Food tripping through Manila — what better way to explore the capital city of The Philippines than our favourite places to eat and drink! Besides trying the street food, here’s our top 10 places to eat and drink in Manila.
Wildflour / If it’s one place you shouldn’t miss it would have to be Wildflour Cafe + Bakery, my favourite! I visited several times to be able to get a taste of breakfast, lunch and dinner options and I was satisfied every time. It’s on 4th Avenue corner 26th Street in The Fort and boasts of a modern loft style interior with a menu attracting a lot of workers and expats working close by on weekdays. Try the Pistachio au lait, a creamy heartwarming cup of goodness, the kind that’s best enjoyed under the sheets while reading a good book. You also receive complimentary slices of a baguette, a perfect pair to the pasta on the menu.
Recommended: Pulled pork sliders, P-B-C (Peaunt butter-Banana-Chocolate) milkshake, homemade granola + fruit, strawberry/lemon house soda, pistachio au lait.
Tutto Domani / This was our favourite ‘local’ cafe while we were staying in Makati. Good food, great coffee (they have the best iced coffee!) and fast wifi. It’s filled with an abundance eclectic mix of designer toy figurines, kitchen utensils, mismatched seating, books and magazines, a foosball table set and lovely handwritten notes on a wall. It’s quiet and perfect for brunch while you power through any emails or work to catch up on.
Recommended: Italiano di basic sandwich, Nutella crepe, iced cafe latte.
Early Bird Breakfast Club / High ceilings, quirky patterned walls, friendly staff and an all-round happy feel at this all-day breakfast restaurant. They do breakfast morning, noon and night, and they do it well with generous servings for a big appetite. Best for a feel good start to the day but I would definitely go back in the afternoon to try something a little more sweet on their menu, the nutella cheesecake has already been marked by my sweet toothe.
Recommended: Eggs Benedict and Viva Longganisa
Rocket Room / A hip bar with exotic blends of house-made infused cocktails and wines. Their food menu is also appealing or you can order from Stella, a wood-fired bistro connected next door under the same restaurant group. Dinner and drinks at Rocket Room call for a perfect night with an intimate group of girlfriends — wood-fired pizza, pasta and red wine for a winning combination. The bruschette “du jour” with chefs daily selections is a great starter with a variety of toppings, I loved the combination of ricotta and pineapple on one and of course, classic tomato topping is always nice. Weekends get really crowded at night for the bar, best to set a date on a weeknight to enjoy dinner and a good conversation.
Recommended: truffle mushroom wood fired pizza, wood fired & grilled esquina corn, bruschette “du jour”.
L.E.S Bagels / Bagels! Plain, wheat, topped with sesame seeds… this place will fill your bagel cravings whilst in Manila. You’re invited with flowers in old bottles, checkered floors and an abundance of delicious fillings to choose from — or you can create your own. The L.E.S Addiction is their signature bagel, filled with salmon, cream cheese, tomato, capers and red onion. For their cream cheese bagels I personally found that they packed it on too much and it made it really heavy but, after scraping just over half of it off it was perfect! Also right beside it is a winery called Planet Grapes — never too early for a sneaky chilled glass of reisling in the Manila heat!
Recommended: L.E.S Addiction, Lox and Bacon Cheddar
Niner Ichi Nana / A sophisticated craft cocktail bar that create the classic cocktails (and their own) really, really, really well. The perfect balance of all flavours. The space and menu is all super stylish; intricate patterned walls, dimmed lights, and a bar that has a top shelf accessible by a staircase. Their classic cocktails with a twist are illustrated in a book-style menu and the staff are helpful and ready at hand for recommendations.
Recommended: For guys, the old fashioned. For girls, order a bespoke drink – tell them what flavours you like and they’ll make one for you.
Hatch 22 / If you’re looking for comfort Filipino food with a twist, Hatch 22 should be your next stop. It’s a contemporary café and bakery that turns into a cocktail bar at night. They do the traditional Filipino breakfasts’ like beef tapsilog and longganisa in versions of their own, delicious and creatively put together for presentation. They also have a bakery connected to their café with a selection of bread baskets. Their fresh pressed juices are blended well and adding a fiber boost of chia seeds is an option for a little extra. Also be mindful that servings here are extremely generous (huge) but delicious, nonetheless.
Recommended: Tapsilog 2.0, NYOB (Not-Your-Ordinary-Benedicts), house fresh pressed juices.
Aling Nene / We got introduced to this restaurant from my boyfriends cousin living in Manila and it’s definitely a top pick for simple and delicious local Filipino food. For something a lot less fancy but still delicious, Aling Nene is a great option. It’s super cheap (35PHP per BBQ stick – these pork BBQ’s are big!) and you’ll be able to experience a real Filipino vibe with the majority of diners being locals.
Recommended: Pork BBQ, kare-kare and chicharon
The Curator / Coffee by day, cocktails by night. This hidden specialty coffee shop and craft cocktail bar is tucked away behind a wine bar for an underground feel. Great for your early morning caffeine hit or handcrafted cocktails from 6pm. I told the bartender what my preferred palette was (fruity and sweet) and he whipped up a couple of cocktails that were exactly what I was looking for!
Recommended: ‘Blind date’ and ‘Bradford’ cocktails (if you have the same palette)
Dampa Seafood Market / For another unique Filipino food experience that’s alot less fancy try the fresh seafood at Dampa Seafood Market. The process goes like this: select from a wide variety of fresh catch of the day at the wet market – there’s crabs, shrimps, lobsters, squid etc. and pay the vendor, bring your seafood selections to your choice of restaurant nearby and they will cook it for you in any style you like. There’s also recommendations on the menu if you’re unsure but make sure if you’re having crabs you get them cooked in the chilli butter — so yum!
Recommended: Chilli butter crabs and prawn tempura
Have you traveled to the capital city of The Philippines? I’d love to know your favourite and top places to eat and drink in Manila! Or if you’re planning a trip and found this helpful, please share!
All Photos: Aubrey Daquinag for The Love Assembly