Restaurants / Bars

These Restaurants have Great Food that Could Use a Bit More Attention

October 7, 2014

In Manila, when doors to new restaurants keep opening, a few places get eclipsed and get lost in the fray. Here are a few of our picks for the most underrated restaurants in the city, which still deserve our attention.

1. Champetre, BGC

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In spite of the countless French bistros and restaurants opening around the city, Champetre remains to be one of the best representations of the cuisine, always consistent.

2. Cafe Mediterranean, various locations

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Cafe Mediterranean always delivers, with their delicious gyro plates, tabbouleh, hummus, and taramasalata that can rival their competitors in both the fast-food industry, and even pricier establishments.

3. Mad Mark’s, various locations

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Known more as an ice cream shop than a full-fledged restaurant, Mad Mark’s offers up some of the best comfort food around that is distinctly their own, and at ridiculously cheap prices.

4. Namnam, Greenbelt 2

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The most ingenious thing about Namnam is that you can order your Filipino food staples without having to share it family-style. Imagine sisig, kare-kare or sinigang all to yourself but without the gluttony, and have them done well to boot.

5. Nodasho, Little Tokyo

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To be honest, almost everything in Little Tokyo is underrated, from yakitori joint Kikufuji, to Urameshiya’s famous rice. Nodasho is indeed a hidden gem, with an extensive menu and fresh produce from Japan every Tuesdays and Thursdays at prices much lower than other highly-regarded sushi restaurants.

6. Chesa Bianca, Yakal

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Swiss food is hard to come by in Manila, but thank God there is one place that does it extremely well. Because of its location, Chesa Bianca often misses best restaurant lists, but the authentic food never disappoints.

7. Nav Modern Thai, Kapitolyo

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The prices at Nav Modern Thai are criminal—the dishes here are done by a chef formerly from People’s Palace, so expect to get much better quality than other cheap Thai joints out there.

8. Salo, BGC

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One of the cheapest places in the Fort to get a good meal, people often dismiss Salo without realising their rice bowls offer not just sustenance but good flavor too. Don’t forget to order a side of their addictive chicken skin.

9. New Bombay, various locations

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New Bombay’s extensive menu is always reliable. You are bound to get your money’s worth whatever you order, and their 20-year experience in the business means they know their stuff.

10. Impressions, Maxims

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Chef Cyrille Soenen is one of my favorite restaurants working in Manila, and for good reason. He is incredibly talented, and some of my most memorable dishes have come from his kitchen. His establishments suffer from horrible locations or bad parking, but Impressions is undeniably one of the best fine dining rooms in the city.

11. Kitchen, Greenbelt 3

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A nostalgic staple for many, Kitchen has remained unchanged since it has opened. The menu still has many of our favorites, at prices which have hiked only slightly since their beginnings.

12. Chicken and Beer, various locations

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Forget that other inconsistent chain; Chicken and Beer is one of the best places to get Korean fried chicken in Manila. The crispy skin and countless selection of sauces get my vote any day.

13. Pastelleria La Nuova, San Antonio Plaza

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Often overlooked for that other Italian pasta place, La Nuova is consistent and remains its distinct, homey charm. The pasta is to-die-for, with the smoked salmon linguine a popular, iconic choice.

14. Orale, BGC

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Newly reopened, Orale! is one of the more authentic Mexican places around, forgoing the Tex-Mex, watered down trend preferred by other places. Sometimes the place is divisive, but when the food at Orale! is done well, it can be better than great.

15. Zabo Chicken, various locations

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As far as fast-food places go, Zabo Chicken has to be one of the best. Although there are rumors of inconsistency, the spices on the bird remind me of authentic Lebanese chicken joints. The garlic paste is incredibly addictive too.

What are your most underrated restaurants in Manila? Which places deserve more attention? How about the most overrated establishments in the city? Tell us what you think below!

Pamela Cortez Pamela Cortez Pamela Cortez writes about food full-time, and has honed her craft while writing for publications such as Rogue, Town and Country, and The Philippine Star. She once rode on a mule for a mile just to eat mint tea and lamb in Morocco, and has eaten a block of Quickmelt in one sitting. Her attempt at food photography can be viewed online @meyarrr. FOLLOW
8 comments in this post SHOW

8 responses to “These Restaurants have Great Food that Could Use a Bit More Attention”

  1. Victoria says:

    I would’ve said Yomenya Goemon at Greenbelt, but too late. 🙁 They actually cooked their pasta perfectly al dente, possibly better than any Italian restaurant in Manila.

    Yay to a lot of this list! I haven’t tried Orale yet, but I do adore Hermanos. Their tamales are close to authentic Mexican.

  2. Katrina says:

    Not only is Champetre good, it is not as expensive as other French restaurants/bistros.

    I love La Nuovo, too, but I would recommend that you stick to their pastas. Their pizzas leave much to be desired.

  3. Volts Sanchez says:

    New Bombay hasn’t been as good as before it started expanding and becoming all polished. Yeah, I’m talking about the tiny kitchenette version that was just so good. Oh well…

  4. Ngeks says:

    la nouva foreverrrrr <3

  5. jesse says:

    New Bombay, La Nuova, Salo, and Chicken and Beer for me shouldn’t be on my list. New Bombay is as far from authentic as it can be and expensive, La Nuova is expensive and far from being actual real italian and is expensive compared to the only real Italian restaurant that is Va Bene, Salo doesn’t deserve its spot in BGC the owner i i feel doesn’t care about his food or his restaurant he maintained everything from the previous shawarma bros that used to occupy the place and everything just feels so greasy without sustenance (feels like everything is drenched in margarine), Chicken and Beer is a hit or miss sort of place depending on what chicken you order but yeah they are actually quite affordable.

  6. rftreyes says:

    I will agree with Chesa Bianca and Orale. Chesa Bianca, in particular, great location to get away from the hutsle of the CBD area.

  7. I agree with Nav. One of the best Thai restos I have visited here in Manila.

  8. Dennis Vergara says:

    Kitchen and Namnam are two of my favorites. Namnam’s Sisig is the best.

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