Just like how some boyfriends and girlfriends come and go, some restaurants don’t stay for long in our lives either. But it’s not that they have commitment issues like your ex might–a lot of them don’t have a choice but to close down because of how stiff competition is. In Metro Manila, it’s amazing to see a restaurant still doing well after a couple of years.
But of course, there are those that have proven to be exceptions to the rule, like the nine restaurants on this list! Not only have these places been around for a while, but people still fall in line to eat in them. Newbies, take notes because you could really learn a thing or two from these older establishments!
1. Abe Restaurant
Ever since they opened in 2006, Abe Restaurant has stayed true to itself. Instead of giving into fads, they’ve stuck to using authentic Filipino (mostly Kapampangan) recipes and it has obviously paid off! Considered one of the top Filipino restaurants in the country, Abe is the kind of place you’d want to bring balikbayans and foreigners to if you want to impress them.
A meal at Abe is never complete without an order of their Sinigang sa Ube, their trademark dish that’s made up of pork and fresh vegetables in a rich and flavorful purple yam broth. Another Abe signature that has made lots of customers happy over the years is the Sikreto ni Maria. This dessert might seem like nothing but ice cream but dig into it to find out what secrets lie beneath!
Abe Restaurant can be found at these locations.
2. Caution Hot! Spicy Noodle House
Maginhawa has seen the come and go of so many concepts ever since it became a popular street among business owners. Caution Hot, even though it’s kind of hidden from view, is one of the few restaurants that’s still going strong. Even before its doors open, you’ll find customers already lined up outside, eager to chow down on dumplings and noodles.
People love that they can customize their noodle orders at Caution Hot. With three kinds of broth, four different toppings, two types of noodles, and four levels of spiciness, the combinations you can create are endless! Aside from the tasty food here, it helps that their prices have always been affordable.
Caution Hot! Spicy Noodle House can be found at these locations.
3. Chili’s Grill & Bar
Chili’s has been in the Philippines for around seventeen years now but the love for this American franchise has not at all waned. After all this time, it remains to be a go-to venue for barkada reunions, family get-togethers, and Friday pig-out sessions, which means you still need to fall in line if you want to help yourself to their hearty, shareable entrees. You’ll find their branches especially packed if there’s an irresistible promo going on!
Chili’s has an insanely wide menu, complete with appetizers, burgers, fajitas, tacos, quesadillas, ribs, steaks, pastas, desserts…you name it! Some of the most popular picks here are the Bottomless Tostada Chips, the Oldtimer Burger, the Smothered Sirloin, and the Lava Cake.
Chili’s can be found at these locations.
When this Japanese restaurant first came to the country in 2014, everyone lost it. It’s the most popular Hakata-style ramen joint in the world so everyone just had to get a bowl for themselves the moment Ippudo opened their doors, even if it meant having to wait in the queue for hours. The lines aren’t as crazy today but their branches are still packed so you can’t just show up and expect to be seated right away.
There are three ramen variants to choose from at Ippudo, namely the Shiromaru Motoaji, the Akamaru Shinaji, and the Karaka-Men. Of course, it wouldn’t be the complete Ippudo experience without an order of their amazing Pork Buns!
Ippudo can be found at these locations.
5. Mendokoro Ramenba
Another ramen joint that has been drawing in crowds since 2014 is Mendokoro Ramenba, the sister restaurant of the well-loved Yushoken in Alabang. Ever since Metro Manila peeps found out that they don’t have to drive all the way to the South anymore to get superb bowls of ramen, Mendokoro has always been packed. In her looloo review, Camille S. said that they had to wait in line for an hour but it was worth it because the ramen was amazing!
One of the most popular picks here is the the Tantanmen, raved about for its rich, thick, and spicy broth (it’s the best cure to any cold!) Other bestsellers are the Shoyu Ramen, Garlic Ramen and the Super Chashu Ramen (this one’s off the menu!)
Mendokoro Ramenba can be found at V Corporate Center, Shop 18 Soliman St., Salcedo Village, Makati, Metro Manila.
6. Ramen Nagi
It’s pretty obvious that Filipinos love ramen because this is the third ramen place to make it onto the list! Ramen Nagi has been around since 2013, the same time the ramen craze was in full swing in the metro, and yet it’s still as popular as ever today.
The four classic ramen variants at Ramen Nagi that have been satisfying cravings these past years are the Butao King, Black King, Red King, and Green King. But occasionally, they’ll release limited edition ramen creations to spice things up (and that’s when their branches get especially crowded). The most recent ones they came up with are the Binagoongan King, Bicol Express King, and Cheesy Caldereta King!
Ramen Nagi can be found at these locations.
7. Wildflour Café + Bakery
Wildflour opened its first branch back in 2012 but with its hip and fresh vibe, you’d think it’s just as new as the more recent restaurants and coffee shops in the metro. Its menu doesn’t get old either, filled with hearty comfort food that’s difficult to get tired of. This is probably why you’ll find Wildflour (especially their BGC branch on weekdays) still buzzing with life five years down the road.
The Wildflour Breakfast, a feast of eggs, crispy potatoes, and your choice of sausage or bacon, The Kimchi Fried Rice, topped off with New York striploin steak and a poached egg, and their Salted Chocolate Cake, a decadent treat made with moist chocolate cake, salted caramel, and chocolate frosting are just some of the all-time top picks here.
Wildflour Cafeé + Bakery can be found at these locations.
After the ramen fever in Metro Manila came the katsu craze. And Yabu was fortunate enough to have come to the country during the time when everyone was craving for the Japanese dish. But it’s been five years, the trend has long blown over, other katsu places have shut down, and yet Yabu still has people lining up for their food. It just goes to show that they didn’t need the whole katsu hype to do well in the local dining scene!
The Rosu, Hire, and Chicken Katsu Sets have always been the top belly pleasers at Yabu. Aside from their tonkatsu, their katsudon and curry dishes keep the crowd coming back too. And of course, customers have always loved the unlimited Japanese rice and cabbage!
Yabu can be found at these locations.
9. Izakaya Kikufuji
Just by taking a glance at Izakaya Kikufuji, you can already tell it’s been around for a while. Some might say it’s need of a renovation because of how rundown it is. But its ancient look doesn’t stop the crowd from forming a line outside of its doors, proving that you don’t need to have a modern or hip vibe for people to love your food! With that said, try to come early to avoid getting hangry.
What this Japanese restaurant lacks in ambiance it makes up for in fresh, quality dishes. Some of the menu items that people rave about are the Spicy Salmon Sashimi, Spicy Tuna Maki, Tuna Nigiri, and Gyu Kushi!
Izakaya Kikufuji can be found at 2277 Chino Roces Ave., Little Tokyo, Makati, Metro Manila.