2016 was without a doubt a very big year for the local foodie scene. With countless restaurants that opened their doors for the first time, the arrival of international franchises, and even food concepts we’ve never heard of before, there was always something new and different to look forward to.
With that being said, we bring you the ten restaurants that made it to the final monthly rundown of the most popular restaurants for 2016. Which restaurants made it to the list? Read on and find out!
Speaking of international franchises, probably the most awaited of them all last year was Pablo. Known as the number one cheese tart shop in Japan, foodies were teased about its opening for more than a year! That’s why it was no surprise that we just couldn’t hold our chill when Pablo finally arrived in Manila last September.
Foodies everywhere just couldn’t wait to taste these famous cheese tarts that the lines at the Robinsons Place Manila branch could get unbelievably long. But lucky for those who can’t head all the way to Ermita just to get their hands on them, Pablo opened a second branch in BGC!
If you happen to be on a budget and not willing to splurge on the regular-sized tarts, the BGC branch serves the mini versions! The original flavor is the best place to start, which EJ B. describes in his looloo review as “so good,” he found eating just one piece “nakakabitin.”
Pablo is located at 1/F Robinsons Place Manila, Pedro Gil Street corner Adriatico Street, Ermita, Manila, and at B2, Bonifacio High Street, 11th Avenue corner 28th Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.
American food has been such a big part of our eating habits that it’s hard to imagine life without them, especially the breakfast food. Denny’s is one of the latest American classics to reach our shores that serves up all of our breakfast favorites like pancakes and french toasts as well as burgers and other dishes perfect for lunch or dinner.
Be prepared for a heavy meal because one thing that foodies love most about Denny’s is the sheer size of its portions! The Choco Overload Peanut Butter Pancake Plate, for example, has two buttermilk pancakes loaded with chocolate chips (both milk chocolate and white chocolate!) that are topped with fudge and peanut butter drizzle. Sound heavy already? That’s not all! These pancakes are served with two eggs, two strips of bacon, and hash browns. Wow!
Denny’s is located at G/F Uptown Parade, 9th Avenue corner 38th Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, and at Vista Mall Sta. Rosa, Sta. Rosa-Tagaytay Road, Santa Rosa, Laguna.
8. Din Tai Fung (BGC branch)
Though we know Chinese cuisine as well as our own, it was only when Din Tai Fung opened in the country that we learned that we’ve been missing out on a goodness that came in the form of soup-filled steamed dumplings known as xiao long bao.
For a while, we needed to brave the terrible traffic just to reach Ortigas and have a taste of the xiao long bao and needless to say, Din Tai Fung was long overdue for a second branch. Fortunately, the food gods seem to have answered our prayers and now we can enjoy Din Tai Fung’s offerings in BGC! Just like the Megamall branch, you can still watch as these little pockets of deliciousness are being made.
Din Tai Fung is located at C1, Bonifacio High Street Central, 5th Avenue corner 28th Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig and at the G/F of Mega Fashion Hall, SM Megamall, Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong.
A newcomer on the top ten most popular restaurants list, Providore is pretty much like a jack of trades, housing a bar, bistro, and even a section where you can buy pastries and other sweet treats! It may sound like a lot but once you step inside Providore, you’ll see firsthand that it’s all about simplicity, going back to basics, and serving delicious comfort food.
One dish you shouldn’t miss out on trying is the Steel Plate Cooked Garlic Butter Salpicao Steak. Made up of US beef slices, chili, garlic, native onions, and olive oil, Norman Lester T. says in his looloo review that this dish “is made for that order of extra rice.” It’s so good that Cindy S. adds in her looloo review that “the salpicao steak was so tender and full of flavor. You can’t help but drizzle the sauce on your rice!”
Providore is located at G/F SM Aura Premier, McKinley Parkway corner 26th Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.
6. Hey Handsome
Have you heard of Peranakan cuisine before? No? But what if we tell you that you’ve probably tasted Peranakan flavors before? If you still can’t believe it, you’re long overdue for trip to Hey Handsome.
The origins of Peranakan cuisine are a lot closer than you probably think. It’s a harmonious, mouthwatering blend of flavors from Asian cuisines like Indonesian, Singaporean, and Thai. Hey Handsome’s menu may come across as exotic but if you want to try a sure winner, the Beetroot Paneer is a favorite and recommended dish among looloo app users!
Composed of a beetroot paneer, quinoa tabbouleh (a salad-type dish with tomatoes, parsley, mint, and onions), house yogurt, and papadum (thin, crisp, seasoned dough), Jayson J. hails it as one of Hey Handsome’s best dishes in his looloo review.
Hey Handsome is located at Net Park Building, 5th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.
5. Genki Sushi (UP Town Center branch)
We’ve always admired Japan for the speech and efficiency of the country’s services. But as we wait for the same thing to happen in the Philippines, the opening of Genki Sushi gave us a taste of Japan’s fast, high-tech service by serving its sushi, sashimi, and other dishes on bullet trains and even Astro Boy-shaped serving trays!
For those who live, work, or study in the Katipunan area, Genki Sushi opened its second branch at UP Town Center! And just like its BGC counterpart, there’s no asking waiters for the menu or to jot down your order. Everything, from viewing the menu to placing your order, is done on the iPad available at each table! And if you happen to love green tea, you can get unlimited cups of this hot drink to go with your sushi!
Genki Sushi is located at G/F Phase 2, UP Town Center, Katipunan Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City, at 2/F Ayala Malls The 30th, Meralco Ave., Ortigas Center, Pasig, and at 2/F Bonifacio Stopover, 31st St. cor. Rizal Drive, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.
4. Paradise Dynasty
Wondering where you can find the multicolored xiao long bao making its rounds in social media? Then head to S Maison over at the Conrad Hotel where you can find Paradise Dynasty!
Each of the eight colors you’ll find in your basket of xiao long bao actually corresponds to a particular flavor. For the best xiao long bao experience start with the original flavored one, which you’ll find in the center, before moving clockwise starting from the green-colored one (ginseng). Without looking at the menu, try guessing every flavor for more fun!
Paradise Dynasty is located at 2/F S Maison at Conrad Manila, Seaside Boulevard corner Coral Way, Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay.
3. Grub Hub
If there was any food concept that reigned supreme in 2016, it’s the food park. Having so many food stalls around you is both a treat and an adventure on its own, making food parks an ideal place for food trips with family and friends.
Among all the food parks sprouting left and ride all over the metro, Grub Hub is probably the trendiest, hippest one out of the bunch. Its stalls are housed in what is called the Hobbit Hall, which is inspired by the hobbit holes of The Lord of The Rings!
If you’re a frequent visitor of the UP Diliman/Maginhawa area, you’ll also find two familiar names in Grub Hub. The famed barbecue joint in UP, Mang Larry’s Isawan, has made another home in this colorful, artsy food park along with Wicked Kitchen, which is known among foodies for its desserts named after the Seven Deadly Sins.
Grub Hub is located at 47 Visayas Avenue corner Congressional Avenue Extension, Quezon City.
2. Mighty Quinn’s
They say there’s nothing quite like the original but when it comes to ribs and other barbecued meat, that means flying to the United States to taste the real deal. Easier said than done, right? So what’s the next best thing? Have them come to us instead! Luckily, this is what New York’s very own Mighty Quinn’s did when it opened in SM Megamall last December 12.
Try the Brisket, which is Mighty Quinn’s famous best selling dish. “What can I say about it?” April H. asks in her looloo review. “OMG. THIS. WAS. GOOD.” If you’re the type who just can’t say no to succulent, tender ribs, order the Brontosaurus Ribs! Good for 2-3 persons, Edwin I. describes it as “nicely seasoned , balanced sweetness, saltiness, and tang” in his looloo review.
Mighty Quinn’s is located at 3/F Mega Fashion Hall, SM Megamall, EDSA corner Julia Vargas Avenue, Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong.
1. OOMA (BGC branch)
Landing in at first place is a restaurant known among Japanese cuisine-loving foodies for its aburi makis! In fact, it’s become so popular that it’s made a total of seven appearances on looloo’s monthly top ten most popular restaurants list for 2016!
Following its branches in Megamall and Rockwell, OOMA has brought its famous aburi maki to Bonifacio Global City! For those unfamiliar with aburi makis, these are makis that are torched on top. Instead of dipping your maki into the sauce, you’re made to brush the sauce onto the maki instead!
The Scallop and Tuna Aburi Maki is favorite among looloo app users. Other varieties of aburi maki that OOMA offers include Salmon Skin, Steak, and Hamachi and Kani.
OOMA is located at LG/F Bonifacio High Street Central, 7th Avenue corner 30th Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, at 3/F Mega Fashion Hall, SM Megamall, EDSA cor. Julia Vargas Ave., Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong, and at Edades Tower and Garden Villas, Amorsolo Drive, Rockwell Center, Makati.