Cosy up with a cocktail at speakeasy-style Blind Pig, sink a Martini at the Mandarin Oriental or crack open the bubbly at the sumptuous and quirky Salon de Ning. Manila restaurants are just as good as the bars, with great fusion lunches at Café Adriatico, classy Italian food and wines at Masseto and Modern Filipino fare at Mesa. For contemporary chic, try The Goose Station.
As the flagship restaurant of the upscale Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila, Spiral is a top choice for fine dining and lavish meals. Its buffet, in particular, is among the most acclaimed in the country, offering a variety of local and international cuisine, sumptuous desserts and a wide selection of dishes using high-quality ingredients. It’s definitely much pricier than most other restaurants in Manila, but its top-notch food and drinks are well worth it if you’re in the mood to splurge or want to celebrate a special occasion.
If you’d like to enjoy classic Filipino dishes with a contemporary twist, try Abe at the Serendra Plaza in Taguig. This modern restaurant is renowned for its take on traditional Filipino food, with specialties like lamb adobo with popped garlic, crispy pla-pla, Abe’s chicken supreme and paco fern and tomato salad. It’s a particularly popular place for introducing visitors to Filipino food, so this is a great option if you want to start experiencing local tastes and flavours.
Café Juanita in Pasig is a quirky yet charming restaurant that’s known for its vibrant interiors and traditional Filipino food. Its lush ornaments and colourful décor are the immediate standouts, giving the restaurant a distinct ambiance that visitors will always remember. Its food is the other main highlight, offering an impressive range of Filipino cuisine as well as other types of dishes. For a tour of local tastes and flavours, order the kare-kare, bagnet, dinuguan or laing. Café Juanita is open every day for lunch and dinner.
If a traditional Filipino dining experience is what you’re after, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a restaurant that delivers this better than La Cocina de Tita Moning. Situated inside the ancestral home of the Legarda family in the San Miguel District, this restaurant charms you with its history and comfy atmosphere. The restaurant features set menus for guests, with its Classic Menu offering items like slowly roasted pork and chicken ballotine and its Filipino Menu showcasing dishes like whole baked lapu-lapu and crispy tilapia. Dining at La Cocina de Tita Moning is strictly by reservation only, so enquire and book in advance if you want to dine here.
To get a sense of the rich Spanish heritage in the local food fare, dine at the popular Café Adriatico. It has a number of branches around Manila, but the one to visit is its headquarters in Malate. The restaurant offers a delightful mix of Spanish, Mediterranean and Filipino cuisine, with specialties like chicken ala kiev, salpicao rice, pancit palabok and lengua estofada. Other must-try orders include the crispy pata and its authentic Spanish hot chocolate.