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Jan 15, 2012 06:40 PM

good filipino food in metro manila and tagayay

Hi! I will be in the Philippines next month for a short 2-wk visit. Any restaurant recommendation in Makati Central Business District, Bonifacio Global City, Manila, Pasig/Ortigas Center, and Tagaytay. Thanks.

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  1. hi overrice -- the truth of the matter is the way to enjoy filipino food is at someone's home. HOWEVER.. there are some places that still do it really well. in the Makati CBD, i'd head for MILKY WAY CAFE (along pasay road, now known as arnaiz avenue). pricey, but you know what you're getting - they're very consistent. go order baby crispy pata or lechon kawali (both young roasted pig) for your pork fix, or crispy catfish which goes well with munggo (a stew of mung beans), and maybe some pancit luglog (a traditional filipino noodle dish). some sisig may be in order too - chopped pigs head and cheeks (yes, filipinos like their pork). you could also head to ABE over in bonifacio global city. try their sinuteng (really tiny baby squid in olive oil and garlic), sinigang na bangus with guava (a sour soup of milkfish, flavored with guava), or maybe crispy tadyang (fried beef ribs),among others. SENTRO is okay too, and a nice way to "ease into" filipino food. There's a whole lot more, but do try these three for a Filipino food fix. Enjoy your stay!

    9 Replies
    1. re: doctorj

      Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I will try your recommendations! I will be staying in Makati CBD so these places are minutes away. I would like to visit Intramuros, do you have any in mind inside or around the district?

      1. re: overrice

        You're most welcome! :) Intramuros is a great place to visit - not too many food choices, though, at least none that I've come across. You could try LA COCINA DE TITA MONING - though i haven't been to it yet, i've heard nice things about it. it's more of an experience than anything, as the meal is in an ancestral home and the food served are family heirloom recipes. Check out their website at .. also, while you're at it, do try to take the walking tour of my friend, Carlos. (warning though: it's slightly irreverent, but it's a lot of fun and thought provoking. If you're open minded, this is a must, in my opinion.) You can find more info on If you need any more info, just holler! It's my pleasure to able to show you the best of my country. ;)

        (shameless plug - i'm in the food business myself, as a writer and food entrepreneur. my little outfit does food tours and event dinners - if we have anything on the dates you're here, do drop by! you can find info on us on facebook -- just search "pinoy eats world")

        either way, welcome to manila, and have a great stay! :)

        1. re: overrice

          oh oh oh.. and before I forget.. if you have the time to do so, DO go and take a tour of CORREGIDOR .. it's an island nearby that is steeped in so much history. if you're into photography, this place is incredible. i recommend this to everyone, even locals. It's a day tour that includes lunch. If you can swing it, ask if you can go under this guide's group..I believe his name is Ramon.. when you buy your ticket, ask for the Spanish looking gent with the beard. He is the BEST! Here's their website for more info:

        2. re: doctorj

          My last visit to Manila was quite a while back, but I enjoyed eating out in Makati.

          My fave as Fely J's at Greenbelt 5 - home-cooked flavors:

          Sentro 1771 at Greeenbelt 3 gave a modern take on Filipino faves. Much talked-about & highly-regarded, but perhaps the chef was on holiday that FrIday evening we were there:

          If you're a breakfast person:

          Fely J's
          F.Legaspi, Manila, NCR , PH

          Sentro 1771
          F.Legaspi, Manila, NCR , PH

          1. re: klyeoh

            Thanks for your reply! Fely J's, will definitely try!

          2. re: doctorj

            I was about to write pretty much the same thing as doctorj--word for word, except for Sentro, which I haven't been to for many years. Milky Way Cafe is my family's current favorite. It goes back decades, but has actually improved a lot in the past few years, under the second (or is it the third?) generation. And, yes, I'd recommend the exact same dishes, and add the lumpiang ubod, a fresh spring roll made with hearts off palm, and, for dessert, the avocado ice cream, buco-lychee sherbet, halo-halo, or guinomis, tapioca pearls and crisped rice (not rice crispies, but close), served with a scoop of brown sugar ice cream, shaved ice, and coconut cream.

            My other favorite Filipino restaurant was mentioned by klyeoh, Fely J's, where my favorite dish is dilis rice, tiny, crisp fried silver fish and salted black beans served with rice. Fely J's also does an excellent crispy pata, served with a mildly spiced garlic topping. And I think that Fely J's has the edge when it comes to kare-kare, oxtail and tripe stew in a peanut and annato sauce. For dessert or merienda, Pia y Damaso next door has a delicious, if somewhat too sweet, goat's milk hot chocolate and a great brazo de mercedes.

            The Saturday market in Salcedo Village is not huge but offers a great variety of foods. The Sunday market in nearby Legaspi Village is at least as enjoyable with more non-food items than Salcedo village.

            And, having just spent a Sunday afternoon on Carlos Celdran's walking tour, I would rate it as something you absolutely must not miss! You'll understand Manila--and the Filipino psyche--much better, in addition to having a great time. Don't pass up his offer of Choc-nut--a frrightfully junky peanut and chocolate candy that almost every Filipino child has enjoyed. The halo-halo at the end of the tour is not particularly good, but at least is is refreshing.

            I haven't been to it, but not far from where Celdran's tour ends, there is a new restaurant, 9 Spoons, I think it is called, at the top of the Bay Leaf Hotel. My sister and BIL had dinner there, after Celdran suggested it, and they enjoyed the meal and the view.

            For Tagaytay, there's always Antonio's--beautiful place, but mostly "Continental" food. I haven't been to Tootsie's along the narrow highway in several years, but I remember having a pretty good meal there.

            Have a great time in Manila and Tagaytay and please let us know how it went.

            1. re: pilinut

              Thanks!!! I'm not looking forward to Continental cuisine, do you have other suggestion in Tagaytay that specializes in local cuisine? Thanks!

                1. re: pilinut

                  oohhhh... Tootsie's is gooooood! Underrated, but people who know about it are quite loyal. How could I have overlooked that! hehe! Good call, pilinut!

                  (and yeah, if you want a halo-halo, arguably the Philippine's most famous dessert, MILKY WAY is the place to have it, in my opinion.)

          3. While in Tagaytay, you must visit the Tagaytay Mahogany Market and try one of the numerous "Special bulalo" (bone marroe soup) restaurants right across from the wet market. Tagaytay is famous for bulalo.

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