For this month’s rundown of most popular restaurants in Manila, we’ll let the numbers tell the story!
There are a total six newbies on the list, including a Cebuano restaurant popular for its lechon. There are also three restaurants that have been on the countdown for four months in a row.
And to cap it all off, the first Philippine branch of a popular Canadian coffee chain has managed to snag the number one spot! Can you guess what they are?
10. Kko Kko
Let’s start the countdown with the first of six newbies on the list! Known originally as Hoolala, Kko Kko is owned by TV personality Grace Lee, who also owns and manages Buta Wagyu and Atelier Vivanda! Kko Kko’s menu features its specialty, Korean fried chicken, as well as Korean street food and boxed meals.
But what has been making its rounds all over social media as of late is the bestselling Chicken Cheese Fondue! It’s basically melted cheese served in a bread bowl along with boneless chunks of chicken, French fries, and onion rings you can dip into the cheese! The cheese itself comes in three different flavors (original, mustard garlic, and chili cheese) and you can also pick up to two flavors for the chicken (sweet chili, oh-my-garlic, classic soy, and chili sili).
Kko Kko is located at G/F The Sapphire Bloc Building, Garnet Road, Ortigas Center, Pasig and at Paseo Center, Paseo de Roxas Street corner Sedeno Street, Salcedo Village, Makati
For those familiar with the best of Cebuano eats, Zubuchon is one of the places to go to for tender, succulent lechon. The second of the six newcomers on this list, it became popular after Anthony Bourdain called its lechon “the best pig ever” when he traveled to Cebu in 2008 for his show, No Reservations.
Lucky for all of us here in Manila, we don’t need a plane ticket to be able to taste this popular lechon because Zubuchon now has branch in Makati! So what makes Zubuchon extra special? The secret lies in the cooking method! To get that extra crispy skin Zubuchon’s lechon is known for, the skin of the pig is rubbed with coconut water before it goes through a process similar to acupuncture!
Zubuchon is located at Yakal Street corner Talisay Street, San Antonio Village, Makati
If you like the DIY experience when eating in restaurants, Nikuya is a place you’ll surely enjoy! Featuring both Japanese hot pot and Korean barbecue (the grills are smokeless!), Nikuya offers a variety of options for both specialties that make picking which soup to have for your hot pot or what kind of meat to grill easier said than done.
“I was blown away by the first spoonful,” Reich T. describes her shabu-shabu experience in her looloo review. “I didn’t mind that it is piping hot as the broth is full of flavour – it is an assault on my palate (in the most exquisite way). I absolutely love the Pork and Chicken broth. It is wow on every spoonful.”
Nikuya is located at G/F Estancia, Meralco Avenue, Capitol Commons, Pasig
7. Rico Rico
Coming in at number seven is the third of the six new restaurants on this month’s rundown! From the same group of restaurants that gave us Rambla and Churreria La Lola, Rico Rico is all about one of the Spanish dishes we know so well, paella.
In his looloo review, Dennis O. calls the Vegetales Paella as the “crowd fave,” adding that the vegetables and mushrooms “gave the paella a nice variety of texture.” If you prefer paellas with meat, there are other paella options available, such as the Carne (pork and chicken), Negra (squid ink), and Marisco (seafood).
Rico Rico is located at 4/F Food on Four, SM Aura Premier, McKinley Parkway corner 26th Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
March’s most popular restaurants list marks the fourth straight month that OOMA has ranked in the top ten! If that should tell us anything, it’s that foodies here in the metro just simply can’t get enough of OOMA’s aburi makis, hanger steak, and other bestselling dishes!
But if you’re up for a twist on your usual OOMA experience, its collaboration with 8Cuts is just what you need! Taste the perfect blend of OOMA and 8Cuts with the Soft Shell Crab ‘Wich! Generously packed with beer battered soft shell crab, mozzarella, unagi sauce, crispy salmon skin, aligue mayo, herb aioli, and mango salsa, Abe C. says in his looloo review that he “loved the crunchy texture of the beer batter and salmon skin, the juiciness and refreshing taste of the mango pico, the burnt taste of the cheese and salmon skin, and the aligue mayo and teriyaki sauce complemented things well. Perfect!”
OOMA has branches in SM Megamall, Bonifacio High Street Central, and Rockwell Center, Makati
5. Vampire Penguin
Summer’s just around the corner and the days are getting warmer as they go by. So if you’re looking for a dessert spot to help you cool down, why not head over to Vampire Penguin! Originally from California, Vampire Penguin is known for its shaved snow dessert. And yes, you read right! Shaved snow! So is it similar to shaved ice?
Despite the similarities, it’s not quite like shaved ice! With a fluffier texture, shaved snow is somewhat like the middle ground between shaved ice and ice cream. It starts of as a flavored block of ice which is shaved until it resembles fallen snow!
If you’re not up for the traditional flavors like chocolate and strawberry, give the local flavors a try! If you happen to love the combination of mango and bagoong, go for the Mango-ong shaved snow!
Vampire Penguin is located at 3/F Ayala Malls The 30th, Meralco Avenue, Ortigas Center, Pasig
4. Mighty Quinn’s
We Filipinos have an unending love affair with food and whether you’re craving for beef, pork, or chicken, your cravings will surely be satisfied over at Mighty Quinn’s, which has been on this list for four consecutive months as well!
Your order of barbecued meat comes with your choice of side vegetables, coleslaw, and either rice or bread. Not quite sure which meat to pair with which sides? Go for the Brisket with the Dirty Rice! In her looloo review, Midz S. says that the “brisket tasted heavenly! It was so tender and flavorful. It goes so well with their dirty rice, which was neither bland nor over-spiced. It was meant to go with the brisket but not to overshadow the main attraction of the plate.”
Mighty Quinn’s is located at 3/F Mega Fashion Hall, SM Megamall, EDSA corner Julia Vargas Avenue, Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong
3. Bad Bird Megamall
The fifth restaurant making its first appearance on the most popular restaurants list, Bad Bird’s umami fried chicken has been the talk of the local foodie scene ever since it became a part of Hole in the Wall. Fortunately for all of us, Bad Bird now has its own restaurant, which comes in at number three on this countdown!
While the fried chicken will always be the star of the show at Bad Bird, having its own restaurant means there’s more dishes on the menu to try! These include those from the grill, such as the Pork Belly, Bacon-Cut Short Rib, and Spiced Lamb. You can also order some small plates (or banchan) to order with your chicken! The Dashi Watercress comes as highly recommended by looloo app users!
But there’s more! Cocktails are available for those who want refreshing, Korean and Japanese-inspired drinks to go with their meal. Or if you’d rather end it on a sweet note, there’s dessert on the menu too! The Mango Dragon Fruit Swirl ice cream is a flavor you can only find at Bad Bird!
Bad Bird is located at 3/F Mega Fashion Hall, SM Megamall, EDSA corner Julia Vargas Avenue, Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong
2. Hey Handsome
The last of three restaurants with its fourth straight most popular restaurants list appearance, Hey Handsome is the place to go to for familiar Asian flavors presented in creative, unique dishes you won’t find anywhere else in the metro.
Hey Handsome offers different lunch and dinner menus for the added variety to your dining experience! If you choose to dine in for lunch, try the Chicken Rice (steeped chicken served with grilled bok choy, house soy, chili, and chicken rice) or the Fried Chicken (with house soy, squid ink kropek, coconut gravy, pickled turmeric egg, tofu, cabbage, and sambal assam).
For dinner, go for the Beetroot Paneer, which is served with quinoa tabbouleh, house yogurt, and papadum!
Hey Handsome is located at Net Park Building, 5th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
1. Tim Hortons
It may just be a recent addition to the local foodie scene but being the new kid on the block hasn’t stopped Tim Hortons from claiming the top spot! The last of the rundown’s six newbies, Tim Hortons is a Canadian coffee chain that first opened in 1964.
Don’t be surprised if unbelievably long lines greet you once you reach Tim Hortons! But once you brave that very long queue, don’t miss out on the chance to try Tim Hortons’ other specialty, the donuts! The Timbits, which are bite-sized donuts, are priced at just ₱10 each!
Tim Hortons is located at UG/F Uptown Place Mall, 36th Street corner 9th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig