If you’re looking at yourself right now, pants tighter, gut protruding more, and arms jigglier, just know that you’re not alone. The holidays happened to all of us and there’s absolutely nothing to be ashamed of!
If you’re looking for a reason to delay your first gym session for the new year, enjoy this little throwback first of the top ten restaurants in Manila for December last year. They may be the reason for the extra fluff on our bodies, but there should be no regrets!
The Christmas season meant parties and reunions left and right. But instead of bringing big kalderos of kare-kare or adobo to potlucks, a lot of us went over to Locavore instead and enjoyed hearty Filipino food there. Because the only thing that’s better than homemade dishes are ones that are locally grown, locally produced, and locally made.
We dug into their famous Kare-Kare Wings, Mac’s Boneless Fried Chicken, Lechon Oyster Sisig, and Sizzling Sinigang with no remorse!
Locavore can be found at 10 Brixton St., Kapitolyo, Pasig, Metro Manila.
9. Your Local
Like some kind of a legend that just won’t blow over, the people of Manila are still spreading stories about their great dining experiences at Your Local.
Ian V. is one of the ravers, recounting in his looloo review how his first visit went: “Been hearing about this place from friends. We ordered the Steak Fried Rice, Braised Beef Pasta, and some red wine. The plating was just amazing. Like a lot of thought and effort were put into making the dishes. Waiters and waitresses were friendly and approachable and they know the menu like the back of their hands. Try chatting with them and you could have a nice conversation.”
Your Local can be found on the G/F of Universal LMS Bldg., 106 Esteban St., Legazpi Village, Makati, Metro Manila.
At Morganfield’s, pigs can definitely fly. Flown in all the way from Spain, their spare and baby back ribs are cut from Iberian pigs. These hogs are probably on a stricter diet than any us, fed only on acorns which make their meat tender and flavorful.
Big doesn’t even begin to describe the monstrosity of Morganfield’s ribs. Their signature full slab spare ribs are a whopping thirteen inches long and almost eight inches wide. That’s about the size of a MacBook! Not to mention every order weighs in at around 1 to 1.2 kilograms (2.2 – 2.6lbs). You’re gonna need every inch of your belly space to fit it all in!
You get to choose from four variants of Sticky Bones Spare Ribs, namely the Hickory BBQ Spare Ribs, the Garlicky BBQ Spare Ribs, the Spicy Asian BBQ Spare Ribs, and the Smoked Peppercorn Spare Ribs.
Morganfield’s can be found on the 2/F of Uptown Place Mall, 36th St. cor. 9th Ave., Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, Metro Manila.
7. Silantro Fil-Mex
Countless times it’s been on this list. And countless times we’ve raved about their Beef Nachos and Silantro Quesadilla. And we’ll probably continue doing so until we’re old and grey because we can’t seem to help ourselves around these dishes.
But this time, let’s talk about the other items on Silantro’s menu that also deserve a share of the limelight. According to Reann G. in her looloo review, they ordered the Lamb Chop in medium-well and it was the perfect doneness. The meat was flavorful and the side of gravy made it even more impossible to not lick the plate clean.
As for Ruth S., she says in her looloo review that her favorite were the Caliente Wings–five huge, juicy pieces that were the perfect breather from all the cheese on the nachos and quesadilla.
Silantro Fil-Mex can be found at these locations.
If you’ve had it up to here *points to head* with ramen, there’s another Japanese food item that might start off a fresh, new craze. Okonomiyaki, aka Japanese “pancakes” or “pizzas,” are made by grilling whatever ingredients your taste buds fancy. And now that Japanese franchise Dohtonbori has opened in Manila, we’ve been grilling and eating a whole lot the past month!
Their bestseller is the Deluxe Okonomiyaki because it’s loaded with EVERYTHING like squid, pork, shrimp, octopus, beef, scallops, and chicken. It’s highly encouraged that you cook your own okonomiyaki to get the whole Dohtonbori experience, plus you’ll feel like a badass Iron Chef. Or you can just sit back, relax, and watch as the pros do the grilling for you.
Dohtonbori can be found at Missouri Square, 8 Missouri St. cor. Connecticut St., Greenhills, San Juan, Metro Manila.
5. Le Petit Souffle
Le Petit Souffle’s interiors can make any ho hum day feel like a special occasion, as Ruth S. gushes on in her looloo review: “From the outside, you can already see how beautiful the place is. And when you go in, you just can’t help but fall in love! It is very pretty! Being inside feels like you’re in a beautiful garden. Calm, quiet, peaceful, and very relaxing. Every corner was designed so well.”
But it’s not just the romantic ambiance that turns blah days around. Their food’s pretty magical too. You’ve probably already heard an earful about their bestselling Japanese Beef Curry Souffle, but make sure you’ve tried their desserts as well. The Valrhona Guanaja 70% Dark Chocolate Souffle, the Matcha Souffle Pancake, the Salted Egg Caramel Parfait, and the Manchego Parmesan Cheesecake mustn’t be missed!
Le Petit Souffle can be found on the 3/F of Century City Mall, Kalayaan Ave. cor. Salamanca St., Poblacion, Makati, Metro Manila.
OOMA was an obvious pick for last month’s festivities. Designed with Japan’s Tsukiji Market in mind, dining at this restaurant will make you feel part of an intimate neighborhood. Which made it the perfect place for chatty family reunions and rambunctious barkada eat ups during the holiday season.
If you haven’t experienced the warmth of OOMA’s comfort food, here are some of the dishes you can’t miss out on according to Dennis O. in his looloo review: the perfectly seared Tuna Tataki, the O-Gyoza topped with melted mozzarella, the Tori Karaage wrapped in shoestring potatoes, and the bestselling tender Hanger Steak.
OOMA can be found on the 3/F of Mega Fashion Hall, SM Megamall, EDSA cor. Julia Vargas Ave., Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong, Metro Manila.
3. The Halal Guys
They’ve done it again! Ever since their much-awaited opening in October, they’ve consistently been on this list. Which goes to show how badly everyone wants to get their hands on these Guy’s Gyro and Chicken Platters. The holiday season seemed to have given everyone bigger appetites, hence the undying lines at their Megamall branch last month.
But fret not if you have no patience for long queues because they have a new stall in BGC, and it has two cashiers for faster service! With no tables to eat on, you get an authentic street food experience just like how they do it in The Big Apple. Order up your platters and sandwiches and pick a spot in the park for an instant picnic!
Also noteworthy: aside from their to-die-for white sauce, they now have barbecue sauce too!
The Halal Guys can be found at these locations.
2. BLK 513
Come to the dark side…there’s frozen yogurt!
BLK 513’s froyo may look like something Darth Vader would eat, but don’t let its unusually dark color scare you. It’s the first of its kind in Manila to make use of organic activated charcoal, loading every cup (or cone) up with several healthy properties. A helping of this stuff and you get body detoxing, anti-aging, and anti-bloating benefits. Who knew crossing over to the dark side would be so good for us?
You can customize your US premium soft-serve yogurt with indulgent artisan sauces like Cereal Milk, Hot Nutella Fudge, Spice Cookie Caramel, and Salted Chocolate Gravy, as well as crunchy bits like Oreo Pie, Dark Chocolate Macaroon Granola, and White Chocolate Oldie.
BLK 513 can be found on the 2/F of Mega A, SM Megamall, EDSA cor. Julia Vargas Ave., Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong, Metro Manila.
1. Din Tai Fung
The dumpling gods must have heard our pleas because Din Tai Fung is finally in Manila! This Michelin Star restaurant from Taiwan has become world-renowned for something seemingly simple–steamed pork dumplings. But once you open your bamboo steamer basket to reveal these famous xiao long baos, you know they’re nothing short of artistic.
The minced pork is delicately wrapped in translucent, melt-in-your-mouth dough skin, pleated and twisted at the top to hold everything in (try counting the folds because the perfect DTF XLB has at least eighteen!) Once these little parcels are steamed, the gelatinous substance in the pork melts to create the flavorful soup we love slurping so much.
While you’re waiting to be seated, you can watch the chefs at work in the open kitchen, their hands rolling and wrapping away with mesmerizing deftness. If you think it would be a fun job, just know that it takes years to perfect the DTF craft!
Din Tai Fung can be found on the G/F of Mega Fashion Hall, SM Megamall, EDSA cor. Julia Vargas Ave., Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong, Metro Manila.