2014 Mid-Year Report: The 10 Best and Most-Reviewed Restaurants In Manila

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The halftime buzzer has sounded and we’re on the sidelines to give you the restaurant scene’s highlights after the first 6 months of the year. We put together an initial list of the 10 best Manila restaurants based on their ratings and how many times YOU reviewed them on the looloo!

With a number of foreign franchises making it to the top 10, it seems like places on the list have figured out how to play off Filipinos’ growing affinity towards more unusual cuisines.

You’ll see familiar names here, and also 2014’s most-anticipated newly-opened joints in Metro Manila!

Did your favorite make the cut?

10. Hanamaruken Ramen (Trinoma Mall)Number of Reviews: 95
Average Rating: 4.17

Manila Retaurant: Hanamaruken Ramen

Photo from Hanamaruken Ramen on Facebook

Being the first of 2 ramen restaurants on the list, it’s clear that the noodle trend hasn’t lost much momentum since its boom last year. Hanamaruken isn’t quite as established as places like Ukokkei or Ikkoryu Fukkuoka Ramen, but the newcomer has become a favorite choice for reviewers with the uber-tender slow-braised pork ribs in their Signature Happiness Ramen.

With only one branch so far (up north in Trinoma), we’re hoping to see more of Hanamaruken… somewhere down south maybe?

Hanamaruken Ramen
2/F Trinoma, Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines
+63 2 720 9283

9. Silantro Fil-Mex Cantina (Kapitolyo)Number of Reviews: 95
Average Rating: 4.34

Manila Retaurant: Silantro Fil-Mex Cantina

Photo from Juko Patrick G’s review for Silantro Fil-Mex Cantina

Silantro made a splash in 2013 for being looloo app reviewers’ choice for being the best Fil-Mex restaurant out there. Their almost too-cheap-to-be-true tacos, quesadillas, and burritos must have some kind of magic seasoning in them because they’re still one of the most popular places on the app! Their affordable eats and cheap beer really lend to the place’s simple and laid-back vibe — something much sought-after in the busy Ortigas business district.

Silantro Fil-Mex Cantina
75 East Capitol Drive, Kapitolyo, Pasig, Metro Manila, Philippines
+63 917 508 4748

8. Project Pie (Bluebay Walk, Pasay)Number of Reviews: 96
Average Rating: 4.15

Manila Retaurant: Poject Pie

Photo from Cayla R’s review for Project Pie

Is it any surprise that Project Pie is back on the list? The rate at which this DIY pizza franchise expanded in such a short time (they now have 7!) is impressive. What’s even more remarkable is that they’ve been able to maintain the hype and consistent high ratings.

Is this DIY pie movement just a trend or will we see it going the distance?

Project Pie
G/F Bluebay Walk, EDSA cor. Diosdado Macapagal Blvd., Pasay, Metro Manila, Philippines
+63 2 463 7122

7. Mad Mark’s (Kapitolyo)Number of Reviews: 100
Average Rating: 4.27

Best Restaurant in Manila: Mad Mark's

Photo from Paul E’s review for Mad Mark’s

Mad Mark’s started out as a hole-in-the-wall sandwich and ice cream shop in Kapitolyo, but the opening of their latest branch in Glorietta 5 (which almost made it to the list with 84 reviews!) solidifies them as a favorite in the Manila foodie scene. They’ve expanded their menu, too — reviewers love their affordable steak options and of course, the new ice cream flavors like Salted Caramel and BanOreo!

Mad Mark’s
23 East Capitol Drive, Kapitolyo, Pasig, Metro Manila, Philippines

6. Kettle (Shangri-La Mall)Number of Reviews: 106
Average Rating: 4.06

Best Restaurants in Manila: Kettle

Photo from Shae R’s review for Kettle

Kettle is proof that to appeal to Filipinos’ tastes, it’s not just about hitting the sweet spot in terms of price. The place’s dishes aren’t necessarily as affordable as those of the others on this list, but Chef Chiloy Santos’ comfort food flavors are proving to be worth the price of admission. If you haven’t tried it yet, their Buttermilk Fried Chicken will show you why this small restaurant in Shangri-La is a strong contender for 2014’s best.

Kettle
5/F Shangri-La Plaza, East Wing
EDSA cor. Shaw Blvd., Mandaluyong, Metro Manila, Philippines
+63 2 654 7077

5. Tim Ho Wan (SM Megamall)Number of Reviews: 110
Average Rating: 4.2

Best Restaurants in Manila: Tim Ho Wan

Photo from Cette D’s review for Tim Ho Wan

One of the biggest and most-hyped restaurant openings of the year belonged to Tim Ho Wan and its legendary baked pork buns. With its mother branch being recognized as the world’s cheapest Michelin Star restaurant, it’s no wonder that hordes of hungry Pinoys flocked to SM Megamall for a chance to try their dimsum. The verdict? People ended up getting in line for almost 2 hours, even weeks after they opened. They must be doing SOMETHING right!

Tim Ho Wan
UG/F SM Megamall, Mega D
EDSA cor. Julia Vargas Ave., Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong, Metro Manila, Philippines

4. Todd English Food Hall (SM Aura)Number of Reviews: 119
Average Rating: 4.06

Best Restaurants in Manila: Todd English Food Hall

Photo from Gracie T’s review for Todd English Food Hall

People may attribute this restaurant’s success to the celebrity chef’s name behind it, but with the number of reviews it’s gotten this past 6 months, it’s clear that there’s far more to it. With an array of menu offerings that span several countries and continents, this food hall (think sosy food court) will take you on a culinary journey that’ll take you across multiple cultures and flavors.

For a lot of reviewers though, the trip starts with their famous flatbreads and ends with a generous helping of their OMG Chocolate Cake!

Todd English Food Hall
5/F SM Aura Premier, McKinley Parkway cor. 26th St., BGC, Taguig, Metro Manila
+63 2 621 4002

3. 8 Cuts Burger Blends (SM Megamall)Number of Reviews: 136
Average Rating: 4.11

Best Restaurants in Manila: 8 Cuts Burger Bar

Photo from Erick B’s review for 8 Cuts Burger Blends

8 Cuts picked up on the success of Burger Bar in Greenbelt and took off with it, opening branches all over the metro and capitalizing on the mega crowds at SM Megamall’s new Fashion Hall.

Their made-to-order patties are turning casual burger fans into connoisseurs with their different meat blends and are showing us that burgers are no longer just fastfood pick-me-ups. Move over, McDonald’s, premium burger joints are taking the spotlight, and it looks like 8 Cuts is one of those places stealing the show in 2014.

8 Cuts Burger Blends
3/F SM Megamall, Mega D
EDSA cor. Julia Vargas Ave., Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong, Metro Manila, Philippines
+63 2 631 4388

2. Magnum Manila Cafe (SM Aura)Number of Reviews: 171
Average Rating: 4.13

Best Restaurants in Manila: Magnum Manila Cafe

Photo from Mykee A’s review for Magnum Manila Cafe

Elevating the convenience store ice cream favorite to new heights with this Manila pop-up cafe, Magnum has become so much more than fancy Pinipig ice cream bars. Their DIY ice cream station and its price point at ₱100 has people getting in line for a taste and talking about it non-stop.

Part of the appeal the place has is that (if sources are to be believed) it won’t be around for much longer. So if you’re wondering what all the fuss is about, you’d best make your way over to SM Aura sooner rather than later.

Magnum Manila Cafe
5/F SM Aura Premier, McKinley Parkway cor. 26th St., BGC, Taguig, Metro Manila

1. Ramen Nagi (SM Aura)Number of Reviews in 2014: 307
Average Rating: 4.42

Best Restaurants in Manila: Ramen Nagi

Photo from Alaid E’s review for Ramen Nagi

It’s no surprise that the King of Reviews for the first half of 2014 is a ramen joint, after the trend erupted last year. It’s also no surprise that of all the ramen restaurants out there, Nagi, a rebranded Butao Ramen from Hong Kong, takes top honors. The menu is simple and not too diverse, but with dishes like the Black King and Red King, and not even mentioning the number of branches they continue to open, is it even possible that they be dethroned anytime soon?

Ramen Nagi
5/F SM Aura Premier, McKinley Parkway cor. 26th St., BGC, Taguig, Metro Manila
+63 2 828 6793

It’s been a tight race so far, and we’re taking bets! Which of these Manila restaurants will still be on the list by year’s end? Which newcomers will give them a run for their money?

Share your vote!


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About Author

EJ dela Vega

You'll find EJ rummaging through refrigerators for unlabeled leftovers, earning him the nickname, "The Finisher." He's got a knack for magic tricks too, his best one being the ability to make food on his plate (or anyone else's for that matter) disappear in the blink of an eye. Too damn cheap to be picky, he once ate several slices of pizza doused in Robitussin... just because he can.

  • MNLFoodcritic

    To Mr. Dela Vega: This should be titled “The 10 best and most reviewed restaurants in Metro Manila” or maybe “…in Luzon”. Somehow so many people forget (including you) that the Philippines has 2 groups of islands south of Luzon.

    • maritel

      I agree, Metro Manila is not the Philippines…and a
      random sample of 300 plus people is too small to be statistically
      significant.

      • Hyori Alba

        It’s not really just based on a random sample of 300+ people but on the thousands of people that have reviewed places on the looloo app during the first six months of this year.

        • Ranny Ace

          looloo app, only people with smartphones and iphones…. so the sample is so limited and the range is quite small, parang pasosyal list lang

      • Ranny Ace

        i totally agree, the sample is really questionable to come up with the list, i say he should have written based on opinion na lang not on these averages …. its misleading,

        • Guest

          Mas biased kaya pag based on opinion. Isa pa, kahit sino pwede magsulat ng article na “best list” pero wala namang basis maliban sa sarili nyang panlasa / opinyon.

    • luis

      Did it say.. 10 best and most reviewed restaurants in the Philippines? No, I do not think so. it says MANILA… and besides all of the restos are found in Manila. It is like you telling me that Ninoy Aquino International Airport is in Manila but actually it is in Pasay and Parañaque so chill about the geography.

      • MNLFoodcritic

        They did change the heading a week ago to Manila. Originally it was the “Philippines”. So there, just informing you. Have a good day.

      • wilfredo andaluz

        Metro-Manila, you could also call it just Manila but not Manila City. Metropolitan Manila in tagalog word is Kalakhang Maynila.

  • Justin Jonas Jocom

    Been to 7/10!

  • Candid Cuisine

    Nagi is not rebranded Butao Ramen… Nagi Japan and Butao HK Ltd are two separate entities.

  • Joma Sanchez

    Really? Project pie? 8 cuts? Magnum cafe? Tim ho wan? Are we on a budget on both money and taste here?

    • tafiwi

      Budget restaurants for sure! Should be labelled as such,

      • Francis Piñon Jr.

        These are based on reviews by people, and most people judge restos based on value for money, meaning if it’s P150 but really good (Silantro) they’d rate it higher than a P300 meal even if it’s better (for example, Chihuahua)

        Also, Tim Ho Wan is still a Michelin Star resto

        • tafiwi

          In Manila good value does not a great restaurant make. Great restaurants are world class. They do not “pile it high and sell it cheap”.
          Having said that, the quality of restaurants in Manila has improved dramatically over the past 10 years. (You should save up and try Colin McKay’s “Blackbird”.
          Tim Ho Wan is a BRANCH of a Michelin-starred restaurant.

    • Aaron Yap

      Yabang mo naman pre..pakain ko kaya sayo pera mo.

    • ayps14

      hindi lahat ng masarap ay mahal! kawawa ka naman, malamang andami mong na miss sa buhay mo sa ganyang thinking…tsk tsk!

  • July Batac

    the entire article should be rewritten. its trying very hard to be creative, but it remains at that level-very hard at trying

    • luis

      Read the whole article dear. It never tried to be creative. It merely attempted to convey what was written in the numerous reviews those places got. This is Looloo, where everyone tries to be a critic, whether its food, place or porn.
      Why not try it. you will also find out that you might have what it takes to be a critic…

  • WeESportsNow

    only one I wouldn’t agree is Project Pie. that place is ass

  • Camotee

    7/10 nasa mall…makes me wonder

  • maxxpineda

    Better clarify or incorporate in the article title that this is based on looloo app. Results are skewed to people with the app and would bother to review.

    • The title does say “most reviewed restaurants” and the article is also shared on “looloo” insights. I think those 2 things make that pretty clear.

      • maxxpineda

        Agree. However, the article is also posted on other sites without the “looloo” link. That’s the reason why it’s getting some opposing reactions. Cheers.

  • Jaybee Hizon

    This is not based on the writer’s opinion but the reviews ok?? Please read before you complain.

    • anj

      To all: kung marami kayong mga side comments about sa blog gumawa kayo ng sarili niyong blog..
      Kung sa tingin niyo na hindi best and cheap yung food gumawa kayo ng version niyo.hindi ung nagyayabangan kayo diyan.

      Affordable resto sa kapitolyo marami.. cheapest sa Binondo. At malabon.

  • Lei Z. Buffler

    There is no way that Todd English Food Hall should be on this list. People probably gave it a good rating cause it’s a Todd English restaurant and he’s supposed to be this big time celebrity chef. And maybe he is an excellent chef, but the chefs they hired to cook for his restaurant here, they’re not all that. Sure the food isn’t bad, but it really isn’t something you will think about ever again. Yes, food wasn’t bad, but definitely forgettable, save maybe for the steak my partner ordered which they served well done (despite him asking for a medium well steak) and the potatoes were undercooked. We ordered 4 kinds of pasta, chicken, 3 kinds of pizza and a whole lot of other things, and yes, still forgettable. 8 cuts however, my mouth still waters when I think about it.

  • Candid Cuisine

    Kettle as Best restaurant? I think its only in this list because of buttermilk fried chicken. but the rest of the dishes arent really that good. http://candidcuisine.net/kettle-shangrila-east-wing-chicken/

  • bobbisilver

    probably the 10 most reviewed but definitely not the 10 best.

  • EM Alarcon

    Your food preference is totally disgusting. Too much grease and I’m sure 99% of food establishments there use the cheapest kind of cooking oil that has all the heart attack inducing contents.

  • EM Alarcon

    The emergence of bad blogging is gaining a trend I’ve never seen before. Misleading and certainly devoid of facts substantiating the point/s that are being sent across the public.

  • Foodie

    Dang … what’s up with all the haters … it’s good food … enjoy some why don’t ya? Gonna try some more restos on this list.

  • Lance Halzen

    Tim Ho Wan is highly-overrated. The only thing that is good in that restaurant is their bbq pork bun. Everything else is ordinary. Such a waste of Michelin star if you ask me.

  • Guest

    dami nyo alam. !!! ahahahaha !!! que se joda ano maipost, nasasa inyo nmn yun kung trip nyo o hindi. eh yan ang d’best para sa kanya eh… ano pakelam nyo ??? mga epal amp !! ahaha . WALA din ako pakelam , ke’ sabihin pa nya na ” Best and Most-reviewed Restaurants in this F!@#$#!$ Country, cuz’ thats how he sees it

  • Guest

    dami nyo alam. !!! ahahahaha !!! que se joda ano maipost, nasasa inyo nmn yun kung trip nyo o hindi. eh yan ang d’best para sa kanya eh… ano pakelam nyo ??? mga epal amp !! ahaha . WALA din ako pakelam , ke’ sabihin pa nya na ” Best and Most-reviewed Restaurants in this F!@#$#!$ Country, o Manila, or this shitty place called Earth. cuz’ thats how he sees it. Point is, its his opinion and with the help of people who made this posted.

  • Karlo Leandro T. Carillo

    puro nsa sm mall ang karamihan. biased.

  • Dean ASH

    Loved the fact that people are complaining about the use of looloo app rating as a basis for best restos in a LOOLOO PAGE. Ohh well its the interwebs and everyone is an expert. loved the choices btw especially Silantro, Mad Marks, 8 cuts and Ramen Nagi.

  • bulteen

    If this is the top 10 in the PI its a true lack of imagination, there are 100s of better, great restos these days

  • sadas

    listing ramen nagi?? seems this so-called “food critique” hasnt even visited the ramen kings aka yushoken, hokkaido, ippudo, ukkokei, kuroda, etc. ramen nagi is nothing but highly over rated

  • sadas

    project pie??? pretty highly over rated. but i don’t hate it. i actually love the concept because it’s unique although in terms of the food, u can just go take cheaper but much more delicious pizzas around town. project pie’s pizza seems u can just make ur own pizza at home

  • anj

    To all: kung marami kayong mga side comments about sa blog gumawa kayo ng sarili niyong blog..
    Kung sa tingin niyo na hindi best and cheap yung food gumawa kayo ng version niyo.hindi ung nagyayabangan kayo diyan.

    Affordable resto sa kapitolyo marami.. cheapest sa Binondo. At malabon. Try niyo.