Manila’s becoming one of the up-and-coming cities in Asia when it comes to the dining scene, and 2015 is poised to be even bigger than the last. This year, we saw Ippudo, Nobu, Todd English Food Hall, Tim Ho Wan, and other big imports coming in from abroad, while anticipated local restaurants Duck and Buvette, Mecha Uma, Farmacy, and Mendokoro Ramenba all made waves. Here, we tell you some of the most anticipated openings, confirming rumors, and which ones are still in the works.
1. Pink’s Hotdogs
Since 1939, this hotdog stand in the middle of L.A. has been a Hollywood institution with dogs and toppings unheard of before. The Wildflour group is bringing its first branch in Manila in Shang BGC in May 2015.
2. Halal Guys
The New York shawarma platter cart is making its way to the SM Mega Fashion Hall food court. The gyros and plates will seriously sate the appetites of those who’ve had a drunken Halal Guys experience in the Big Apple.
3. Italian by Davide Oldani
The group behind Todd English Food Hall and Tim Ho Wan are bringing in one-star Michelin chef from Milan (Davide Oldani of Ristorante D’O) to open an Italian concept in 2015.
4. Din Tai Fung
The famed xiao long bao giant is finally opening in Manila in the second half of 2015, thanks to the folks behind Moment Group.
5. Dean and Deluca
The New York institution will finally be opening its doors in Rockwell Edades early in 2015.
6. Red Light
Erwan Heussaff’s latest venture is a secret space in Makati that will be part bar, part creative lab, hosting different chefs and even throwdowns like Ilan Hall’s Knife Fight.
7. An upscale cocktail lounge/bar in BGC with Enzo Lim of Maharlika
A passion project of the Moment Group in collaboration with Enzo Lim, this bar is for Manila’s older and more dynamic set, with an extensive offering of premium spirits, liquors, sakes, and shochus.
8. A new Japanese concept by Bruce Ricketts in SM Mega Fashion Hall
Mecha Uma and Sensei’s Bruce Ricketts is opening a more casual outfit in SM Mega Fashion Hall, still with a Japanese influence.
Brought in by Sariwon, Soban means small, low dining table. It is their own concept but with recipes from their Korean principles for chicken and pork barbecue. (Sariwon serves all beef.)
An authentic Japanese bakery that will be in a takeout counter format with 2 initial locations in Makati. Hard and soft breads, puddings, custard-filled pastries called Custard ‘Croos. There will be a balance of traditional flavors like chocolate, matcha, and strawberry and “out-there” flavors like wasabi yogurt and yuzu cream. This is from the Relish Group who brought in Osaka Ohsho, who are also working on a new Italian concept and a specialized Japanese concept.
11. Frank and Dean, Ocean Telephone Co.
By the same owner as Pablo’s, Frank and Dean will be located in Burgos Circle, a restaurant with a secret speakeasy, Ocean Telephone Co., inside. The space is opening in early 2015.
12. Wolfgang’s Steakhouse
A steakhouse by a former Peter Luger alum, find Wolfgang’s in Resort World’s new reimagined space.
13. Sugar Factory
Located in the same area as Wolfgang’s Steakhouse, Sugar Factory is a big candy shop for both kids and adults alike, an import from Las Vegas.
14. Pie Face
Owned by Michelle Chan, relative of Ben Chan. From Australia, specializes in delicious pies (sweet and savory, hot and cold), pastries, and coffee. Initially it will be in SM MOA, with 2 other locations planned, with a target opening of Jan 2015.
Vask’s latest restaurant is devoted to everything rice, bringing in a chef from Spain specializing in paella. Located in Century City Mall, you can start queuing up for some arroz by the end of December.
16. Miam Miam
Hailing from Singapore, this French-Japanese cafe specializes in baked soufflés and french toasts. No word on location just yet, but it has been confirmed by the group behind Wrong Ramen and Hole in the Wall.
17. Kushikatsu Daruma
A popular chain from Osaka, Kushikatsu Daruma is known for their delicately fried chicken, beef and vegetable skewers. No word on location just yet, but it has been confirmed by the group behind Wrong Ramen and Hole in the Wall.
A vegetarian and vegan restaurant by Bianca Mabanta (whose family is responsible for perennial favorites Senor Pollo and El Chupacabra) and Ramon Antonio, the space is located in Burgos Circle and will be a shrine to good ingredients and sustainable living.
19. Sarsa Group
Chef JP Anglo is poised to open another branch of his popular restaurant in Makati, beside Wildflour, but is also opening an entirely different concept in Rockwell by 2015.
1. 8 Cuts
Moment Group is making 8 Cuts their “banner brand”, opening in different neighborhoods all within Metro Manila, with at least 4 new locations lined up for 2015.
2. Rita’s Custard
This custard shop from Philadelphia will be expanding quick in 2015, with 4 locations in QC, Fort, Makati and Pasay already in the works.
3. JUJU Eats
The group has 5 Juju Eats branches across the city, but they are now focusing on opening and collaborating with institutions such as Medical City in Ortigas to magnify their vision of wellness.
Wildflour is opening their 4th location in Legazpi Village in 2015, which will be part commissary.
1. Panda Express
Chinese-American fast food chain Panda Express is meant to make an appearance on our shores, but the rumors concerning its arrival have quieted down.
2. Blue Butcher
Known as one of the best steakhouses in Hong Kong, Blue Butcher is most famous for their dry-aged meats and ridiculous tomahawks. No confirmed word yet, but this rumor has gained more and more traction in the past few months.
3. Toby’s Estate
The rumored location of this third-wave coffee Melbourne import will be in Legazpi Village by Union Church.
4. Bonchon Group
The people behind Bonchon are rumored to bring in another Asian import, as well as a Japanese bento concept.
The wildest of the rumors, a few people have been posting about the famed Parisian macaron shop on social media, but so far it seems to be wishful thinking.