(SPOT.ph) Ah, Poblacion. The barangay in Makati’s come a long way from its former identity as a red-light district; its food scene, in particular, became especially varied and dynamic around 2013 and has continued changing throughout the years. That is, until COVID-19 broke out. As Poblacion was especially known for its nightlife, numerous dining spots took a hit with a few of our faves closing down. Yet the recent months have seen more and more folks heading back, with yup, new dining spots sprouting in the area. Make no mistake, social distancing and masking up are as important as ever—but if you're looking to expand your horizons beyond your go-to's, these recently opened establishments make Poblacion very much worth a revisit.
These new and recently opened Poblacion restaurants deserve a spot on your eat list:
Formerly a delivery-only brand, Onlypans has opened their own physical outpost where they dish out tacos—in particular, their birria tacos have won over the social-media crowd. You can’t drop by without digging into an order (or three) of their signature Quesa Birria Taco (P380/Solo, P750/Amigas), which has soft-shell tacos filled with USDA beef stewed in a mix of 16 spices and Mexican chilies, plus mozzarella, lime, and their zingy-AF salsa.
Onlypans is at 5663 Don Pedro, Poblacion, Makati City.
Dear Adam + Sweet Lucy
Talk about hitting two birds with one stone: this cozy spot has two halves to the equation. Dear Adam is a café that’s open from 11 a.m., brewing cups of joe like the Cappuccino (P130) and cooking up light meals like the Miso Ginger Chicken Salad (P400) and Sausage Pasta (P380). By 6 p.m. onwards, its more grownup alter-ego dubbed Sweet Lucy takes over; here it’s all about craft cocktails like theSangkaya Highball (P400) and Champagne Colada (P400) that you can pair with the Wagyu Salpicao (P550), Crab Cakes (P550), and other savory bites.
Dear Adam and Sweet Lucy are at 2/F 6060 R. Palma, Makati City.
Buckle up for a flavor trip to Hong Kong at Fook Yah, a small shop along Don Pedro Street that’s sated our Cantonese hankerings since opening in October of 2021. The star of the menu is their roasts, which include the likes of the Roast Duck, Lechon Macau, and Char Siu, and can be had ala-carte, with rice, or as part of the shareable Roasted Duck Combination (P880) platter. Sure doesn’t hurt that they deliver on visual appeal, too; get your smartphone cameras ready for their IG-famous mahjong-inspired display on the wall!
Fook Yah is at Unit D 5666 Don Pedro Street, Poblacion, Makati City.
One World Kitchen
Should you be looking to treat yourself for a job well done, definitely visit fine-dining spot One World Kitchen—which calls itself “your very own chef’s table.” Headed by Chef Kaye Torres (a.k.a. the first female chef in the Philippines to have been inducted to the Institut Culinaire Disciples Escoffier!), the restaurant dishes out culinary compositions that bring out the best of great-quality ingredients—think Halibut (P1,075) given a butter-herb crust, Braveheart Short Ribs (P1,455) that’s braised in red wine until tender, and a multitextured Chocolate & Peanut Butter (P365) dessert. You can book them for private dining or try their ala-carte menu from Tuesdays to Thursdays, go for their tasting menu on Fridays and Saturdays, or visit for Sunday brunch; the restaurant also hosts pop-up dinners from guest chefs from time to time (one recent example being no less than Chef Ariel Manuel of Lolo Dad’s!), so keep your eye on their Instagram page for updates.
One World Kitchen is at 8491 Kalayaan Avenue, Poblacion, Makati City.
Japonesa Peruvian Cuisine
Japanese and Peruvian flavors dance the Marinera at this vibrant spot on the corner of Jacobo and Don Pedro. Heading the kitchen is Chef Luis Higa, who is Japanese by blood and lived in Peru for a significant chunk of his life. Nosh on feisty plates of tiraditos, like the Hamachi (P750) with yellowtail, yuzu, and chimichurri; pick up a skewer or two, like the Eringi (P380) a.k.a. king oyster mushroom; or go for a hearty main like the Lomo Saltado (P950).
Japonesa Peruvian Cuisine is at 5658 Jacobo Street corner Don Pedro Street, Poblacion, Makati City.
Lunes Everyday Dining
It’s all about classic Filipino flavors given fresh spins at this R. Palma newcomer. Open from 8 a.m. until 10 in the evening and serving everything from breakfast bowls to coffee to heavier mains and even boozy sips, they’ve got the makings of an all-day hangout spot, complete with a muted yet cozy look. Go ahead and order up a Blue Marlin Daing (P350) with a Cappuccino (P140) to start your day; a Chicken Piaparan (P590) for lunch or dinner; Coconut Saba Custard (P200) for dessert; and a Hulog-Hulog cocktail (P290) as a nightcap.
Lunes is at G/F 6060 R. Palma, Poblacion, Makati City.
Marrying Korean and American cuisines with contemporary sensibilities, West 32 gives Korean classics playful twists (that work!) or employing modern techniques for their preparation. We’re talking Crab and Caviar Gamja Jeon (P380) a.k.a. potato pancakes topped with crab claw meat and caviar; Samgyeopsal (starts at P499) that’s cooked sous vide; and must-sip libations (this is Poblacion, after all) like the fruity soju-based Melon Gong (P250).
West 32 is at 8464 Kalayaan Avenue, Poblacion, Makati City.
Sawsaw by Sau
We're heading to the limits of Poblacion, geographically speaking, but hear us out. Celebrity chef Sau Del Rosario needs no introduction, having helmed a number of winning restaurants, starred in pegged cookbooks, and so on, all highlighting the best of Filipino (in particular, Kapampangan) cuisine. At Sawsaw—his newest establishment on Rockwell Drive—you get a taste of classic flavors given contemporary interpretations, or remixed where applicable; think lobster with Alavar sauce (a signature of Zamboanga); Pampanga’s tamales served in a glass; crispy pata using UK Pork); and so on.
Sawsaw by Sau is at Rockwell Drive corner Kalayaan Avenue, Poblacion, Makati City.
Assembly Hall is semi-hidden within the HMA 773 building on JP Rizal Avenue, but don’t miss it—you can get great cups of joe from this rustic coffee shop. From classics like the Latte (P165), Americano (P125), and Flat White (P145) to more one-of-a-kind sips like the mallow-topped and torched Campfire Latte (P225), they’ve got you covered; go ahead and order up the Mushroom and Goat Cheese Empanada (P125) and/or Apple Crumble Pie (P245) on the side while you’re at it.
Assembly Hall is at 2/F HMA 773 Building, 773 JP Rizal Avenue, Barangay Poblacion, Makati City.
It may not be the most in-your-face decadent dish around—at least not at first glance—but you can always count on a bowl of lugaw to warm the stomach (or heck, the soul). At Lugao, the porridge gets a very welcome level-up with toppings that include the likes of short rib and twice-cooked pork belly. Located within yakitori spot Tambai, Lugao is open from late afternoon and all the way up to 7 a.m.—which makes them the ultimate post-drinking spot when you’re in need of stick-to-your-ribs nourishment.
Lugao is at 5779 Felipe Street, Poblacion, Makati City.
Good Sh*t Coffee
Yup, that’s the name—and that’s precisely what they deliver. This popular bikers’ spot serves great brews in a laid-back space bound to have you going, “that’s good sh*t.” Get your fill of classic cups of joe like the Spanish Latte (P150) and Flat White (P120), and pair it with one of their baked treats on the side like the Good Sh*t Cookie (P120) or Sourdough Croissant (P120) from online seller Komu.
Good Sh*t Coffee is at 5872 Enriquez Street, Poblacion, Makati City.