The holidays have come and gone and now it’s time to take a look at the restaurant scene’s highlights for 2014.
We’ve tallied up a list of the 10 most popular Metro Manila restaurants based on the number of reviews written last year by the looloo community, the largest and most active community of reviewers in the Philippines.
Keep in mind that since the ranking is solely based on the quantity of reviews, these restaurants don’t necessarily have the highest ratings in Metro Manila, but they were definitely the most written about.
10. IppudoSM Megamall
Number of Reviews in 2014: 170
Average Rating for 2014: 4.41 / 5.00
It’s been four months since the Ippudo branch in Manila opened. And yet, the crazy long line just to get a table hasn’t gotten any shorter. With an average rating of 4.41 out of 5, diners obviously don’t mind waiting to get a bowl of their fresh Hakata-style ramen. Brought in by the same group behind Yabu – known for expanding restaurants fast, we can only hope that a few more branches open up soon.
9. KettleShangri-la Plaza
Number of Reviews in 2014: 173
Average Rating for 2014: 4.09 / 5.00
If there’s one thing we’ve learned from reading looloo reviews last year, it’s that the Buttermilk Fried Chicken from Kettle is something that shouldn’t be missed. Have a quick look at their looloo listing and you’ll read fried chicken descriptions ranging from “huge, juicy and crispy” to “magical.” With their newly-opened branch in SM Aura, there’s now another location where you can taste their “magical” chicken.
8. Wicked KitchenMaginhawa
Number of Reviews in 2014: 179
Average Rating for 2014: 4.27 / 5.00
Wicked Kitchen, 2014’s most-reviewed restaurant in Maginhawa, shows us that happiness can actually be bought… in the form of desserts that is. Just ask reviewers who have raved about their appropriately named sinful desserts like Greed (skillet S’mores made with melted chocolate, puffed marshmallows, and graham crackers) and Gluttony (a giant freshly-baked chocolate chip cookie topped with ice cream, whipped cream, and chocolate sauce). These desserts may be extra sinful but as one reviewer described it, the taste is “heavenly.”
7. Ramen YushokenMolito Complex
Number of Reviews in 2014: 191
Average Rating for 2014: 4.49 / 5.00
One of the first ramen restaurants to open back in 2012, Ramen Yushoken has not just withstood the test of time but also the sheer number of ramen restaurants and ramen chains opening up in the city. They’ve built a solid following with patrons coming all the way from the north end of Metro Manila, willing to drive to Alabang and pay toll fees for a warm bowl of their famous Shoyu or Tantanmen ramen with a side of, according to one reviewer, “god-sent” gyoza.
6. Silantro Fil-Mex CantinaKapitolyo
Number of Reviews in 2014: 204
Average Rating for 2014: 4.34 / 5.00
Silantro has been the example for under-the-radar consistency over the years. Those in-the-know probably think that the place is a bit too discreet for its own good, but we wouldn’t be surprised if some loyal patrons of the Fil-Mex restaurant prefer that they stay that way — their own little secret cantina for super affordable Fil-Mex grub and cheap beer.
5. 8Cuts Burger BlendsSM Megamall
Number of Reviews in 2014: 221
Average Rating for 2014: 4.11 / 5.00
8Cuts picked up on the success of Burger Bar in Greenbelt and took off with it, opening branches all over the metro and capitalizing on the mega crowds at SM Megamall’s new Mega Fashion Hall. Turns out Filipinos are wiling to spend a bit more for higher quality burgers that go beyond the usual toppings. With the ability to totally customize their burger, from the bun to the beef blend to the toppings and sauces, casual burger fans are leveling up into burger connoisseurs. The premium burger segment in Manila is definitely heating up but in terms of popularity, 8 Cuts looks to be the burger joint to beat right now.
4. Todd English Food HallSM Aura
Number of Reviews in 2014: 275
Average Rating for 2014: 4.15 / 5.00
Todd English may have played the celebrity chef card to get the ball rolling at first, but with the reviews they’ve gotten, it’s clear that the place is so much more than just the name on a door. Global cuisines are spread out and served across 9 food stations around the hall, where diners can order anything from Charred Octopus to Lobster Guacamole, Seared Scallops to Crispy Eggplant Flatbreads.
3. Magnum Manila CafeSM Aura
Number of Reviews in 2014: 336
Average Rating for 2014: 4.18 / 5.00
Given how much Filipinos love the insanely-popular ice cream bar, even the worst of fortune-tellers could foresee what would happen when it opened. Hordes of people falling in crazy long lines for ₱100 fancified variations of Magnum, dipped in and topped with all sorts of sugary-sweet concoctions. Now that the hype has died down a bit, and with the introduction of savory menu items, it looks like there’s no better time to visit.
2. Tim Ho WanSM Megamall
Number of Reviews in 2014: 361
Average Rating for 2014: 4.23 / 5.00
Was there any doubt that Tim Ho Wan would make the list? Probably one of, if not the most-hyped of 2014’s lineup of restaurant openings, the place still has people getting in line to try their famous barbecued pork buns. With demand for the baked buns surging through the roof, they even had to limit the number of orders per person at some point. More than 6 months later, if you haven’t paid the place a visit yet, let us just say… you’re missin’ out on some tasty buns, hun.
1. Ramen NagiSM Aura
Number of Reviews in 2014: 417
Average Rating for 2014: 4.38 / 5.00
People must love reviewing ramen! Ramen Nagi had the most number of reviews submitted by looloo reviewers in 2014. It looks like reviewers loved talking about and taking photos of Nagi’s ramen bowls served in colorful broth ranging from deep black, bright red to deep green.
With three ramen restaurants making it to the list and Ramen Nagi at numero uno, 2014 looks to be the “Year of the Ramen.”