It’s all happening in Taguig. This glitzy financial and lifestyle district in Metro Manila has seen an influx of restaurants take over in the past decade. Now, it’s a melting pot of cultures and carries some of the city’s best venues for both fine and casual dining.
This elegant and modern Chinese restaurant inside the Shangri-La Hotel serves authentic Cantonese and Huaiyang dishes from Jiangsu province. Come with friends and feast over intricately presented plates created by Chef Wang Wei Qing. The Beggar’s Chicken is a testament to his skills. The dish takes its roots from Chinese folklore, where a beggar steals a chicken and wraps it in lotus leaves, then encases it in mud before roasting it on an open fire. The emperor passes by and is enticed by the aroma, and demands a portion of the chicken. He is so impressed with the beggar’s recipe, it is then included on the Imperial menu. In Canton Road, a roasted whole free-range chicken is stuffed with dried shrimp, preserved meat, black mushrooms and glutinous rice before being baked in non-toxic clay. The process is a little tedious but well worth the wait.
Filipino-British chef Josh Boutwood’s vision of large burly men gathered around a fire pit, consuming ample portions of meat was the initial inspiration for the theme of this restaurant. Almost all dishes on the menu are grilled or smoked over open flames. Using an enormous in-house grill, meat, poultry and seafood are cooked using charcoal and oak. Start with their take on deviled eggs, or their fresh carabao cheese, chive oil, and confit heirloom tomatoes before ordering a main of their freshly grilled, juicy flank or rib-eye steak.
Meaning ‘The Flowers’ in Spanish, this homey bistro offers authentic Catalan tapas and dishes, which are a refreshing change to the usual mestizo (Filipino-Spanish) inspired restaurants in Manila. Pair your cerveza with a Trio de Chorizos, or a selection of homemade chorizos cooked in white wine and olive oil – enjoyed best with crusty bread and their squid ink Paella Negra. If you have room to spare, end the evening with classic churros: fried dough pastry dipped into a divine chocolate sauce.
Operated by Brit native Chef Nathan Griffin, Raging Bull Chophouse and Bar is a stand-alone restaurant inside the Shangri-la Hotel in the heart of Bonifacio Global City. This contemporary American Steakhouse and Bar serves up the finest grain and grass-fed dry-aged beef combined with classic American cocktails and wines. Take a shot of their Whiskey Sour, with a tomahawk or bone-in rib-eye steak cooked to perfection. A recent offshoot, the Raging Bull Burgers restaurant offers affordable casual dining where the freshest patties are made from quality mince from Australia and the US. The Raging Wagyu with a 1/3-pound beef wagyu patty topped with lettuce, tomatoes, dill pickle, braised onions and chilli chutney is a sure winner.
Chef Chele Gonzalez’s brainchild, this contemporary tapas restaurant was formerly known as Vask, which showcased creatively constructed plates inspired by the cuisine from the Basque Country (known as País Vasco in Spanish). Situated high up in the Clipp Center, this elegant restaurant provides breathtaking night views of the city skyline. Vask consistently made it to the list of the Top 50 Restaurants in the World since opening in 2013. It placed number 39 in 2017. Since May 2018, the partnership of Chef Chele Gonzalez and Chef Carlos Villaflor as Gallery by Chele aims create refreshing signature dishes that highlight the cross-cultural fusion of Spanish and Filipino cuisine.
The concept of Locavore is to reinvent traditional Filipino dishes into something unique. Opt for a local-style brunch and start the day with a hangover-healing bowl of comfort. The Duck Lugaw with Foie Gras is a modern take on the street classic. Rice porridge similar to a Chinese congee is topped with succulent duck fat, crispy pork, garlic and chives. Meat-heavy mains are available for lunch and dinner, but the Filipino-style breakfasts are the highlight. Fried garlic rice topped with a runny egg and your choice of protein will keep you fuelled for the rest of the day.
This popular family restaurant first opened its doors in Serendra in 2011. Its menu takes inspiration from homestyle cooking, presenting tasty and straightforward local and international dishes. Named after owner and home-cook Malou Montano-Fores, Mamou is derived from her nephew’s version of her name, which he had difficulty pronouncing. The local favourite has to be the juicy USDA Prime Grade Porterhouse steak, grilled to your preference. Splurge on Lorenzo’s Truffle cream pasta or Linguine Vongole pasta with white wine and clams for a lighter option.
Part of the Shangrila Hotel, Samba is the first authentic Peruvian restaurant in Manila, headed by Chef Carlo Huerta Echegaray. If you’d like to move away from red meat-centric Filipino cuisine, this predominantly seafood and veggie-focused menu is a good (and healthier) choice. Feast poolside over cocktails and fresh ceviche de tigre (which literally means ‘tiger’s milk’): a citrus-based spicy marinade used to cure white fish, like sea bass or grouper.
Born from the same restaurant group that runs old Manila’s best food haunts, Café Adriatico and Bistro Remedios, Lorenzo’s Way pays tribute to its late founder, journalist and restaurateur Lorenzo J. Cruz. The intimate restaurant is dressed with chic furniture, focusing on northern Filipino dishes from Pampanga with a Spanish twist. Their Lola Ising’s twice cooked, garlic-infused pork adobo is a good place to start.
The Philippines is a favourite tourist spot for South Koreans, but in the past two decades, a large influx of Korean nationals have come to call Manila home – so don’t be surprised to see a large number of Korean supermarkets and restaurants. This Korean joint in the heart of Taguig is a good choice to visit with a group of friends and share from an array of banchan (spicy pickled side dishes) paired with bulgogi barbeque and marinated sirloin beef grilled right at your table.