Whether it’s a Sunday lunch with the family or a dinner with balikbayan relatives, going to a Filipino restaurant to eat and talk for hours on end is usually the default, no-brainer choice.
With the restaurant industry thriving in Manila, the challenge is figuring out just where to go! Thanks to the looloo community’s help, deciding which restaurant to pick is now a little bit easier. Here’s our list of the 10 best Filipino restaurants for the first half of 2015 as rated by looloo reviewers!
Get ready to ask for a second, third – let’s just not keep count – serving of rice.
10. Pino Resto BarAverage Rating: 4.24/5.00
Nestled along Malingap street near foodie wonderland Maginhawa, Chef Edward Bugia’s Pino Resto Bar serves Filipino comfort food with a playful twist. Prepare for your blood pressure to rise as this restaurant serves the best Kare Kareng Bagnet – that delectable Ilokano pork belly in annatto-peanut sauce partnered with bagoong rice. Even looloo reviewers who aren’t big kare kare fans seem to end up liking Pino’s version.
If you’d rather try something else, not to worry, as their Bagnet Binagoongan, Sisig Tacos, and Beef Salpicao are must-tries as well. All are flavorful and served in generous portions good enough for two people. For those who live in Makati, Pino Resto Bar also has a branch along Jupiter St.
Pino Resto Bar has branches in Malingap St., Quezon City, and Jupiter St., Makati.
9. Rural Kitchen of Liliw LagunaAverage Rating: 4.50/5.00
Dubbed as the “Best Local Restaurant in Manila That Opened in 2014” according to looloo reviews, Rural Kitchen of Liliw Laguna continues to receive more nods of approval this year. Its hidden location along Rada St. in Makati doesn’t stop the hordes of diners who come here looking to eat classic Filipino food in a homey atmosphere.
Complimentary bonete bread (bonnet-shaped bread from Liliw) are served with native salsa and butter, a perfect way to start off that Liliw experience. Aside from timeless Filipino dishes like lamb kaldereta, crispy squid, and mechado, looloo reviewers also rave about their bread pudding dessert with banana and ice cream.
Rural Kitchen of Liliw Laguna can be found at the HRC Center Bldg., 104 Rada St., Legazpi Village, Makati.
8. Recovery FoodAverage Rating: 4.05/5.00
From Monday’s breakfast down to this weekend’s post-party meal, Recovery Food has got you covered. Brought to us by the same people behind Mamou and Blue Kitchen, this 24/7 restaurant in Taguig serves classic Filipino dishes like tapa (Tapa De Morning), adobo (Amadobo), and tuyo (Sweet and Spicy Tuyo).
Diners can also choose between white and brown rice, providing a nice carbohydrate and protein fix to help recover after a morning jog, a drunken night out, or a busy work week.
Recovery Food has branches at the following locations: Crossroads Bldg. along 32nd St. in Bonifacio Global City, BGC Stopover Pavilion along 31st St., in Bonifacio Global City, UP Town Center in Quezon City, and Molito Complex in Alabang.
7. Dulcelin GourmetAverage Rating: 4.12/5.00
Many of you have probably heard of Dulcelin Gourmet and their famous Mango Torte. But what reviewers are now starting to discover is that they also offer a delicious assortment of dishes — from Gourmet Tuyo to Angus Corned Beef to the classic Lengua.
For starters, try their Red Rice Shiso Duo, a beautifully plated masterpiece of seared tuna with shrimp, Angus short ribs, and Japanese rice, served on shiso leaves. For dessert, while you can’t go wrong with their Mango Torte, they also have other sweets that are just as delicious. Reviewers recommend their Strawberry Cake and Key Lime Pie.
Dulcelin Gourmet can be found at the 2nd floor of UP Town Center, Katipunan Ave., Diliman, Quezon City.
6. Sisig SocietyAverage Rating: 4.08/5.00
“Sisig is comfort food,” says a lot of looloo reviewers. Who wouldn’t be consoled by a plate of sizzling meat goodness, a chunk of egg, and good old rice?
What’s even more comforting is that at Sisig Society, diners get to create their own sisig!
Begin by deciding what type of meat you want your sisig to have – pork, chicken, seafood, or tofu? Toppings? You get to choose two. Whether you want it with chorizo and cheese or bacon and mushroom is up to you. After that, decide what sisig sauce you’d like to have: their “secret” sauce, diablo, red, creamy, or sarsa? Finally, choose the starch (rice, nachos, or soft tacos) you’d like to go with your customized sizzling dish. Phew!
Think it’s too time-consuming to think about how you want to customize your sisig? Not a problem. They have five “Pick Your Sisig” combinations you can choose from. For those looking for a quick snack, they also have Sisig Nachos and Sisig Tacos!
Sisig Society can be found at the ground floor of Eastwood City Walk 1, Libis, Quezon City.
5. Neil’s KitchenAverage Rating: 4.36/5.00
A new restaurant that opened in Alabang early this year, Neil’s Kitchen offers an innovative approach to Filipino food.
Who would have thought that combining sinigang and paella in just one dish would be so perfectly matched, it easily becomes a bestseller? Or that fried suman, mango, and Chocnut would blend in blissful harmony?
Based on the looloo reviews they’ve been getting, it looks like Chef Neil Ramos has successfully combined different flavors and created unique dishes that can make anyone ask themselves, “Why didn’t I think of that?”
Top that off with his lovely food presentation and the restaurant’s quirky interior (think black-white-yellow motif, mason jar chandeliers, and a spiral staircase) and you have a restaurant that people will talk about, visit …and share on Instagram!
Neil’s Kitchen can be found at Westgate Center, Alabang-Zapote Rd. cor. Filinvest Ave., Alabang.
4. Café Mary GraceAverage Rating: 4.44/5.00
Café Mary Grace isn’t just a popular hangout spot for the #TitasofManila. Since 2006, when Mary Grace opened her cafes, foodies of all ages have been relying on this homey restaurant for their regular fill of hearty meals and delectable pastries.
They may serve what some reviewers have described as the “tastiest ensaymada,””best hot chocolate in the Philippines,” and “to die for toasted cheese rolls” but don’t think they’re all about just sweets! From pasta dishes that easily earn five stars, to salads that some have claimed to be the best they’ve had, Cafe Mary Grace offers comfort food that will provide relief to anyone who’s had a long day — or just about to start it.
Not sure which dishes to get? Some of the reviewers’ favorites are their Caesar Salad, Classic Carbonara, and Fresh Tomato and Herb Pasta. For the mango fans, do not miss their Mango Bene, a cake made with frozen layers of meringue, custard cream and sweet mangoes!
Café Mary Grace has several branches all over the metro.
3. ManamAverage Rating: 4.36/5.00
For days when your family is looking to eat at a Filipino restaurant but also want to try something new, Manam (formerly called Namnam) is your best bet.
Manam makes dining at a Filipino restaurant an easy choice by offering Filipino dishes both in its traditional and more modern, creative form. Serving classic dishes like Prawn Sinigang and Beef Belly Bulalo alongside Filipino dishes with a twist like Watermelon Sinigang, and Deep-Fried Chorizo and Kesong Puti Lumpia, it’s a dining experience that can be comforting and adventurous at the same time.
This is a safe place for families, groups, or couples who are all hangry but can’t seem decide what to order. The solution: Sampaloc Sinigang for tita, Watermelon Sinigang for you. The best part? Dishes come in three sizes: good for one, for three, or for six. So whether you’re by yourself and just want to sample multiple dishes or you’re with a big group, no need to worry about serving sizes. You can even order a Choco-Butter Nut Sans Rival good for six… just for you.
Manam can be found at Greenbelt 2 in Makati, SM Mall of Asia in Pasay, and Ayala Fairview Terraces in Fairview.
2. LocavoreAverage Rating: 4.24/5.00
Who hasn’t seen the Instagram-famous Sizzling Sinigang from Locavore? Or heard about their creative Filipino dishes like Lechon Oyster Sisig or Dinuguang Lechon? Thankfully, according to one looloo reviewer, “the hype is real!”
Aside from the good food and the modern vibe, there’s another reason to love Locavore: they support local farmers. Sticking mostly to Filipino brands and using local fruits and vegetables, they live up to the name locavore: a person who eats locally grown and produced food whenever possible. So while you munch on Gabi Chips or sip your Sexy Sili (labuyo tequila with calamansi and cucumber), take comfort in the fact that you’re also supporting local farmers and producers.
Is it any surprise that it’s tricky to get a reservation here? Some recommend to just come early! If there’s one thing we’ve noticed, it’s that looloo reviewers who have tried this fairly new restaurant seem to mostly say the same thing: they can’t wait to return!
Locavore can be found at 10 Brixton St., Kapitolyo, Pasig.
1. Sarsa Kitchen + BarAverage Rating: 4.33/5.00
The number one Filipino restaurant for the first half of 2015, Sarsa Kitchen + Bar, by Bacolod-born (and raised) Chef JP “Jayps” Anglo, is a Negrense restaurant that takes inspiration from the Filipino eating habit of using condiments and sauces.
looloo reviewers not only recommend Sarsa for those craving traditional Filipino food, but for anyone who wants to impress foreigners and balikbayans. Negrense cuisine, from the island of Negros in Visayas, is known for dishes like chicken inasal bathed in sinamak (spiced vinegar), batchoy, pancit molo, and kansi. Based on their high average rating on looloo, it looks like Chef Jayps’ versions will make you squeal, “Namit gid!” (Hiligaynon for “very delicious!”)
Reviewer favorites include their Tuna Sisig, Sizzling Kansi, and Twice Cooked Pork Belly. Their dishes are so flavorful, one reviewer claims she had to close her eyes while eating! So be ready to say goodbye to your no-rice diet when you’re here. It’ll be worth it!
Sarsa Kitchen + Bar can be found at Forum South Global in BGC, South Parking at SM Mall of Asia in Pasay, and Frabella Bldg. along Rada St., Legazpi Village, Makati.