Tempura, Toast, Tacos and More: 5 New Restaurants to Try in PoblacionApril 28, 2018
Last year we wrote about new bars that opened within 2017 in Poblacion. What was a growing watering hole has also expanded into a food destination, with a dozen or so establishments opening up in the area within a year. We did the tough and thankless work of eating delicious food and determining which restaurants stood out the most to us in terms of menu and overall vibe. Here is where we think you should enjoy your next drunchies on a Friday night at Poblacion.
The brightly lit café and panaderya is located within the same building as Manille, on the Alfonso Street side, and attracts attention for its order window, where their freshly-baked breads are displayed every morning. The chef behind the artistically plated dishes is Lica Ibarra (of Kartilya and a former contestant in Masterchef Asia), who wanted to create a platform to showcase ingredients grown by independent, local farmers.
Bao Bar recently migrated from Escolta to become a tenant of the same site housing Crosta Pizzeria, The Social on Ebro. The stall offer playful takes on both the bao and Asian noodles, not adhering to a strict set of rules of kind of cuisine and instead choosing to go with what tastes best and feels right. Owned by Trish Katipunan and Chris Cataluna (the same couple behind Idiot Sandwich, we’re fans obvs), the two wanted to offer the kind of dishes that are satisfying with every bite, and don’t feel like they’re assaulting your wallet. Call us nationalistic but we can’t help hearting the twice-cooked pork adobo bao.
The restauranteurs behind Joe’s Brew foray into food by focusing on what is arguably the most popular Japanese dish in the country (keep in mind that kids love tempura and tend to not like sushi until later ages before you fight us). Ebi10 is at the end of Tambai Alley (a new extension in the same building as Tambai, and part of the whole complex that follows a Japanese theme in all their food and drink establishments). More than just shrimp, Ebi10 offers an array of tempura-fried bites that you can order by piece. Our favorites are the mini scallops and corn, but if you’re feeling fancy, try their intense uni shiso nori.
French-trained chef Ian Padilla of La Girolle fame surprises us all with his take on casual Mexican cuisine. Being served an array of tacos, jalapeño poppers, elotes and even dirty fries (just replace traditional nachos with french fries), we find that the style of the laid-back al-fresco taqueria in the streets of Makati seems a world way from the haute cuisine we associate with him. But we find that his approach to the fancy as it is to the casual is similar: the best ingredients they can find combined with technique. His restaurant is on the far side of Poblacion, by Dulo and Crying Tiger, but is hard to miss with it’s brightly colored walls and murals painted by 4 local artists. Try out their tacos, whose tortillas they press fresh daily—cabesa de cerdo (sisig-style, essentially), lengua, or ol’ reliable pork carnitas are your best bets.
To those not familiar with the term one-to-sawa, one may innocently think this restaurant’s name comes from a foreign word (perhaps Japanese, to match the theme of the Tambai Alley). For chef and co-owner Christine Zarandin, it’s more than just a play on the expression—it’s an invitation for seafood lovers to have any number of their fresh Aklan oysters, from one-to-sawa. The oysters are flown in fresh every day, and they come in limited supplies so it is best to come early. Wantusawa offers them baked, fried, or fresh, but we always prefer oysters fresh and tasting like the sea.