Though it’s easy to lose count of the growing number of international restaurants we currently have in the country, there are still many out there that have yet to reach Philippine shores!
A little bit of wishful thinking surely can’t hurt so we asked looloo app users which restaurants they want to see here in Manila! Want to know which ones made it to their wish list? Read on and find out!
1. Shake Shack
Let’s start off this countdown with a New York burger classic. The first of two burger joints featured on this rundown, Shake Shack actually began as a hotdog cart opened by founder Danny Meyer in Madison Square Park in 2001.
16 years later, Shake Shack is now an icon of the New York foodie scene and has become so popular that Ruth S. says she “can’t think of a single day wherein I was not able to see a Shake Shack photo in IG and not get tempted by it!”
Needless to say, expect unbelievably long lines should Shake Shack ever open a branch here in Manila because that’s how it is with all its branches in New York! But despite the crazy lines, many diners say it’s worth the wait.
Sandra Y. says that this feedback is the reason why she’s so curious about Shake Shack and is crossing her fingers about its opening! We’re crossing our fingers, too!
Anyone who loves cheese tarts has probably heard of Bake. Many have gone as far as to call it the best cheese tart there is. But did you know that how these popular Japanese cheese tarts came to be is purely accidental?
Bake traces its roots to a confectionary store in Hokkaido called Kinotoya, which is known for its chilled blueberry cheese tarts. Upon reaching the age of 24, Shintaro Naganuma, the son of Kinotoya’s president, joined the company and was assigned to the branch at the New Chitose Airport. One day, the staff forgot to keep the tarts chilled and served them as is. The queue of people asking for these unchilled tarts grew and grew and the rest, as they say, is history.
So just how good are Bake’s tarts? Here is what Clarissa P. has to say: “No exaggerations when I say that one bite and you’ll get hooked! The tart crust perfectly holds the delicate cheese mousse filling. It’s not too sweet, firm but not too hard and it has the right crumbliness.
The cheese mousse is love! Smooth and velvety in texture, it has this distinct sharpness and saltiness. The cheese is not overwhelming but still maintains a certain sharpness and tartness. It’s made from three kinds of cheeses — 2 from Japan and 1 from France. These tarts are also double baked — first the tart, then the cheese with the tart. It’s my ultimate cheese tart baseline and so far, it remains as the king of all cheese tarts!”
Although the local foodie scene is teeming with ramen spots, foodies everywhere will surely agree that we have room for more, especially if it’s Ichiran!
And if you’re wondering what can set Ichiran apart from every other ramen restaurant out there, it’s the unique dining experience it brings to its customers.
“My Ichiran ramen experience started with a vendo machine,” Unisse C. narrates. “You choose what you want to order from a vendo, pay for it, and get a stub. When you get to a stall, a server will approach you for your ramen preference.”
Think it ends there? Here comes the fun part! “But! You get to eat alone,” Unisse C. adds. “Eat your ramen in peace with no human interaction!!! It’s actually quite different from what Filipinos are used to, but it would be interesting to see how it turns out!”
4. Cafe de Coral
Dennis O. calls Cafe de Coral the “Jollibee of Hong Kong” and the “not-so-hidden gem” that he’ll be glad to have in Manila. If you’re wondering why he’s described it this way, it’s because you can find Cafe de Coral nearly everywhere when you’re in Hong Kong! It comes as no surprise, especially when you consider how it’s managed by one of Asia’s largest restaurant and catering groups!
What Dennis O. loves most about Cafe de Coral is the variety of dishes being served! Sharing his experience, he says that “they mix and match their menu for breakfast, lunch, merienda and dinner.” And if you ask him what dish is a must try, he recommends the roast barbecue! “I love the sweet barbecue flavor of their tender meat,” he explains, calling the dish as the one he usually craves for once he’s back in Manila.
For Marti M., the restaurant he’d love to see here in the metro is one that he describes as a romantic place that reminds him of the scenes in the film La La Land. Opened in 2010 by Anna Weinberg, James Nicholas, and Chef Jennifer Puccio, Marlowe describes itself as a neighborhood bistro serving a meat-centric menu with unique twists.
Marlowe’s menu varies depending on the time of day you choose to dine in. For brunch, Marlowe’s serves Bites, Snacks & Starters, Sweets, Nuts, Fruits, & Grains, and Savories, Eggs, & Sandwiches. Come lunch and dinner time, you’ll find starters, sandwiches, mains, and sides on the menu. But if you’re not quite in the mood for a meal and you just want to kick back and relax, Marlowe’s has an impressive array of wine and liquor you can choose from.
Should Marlowe’s open a franchise here in the Philippines, Marti M. says he can imagine seeing it in the Mall of Asia complex or even in Intramuros! “Marlowe is a restaurant that’s got a lot of history, despite its six years of existence and the owners and chef show a lot of passion,” he says. “That’s what we food lovers would like, isn’t it?”
6. Tuna Ichiban
We’ve got a number of international franchises serving the best of Japanese cuisine here in the metro but for Bernisse C., there’s one’s Japanese restaurant she’d love to see open in Manila. And guess what? It’s not from Japan!
Tuna Ichiban is popular among those familiar with Thailand’s foodie scene, especially those looking to stay within their budget. Known for its cheap prices and diverse menu, you can treat yourself to some shabu-shabu for approximately ₱260, oysters for around ₱115, or salmon sashimi for ₱150! Make sure to take advantage of the many kinds of sushi and sashimi, which Tuna Ichiban is known for!
The menu might be overwhelming to some but Tuna Ichiban made sure that ordering food won’t be a hassle for the customers. Diners are given an iPad that can be used to browse through the menu and make selections!
7. The Cheesecake Factory
If you were to come up with a list of restaurants that is synonymous to American cuisine, chances are The Cheesecake Factory will be on that list. Though its first-ever restaurant was opened in Los Angeles back in the 70s, The Cheesecake Factory’s history actually began all the way in the 40s when its founder, Evelyn Overton, opened a small cheesecake shop that she eventually had to close down to raise her children.
Today, The Cheesecake Factory has an extensive menu that includes salads, pizza, sandwiches, pastas, and even steaks and chops!
But if there’s one thing no one should ever skip out on while at The Cheesecake Factory, it’s the cheesecakes!
If you think picking which cheesecake to try is easy, The Cheesecake Factory will prove you wrong with over 30 different kinds of cheesecakes! And many of them sound downright sinful! For example, there’s the Adam’s Peanut Butter Cup Fudge Ripple Cheesecake, which has caramel, peanut butter, Butterfingers, and Reese’s!
8. In-N-Out Burger
The second burger joint on this rundown, In-N-Out Burger is undoubtedly one of California’s icons. Opened in 1948 by Harry Snyder, In-N-Out is the only restaurant on this list that we had a glimpse of with its pop-ups that have been catching the local foodies by surprise since the first event in 2013.
“I strongly believe this franchise is the the only place the sells the last honest burger. Since the opening of In-N-Out Burger, the ingredients and cooking methods that make their food the best hasn’t changed,” Rocky R. says of the burger restaurant that he calls the “real taste of America.”
Don’t expect to see complicated burgers on In-N-Out’s menu. When it comes to burgers, you’ll only find three: the Hamburger, the Cheeseburger, and the Double Double, which you can have on its own or as a meal. “Their hamburgers are made of 100% pure beef patties that’s omits the use of additives and preservatives,” describes Rocky R. “They’re freshly made daily; so to see an In-N-Out burger patty in a freezer is like seeing a unicorn–it’ll never happen.”