2021 was a rollercoaster for many industries, and the hospitality industry was no different. Many vendors lost their livelihood from restaurant closures to franchise downsizing as tourism slowed. However, the rich food scene in the Philippines won’t go down without a fight, and food in Manila is still some of the best you’ll find in South East Asia.
What Does Filipino Food Taste Like?
True to the Filipino culture, food in Manila is a vibrant and exciting combination of flavours and textures. Dishes in the Philippines are made for sharing, and the giant portion sizes bring with them feelings of comfort and warmth. You’ll often see large groups sharing multiple servings of street food in Manila, so don’t feel like you need to have everything at once! If you can visit with a friend, make the most of the rich flavours and order two or three smaller plates between you.
In Manila, street food plays a huge part in day-to-day life, with many locals choosing to have their meals on the go. Wander down any main road in the city, and you’ll find plenty of street vendors hawking everything from steaming noodle dishes to piping hot bowls of stew. If you visit one of the city’s many markets, you’ll have even better luck, with unique scents and mouth-watering fare available every few steps.
Fresh produce is key when it comes to high-quality foods in Manila. Seafood, in particular, is incredibly popular, with scallops, tuna, and shellfish appearing on the majority of menus across the city. If that isn’t your thing, many Manila foods are based on sweet, tropical fruits native to the islands – keep an eye out for mango and coconut, present in many desserts and appetizers.
10 Of The Best Restaurants In Manila
Whether you’re after contemporary cuisine, or more traditional food, Manila is home to restaurants to suit every taste. Here are 10 of the best restaurants in Manila for you to try out during your visit.
Barbara’s Heritage restaurant
If you’re after a taste of classic Filipino cuisine, Barbara’s Heritage Restaurant is your first stop. Located in the heart of Metro Manila, this restaurant serves up some of the best food in Manila amongst the best ambience possible. Join hungry revellers in the evenings as they dig into delicious Filipino dishes and listen to the sweet sounds of live musicians playing gentle jazz and reggae tunes.
The menu here is limited, but what Barbara’s lacks in quantity, they make up for in quality. Taste the classic adobo, washed down with a sweet fruit juice or local beer. Be warned, though – this place is popular, so show up early if you want to get a table!
Location: Plaza Sans Luis Complex, General Luna St, Intramuros, Manila, 1002 Metro Manila, Philippines
Opening hours: 1100 – 1400 and 1800 – 2100 every day
Phone: +63 (0)2 527 4083
Many of the best restaurants in Manila are influenced by European cuisine, and Baker J’s is no different. Walk past the Crimson Hotel, and you’ll smell rich, delicious scents that belong in a Parisian patisserie. With traditional pastries and French baking techniques, everything about Baker J’s screams decadence, and makes for a perfect on-the-go meal at any time of day.
Want to slow down? Grab a seat amongst the charming European décor, and sink your teeth into one of the café’s famous pain au chocolat in a true French style. If you’re after a larger meal, Baker J’s offers contemporary and Filipino cuisine as well. Sample some of the best eggs benedict in the city, or relax with a coffee and take in your surroundings.
Location: Crimson Hotel, Entrata Urban Complex, Civic Drive, Filinvest City, Alabang, Muntinlupa City
Opening Hours: 0700 – 1630 Tuesday to Sunday (closed Mondays)
Step through the doors at Diner 55, and you’ll be blown away by the retro-inspired fittings and 50s music blaring from hidden speakers. However, this kitschy joint has a reputation as one of Manila's best restaurants, and worked hard to get it! The brainchild of renowned Chef RJ Ungco, Diner 55’s menu draws inspiration from international and Filipino cuisines to create unforgettable dining experiences.
Menu highlights include the Yo! Fernando pizza, a gourmet take on the classic Hawaiian sure to make any tastebuds dance. If you’d like a taste of something local, dishes like chicken and waffles, vegetarian burgers, and onion rings are all cooked with a Filipino twist – just be prepared for the spice!
Location: 1-i Dr. Garcia Street corner Mother Ignacia Avenue, Barangay Paligsahan, Quezon City
Opening Hours: 1200 – 2300, Wednesday to Sunday
Contact: 7256-4345, 0917-126-5913.
Combining fine dining and street food in Manila may not sound like something easy to find, but Haliya does it exceptionally well. This elegantly modern restaurant takes simple comfort foods and elevates them to new levels of flavour and class. Step through the doors to arched ceilings, burnished gold fixtures, and a sense of style that tastes almost as good as the food.
And believe us, the food is good! Classic Manila foods like adobo are accented with foie gras, adding a touch of decadence to proceedings. While the flavours aren’t new, Haliya’s chefs have a way of making them come to life in new and exciting ways.
Location: City of Dreams Manila, Aseana Boulevard corner Macapagal Avenue, Entertainment City, Parañaque City
Opening Hours: 1200 – 2130 Monday to Wednesday, 1200 – 2230 Thursday to Sunday
Bon Appetit @ 1120 House
Retail Space 1120 House in Makati is home to lifestyle stores, fashion, and homewares, but nothing beats the delicious food at café Bon Appetit! Built around French cuisine staples, this delightful restaurant brings European and traditional Filipino culture together in a bold clash of flavour and colour.
You can expect some of the best Manila food from Bon Appetit, served in fresh and unexpected ways. Portions here are extremely generous, with favourites like the poulet galantine and purple yam toast enough to keep you full for a morning of exploring.
Location: The Metropolitan Compound, Estrella Street corner Amapola Street, Makati City, Metro Manila
Opening Hours: 0800 – 1800, every day
If you’re after class and a little bit of luxury, look no further than Kobe Jones. With a low-lit space and subtle, brooding décor, this lowkey establishment truly comes alive once the sun goes down. Hidden in Makati City, Kobe Jones makes for a delightful hidden secret that you can use to impress friends or a special someone on a night out.
Don’t mistake the diverse menu for fusion cuisine. Instead, Head Chef Tom Hines brings East and West together in a terrific clash of food from all corners of the globe. Seafood is usually the flavour of the day, with the freshest produce from the coast served in dazzling specials sure to impress. Sample Japanese fine dining with the Maguro Nigiri with Uni (a delicious, fresh tuna served over rice with sliced sea urchins), or feed your sweeter side with the Green Tea Chocolate Mousse. No matter where you look, every dish on the menu is better than the last, and the showmanship that comes from a chef who truly knows his craft makes dining here all the better.
Location: Le Grand Condominium, 130 Valero Street, Salcedo Village, Makati City
Opening Hours: 1700 – 2200 Monday to Sunday
White Flower Tea House
Food in the Philippines is heavily influenced by Chinese cuisine, and White Flower Tea House is the perfect place to source some Oriental comfort food. For those who have done a nightlife pub crawl through Makati, this late-night menu may seem somewhat familiar.
While the food here isn’t as diverse as you would find at your typical after-hours establishment, the quality and preparation of the food more than speaks for itself. With every dish painstakingly detailed and arranged, the chefs at White Flower Tea House genuinely believe that ‘the first bite is with the eye’. You can enjoy everything from classic dim sum to delicious special honey chicken and hot pot dishes on this fabulous South East Asian-inspired menu.
Location: Stall No. 9, The Grid Food Market, 2/F Power Plant Mall, Rockwell, Makati City
Opening Hours: 1100 – 1900 every day
Beginning as an online food venture of Chef Kriza Palermo, Pilya’s Kitchen has exploded onto the Manila street food scene as one of the best places to source a bowl of hot noodles. Everything here is made by hand, and the love and hard work translate directly into the taste of the fresh biang biang noodles that fly out the door daily.
Chewy, springy, and oh-so-tasty, these Filipino staples are the backbone of everything Pilya’s Kitchen sells. From bowls of piping hot soups (the Taiwanese Chicken Noodle Soup is a particular local favourite) to dry, spicy heaps of meat and vegetable, there is something sure to put a smile on any face.
Location: Stall 11, The Grid Food Market, 2/F Power Plant Mall, Rockwell, Makati City
Opening Hours: 1100 – 2100 Monday to Thursday, 0900 – 1700 Saturday and Sunday
The Singing Cook & Waiters
Want dinner and a show? There’s no such thing as a quiet night in at The Singing Cook & Waiters! This family-friendly bar and restaurant is the perfect night out in Manila, staffed by energetic waiters, bartenders, and kitchen staff who sing and dance their way through every service.
Founded by Head Chef Ongpauco, The Singing Cook & Waiters brings quality food to the table as well as entertainment. If you come here, make sure to order the crispy pata – created by the Head Chef himself, and famous across the Philippines for its succulent, tender pork flavour.
Location: Roxas Blvd, Pasay, Metro Manila, Philippines
Open: 1100 - 1500 and 1800 - 2100 every day
Phone: +63 (0)2 832 0658
Try The Best Foods In Manila!
Whether you want sweet, savoury, or something in between, these are some of the best restaurants in Manila to scratch your itch. Combining Filipino cuisine with Western delicacies, these eateries take delicious classic foods and breathe new life into them, for a gastronomical experience you won’t forget in a hurry. After some great food you could go swimming at some nearby beaches, explore some tourist spots or if its night, enjoy Manila's nightlife!
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