12 New Restaurants to Check Out at the UP Town Center (Plus New Branches of Old Favorites)January 19, 2019
- Mikka WeeWords
The just-opened UP Town Center is the newest player in the game of getting Manila’s hungriest to open their wallets for lunch and dinner. If it weren’t for the few apparel stores that put up shop (and one random Family Mart branch), the place would be nothing but dozens of new restaurants for people to try. Think of it as the NuVali of the North, but without a Starbucks in sight (though this is Katipunan, so there’s still a couple a few hundred meters away).
Most of the food establishments here have signs declaring that they’re operating on a Cash Only basis for the meantime. Since the majority are still in their Soft Opening stages, any mishaps you encounter are both acceptable and forgivable. In addition to the new branches from old familiar names (for those who want to play it safe), there are also a dozen truly new restaurants that adventurous diners can try. Check out our list below for the full score.
1. Café Shibuya
Shibuya is one of the prime shopping districts in Tokyo. It’s also famous for its busy railway stations. What it has to do with Café Shibuya, though, I’m not really sure. The laid back interiors, and a menu that’s heavy on bread, don’t really scream Shibuya to me. Still, if you’re craving for some afternoon toast with a Japanese flair, feel free to head over to Café Shibuya and give them a try.
2. Steveston Pizza
Steveston Pizza, a new pizza parlor to hit Manila, is a franchise that originated from Canada. Upon checking out their menu, most of their pizzas strike me as being simple yet classy when it comes to the choice of toppings. I’m particularly curious about the Green Pizza from Steveston, it has herb pesto butter, shrimp, brie, and scallions. A lot of people have been raving about this new place, so I’ll probably be paying them (and their pizzas!) a visit very soon.
3. Red Onion Café
Red Onion Café takes pride in serving unlimited hand-pulled noodles to go with their signature 39-Spices Beef Noodle Soup. Aside from that, they also serve dumplings and other Chinese fare for those who are craving for something Oriental.
4. Kos Greek Quzeri
Kos serves the usual Souvlaki, Gyros, and other Greek-Mediterranean dishes one would expect. I love Greek food, and if you feel the same way I do, then Kos is definitely worth a visit if you ever find yourself in the area.
5. Primary Kitchen Bar
Yes, of course there’s a bar. Students (of legal age) from the four schools along Katipunan can now rejoice at the addition of yet another watering hole. I was told that the owners of this place are affiliated with the AICA (Asian Institute for Culinary Arts), so we expect the food to hit a certain level of quality. The interior is black and sleek, but sorry kids, no craft beer here.
6. Pinác Heirloom Capampangan Cuisine
Upon checking out the menu, their prices aren’t that bad (PHP 200-300 per head). The place seems ideal for family lunches and wholesome get-togethers. They have six different kinds of sinigang to choose from and they also serve Ulang, which is basically a Hulked-out (but very delicious) freshwater prawn.
7. Casa Verde
Casa Verde is a famous restaurant chain in Cebu. This is their first branch in Metro Manila, and even if it’s a Filipino-Spanish themed restaurant, they also specialize in American comfort food. Expect a lot of pasta, steak, burger, and ribs in this restaurant.
8. Liberty New York Steakhouse
Another steakhouse at the UP Town Center is Liberty. It was closed when I dropped by, so I think it’s still in its development stages. I’m looking forward to reading reviews about this place once it opens. Or maybe, we’ll do one ourselves. Hmmm.
9. 8 Cuts Burger Blends by Burger Bar
The folks behind Burger Bar have opened a new place that is sure to be near and dear the heart of every carnivore in Manila. I’m assuming they carried over the build-your-own-burger concept, but I’m curious to see what the “8-cuts” part adds to the equation.
10. Tokyo Tonteki
Tokyo Tonteki is a franchise from Shibuya, Japan. It provides a refreshing take on boring old pork cutlets. If most restaurants have been whipping up Katsu dishes that go with that standard sesame sauce, Tokyo Tonteki offers a different steak-style version. I’ve read that their pork is actually cooked in pig fat, which probably makes it both delicious and deadly.
Salusalo is a restaurant that offers good Filipino cooking for hungry customers. It was still closed when I dropped by, but I really liked what I could see of the lovely interior of the place.
12. S&B Frathouse Comfort Food
Though it was still closed, this restaurant immediately caught my eye. I’m guessing S&B will be serving up a lot of manly eats the would appeal to bros everywhere. I can only imagine what they’ll have on their menu. It’s also probably a sports bar, so expect wild times inside come the next UAAP basketball season.