2015 Mid-Year Report: Top 10 Newly Opened Restaurants In Manila

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Metro Manila foodies are always on the lookout for new eats and treats and 2015 has introduced us to new restaurants that are sure to excite those looking for some fresh new grub.

Reviewers on looloo never miss out on the latest and the greatest in food. If you’re searching for a new happy place for your hungry tummy, try out these newly-opened restaurants in Metro Manila that were rated highly by the looloo community, the largest and most active community of reviewers in the Philippines.

10. Neil’s KitchenWestgate Center, Alabang-Zapote Rd. cor. Filinvest Ave., Alabang

Neil’s Kitchen is every artsy Instagrammer’s dream come true. But this restaurant isn’t just a pretty face. It backs up its good looks with delicious Filipino food that have had a lot of looloo reviewers giving their seal of approval. Best known for the creative spins they put on their paellas, foodies of the Metro are scrambling to get their hands on a plate so they can try it for themselves.

Neil's Kitchen, Alabang

Photo from Elaine B.’s looloo review for Neil’s Kitchen

The Sinigang Paella with Grilled Pork Belly is the intriguing dish that prompts a lot of people to visit. It’s perfect for the Filipino palate because it’s got all the flavors we’ve come to know and love. The sourness of sinigang paired with the tanginess of the paella and the grilled flavors of the pork is a combination that will leave you taking one big bite after the other. You also can’t leave without trying their signature Fried Suman (rice cake) dessert!

9. Miao Cat CafeCongressional Ave., Project 8, Quezon City

Cat lovers rejoice! Here’s a cafe that will melt your heart and will make you say “Aww, cute!” without hesitation.

Miao Cat Cafe Manila

Photo from Katrina L.’s looloo review for Miao Cat Cafe

Miao Cat Cafe is the first of its kind in Manila, a place for anyone looking to have a therapeutic time with feline (and human) friends. A 2-hour stay in this cat wonderland costs an entrance fee of ₱300 for adults and ₱150 for kids, inclusive of food and drinks. Reviewers not only enjoy the cafe’s laidback vibe but also their food: pesto pasta, meatballs and rice, and blueberry cheese cupcake, to name a few.

Customers are provided with slippers to keep the floor clean. And since cats are delicate creatures, carrying and feeding them are not allowed, but you can touch and play with them. As one looloo reviewer puts it, “I can live in this place!” Who doesn’t love the company of fluffy friends, anyway?

8. StrEat: Maginhawa Food ParkMaginhawa St., UP Village, Quezon City

Hipsters are to food trucks as hippies are to kombi vans. But what about kombi vans AS food trucks?

StrEat: Maginhawa Food Park guarantees a unique kind of cultural and gastronomic experience. StrEat aims to “bring people together” and so far, it seems to be working. The food park is teeming with youngsters, yuppies, and the young at heart.

Reviewers rave about the variety of budget-friendly options. Some favorites are buffalo wings, artisan pizza, deep fried cheese with strawberry dip, chili burgers, and gelato, most priced under ₱200. Don’t forget to try the “Carnival” milkshake that’s topped with cotton candy.

7. Bucky’s CounterJJACC Bldg., Aguirre Ave., BF Homes, Parañaque

It’s not a brownie. It’s not cake. It’s a bucky!

Bucky's Counter, Alabang

Photo from Erick B.’s looloo review for Bucky’s Counter

A bucky is like a cross between chocolate cake and a brownie. Reviewers have commended it for its subtle, perfect balance of salty and sweet.

Those living in the southern part of Metro Manila are lucky to have Bucky’s Counter in Parañaque. Here, you can choose to have your buckies (yes, that’s the plural form!) by the slice or by the box. If you want to go the extra delicious mile, have your buckies cooked as a waffle topped with ice cream and caramel sauce. Enjoy your bucky with Yardstick’s specialty coffee or warm milk available at the counter.

6. Papa Diddi’s Ice Cream CompanyMaginhawa St., Diliman, Quezon City

The rainy season is here, but it’s never too cold or rainy for some ice cream.

Papa Diddi’s Ice Cream Company takes pride in its handcrafted cool delights that range in flavor, from good old classics to funkier choices. Just when you thought you’ve tried all the flavors in the world, Papa Diddi surprises you with mango ginger, sweet basil, and kesong puti ice cream, to name a few.

Choose between Restraint (one scoop), Treat (2 scoops), and Indulgence (3 scoops). For extra yumminess, try their ice cream sandwich by picking either choco chip, oatmeal, ginger, or peanut butter cookies to go with your ice cream.

What’s more, Papa Diddi takes a farm-to-table approach, sourcing materials and ingredients directly from gardens, farms, and markets across the country.

5. Lazy BastardJupiter St., Bel-Air, Makati

Bacon: the reason most of us are not vegetarians.

Lazy Bastard, Jupiter St., Makati

Photo from Carla M.’s looloo review for Lazy Bastard

By now, your Instagram feed is probably filled with that “Long Live Bacon” neon lights sign at Lazy Bastard. This restaurant is becoming very popular, even grabbing a spot on looloo’s Most Popular Manila Restaurants last month, and for a good reason.

The bastard behind Lazy Bastard may be lazy, but this bastard sure loves bacon. Here, hot dogs are wrapped with bacon, cheeseburgers come with bacon weave and potatoes are enveloped in…yes, bacon.

If you’re seeking “inner peace through bacon” (as one looloo reviewer puts it), Lazy Bastard is your sanctuary.

4. KumoriSM City Makati, Ayala Center, Makati | The Landmark Makati, Makati Ave., Makati

Kumori, known for its cheesecakes, has baked its way into the hearts of sweet-toothed Filipinos.

Kumori Manila

Photo from Noelle A.’s looloo review for Kumori

Reviewers on looloo are expressing their cheesy love for Kumori’s bestseller: the Hanjuku Cheese Original. They claim that it “melts in your mouth” with just the right amount of sweetness, leaving them speechless and clamoring for more. Kumori’s krone, a cylinder-shaped pastry with creamy egg custard filling and snow sugar powder, is also becoming a favorite.

Kumori has branches in SM City and The Landmark in Makati, but the cheesecake gods have heeded the prayers of Quezon City dwellers. Kumori is opening a branch at SM North EDSA this coming September.

3. CoCo IchibanyaEstancia, Meralco Ave., Capitol Commons, Pasig

Hurry, curry fans! World-famous Japanese curry house CoCo Ichibanya now has a branch at Estancia Mall in Pasig.

CoCo Ichibanya Manila

Photo from Sous V.’s looloo review for CoCo Ichibanya

At CoCo, it’s all about the savory curry sauce. Some looloo reviewer favorites include shrimp cutlet curry, hamburger curry, and pork cutlet omelet curry. You get to choose rice portion sizes (from 200g to 600g) and spice levels (from mild to crazy hot). For hassle-free dining, try their set menu, which allows you to enjoy your meal with soup, a mini salad, and dessert.

With over 1,400 branches worldwide, CoCo Ichibanya holds a Guinness World Record as the largest curry chain in the world. Reviewers not only praise CoCo’s delicious curry dishes but also the excellent, speedy service even during peak hours.

2. Fireside by KettleMega Fashion Hall, SM Megamall, Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong

Word about Fireside by Kettle is spreading rapidly like wildfire. The brains behind Kettle have brought another comfort food haven for anyone who wants hearty, burp-inducing meals.

Fireside by Kettle

Photo from Sheridan V.’s looloo review for Fireside by Kettle

The list of looloo reviewer recommendations is extensive. For appetizers, try Fireside’s Hot Crab and Artichoke Dip or their well-loved Truffled Potato Chips with Blue Cheese Sauce. Main dishes like Buttermilk Fried Chicken Fingers and the 50/50 Meatloaf (50% ground bacon and 50% ground angus beef!) have received rounds of applause on looloo.

And just like any comfort food paradise, Fireside offers delicious desserts, from doughnuts to Sticky Banana Fig Pudding. The food portions are large so be sure to come in with your stomach growling in desperate hunger.

1. Cafe Seolhwa BingsuForum South Global, 7th Ave. cor. Federacion Drive, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig

Korean influence on Filipinos has not only triggered severe cases of Last Song Syndrome (LSS), emotional turmoil caused by K-dramas, and flamboyant fashion trends; it has also tickled our tastebuds with bingsu, a popular Korean dessert made of ice shavings that can make halo-halo cower in fear (you will always have a special place in our hearts, halo-halo).

Cafe Seolhwa Bingsu Manila

Photo from Nicole V.’s looloo review for Cafe Seolhwa Bingsu

Cafe Seolhwa Bingsu just opened this summer, yet it has easily grabbed the top spot on this list. A visit to the cafe makes it easy to understand why. First, the bingsu flavors will make you go crazy: brownie, strawberry, wine and fresh fruits, green tea, red bean, and so much more!

Second, the taste and texture of bingsu is pure joy, “extremely fine, soft, and pillowy,” according to a looloo reviewer. Lastly, the sizes are humongous. A serving for 2-3 people can feed up to five. The cafe also boasts other treats like ice blended drinks, mayo bowls, and rice cakes.

A sure sign that you’re eating close-to-authentic bingsu? The consistent flock of Koreans dining in the cafe. A taste of bingsu will transport you to Korea faster than you can say “annyeong-haseyo.”

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About Author

Ivee Bongosia

An introvert whose idea of working out is playing the guitar for 2 hours every day (she claims that it burns as many calories as jogging, but don’t believe her). After her "work out," she gobbles up a couple of balut penoys and bakery bread. Her ultimate dream is to walk through a corn field.