Poblacion sure has come a long way. While there are still questionable things to be found over in the Padre Burgos side (midget boxing being one of them), the area as a whole has a much better rep these days. Because of all the bars, restaurants, and cafes that have popped up, it has turned from medyo sketchy to hipster friendly!
If you want to know where the cool hangouts are this part of Makati, let this list be your guide (arranged in alphabetical order)! In the mix, we have an Indian curry restaurant, a Costa Rican reggae lounge, a healthy Middle Eastern place, a gelato spot, and a tiny (but very hip) cafe. It’s time to round up the Friday night gang and hit these places up!
1. Alamat Filipino Pub & Deli
At Alamat, guests get a deeper appreciation for local food, beer, and culture. The interior of the pub looks like it was taken straight out of the pages of a Filipino story book, the most attention-grabbing thing being a huge mural of mythical characters (spot the aswang, mangkukulam, and kapre!) As for the menu, it’s a showcase of local beer as well as traditional dishes that have been cleverly turned into pulutan.
You can start the night off with the Salted Egg Crispy Chicken Skin, Bacon Bagnet, Kare-Kare Skewers, and Piyanggang Chicken Wings and then end it with desserts like the Taho Cheesecake and Chocnut Chocolate Cake. As for drinks, they have local wine as well as fun Filipino-inspired cocktails like the Sampalok Candy, Calamansi Mojito, and Salabatman.
Alamat Filipino Pub & Deli can be found on the 2/F of 5666 Don Pedro St. cor. Alfonso St., Poblacion, Makati, Metro Manila.
2. Bean & Yolk
If you think about it, there’s nothing all that special about eggs and coffee—you can have these two things at home whenever you feel like it. But not like the way they do it at Bean & Yolk! This gem in Poblacion has serious skills when it comes to cooking eggs, utilizing different methods to create mouthwatering dishes. As for their coffee, their well-versed baristas make sure it’s just as exceptional as the food.
Cara’s Fave, brioche buns with fried egg, mozzarella, cheddar cheese, and hot honey in between, is everyone else’s fave from the menu. Other bestsellers here are the Chorizo Mama, Farmer John, and Lucy. For the full experience, be sure to order up a drink too! You can’t go wrong with their Flat White, Espresso Milkshake, Latte Gianduja, or Malagos Cold Brew.
Bean & Yolk can be found at Bel Air Soho Suites, Polaris St., Poblacion, Makati, Metro Manila.
Here’s a cozy spot you can hole up in if you’re not digging the whole drinking scene in Poblacion. At Commune, you can slow things down, chill out, and have meaningful conversations as you eat comfort food and sip on quality coffee. But the most lovable thing about this cafe is its patronage for local farmers, sourcing their single origin beans from places like Mount Matutum, Mount Kitanglad, and Sagada!
Their Grilled Cheese Sandwich, made up of brioche buns and four types of cheeses, is a favorite among customers. Other tasty eats here are the Cream Cheese, Sundried Tomato, and and Pesto Pandesal, the Peanut Butter, Guava Jelly, and Banana Sandwich, and the Apple Pie. As for coffee, their Iced Toddy and Cappuccino (comes with adorable latte art) are bestsellers.
Commune can be found at 36 Polaris St. cor. Durban St., Poblacion, Makati, Metro Manila.
A quick google search will tell you that the word ‘empingao’ is Cuban street slang for “effin’ good,” a phrase you might find yourself saying when you taste the food in this restaurant. Combining bold flavors from Brazil, Cuba, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Peru into one menu, Empingao! is the place to hit up if you want a Latin American feast. With Chef Kel Zaguirre of Locavore manning the kitchen, you know you’re in for a treat!
One of the things you should definitely get for yourself here is the Salmon Tacos which Abe C. raved about in his looloo review: “OMG, it tasted soooooo empingao! The salmon was cooked perfectly, a bit smokey and seasoned well, plus the mixture of flavors was amazing. Enjoyed every tiny bite of it.” Other things you can dig into are the Nacho Bombs, Lomo Saltado, and Pollo Ala Brasa.
Empingao! can be found at 5739 P. Burgos St. cor. San Lucas St., Poblacion, Makati, Metro Manila.
5. Holy Smokes
Can’t resist a nice rack…of ribs? If the answer’s no, Holy Smokes is the place to be. They have ribs plus so many other meaty delights, all smoked the Texas way. Taking no shortcuts, they smoke their meat for six to fourteen hours to make sure every bite you take is scrumptious. Aside from the great food, the chill ambiance is another reason to pay this joint a visit. They keep things very cool and casual around here!
If you can’t decide what to get, you can go for anything on the menu and not have any regrets. Maria Carmila M. got to sample a lot of the food and raved about all of them in her looloo review: “We tried the Beef Brisket, the Pulled Pork, and the Pork Spareribs. They were all juicy, pull-apart tender (you won’t need a fork) and full of that rich, mouth-watering smokiness.”
Holy Smokes can be found at Matilde St. cor. Jacobo St., Poblacion, Makati, Metro Manila.
6. Hummus Elijah
For everyone out there who’s struggling to hang onto their promise of eating healthier in 2018, Hummus Elijah has you covered. And don’t worry, you’re not going to be stuck with a sad bowl of salad in this Middle Eastern restaurant! Here, you can have a nutritious vegetarian meal without feeling like you’ve been deprived of the good things in life. Chef Elijah makes sure that all dishes are hearty and delicious!
If you’re dropping by in the morning, go for the Elijah’s Breakfast, a filling ensemble of two eggs, Mediterranean salad, house bread, and Turkish coffee / tea. For lunch or dinner, you can dig into their Hummus Elijah (spiced hummus with pita bread), Shakshuka (eggs covered in stewed tomato sauce), or Burekas (puff pastry filled with hard boiled egg).
Hummus Elijah can be found on the 2/F of 7850 Makati Ave., Poblacion, Makati, Metro Manila.
7. Il Fiore Gelato Lab
At Il Fiore, eating gelato doesn’t have to come with any guilt. All flavors are made from scratch by the owner (who actually flew to Italy to hone her skills in the art), using only the freshest ingredients and no preservatives. Even vegans are welcome to order here because they have non-dairy options! Aside from gelato, they also serve up vegetarian-friendly food, coffee, tea, and yoghurt.
You’re not going to run out of interesting gelato flavors to sample here, with interesting concoctions like the Pistachio Flan, Black Sesame, Pecan Pumpkin Pie, Hazelnut Stracciatella, and Cashew Cream. In her looloo review, Mae A. dished about how good the Cashew Cream flavor was: “It was very creamy with that cashew taste just shining through.”
Il Fiore Gelato Lab can be found at 4740 Salamanca St., Poblacion, Makati, Metro Manila.
8. Kanto Freestyle Breakfast
While we’ve always been told to eat healthy things for breakfast, you’re going to want to throw that rule out the door when you’re at Kanto. This street-style breakfast joint whips up hearty, delicious breakfast food that will put your sad bowl of oatmeal to shame. The best part is, they’re open around the clock so you can have breakfast for lunch, merienda, or dinner! Plus points to them too for keeping their prices affordable.
If you’re feeling extra ravenous, their Kanto Boy Breakfast meals are pretty filling, served with your choice of ulam, two eggs, garlic rice, and tomato pesto. Other drool-worthy eats here include the Ube White Chocolate Ganache Pancake, Chocnut Champorado Topped with Tuyo, and Grilled Buttered Suman with Ube, White Chocolate and Goya Ganache.
Kanto Freestyle Breakfast can be found at 5079 P. Burgos St., Poblacion, Makati, Metro Manila.
9. Poblacion Dining Room
While nothing can compare to your mom’s lutong bahay specials, the food at Poblacion can be your go-to alternative whenever your nay’s too busy to cook. Conceptualized by a group of OFWs, the menu’s made up of familiar Filipino dishes that remind the taste buds of home. The nostalgia doesn’t stop there though—the homey vibe inside this restaurant contributes to the feeling too!
You can start your meal off with some pika-pika like the Lumpiang Shanghai or the Tusok Tusok (assorted fried seafood balls). Then when you’re ready to move onto kanin and ulam, you can order up the Chicken Adobo sa Gata, the Aligue Rice and Fried Dilis, or the Inihaw na Liempo. If you’re coming on a weekend, look out for the brunch special!
Poblacion Dining Room can be found at 36 Polaris St., Poblacion, Makati, Metro Manila.
10. Pura Vida Manila
Pura Vida is Poblacion’s very own mini Costa Rica. It’s the only reggae lounge in the area so if you’re looking for chill music, mesmerizing colors, and a laid back vibe, you know where to go! Here’s how Clarissa P. described the place in her looloo review: “Loved the colorful walls and table tops, the swings by the bar counter and the simple materials like ropes that were used as decorations. So easy to love!”
As for the menu, it’s filled with typical Costa Rican food but they’re special because the recipes used are by the owner’s mom! Some of the hearty dishes you can try here are the Patacones (fried plantain), Arroz Con Pollo (chicken and rice), and Arroz Con Camarones (shrimp and rice). You can cap the meal off with a glass of their Churchill (snow cone dessert)!
Pura Vida Manila can be found at Don Pedro St. cor. Jacobo St., Poblacion, Makati, Metro Manila.
11. Royal Indian Curry House
Indian food isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but those who are into it are privy to a world of rich flavors you can’t get from any other cuisine. If you’re willing to open your tastebuds up to it, pull up a chair at Royal Indian Curry House (RICH for short)! In this Indian restaurant, you get the real deal–seventeen pages worth of authentic Indian food! This includes the staples as well as not-so-popular regional dishes.
When Reich T. tried their Murg Makhanai (butter chicken), she wrote nothing but praises for it in her looloo review: “The sauce is heavenly. A lovely mixture of tomato gravy, ghee and cream. It is an explosion of flavors! The chicken is cooked to perfection, tender and oozing with tandoori spice.” Other entrees you can dig into are Cheese Naan, Tandoori Prawn, and Chicken Curry.
Royal Indian Curry House can be found at 5354 General Luna St. cor. Makati Ave., Poblacion, Makati, Metro Manila.
The word hipster isn’t normally used to describe street food but Tambai has managed to make skewered meat all millenial and cool. They’ve turned a simple sari-sari store into a yakitori snack house that’s now frequented by the metro’s young and hip crowd. In case you didn’t know, this popular tambayan now has a second floor complete with comfy seats and a mini bar. More reason to come over and hang out!
While their offerings are a little pricey for street food, their tasty isaw might ruin you for other meat-on-a-stick variants out there. Here’s what Jek B. had to say about it in his looloo review: “Isaw will never be the same. Their 100% U.S. Beef Isaw is to die for. I don’t mind wasting my ₱40 on a small stick. Now I can’t have any other isaw. Damn.”
Tambai can be found at 5779 Felipe St., Poblacion, Makati, Metro Manila.
13. The Social on Ebro
Food parks can get real confusing, especially when there are a ton of stalls selling different things. But over at The Social on Ebro, they’re keeping things simple with only three restaurant concepts. Kashmir cooks up shareable portions of Indian street food while Crosta has a menu filled with fun pizza creations. Then there’s Bao Bar, the newest addition to the block, serving up baos and noodles!
While it may not be as big as other food parks, that doesn’t make it any less cool. Mary Love S. certainly thinks it’s a great place to hang out in Poblacion, saying this in her looloo review: “It looks very hipster. Colorful wall murals, neon lights, grass, benches, millennials having photo sessions… this place has it all to be called lit.”
The Social on Ebro can be found at 5770 Ebro St., Poblacion, Makati, Metro Manila.
14. Z Hostel Bar & Cafe
Z Hostel is pretty popular among the backpackers of Manila, loved for its nice ambiance and affordable rates. But even if you’re not a traveller lugging around a huge bag, you can still stay for a while—they’ve got great food and drinks! You can also head up to the 7th floor where you get a breathtaking view of the city! It’s undoubtedly one of the best places in Makati to chill out with the homies on a Friday night.
To kick things off, you can order up appetizers like their Tokwa’t Baboy and Chicken Buffalo Wings. And when you’re ready for the mains, their bestsellers are the Sizzling Sisig and Adobo Flakes! Unisse C. tried the latter and said this in her looloo review: “I love their adobo flakes!! Served with rice and a side of ensalada, it would be the best breakfast, lunch or dinner meal.”
Z Hostel Bar & Cafe can be found on the G/F of 5660 Don Pedro St., Poblacion, Makati, Metro Manila.