worthy of your attention is their food—a mix of old and new Italian fare done the distinctly Bistronomia Group way, like the tart yet creamy Risotto al Limone (P950) and the heady Polpo alla Griglia (P995).
Osteria Daniele is at G/F High Street Corporate Plaza, 9th Avenue corner 26th Street, Bonifacio Global City.
Elbert’s Steak Room
Nothing screams romance like a hunk of good steak, and that’s exactly what this Makati restaurant prides itself on. Semi-hidden (it’s on the third floor of a rather nondescript building), Elbert’s presents an intimate setting that’s brooding and sophisticated, with leather-lined club chairs and white tablecloths. As their name implies, steaks reign supreme here. They’re especially heralded for their USDA “Super” Prime Grade Ribeye (P4,900), which is ultra-flavorful and especially succulent at the center.
Elbert’s Steak Room is at 3/F Sagittarius Building, 111 H.V. Dela Costa Street, Salcedo Village.
The Test Kitchen
The Chef Josh Boutwood-helmed restaurant relocated to Rockwell Drive last year, and has moved away from its old tasting-menu exclusive, by-reservation-only format, now with à la carte offerings in its darker but larger space (the second floor of which houses all their house-cured meats—the food geek in you and your date will be gushing). The food is better than ever: get Today’s Charcuterie (P320) plate for a taste of their in-house meats, or the delicate yet impactful Sea Bass, Fennel, and Green Peas (P1,400).
The Test Kitchen is at G/F One Rockwell, Rockwell Drive, Rockwell Center, Makati City.
Continuing the legacy of the legendary Lolo Dad’s is Bistro Manuel, which opened its doors in Poblacion in 2016. The restaurant features a minimalist, clean-cut vibe that radiates elegance in its simplicity. You’ll find a good mix of dishes by Chef Ariel Manuel—some dating back to the Lolo Dad’s days, like the Lolo Dad’s Café Baked Oysters with Foie Gras (P230/piece); other contemporary creations, like the Lamb and Lamb with Lamb (P860) with roast lamb rump, stewed lamb breast, and fried lamb sweetbreads, that nonetheless echo his fine-casual dining philosophy. Don’t forget the desserts—they make an excellent Apple Tart (P295) that’s freshly baked and paired with a left-field (but surprisingly delicious) olive oil ice cream and rock salt.
Bistro Manuel is at 2/F Six Axis Center, 4347 B. Valdez Street, Poblacion, Makati City.