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Philippines Food and Drink

Restaurants in the Philippines offer a great range of options. When in Baguio, try the beef shank soup or the squid in the neighbourhood restaurants of Burnham Park, or sample the wares of the many street-food hawkers. Philippines food range comes into its own in Manila. Try upscale Italian dining at Masseto or Modern Filipino dishes at classy Mesa. Manila offers the best of the bar scene – try the speakeasy-style Blind Pig for cocktails or the sumptuous surrounds of the Salon de Ning.

Antonio’s – Tagaytay

A stately colonial house is the setting for Antonio’s – otherwise known as Tagaytay’s finest restaurant.

Australian-trained chef Tony Boy Escalante pulls all the right reins, turning out a European-style menu with complementary Philippines overtones. Most of the ingredients are sourced from the restaurant’s nearby farm, ensuring freshness. For most, the lechón de leche is the crowning glory.

The large open windows almost invite the lush ferns and palm fronds of the garden to join you at the table. Take a turn about the grounds at the end of your meal to fully appreciate the scenery.

Spiral – Manila

A hotel buffet is pretty standard. It’s unlikely that you’ve ever seen anything quite as grand as Spiral at the Sofitel. With extensive French and Asian influences, it’s widely regarded as the best buffet in Manila.

To give you some idea of the scale, Spiral features 21 ateliers – or separate food sections – including a Peking duck station, two Japanese stations (hot and cold), and an entire cheese room. The décor matches the decadence with a giant dining room and sweeping staircase.

The real key to Spiral’s quality is that food is prepared in relatively small batches, meaning nothing sits there for too long. It always tastes fresh.

Van Gogh is Bipolar – Quezon City

There’s no getting past the name so let’s address that first. This restaurant is an homage to the famous Dutch artist and his long-term battle with mental illness. It also reflects owner Jetro Rafael’s own struggles with depression.

In trying to manage his own condition, Rafael learned about the chemical properties of various foods. The menu is governed by his belief that certain foods make you happy.

All guests are welcomed and offered a novelty hat while ordering. The walls are an eclectic mix of artworks hung at differing angles and Van Gogh paraphernalia. If the aim is to cheer up and leave your stress behind, Van Gogh is Bipolar does a pretty good job of it.

Burger Chef – Davao City

Simple, tasty, and filling – the humble burger is a universal crowd-pleaser wherever you are in the world. Burger Chef in Davao has cornered the market, offering affordable gourmet burgers.

There’s an extensive menu to choose from, as well as the chance to build your own burger from scratch. The place is decked out in typical burger joint style: small tables, booths, and walls in bright colours. Each month a local artist is commissioned to design the blackboard menu display to keep things fresh.

The thing about delicious burgers is that there are rarely enough napkins to go around. Be prepared to get your hands messy.

Skydeck at Bayleaf Hotel – Manila

As the name implies, Skydeck is a rooftop venue with fabulous panoramic views of the city. It is part of the Bayleaf Hotel in Manila’s famous Intramuros district.

It’s the perfect spot to unwind at the end of a long day of sightseeing. From that height you can probably join the dots between all the places you’ve just visited.

Order tapas to share or a more substantial dish from a varied menu. On weekends you’ll be treated to a sumptuous buffet as well as live music. Enjoy those Manila sunsets in good company with a cocktail in hand. 

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