If You’re Looking for Alternatives to Your Haunts, Try These Ten Places

June 11, 2020

In the 2015 world of eating out, it’s all about pimping your meal to everyone else. Whether it’s about going to the trendiest places to snap a photo, or telling your friends you ate in some hole-in-the-wall before everyone else, people love bragging about what’s on their plate. But what if you want to deviate a little from the pack, and have a little privacy? Instead of having breakfast in Tagaytay, why not Marikina? Third-wave coffee in Fort? Try a quiet one in Guijo. Here are some recommendations for more private or less obvious alternatives to what everyone’s talking about now.

1. Pepita’s Kitchen

If You’re Looking For: Dinner options for your friends and no one else


Photo by: Pam Santos

If you’re a party of 12, and would rather share stories over a meal and wine without having to tone down the noise for other diners, then book a private degustacion at Pepita’s Kitchen. The Lechon Diva is always in the news for bringing her lechon and Pinoy cooking prowess to hotel buffets, but the degustacion which she holds at her home is the best alternative to any private dining in the city. Book well in advance.

Pepita’s Kitchen

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2. Industriya Marikina

If You’re Looking For: Gastropub food in an Instagram-worthy setting


Photo courtesy of Industriya Marikina

There’s comfort food and gastropubs aplenty in the Fort and Makati area, but go a little further north if you want to share something on your food feed that not a lot of people might know about. Industriya Marikina’s transformed space is something that will make for great watercooler talk when you’re showing off where you ate in over the weekend.

Industriya Marikina

Address: 23 M. A. Roxas St., Marikina City

3. Recovery Food

If You’re Looking For: After-hours grub but are afraid of being seen


Sourced from: Jizelle Dela Pena

Recovery Food might be the best known 24/7 joint these days, with their tapa and ramen a popular choice for soaking up the alcohol. But if you’re afraid of being shamed on your night out, the folks here will gladly deliver your rice bowls to your car so you can grub away and stay hidden.

4. Restock

If You’re Looking For: Third-wave coffee in a quiet space


Photo by: Jerome Jocson

Third-wave coffee is in full swing, and if you’re working in Makati or Fort, there’s a big chance you’ve got one that’s within walking distance to your office. The problem is however, that their popularity has made these coffee shops more crowded than a Starbucks. A little drive away is Restock, which boasts coffee by the golden boy behind Magnum Opus, and is much, much quieter than any other around. Plus, it’s a hipster shop that stocks all sorts of curiosities.


Address: 7635 Guijo St., Makati City

5. Rustic Mornings by Isabelo

If You’re Looking For: A breakfast getaway that isn’t in Tagaytay


Photo by: Jerome Jocson

Sunday brunch at Tagaytay used to be the perfect getaway from the city, until it became so commercialized that weekend traffic going up to the volcano almost became like EDSA on a weekday. Go the opposite direction instead, and head for Rustic Mornings by Isabelo, which is slowly becoming a hot spot for pancakes, waffles, and an intimate morning meal.

Rustic Mornings by Isabelo

Address: 11 Isabelo Mendoza Street, San Roque, Marikina City

6. Apartment 1B at The Henry Hotel

If You’re Looking For: A client-worthy meeting space


Photo courtesy of: The Henry Hotel

If you want to seal your next business deal, take your clients to The Henry Hotel. It’s a virtual haven from the hustle and bustle of Metro Manila, but is still located in the mess of it all. On a weekday, this place is relatively quiet, which makes transactions inevitable. This place is a hidden gem that leaves a lasting impression on anyone.

The Henry Hotel

Address: 2680 Compound, F.B. Harrison St., Pasay City

7. Tosca

If You’re Looking For: An intimate dinner for two


Photo courtesy of: Johanna Perez of Dusit Manila

There’s a lot of romantic places in the city, but one that often gets lost in the influx of new restaurants is Tosca. The food has retained somewhat the same quality in spite of a few missteps, but it’s the intimate atmosphere that really can’t be beat. Dim lights, ample space between places to avoid an overcrowded feel—if you’re looking for romance, Tosca is a forgotten choice that might reward you well.


Address: Dusit Thani Hotel, EDSA, Makati City

8. The Bayleaf

If You’re Looking For: A trendy rooftop bar without all the noise


Photo by: Jerome Jocson

When it comes to the world of drinks, rooftop and craft cocktail bars are becoming the most popular kind in Manila. But if you dream of indulging in the trend without having to deal with crowds looking for the same thing, the Sky Deck at boutique hotel The Bayleaf is your best bet. The fact that it’s nestled in the historic heart of Manila is a giant bonus, making it a much more relaxed, and interesting choice if you’re looking to settle down a drink on the weekends.

Sky Deck – The Bayleaf

Address: Muralla St., Intramuros, Manila

9. Brasserie Ciçou

If You’re Looking For: A brunch/all-day dining spot


Photo by: Jerome Jocson

Chef Cyrille Soenen is highly regarded as one of the best chefs in the city, and with good reason. His food is classic but creative, indulgent but rightly so. Brasserie Ciçou is his flagship, and isn’t as crowded as it should be. If you’re looking for a meal any time of the day, this place will never disappoint you. This beats a lot of other bistros in the city, and does French without an upturned nose.

Brasserie Ciçou

Address: 57 Annapolis St., San Juan

10. Café Voi-La

If You’re Looking For: A Tagaytay gem that isn’t Antonio’s


Photo courtesy of: Ica Manalo Sebastian of Café Voi-La

Antonio’s is widely known as the best restaurant in the Philippines (its many accolades and a spot on the coveted San Pellegrino list will tell you that), but it isn’t the only gem Tagaytay has. If you’re looking for a place that’s handsomely decked out, with an extensive menu that’s bound to please any diner, then Café Voi-La is without fault.

Café Voi-La

Address: Crosswinds Luxury Resorts, Tagaytay

Name us popular places, and give us your off-the-beaten-path alternatives below!

6 comments in this post SHOW

6 responses to “If You’re Looking for Alternatives to Your Haunts, Try These Ten Places”

  1. Volts Sanchez says:

    Restock is the place beside 12/10?

  2. Victoria says:

    Tosca is underrated, IMO, pretty decently priced Italian (and cocktails!) considering it’s a hotel restaurant.

  3. Jeremy says:

    4. Restock – If You’re Looking For: Third-wave coffee in a quiet space

    Quiet? Sipping coffee as you’re crammed in a very small space while you overhear people on the next table just a few inches (mga tipong wala pang 6 inches) away from you talk about their day.

  4. Mike says:

    Have you tried the coffee at Restock? Or even their hot chocolate? I bet not. Those are two of the worst drinks I’ve had in my entire life. There is more to third-wave coffee than some fancy latte art.

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