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Best restaurants in Metro Manila Philippines

  
Travel, Leisure, Geographic and Nature Thread, Best restaurants in Metro Manila Philippines in Culture, Lifestyle, Relationship and Family; Best restaurants in Manila in Gold Spot judges' shortlist of nominees 11/25/2009 The Nescafe Gold Spot Awards 2009 Panel of ...
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Old 07-17-2010, 11:40 AM
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Best restaurants in Manila in Gold Spot judges' shortlist of nominees

11/25/2009

The Nescafe Gold Spot Awards 2009 Panel of Judges has released the Shortlist of Nominees for each of the 13 categories of the competition. Judges selected the nominees from a Master List of over 400 restaurants nominated by readers on Spot.ph between October 5 to November 15.

This year's judges (shown deliberating over the Shortlist in the photo, left) are : Chef Aileen Anastacio, host of Qtv's "True Confections" and instructor at the Heny Sison Culinary School; Becky Kho, Yummy magazine editor-in-chief; Franco of tableforthreeplease.com, 2009 Best Food and Beverage Blog of the Philippine Blog Awards; Chef Him Uy de Baron of Chef Cuisine Catering Company; JJ Yulo, food writer and "food obsessive;" and Cherie Gil, award-winning actress and foodie.

From December 1 to January 31, 2010, readers can cast their votes for their choices for nine Best Cuisine awards, namely Best Filipino, Italian, Japanese, and Chinese Restaurants, and the Best Steakhouse, Delicatessen, Dessert Place, Buffet and Bar. This year's competition also features new categories: The People's Choice categories, where readers can vote for the Best Restaurant Chain and Best Service awards; and the Panel's Choice categories, namely New Restaurant of the Year and the Restaurant of the Year.

For the Best Cuisine categories, the voting public and the judges' votes will each have 50 percent weight on the final scores. In the People's Choice categories, the public's vote will have 100 percent weight while in the Panel's Choice categories, the judges' vote will have 100 percent weight on the final scores.

Here is the official list of nominees for the Nescafe Gold Spot Awards

2009:

BEST JAPANESE RESTAURANT
Inagiku
Seryna
Sugi
Sushi Kappo
Tsumura
BEST CHINESE RESTAURANT
Choi Garden
Jasmine
Li Li
Shang Palace
Su Zhou


BEST ITALIAN RESTAURANT
Balducci Ristorante and Deli
Cantinetta
L'Opera Ristorante Italiano
Paparazzi
Pepato


BEST STEAKHOUSE
22 Prime
Elbert's Steak Room
The Fireplace
Gulliver's of San Francisco
I'm Angus


BEST DELICATESSEN
Blue Kitchen
My Little Store
Mickey's Deli
Santi's Delicatessen
Terry's Selection

BEST DESSERT PLACE

Becky's Kitchen
Café Breton
Café Xocolat
Classic Confections
Cupcakes by Sonja


BEST BUFFET
Circles Event Café
Dusit Thani Crossover Sunday Brunch Buffet
Museum Café Sunday Brunch Buffet
Paseo Uno
Spiral



PEOPLE'S CHOICE AWARDS:


BEST CHAIN

Cibo
Cyma
Kanin Club
North Park
Pancake House
BEST SERVICE
Aubergine
Cibo Nuovo
Inagiku
Le Souffle at the Fort
Sala Bistro


PANEL'S CHOICE AWARDS:

BEST NEW RESTAURANT OF THE YEAR
Azuthai
Cicou
Crystal Room
Lusso
MoMo
NESCAFE GOLD SPOT RESTAURANT OF THE YEAR
Abé
Aubergine
The Fireplace
Je Suis Gourmand
Lolo Dad's
Sala Bistro

Last edited by mabuhay : 07-17-2010 at 11:43 AM.
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Old 07-18-2010, 01:36 AM
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TOP 10 INTERNATIONAL RESTAURANTS IN METRO MANILA

July 19 2008 (Philippine Star) By Scott & Therese Garceau

BEST FILIPINO: With its retro-modern décor (aged photos of the resto’s inspiration, Larry J. Cruz’s mother), you know you’re in for home-cooked Filipino goodness at Fely J’s Kitchen. At Fely J, the maternal counterpart to Kapampangan restaurant Abe in Serendra, what may surprise you is how sophisticated those tastes are. Freshness and appealing presentation are what make dishes like Fely J’s Temple Crab and fresh lumpiang ubod real treats. There’s also a pan-Asian thread to the menu — dishes like Vietnamese spring rolls and Thai shrimps with pomelo — but the real flavors are all Pinoy: the sinigang is fresh and vibrantly flavored, the way it should be; the sizzling sisig looks as luscious as it tastes, and there are regional specialties like Camaru Mekeni from Pampanga — that’s roasted mole crickets to you, Anthony Bourdain. If the No Reservations chef ever travels to the Philippines, Fely J’s should be his first stop.

Fely J’s Kitchen is on the 2nd level of Greenbelt 5, Legaspi St., Legaspi Village, Makati City, 728-8878 or 728-8858.

Also check out: Felix in Greenbelt 5, serving Pinoy Asian bistro creations by esteemed chef Florabel Co; Sentro in Greenbelt 3 for their catfish, sinigang corned beef, garlic-fried galunggong and coffee pie; Mangan and Ebun in major malls like Robinsons, SM and Glorietta for yummy yet affordable Pinoy food; and Gerry’s Grill for bar-type chow that tastes great with a cold San Mig: don’t miss the tuna panga, soups and grilled items.

BEST SPANISH

Thanks to the lingering Spanish influence here, there’s still plenty of Spanish restos that offer the best of food, period. Imported ingredients usually make the biggest difference. The all-time classic remains Casa Armas. It specializes in paella, naturally, and the paella negro is a wonder, as are the suckling pig and the Iberian chicken, which must be ordered a day in advance: the delicious glazed lechon flavor and layers of roasted garlic, herbs mixed with succulent, juicy chicken makes it worth the dial.

Casa Armas has seven branches including Malate, Manila (tel. 523-0189), Greenbelt 3, Jupiter St., Makati, Paseo Center, Tomas Morato, The Podium and TriNoma Mall.

Others worth checking out are Alba Restaurante Español, which brings a traditional approach to their branches in Bel-Air Makati (tel. 896-6950), Tomas Morato, Quezon City (925-1912) and Westgate Center, Alabang (771-2178); La Tienda (Bel-Air, Makati, 890-4123), known for its romantic ambience and great food; Cirkulo (Pasay Road, 810-2763) with its bewildering array of tapas, though it’s more of a bar; and recent fave Terry Selection Deli, owned by Juan Carlos de Terry and located in The Podium, Ortigas Center (636-351), with signature dishes like shrimp risotto marinated in Cognac and the Chorizo Piggyback. Also drop by Dulcinea for their churros con chocolate — a classic merienda treat loved by Filipinos and Spanish alike.

BEST AMERICAN

Let’s be honest: there’s very little authentic “American cuisine” because America is a melting pot of tastes and cultures. But nothing beats a good hamburger. I’ve sampled delicious, overgrown burgers here, but the best to my taste is the fare at Burgoo. Everything’s big — portions you’ll be savoring for a few extra meals, at least — but it’s surprisingly hard to get a delicious patty of ground beef just right, and Burgoo manages it. The Grilled Chicken American and buffalo wings are standouts, and the fries, onion rings and milkshakes are a delicious treat as well.

Burgoo branches are at Gateway Mall, Greenhills Promenade, Tomas Morato, Robinsons Galleria, Power Plant and SM Mall of Asia.

For other great burgers, go to Chili’s (an American franchise, locations in Greenhills and Greenbelt 2, Makati), try out the exotic Wagyu Burger at Malcolm’s Place, Makati, and savor the reliably wonderful Americaine at Café Breton (SM Mall of Asia, Greenbelt 4, The Podium).

BEST SINGAPOREAN/MALAYSIAN

Asia has arguably the best cuisines in the world, and one restaurant excels at most of them (the Southeast Asian ones, anyway). Banana Leaf dishes out greatest hits from Malaysia, India, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia and Vietnam with flair and the stamp of authenticity only chefs native to the region can give. If you doubt, just peer through the kitchen window at the Malaysian and Indian cooks tossing roti canai like pizza. At Banana Leaf, the recommended mode of eating is pan-Asian, letting your taste buds travel like a parachute journalist. Sample Singapore in the mussels or clams stir-fried in chili sauce. Visit India through tilapia fish drizzled with Assam sambal. Taste a bit of China in that comfort-food classic, Hainanese chicken rice. Banana Leaf deflates the myth that Filipinos don’t like spicy food. And the atmosphere is strictly casual, communal and laid-back — eating from a banana leaf (with your hands, preferably) tends to reinforce a relaxed vibe.

Banana Leaf is on the 2nd level of The Podium, Ortigas Center, tel. 687-6808 and 687-6818, with four other branches in Greenbelt 3, Makati; Power Plant Mall in Rockwell, Makati; The Block in SM North Edsa; and Robinsons Place Manila.

BEST THAI

For Thai food fit for royalty at decidedly non-royal prices (P200 to P470 for family-style dishes), head to Thai at Silk at Serendra. At Silk, if it’s not authentic, chef-owner Cecille Ysmael won’t serve it. The proof is in the phad Thai — Ysmael flies to Bangkok almost every month to restock ingredients and train with her private teacher, Tim, a former cook for the Thai royal family. Consequently, you’ll find Thai Embassy officials here dining on fine cuisine like Salad Poo Nim (soft-shell crab in a Thai lime sauce), Vietnamese whitefish steamed with lemongrass and ginger, and Mieng Kham, an amazing appetizer of palm sugar, ginger and grated coconut wrapped in betel leaves that, in its dense, exotic flavors, is like a trip to Thailand in itself. “The spicier it is, the better it tastes,” said Ysmael with obvious relish as we gorged on new dishes like Thai shrimp cakes, eggplant salad with minced pork and beef Penang curry.

Thai at Silk is located at Unit 1C12, G/F Serendra Piazza, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City, 856-0386 to 87, and 0917-822-9818.

Also check out: People’s Palace in Greenbelt 3, which puts a hip, modern spin on traditional Thai specialties, and Benjarong at Dusit Thani hotel, which also offers authentic royal cuisine in elegant, more formal surroundings.

BEST INDIAN

With over a dozen Indian-related eateries in Metro Manila, the difference often comes down to exotic ambience. But for family sitdowns, Kashmir is a familiar taste favorite, offering delicious spreads of curry lamb, gohst vindaloo, dinghra matter and other curry dishes. Try the excellent samosas, chicken curry and refreshing lassi drink, plus awesome buttered naan bread.

Kashmir is located at 816 Pasay Rd., Makati, Tel. 844-4924.

Other Indian faves are Prince of Jaipur at The Fort (tel. 884-1692 to 94) and new contender New Bombay Canteen (Dela Costa St., Salcedo Village, Makati, 819-2892).

BEST ITALIAN

There are dozens of passable Italian restaurants in Metro Manila, and a few really good ones. I’ve always been happy with the consistency of Cantinetta Italian Cafe & Vinoteca (at least the Pasong Tamo branch). A wide range of antipasti and secondi dishes includes seafood, chicken, lamb and veal. The pizzas are thin-crusted and heaped with cheese — especially the quattro formaggio. Mushroom dishes are particularly good, like the soup and porcini ravioli. There’s an adjacent wine bar, so it’s easy to find a good Italian wine to pair with your meal. And the meal ends on a blissful note with the homemade gelato.

Cantinetta is located at Karrivin Plaza A, 2316 Pasong Tamo ext., tel. 892-9873/892-9873; and Rockwell Center, Makati, tel. 403-0145.

Also check out: Caffé Caruso (Nicanor Garcia St., Bel-Air Village, tel. 895-2451) for its terrific pizza and pasta. High-end foodies also swear by Paparazzi (inside Edsa Shangri-La Plaza, Mandaluyong, tel. 633-8888) and L’Opera Ristorante Italiano (Anson Arcade, Paseo de Roxas, tel. 844-3283/887-5158).

BEST FRENCH

For classic French cuisine, the new player in town is Aubergine Restaurant and Patisserie. It boasts a show kitchen, a great wine bar and excellent pastry, of course. But you’ll come back for classic favorites like seared duck foie gras, Russian Osetra caviar, or to try surprising items like the duck consommé (served with a foie gras ravioli at center) or Chilean sea bass on pumpkin Mousseline. Pricey, but worth the experience.

Aubergine is located at 32nd and 5th Bldg., Fort Bonifacio. Tel. 856-9888.

Other options for French classic cuisine include hotel eateries such as Prince Albert Rotisserie (Hotel Inter-Continental, 815-9711 loc. 571) or Red (Makati Shangri-La Hotel, 840-0884), or Billy King’s old staple, Le Soufflé, at The Fort (887-5108 to 09), Rockwell (890-6543) and Citibank Tower, Makati (750-5810). Despite its Pinoy-sounding name, Lolo Dad’s Cafe on Quirino Ave., cor. Leon Guinto St. Malate, serves up classic French cuisine ”with gusto” like panfried duck liver, roast rack of lamb, steamed seabass, duck confit and double espresso soup.
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Old 07-18-2010, 01:36 AM
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BEST JAPANESE

Food-loving Japan-ophiles dream of eating the catch of the day at Tsukiji, the world’s largest fish market in Tokyo, Japan. You can get that dream experience without ever leaving Philippine shores at Tsukiji restaurant in Makati, which actually imports produce from its namesake three times a week and flies it in chilled to maintain the utmost freshness. Foodies, return to Tsukiji time and again for their delicious crab salad and hamachi, buttery-soft slices of yellowtail fish. Meat lovers can worship at the altar of Wagyu beef — Tsukiji is the only restaurant that serves Omi Wagyu, the singular beef served by the Japanese imperial household, according to general manager J. Gamboa. Though Gamboa is an accomplished chef in his own right, Tsukiji boasts its own Japanese chef, ensuring authentic, exquisite, and yes, pricey-though-worth-every-peso food that is a favorite among Japanese nationals and loyal Pinoys alike.

Tsukiji is located at the Milky Way Bldg., 900 Pasay Rd., Makati City, 843-4285, 812-2913.

Also check out: Sugi at Greenbelt 2 and Greenhills, a bastion of Japanese cuisine thanks to its genuine flavors, consistent quality and accessible prices (try the Japanese pizza, chicken wings and cold soba). Another institution is good old reliable Kimpura in Greenhills for its gindara, tempura and Angus rib-eye teppanyaki. A new contender is Kikufuji along Pasong Tamo beside Makati Cinema Square — fresh seafood (like huge, grilled tuna heads) at reasonable prices keeps crowds coming back for more.

BEST CHINESE

For the best Chinese meal you’ll ever have, do as the Chinese do and order off the menu at Gloria Maris Greenhills. As humongous as Hong Kong’s jumbo restaurants and just as efficient, the families that crowd Gloria Maris (especially on weekends) testify to the excellence of the food. Our in-the-know Chinese connection recommends the fried pigeon, cha misua, shrimp and scallop in taro basket, fish in hotpot with lechon kawali and beancurd skin, and mini T-bone in black pepper sauce. If you still have room, the unanimous favorite dessert is taho, a light end to the meal that comes in a family-sized bucket. Intending to treat us to an unforgettable laureate, our friend ordered precisely this menu for us one night, and we can say that — in the Philippines, at any rate — it was the best Chinese meal we’ve ever had.

Gloria Maris is on Club Filipino Avenue, Greenhills Shopping Complex, San Juan, 722-5508 to 10, 721-3504 and 722-5760.

Also check out: Makati Shangri-La’s Shang Palace, Edsa Shangri-La’s Summer Palace, Mandarin Oriental Manila’s Tin Hau, and Hyatt Hotel and Casino Manila’s Li Li — these five-star hotels offer similarly five-star Chinese dining experiences. Best Chinese restos on a budget, according to STAR food expert Claude Tayag, are LaiLai Palace on Ongpin St. and Ang Tunay na Beef on Sabino Padilla St. (formerly Gandara St.) in Chinatown.
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10 Best Value-for-Money Buffets in Manila

9th of July, 2010 SPOT.ph

Manila is no stranger to good buffets--overflowing, satisfying food that can fill platefuls to satisfy all kinds of cravings. Whether you're on the lookout for variety, value-for-money price tag or novelty, we give you a list of the best buffets you can find in the city (listed in no particular order) without paying five-star-hotel prices:



1. Yakimix
Address: 2/F Forum Bldg. 270 Tomas Morato, Quezon City (385-7500, 332-8073); Hobbies of Asia, Macapagal Boulevard, Pasay City (387-8120, 387-8112); G/F SM Mall of Asia, Pasay City (385-7500)

How much to shell out: P580 eat-all-you can on Saturdays and Sundays and P499 lunch-all-you-can from Mondays to Fridays; add P55 for drinks; children below 4 feet will be charged P380 only.

A new player in the buffet business, Yakimix, which opened in 2009, gets a nod for its spacious dining area and their variety of Chinese and Japanese dishes on the buffet spread. The place gets extra points for the grilled meat choices and sushi selection, plus smokeless table grills that lets you dine happily without smelling like food.


2. KingOne Rotary Hotpot
Address: M2-A Lower Hobbies of Asia, #8 Macapagal Ave., Pasay City (556-1370)

How much to shell out: P479 for an eat-all-you-can and drink-all-you-can from Monday to Saturday; P529 for dinners, Sundays and holidays (without drinks), upgrade to drink-all-you-can for an additional P65

The appeal of KingOne Rotary Hotpot lies in the hotpot ingredients that roll by on a conveyor belt right beside your table. With over 90 ingredients to choose from, and six soup bases available (Satay Soup, Century Egg Wansoy Soup, Spicy Szechuan Soup, Plain Soup, Hong Kong Curry Soup, and Korean Kimchi Soup), hotpot fans will also get a free dish for every two eat-all-you-can meals availed. Choose from their Spare Ribs Salt and Pepper, Yang Chow Fried Rice, and the Oyster Cake to go with your hotpot meal.
Remember: no sharing and no doggie bags, they charge P100 for leftovers.



3. Kamay Kainan
Address: West Avenue, Quezon City (371-4659) ; Kalayaan Avenue corner Malamig Street, Quezon City (921-5904 ); Market! Market!, Taguig (889-9883); TriNoma Mall (435-0061, 916-7178)

How much to shell out: P248 per person without drinks/ P295 per person with bottomless iced tea daily

If an all-Pinoy buffet spread is on the agenda, you can't go wrong with the reasonably priced buffet at Kamay Kainan. Their 2-hour maximum stay rule may sway those who like to have leisurely meals, but the place still attracts those who love Filipino food classics: Lechon paksiw, fried bangus, fried tilapia, binagoongang baboy, papaitan, caldereta, menudo, beef steak, kare-kare, pork sinigang, beef nilaga, adobong pusit, inihaw na liempo, and steamed oysters


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4. Cabalen
Address: 67 West Avenue, Quezon City (372-3515); 3/L, Bridge way SM Megamall (633-1761); G/L Robinsons Place Manila (536-7987); 3/L Festival Mall, Muntinlupa (809-6698); 2/L TriNoma Mall, Quezon City (901-3602); G/L, Glorietta 3, Makati City (893-9884); G/L SM Mall of Asia, Pasay City (556-4874)

How much to shell out: P298 per person for lunch and dinner; P392 per person at the Glorietta, TriNoma Mall and SM Mall of Asia branches (for its Filipino, Chinese, and Japanese buffet)

Appetizing Kapampangan food gets supersized with the daily buffet spread which includes sisig, biringhe (subject to availability), lechong paksiw, bopis, adobo, pancit bihon, grilled catfish and the spicy kind of dinuguan.




5. Brazil! Brazil!
Address: Metrowalk, Meralco Avenue, Pasig City (638-6318), 1st level Power Plant Mall, Rockwell Drive cor. Estrella St., Makati City (899-0957); Serendra, Fort Bonifacio Global City, Taguig (856-0671)

How much to shell out: P628 per person from Monday to Thursday; P777 per person from Fridays- Sundays.

Enjoy a Brazilian meat-all-you can party at Brazil! Brazil! where, oddly, the only thing Brazilian is the barbeque or the churrasco. The slightly pricey buffet charge gets you endless skewers of barbeque which the servers bring to your table until you turn up the red side of the yoyo on your table which indicates "stop." Â

If you've had enough of the pork belly and tenderloin cuts, head to the central buffet area with appetizers, pasta, rice, and desserts.


6. Cafe Sweet Inspirations
Address: 311 Katipunan Ave. Loyola Heights, Quezon City (433-4200)

How much to shell out: P295 per person (available from 10 a.m.-10:45 p.m. daily)

Known more for their pastries, this Katipunan Avenue spot also serves one of the best Mongolian buffets around. The all-day, eat-all-you-can spread indulges those who love to create their own stir-fry bowls. Expect the sauce at Cafe Sweet Inspirations, mixed in with your own concoction of meats, seafood and vegetables, to turn an ordinary hodgepodge of ingredients into a satisfying meal.

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7. Dads/ Saisaki/ Kamayan
Address: EDSA, San Juan; 2/F Glorietta 3, Ayala Center (892-8908); 4th level SM Megamall, EDSA cor. Julia Vargas Ave., Mandaluyong City (636-3785)


How much to shell out: P520 per person from Mondays to Thursdays for the lunch Crossover buffet (Dads, Saisaki and Kamayan) and P620 from Friday to Sunday; P620 per person for dinner; Saisaki lunch is at P480 from Mondays to Thursdays and P580 from Fridays to Sunday; Kamayan lunch and dinner is P350.

For the selection and variety, the "ultimate buffet" by the Triple V group still remains a reliable buffet choice. With over 200 choices with Continental picks (Dads), Japanese food (Saisaki) and Filipino favorites (Kamayan), the place enjoys a steady stream of buffet eaters who love an all-out foodfest.



8. Tramway Tea House
Address: 76 Sct. Alcaraz Street corner Banawe Street Quezon City (411-1565); Timog Avenue, Quezon City

How much to shell out: P160 person on weekdays; P195 per person on weekends; P332 per person for Sunday lunch

The bargain buffet destination when it comes to Chinese food, the P160 price tag is relatively cheap for endless trips to the stations which include the staples: dimsum, dumplings, fried chicken, sweet and sour pork and vegetable dishes. The buffet gets an upgrade during Sunday lunch with Peking Duck, shrimp and roasted pork.



9. Somethin' Fishy
Address: Eastwood City, Libis, Quezon City (421-6412, 421-4757)

How much to shell out: P129 per person for breakfast (12 midnight to 10 a.m. daily); P325 per person for lunch (11 a.m.- 2:30 p.m.); P395 for dinner (5:30 p.m. – 11 p.m.)

Their popular breakfast buffet had many call center employees, late-night owls and early risers lining up for their spread of typical breakfast fare. Now, they've extended their buffet time to lunch and dinner for the insatiable eat-all-you-can crowd.



10. Alba Restaurant
Address: Tomas Morato cor. Sct. Lozano, Quezon City (925-1912, 411-7052); 38 Polaris St. Bel Air, Makati City (896-6951)

How much to shell out: P595 per person for lunch and P650 person for dinner.
The Jupiter and Westgate branch only offers the lunch buffet.

Even just for the moist, saffron-perfumed paella, the buffet Alba should be on every foodie's list. Serving an assortment of Spanish dishes which include callos, chorizo, paella plus appetizers, salad and dessert, this Spanish joint makes it easy to get stuffed with savory Spanish treats.

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Old 07-18-2010, 01:48 AM
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Top 10 Awesome Restaurants of the Philippines
By Anton Diaz
Inquirer
09/20/2007

WHAT makes a restaurant awesome? Some would say great food and the right ambiance. “Great food” is subjective and varies with each person’s experience and background, however. To be considered awesome, a restaurant has to take the overall dinning experience to a higher level. That means food that leaves an indelible mark on your taste buds and imprints lasting memories in your mind in an ambiance that carves out a special place in the heart to share with other people.


Every restaurant in this list has been carefully chosen. Each serves gourmet food with the freshest ingredients, and combines nature elements, artifacts or a sense of history in its atmosphere. Simply put, these restaurants have a story to tell that is spread via word-of-mouth. I can proudly say that these restaurants are found ONLY in the Philippines.


Kubli Springs @ Kinabuhayan Café, Dolores, Quezon

The road to Kubli Springs is literally the road less traveled, and when you do get on it, you’ll be glad you decided against taking your sedan car.

Flashlights, candles, mobile phones, and the moon are the only sources of light. Occasionally, they may put up Christmas lights connected to a portable battery source to make the place special. You’ll find yourself in the middle of a forest, surrounded by boulders, a spring at your feet and a clear starlit sky overhead. You sit on rocks and makeshift benches, savoring the aroma of steak being grilled on the spot. Ah, this is the perfect time to play the acoustic guitar for a sing-along with the barkada (gang) without fear of disturbing anyone.

For P500 per person, you get fresh salad with flowers, grilled steak, Jay’s special rice, and a fruit platter. The meal ends with lambanog and a special roast of barako coffee. For drinking, there’s fresh mineral water from the mountains. You’d wish the night would never end.

Antonio’s in Tagaytay

Dining at Antonio’s is like entering a magical portal to a world where any food you choose is worth a rave. The service is that of a six-star hotel where you need not worry about a thing. Even going to the restroom is a chance to appreciate nature and its beauty. The positive energy in the place encourages conversation and bears witness to thousands of memorable life stories.

You won’t mind waiting for your food because you know it’s being prepared to perfection. The real flavor of the meat and other ingredients stands out without the sauce overpowering the taste. Any wine selection seems to match the food you order. My favorite in Antonio’s includes the Salad with Foie Gras, the steaks, sea bass and the soufflé dessert. I envision our silver wedding anniversary at this place because of the food, service and its enchanting garden.

Ugu’s Pottery Garden Restaurant, Tiaong, Quezon

It remains a secret place in Tiaong because Ugu never advertises and there are no road signs. Even the neighbors don’t realize that such a place exists. The whole of Ugu’s Pottery Garden Restaurant is a labor of love, with the entire family designing everything from the huts, the garden layout, the pottery and the food concept.

Ugu is known for such dishes as Kulawo and Lato. Kulawo is charcoal-grilled banana heart with a smoky flavor that tastes like tuna, while lato is seaweed in vinegar. Both are traditional Filipino dishes you seldom find in Metro Manila. It’s home-cooked Filipino food served on Ugu’s signature pottery. I do hope it remains a secret.

Isla Naburot, Guimaras

Isla Naburot resort is like wine—the older it gets, the more exotic it becomes. Electricity is supplied by solar panels that can only support the incandescent bulbs in the room. Even mobile phones seem superfluous as there are no charging stations nearby. Yo

Last edited by hfl : 07-18-2010 at 01:52 AM.
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Charley’s in Lipa, Batangas

I fell in love with the place after seeing the beautiful horses at Leviste’s Equestrian Farm in Lipa. Till then, I’d seen only the tired horses in Baguio and Tagaytay and never imagined seeing such thoroughbreds on Philippine soil. Lunch or dinner is courtesy of Les Roche-trained chef Popit de Leon who’s passionate about cooking his foodie creations either in his Makati condo or in Charley’s on weekends. Popit uses fresh herbs from Charley’s garden in all food served at the farm. Diners might even get a personal tour of the farm with Charley herself after the meal.

Unfortunately, the place recently closed its doors to out-of-town diners. Popit now cooks exclusively in his Makati condo. This is a simple tribute and thank you for becoming part of our foodie memories, accompanied by a wish that the place opens its doors again.

Entalula Island, El Nido, Palawan

Imagine having an exclusive picnic with gourmet food on a white-sand island far better than Boracay. Entalula Island in El Nido is definitely a bit of paradise that you can enjoy privately for lunch or dinner. Everything is set up for you, and you can request exactly the food you like. Your imagination sets the limit on how creative you want the experience to be.

It is definitely worth saving up for and reason enough to go back to El Nido resorts. When you book an El Nido vacation, make sure to reserve the island for your lunch or dinner date. Next time, I’ll have dinner here with just my wife and lay down after in the pristine sands with limestone cliffs as backdrop.

For more information about these restaurants, please visit Our Awesome Planet-"Your Ultimate Guide to Awesome Philippines".

Anton is the publisher of Our Awesome Planet (OAP), one of the top 10 blogs in the Philippines. OAP is a photo food and travel blog about Manila's food and travel secrets shared through word of mouth. He is known as a food critic and has recently been passionate about running marathons. He currently works and loves his job as an IT manager in P&G Philippines.
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