I was in Manila the past week and also in December and for a couple of weeks in both times I took note of all the good food I ate.
My family loves to eat. They look for new places to try and they take note of the ones they really like. I get to benefit from their unforgettable dining experiences because they take me and Mijo to those places whenever we are in town.
The first place I really enjoyed was Backyard Food Park. It is in Quezon City near my mom's place. It is one of the several new food parks sprouting in Metro Manila. It has the vibe of a food truck with the conveniences of a food court. I remember that my sisters-in-law just kept on ordering small plates that were completely unrelated to each other taste wise. It was so hard to pair them with each other - corn on a cob and grilled chicken intestines (locally known as Isaw), takoyaki, grilled mussels, and s'mores and rocky road for desserts. But that didn't matter because we were enjoying each other's company so much.
The good thing about Backyard is that we stayed there for a long time without thinking about being asked to leave or getting stared at by the others waiting for tables. Maybe that's the point? Go there to talk and sample food and stay longer. Just like hanging out in our backyard.
Garahe is also another food park near my mom's house in QC. I think this is the one my nephew RJ has been to and he liked it. We went there to have desserts after a very savory dimsum meal. We shared this cold iced drink known locally as Scramble. Scramble is a street snack we grew up with. It is ice mixed with vanilla and sugar with food coloring. That's basically it. However, this one is a dressed up Scramble topped with toasted marshmallows, pieces of white chocolate and whipped cream. There was a band performing beautiful acoustic music that night. This food park even has rooftop decks for a more private dining experience and with a view.
Another place I liked was Le Petit Souffle at SM Megamall. I remember, we were supposed to be in Tagaytay that day but that trip was cancelled due to my brother Rein and sister-in-law Leng's schedule conflict that day. In short, we went to Le Petit on impulse but we got lucky. We only ordered desserts at Le Petit and what we ordered were very tasty and something I haven't had before like the Salted egg and caramel parfait. Service there was also super friendly.
I also like their Valrhona Guanaja, Matcha parfait and desconstructed French Toast. Perfect with coffee!
One afternoon, Mijo and I needed some picking up so we decided to go get coffee and snacks at Kabila/Museum Cafe in Greenbelt in Makati. We ordered this Leche Flan Turon that came with a warm caramel dip and a piece of choconut. Great combination of crunchy shell and soft filling. The serving was just perfect to whet our sweet tooth and our caffeine craving. The snacks went well with our single shot americano.
My trip to the Philippines is not complete without dining at my favorite Mary Grace Cafe. The particular one I always go to is the one in Greenbelt 3 in Makati. I remember, this was my first meal, a breakfast, when Mijo and I just landed in Manila early in the morning that day. We ordered the usual Bangsilog and Longsilog and coffee. Toasted enseymada for desserts. I can never get tired eating at Mary Grace Cafe.
Wildflour Cafe has also become a favorite especially whenever we crave for western breads and pastries. They also serve breakfast, salads, lunch, drinks concocted from fresh herbs, root crop and spices. Super healthy and delicious. This is where I first had a cronut - a combination of donut and croissant.
My sister and sisters-in-law have been raving about Tim Ho Wan. So we went there when Mijo and I found one in Glorietta in Makati. There was a line to get in. That's how popular this place is. Aside from the regular dimsum, I had Mijo try the chicken feet. It was so tasty and addicting. You just have to get over the visual part! I tried their mango pudding and it was so good.
My sister recommended Peri Peri Chicken for our lunch with my mom. We were coming back from visiting my Auntie Norma in Sta. Mesa when we stopped at the Gateway Mall for lunch. The sauces they serve at the restaurant are so unique and they made the big difference with the food. They just go so well with the grilled chicken.
I went to Kuya J's several times in both trips. First, I went there with my mom, and then with my high school friends, and then with my cousins. I have a lot of favorites in this restaurant. The Dynamite, the Pork Binagoongan, Pinakbet, Kare-kare are all so good.
The desserts are good as well. Their halo halo is more like flavored shaved ice with halo halo garnish. It is good in a different kind of halo halo goodness. Their Buko Pandan is the prettiest Buko Pandan I've ever seen.
We were eating at a restaurant in Greenbelt 1 when we first noticed Reyes Barbecue. People were lining up at this place and the price wasn't bad either so we took note of it. We were at Waltermart in Makati one time and we saw a Reyes Barbecue inside the mall. We went to eat there twice and loved it!
Mijo and I have been to Mangan before and we loved it back then and we still love it. We were at SM Mall of Asia to check out the mall scene there and we went to Mangan for lunch. The Pinakbet is my favorite. It is the closest one to my mom's version. I also love their Grilled Bangus.
This is also another restaurant to where I went several times. There is Max's in SM Novaliches and I went there with my mom, my sis, my friends Ferdie and Mayet. I love their Chicken Arroz Caldo, Tokwa't Baboy, Chicken Sisig, Fried Bangus, and Lumpiang Shanghai.
I think they serve the best Lumpiang Shanghai, in my opinion.
They have a dessert sampler which I also really like.
Banana Leaf is our go to Asian fusion restaurant when in Manila. There is one in Greenbelt 3. Malay style curries galore. I love their Chicken Rendang and Nasi Lemak which go really well with warm jasmine rice. We tried the Sambal Lady finger for the first time and they were good.
Of course, I always get a halo halo fix from Razon's. This is my mom's favorite.
Since my mom forbids me to eat street food when I'm in town, I go to SM food mart to whet my street food cravings. They sell Turon, Lumpiang Toge (fried veggie lumpia) and Taho and my favorite spanish breads and Kabayan breads too. Designer street food.
Pan de Manila sells lots of good breads and spreads. We tried this a lot when we stayed at an Airbnb near Waltermart in Makati.
We were meeting friends who live near Resorts World Manila. So we went to check out the area and found Maxim's Cafe. We decided to go get something light with coffee before we met our friends a little later that day. Cozy place.
Afterwards, we met with our friends from San Francisco, Noel and Dennis, for lunch at Gerrys Grill. Since they just got to Manila that day, we let them decide what to order. Love the grilled squid and sinigang with warm rice. Their Buko Pandan is unassuming but delicious.
I love the pansit at Ninangs Pansit Malabon. I ordered a tray of pansit one time when I was staying at my Mom's place. I also ordered Laing at Ninang's and it was good as well.
My favorite Goto King is the place I used to get my goto fix. I couldn't find a single one the last time I was in Manila except for this one at the Landmark food court at the Trinoma mall. I was told that Goto King locations have dwindled from restaurants to stalls.
I have a soft spot for Figaro coffee. Aside from good coffee, savory dishes and desserts, I love what they're doing for Philippine coffee. This is also the coffee I bring back to the States for give aways to friends who love Philippine coffee.
I just tried Bakers Maison for the first time in my last trip. My favorite is their brioche and sweet breads. They're all over the city.
I love this congee they serve at Italianni's. I called it congee because while it looks like Arroz Caldo but I don't think it is. While Mijo ate his Western breakfast, I ate my congee.
Ilonggo Grill serves good, quick and cheap Filipino dishes. This one is less than $3 USD. I tried this fish with veggie lunch at the Landmark food court in Makati.
Same with Inihaw Express. They serve inexpensive Filipino food. I tried their squid with sinigang combo. Sarap! This one was also at the Landmark food court Makati location.
Since this is close to the Makati condo, Seattle's Best is our go to place for frapuccino and mocha.
I had a quick and light snack at Potato Corner at one time and I liked it. I ordered this Barbecue flavored fries.
I tried the arroz caldo at Lugaw ni Mang Juan. Sarap!
I bought tasty snacks at Bibingkinitan to bring back to my mom's house.
I had this breakfast at the Manila international airport Terminal 1 location of Tapa King. It was my last hurrah for Pinoy food.
It was fun to play foodie while I was in Manila. Until the next time, Manila!