(SPOT.ph) Not that we need to say it by this point, but we'll say it anyway: 2020 was not kind to the restaurant industry. With quarantines put in place and social distancing made mandatory, people were naturally less inclined to dine out—and while many tried to adapt by offering takeout or delivery, not all restaurants managed to make ends meet. Here, we list places that have closed down at least one branch in the past year—and that we don't think we're alone in saying we'll miss forever.
The Past, Present, and Future of Dining in Metro Manila
The Well-Loved Local Stores We Had to Say Goodbye to in 2020
Hold on to your memories of these 10 Restaurant Closures in 2020:
The Chocolate Kiss Café
After serving many an isko and iska for 23 years, The Chocolate Kiss Café closed their UP Diliman doors permanently in August. You can still order cakes from their website though, but their sleek, monochromatic interiors—not to mention the experience of celebrating graduation or the end of exams at their premises—will be sorely missed.
You probably spent one or more Friday nights hanging out at this spot along Guijo street. 12/10 closed their doors "for hibernation" in October. They noted that their closure was "not a goodbye", and that they would see us again "in a different, hopefully much better, form sooner than you’ll notice". We certainly miss their melt-in-the-mouth Salmon Kushiyaki and Fuck You, Daisy drink—and we're looking forward to seeing what they've got up their sleeves next.
Polilya was a hit among the bar-hoppers of Poblacion with their moody lighting, eclectic touches, and extensive selection of Engkanto beer. They made the decision to close down in July, sharing their gratitude for their staff and regulars in a social media post published on July 16. "The near future is uncertain but we hope to see you again somewhere down the road," they wrote, and we couldn't feel the same way more.
Pedro Tap House
Pedro Tap House in Poblacion was a favorite among craft-beer enthusiasts for their extensive lineup of Pedro Brewcrafters brews. Sadly, they announced they were closing their doors earlier in December. Not all is lost, as you can still get Pedro Brewcrafters beers.
Food trips to Poblacion were always made more exciting with a trip to Nokal, which offered great burgers (such as their Cheeseburger, which was one of our favorites in Manila) and other Western comfort eats paired with a comfy, moody ambience. They announced their closure in July, admitting that the pandemic had "taken a toll" on the business and their employees. But there's hope: Nokal mentioned looking for possible new venues to move to once they are allowed to operate again as a bar.
Shangri-La Finest Chinese Cuisine
To say Shangri-La Finest Chinese Cuisine was an institution is an understatement—they were the go-to spot for birthdays and banquets in the West Triangle area. The 37-year-old Chinese restaurant that once served Pope John Paul II closed their doors in August due to challenges brought on by the pandemic.
RiceTop: Fil-Asian Comfort Food in Katipunan was a hit with students looking for filling and affordable rice bowls. They bid us goodbye in December, but our memories of their umami-filled Samgyeopsalsilog and other signatures remain forever.
Today x Future
Cult-favorite bar Today x Future was popular among the art and music-inclined crowd for playing host to a number of musical performances, art exhibits, poetry readings, and other special acts over the years. They announced their closure in June, saying that they "don't know what the future holds" but that they would "hold on to all the unforgettable memories". Today x Future’s sister bar FUTUR:ST remains open in Poblacion, but we'll always treasure our memories of the O.G.
Gourmet Gypsy Art Café
Gourmet Gypsy bid customers at their Roces branch goodbye as they made the decision to close in April. The restaurant was known for their one-of-a-kind dishes that take inspiration from flavors around the world. Their Maginhawa street branch remains open, and even lent a helping hand to Typhoon Ulysses survivors by taking donations, cooking meals for evacuees, among others.
Hole in the Wall
Hip dining hall Hole in the Wall was a favorite among Poblacion goers, thanks to its wide and well-curated variety of stalls coupled with their distinctive interiors. It was the birthplace of Bad Bird and Scout's Honor, and brought forward other fresh concepts that were hits with the food-loving crowd. Sadly, they closed their doors in November, posting a heartfelt goodbye on their social media pages.
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this strange new world.