From international franchises both long awaited and unexpected to restaurants that are proudly homegrown, the local foodie scene welcomed so many food concepts that kept us on our toes in 2016.
For this rundown, we’ve put together ten newly-opened restaurants that have received the most number of reviews and hailed as the most popular for the year! Of the ten, three came from FooDee Global Concepts Group while two came from the Tasteless Restaurant Group!
Did your favorite newbie make it to the list? Only one way to find out!
10. Uma Uma Ramen
(Opened June 2016)
Speaking of international franchises, one that traces its roots to Fukuoka, Japan is Uma Uma Ramen. Uma Uma Ramen takes pride in its MSG-free broth that is slow-cooked for nearly 20 hours to get that rich, pure umami flavor we all look for and love in Japanese food.
Those who shy away from thick soup-based ramen will enjoy the signature Uma Uma Ramen! In her looloo review, Unisse C. said the broth is a “winner,” describing it as “rich, creamy but it wasn’t very salty!”
Uma Uma Ramen is located at 2/F S Maison at Conrad Manila, Seaside Boulevard corner Coral Way, Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay and at 2/F Uptown Parade, 9th Avenue corner 38th Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.
9. High Street Cafe
(Opened March 2016)
A new hotel means a new buffet restaurant to add to our foodie bucket lists.
In 2016, we welcomed the third and newest Shangri-La hotel here in the metro, Shangri-La at The Fort. With it came High Street Cafe, a food hall-style buffet restaurant that houses a total of nine stations filled with delicious, picture-perfect selections for all its diners.
Included in these nine stations (which are called neighborhoods) are the seafood bar and a full rotisserie station. Many looloo reviewers have also praised the restaurant’s dessert spread! High Street Cafe also allows its guests to make their own hot chocolate as well as desserts using liquid nitrogen. So cool!
High Street Cafe is located at 2/F Shangri-La at The Fort, 30th Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.
8. Passion by Gerard Dubois
(Opened April 2016)
Anyone with a sweet tooth will agree that one of the best things in life is to have a display of colorful, varied cakes, pastries, and other sweet treats greet you the moment you step into a restaurant. This is the exact kind of welcome you’ll get at Passion by Gerard Dubois, which you’ll find at the Net Park Building in BGC.
From tarts and macarons to even gelato, Passion by Gerard Dubois has everything a dessert lover would look for. But even if you’re not a fan of sweets, you can also find savory options like salads and pasta in case you’re looking to have a full meal at Passion!
If you happen to crave for pizzas, try the Smoked Salmon Sourdough Pizza. “The texture of the sourdough is just perfect,” says Dana P. in her looloo review. It fact, she loves it so much that she says she’ll be back for more of it!
Passion by Gerard Dubois is located at Shop C2, Net Park Building, 5th Avenue corner 28th Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.
7. Coffee Project
(Opened May 2016)
One of the most important things we look for in a cafe is a good ambiance and without a doubt, Coffee Project nailed it to a T. Coffee Project is one of the most beautiful cafes we’ve ever seen here in the metro and you’ve probably seen countless photos of its garden-themed interiors (especially those breathtaking flower chandeliers!) making their rounds in social media.
But even as you enjoy the ambiance and take countless photos of the place, don’t forget to have a taste of Coffee Project’s drinks! The Green Matcha ice blended drink is perfect for all those who can’t get enough of this Japanese tea flavor. Katrina S. even calls it “love at first sip” in her looloo review! Looking for delicious, honest-to-goodness coffee without too many add-ons? Coffee Project’s take on the Caphe Sua Da (Vietnamese iced coffee) is a hit among many looloo app users!
Coffee Project is located at Wil Tower Mall, E. Lopez Drive, Diliman, Quezon City, and at 3/F Star Mall Alabang, Star Mall Service Road, Alabang, Muntinlupa.
(Opened March 2016)
Chicken sandwiches have been a favorite alternative for those who don’t like eating beefy burgers. If you’re looking for an upgrade from those chicken sandwiches you find in fast food joints, go ahead and try Fowlbread!
Its take on the chicken sandwich includes a fried chicken breast, crispy chicken skin (which foodies absolutely love!), house umami seasoning, Szechuan bread, and butter pickles. You even get control over the spice level of your sandwich!
Craving for a heftier meal? FowlBread also has noodles, potstickers, fried rice, and other sides on its menu. But if you just want to stick to the good old chicken sandwich, guess what? You can go for a Double Chicken Sandwich!
FowlBread is located at B4, Bonifacio High Street, 11th Avenue corner 28th Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.
5. Cafe Kumori
(Opened January 2016)
Ever since it first opened in 2015, Kumori’s Japanese-style cheesecakes and other pastries and breads have created such a loyal following among foodies that the takeout counters in Landmark and SM Makati are simply just not enough. Lucky for us, Kumori expanded and opened Cafe Kumori in 2016!
Joining its signature cheesecakes and other popular offerings like the Krone (a tube-shaped pastry filled with cream) are the Instagrammable milkshakes, which come in flavors such as matcha, sweet corn, and chocolate hazelnut. You can also find Kumori’s version of the cheese tart, which comes in either original or matcha!
Cafe Kumori is located at G/F The Block, SM City North EDSA, EDSA corner North Avenue, Quezon City.
4. Hobing Korean Dessert Cafe
(Opened February 2016)
Those who love all things Korean and all things sweet got the best treat ever when patbingsu cafes started opening around the metro. Patbingsu, which is a dessert composed of shaved ice topped with fruits, condensed milk, and other toppings, is a popular snack in South Korea and given the warm climate here in the Philippines, Filipinos easily fell in love with it!
Hobing Dessert Cafe serves patbingsu in a variety of flavors, which includes the classic injeolme, mango, and strawberries! Love cheese? While Hobing has a cheese-flavored bingsu, why not try other flavor combinations and order the Mango Cheese or BerryBerry Cheese bingsu!
Hobing Dessert Cafe has branches in Bonifacio Stopover, SM Megamall, Glorietta 4, and Lucky Chinatown Mall.
(Opened July 2016)
Just when you thought that the froyo craze is a thing of the past, it comes back stronger than ever with Llaollao leading the charge. Llaollao, which is pronounced as yao-yao, is actually a Spanish brand (FooDee Global Concepts Group brought it to the country!) known for its zero trans fat and gluten-free yogurt!
If you want to make the most of your Llaollao experience, order the Sanum! You get to choose three fresh fruits, two crunches, and one sauce to put on your froyo. Need some suggestions for possible fruit, crunches, and sauce combinations? According to Joanne G.’s looloo review, she went for fresh strawberries, mangoes, kiwi, oreo bits, Lotus biscuits, and hazelnut sauce for her Sanum.
If you want a fruitier Sanum, try Sandra Y.’s combination: almond brittle, Crunch, strawberries, mango, dragon fruit, and mixed berry sauce! She describes the froyo as a “happy treat” in her looloo review, adding that “the frozen yogurt itself is already good. The toppings create another dimension of taste.”
Llaollao is located at G/F Glorietta 2, East Drive, Ayala Center, Makati, and at Entertainment Mall, SM Mall of Asia, JW Diokno Boulevard, Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay.
2. Freezer Burn
(Opened July 2016)
Ketchup Mayo ice cream? Churros you can dip in dark chocolate ice cream? An ice cream flavor with cookies, Nips, Cloud 9, marshmallows, stracciatella, and meringue? We never thought these were possible until Freezer Burn came and changed how we know desserts.
Part of the Tasteless Restaurant Group, everything about Freezer Burn just screams fun and excitement! It’s Bonifacio High Street store is literally inspired by a freezer and its composed desserts ooze creativity like we’ve never seen before. The BBPPBB, for example, is composed of a Browned Butter Pecan Peanut Butter Banan ice cream paired with peanut butter waffle slices!
But what we love most about Freezer Burn is that it dishes out new offerings for special occasions! Freezer Burn served composed desserts such as the Simbang Gabi (salted egg ice cream with bibingka) for Christmas and Lemon Chicken Ice Cream (lemon ice cream with a side of crispy chicken skin) for Chinese New Year!
Freezer Burn is located at G/F B3, Bonifacio High Street, 11th Avenue corner 28th Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.
1. Pound by Todd English
(Opened February 2016)
Here in Manila, the words food hall have become synonymous to the name Todd English. It’s no surprise because we have the celebrity chef to thank for introducing and popularizing the food hall concept here in the metro with his collaboration with the FooDee Global Concepts Group, Todd English Food Hall. In fact, one of the stations of his food hall became such a crowd winner that it was given its own spinoff restaurant!
Serving hefty but affordable burgers sliders, Pound by Todd English snags the top spot as the most popular newly-opened restaurant of 2016! In fact, looloo app user Nicole A. calls Pound by Todd English “definitely one of the best” she’s ever had in her looloo review, describing the T. E. Crispy Chicken Burger as “crispy and so beautiful.”
“When I took a photo of it, It was like I fell in love with how good looking it was,” she explains. “But the taste makes it even more satisfying to the bones. The chicken was seasoned with the right ingredients, combined with the lettuce and the sauce and it’s just.. it’s everything.”
Pair it with the Todd English Poutine, which has also been receiving rave reviews!
Pound by Todd English is located at B3, Bonifacio High Street, 11th Avenue corner 28th Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.