12 New Restaurants to Check Out at the UP Town Center (Plus New Branches of Old Favorites)

January 19, 2019

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.

11. Salusalo


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.

The following 12 establishments are already familiar names in the local restaurant scene. They’ve all opened up new branches at the UP Town Center to give more people a chance to enjoy their food.

Boon Tong Kee (Singaporean Cuisine)


Dulcelin Gourmet (Desserts)


Ryu Ramen & Curry


Tea Rock Milk Tea Café


Torch (Fusion)


IHOP (All-Day American Breakfast)


Ginza Bairin (Japanese Katsu)


Ba Noi’s (Vietnamese)


Highlands Coffee


Vanilla Cupcake Bakery


Shrimp Bucket (Coming Soon)


J.Co (Coming Soon)


Have you tried any of the new restaurants at the UP Town Center? How was the experience? Any dishes that you would recommend? Which restaurant on the list are you most interested in trying? Sound off in the comment section below!

Mikka Wee Mikka Wee

Mikka Wee is former editor of Pepper.ph and was part of the team until she got whisked away to Singapore in 2016 where she worked in advertising and eventually found herself back in the food industry. She currently does marketing work for two popular Singaporean dessert brands and is a weekly columnist for The Philippine Daily Inquirer’s lifestyle brand, Preen.ph. She has always been crazy about travel, food, and her dog Rocket.

49 comments in this post SHOW

49 responses to “12 New Restaurants to Check Out at the UP Town Center (Plus New Branches of Old Favorites)”

  1. Kervin LB says:

    A haven of must-go-to restaurants ready to feed everyone’s empty howling stomach. Will definitely hit this place!

  2. Basel says:

    Just ate at 8 cuts burger blends last weekend. Love the build your burger concept. You can even choose which cuts of beef are ground for your patty! Next Boon Tong Kee. I want to try those coffee infused ribs.

  3. Ren says:

    I’m going to be a poor graduate student this semester because of these new restos~! T_______T Highlands Coffee~~~~

  4. Gee says:

    Tried Ryu Ramen and Curry with friends during their soft opening. The prizes were a bit steep for student budgets, but the food is pretty good! I was particularly sad when they told us they ran out of gyoza that day. Huhu gyoza~~

  5. Katipunan Town Center dapat. says:

    Love this place, even though they’re still doing renovations and stuff~ T.T

    The prices aren’t that steep, imo. =)))) (or maybe I just don’t skimp out on food budget)

  6. Leslie says:

    The server at the Greek place said that they’ll be having an option for eat-all-you-can mezedes buffet. And everyone knows appetizers are the best part of a buffet. <3

    Got to small talk with the chef of Liberty last weekend (they had a soft opening but we decided to eat in Primary) and she said all their meats are imported from the US & she and the other chef both worked there previously. So I guess expectations are high.

    I love how there are many new restaurants to keep you coming back. 🙂

    • Mikka Wee says:

      WOW. MEZEDES BUFFET?!?!?!?!? Okay, I can’t wait for that!

      Thanks for the heads up on Liberty! How was the food in Primary and what did you order? 🙂

      • Lars Roxas says:

        I want to make a Jessie Mendiola joke at the Mezedes Buffet but I fear no one would get it but me. -______-

      • Leslie says:

        Beef salpicao – nice & tender, mildly spicy
        Tomato soup – I love spicy food, but I must have missed it in the menu description and I was surprised when this scalded my tongue all the way down to my stomach lining. Suuuuuper spicy.
        Seared tuna salad – fresh tuna, creamy tangy dressing.

        All in all it was okay for a lunch meal. Since it’s a bar, I think it’s safe to assume that tapas would be their specialty. Not really a place I’d go back to, but their salpicao was tasty.

        They said they’re Spanish Mediterranean cuisine. I always assumed sesame seared tuna was more Asian. :))

  7. Pilar San Luis says:

    OMG! Casa Verde! Looking forward to this! Hope the food taste does not stray far from it’s mother ship in Cebu. I see that Dulcelin Gourmet finally gave-in and decided to have it’s own store. Their Mango Torte is the best!

    • Mikka Wee says:

      From what I remember, Dulcelin already has a kiosk in Glorietta, but I’m excited to see what they’ll serve in UP Town. 😀

  8. Katrina says:

    So curious about 8 Cuts. I think Burger Bar is pretty good and would willingly go all the way to Greenbelt just for their onion rings alone. I don’t know if getting to pick the cuts of meet that will go into my burger patty (versus the current 4 blends in BB) is a good thing, though, or if it will just stress me out. Haha.

    • Mikka Wee says:

      Yeah I’m excited to try 8 Cuts, too! Speaking of Burger Bar, they have this Molten Chocolate Cake in a cup that’s reeeeeallllyyyy gooood. I had it last Tuesday and I’m not over it yet

  9. Tricia Martinez says:

    My friend ate at Pinac and they found a worm (yup, BULATE) on their pako salad. The second plate of calamares that they ordered was served RAW. As in you can see the batter pa. Euw.

    The owner was there and she didn’t even bother apologizing. Here’s the tweet of my friend’s sister. http://instagram.com/p/fHWsA4Mfab/

    • a says:

      same experience at ba noi’s. stale spring rolls and burnt crepe, no apologies, too :((

    • Mikka Wee says:

      Aw crap, that sucks big time ah!!! 🙁 Sorry to hear about your experience!

    • xeeeng says:

      Ate at pinac too. We went kinda late and it was during their opening day so out of stock na lahat ng gusto naming iorder na food. The food was alright but I guess the exhaust wasn’t working yet or something because it was really smoky that night. Had salad as well. No worm naman. Grabe naman yung worm and raw calamares. Yuck. T_T

  10. Geh says:

    I went there yesterday but since I was still full from a heavy brunch, I decided that I’ll just have a matcha sundae cone from Family Mart. Out of stock. Sad. 🙁

    • Mikka Wee says:

      When I was there, the line for the matcha sundae cone was soooooooooo loooooooong. I hope they use real dairy in their ice cream, though! Hehe.

  11. Carl Tomacruz says:

    TWENTY-FOUR RESTAURANTS? God, that’s insane!

    And it’s got… FOUR Japanese restaurants. Does this mean that I’ll be seeing you Pepper people more often here?

  12. Maureen Antoinette says:

    Casa Verde is must, guys 🙂 I had to include that when I went to Cebu last January, and now, it’s here! Sana may ganto sa south. Well, aside from what is in Nuvali/Solenad.

  13. Bring back Ba Noi’s to Makatiiii :((

  14. rob says:

    Tried casa verde.the ribs are too dry for me. I think they overcooked it. Matigas, definitely not the same as the ones they serve in cebu.

  15. pia says:

    Ate at vanilla cupcake bakery a day after it opened and the aircon was not working so it was really hot. The next time I ate there, their banana-hazelnut cupcake was dry, crumbly and the icing tasted nothing like nutella and was too sweet. For P80 pa. I felt ripped off. :/

  16. sineguelas says:

    ba noi… not authentic… kasi ang authentic Vietnamese merong mga laman-loob sa beef soup (pho). yung mga meals nila basically i didn’t find it authentic (and I’ve been to lots of vietnamese resto’s outside the country). i want authentic Vietnamese and I really miss it can’t find one in this country! if you know a place please let me know!

    • Bunny says:

      Ummm, stop whining. If you really miss authentic Vietnamese food, go to Vietnam. If you know how to research where to find your beloved authentic Vietnamese food in the PH, you should know that in Puerto Princessa, there are a bunch of good Vietnamese restos owned by actual Vietnamese.

  17. B_liao says:

    Thumbs down for liberty steak house. Angus tapa and mid town steaks were tough. A number of world trade specialties were not available. Exhaust inside resto was also bad. Smells terrible.

  18. […] the success of its flagship store located at the UP Town Center, Lucca now opens its second branch at SM Mega Fashion Hall. Known as a boulangerie that serves […]

  19. […] Steveston Pizza was founded by Nader Hatami, a chef with no previous background in pizza but was armed with the knowledge of which ingredients go well together. He decided to set up shop at Steveston Village in Canada and created a pizza menu that used ingredients that are anything but authentic Italian. His confidence in knowing that his creations would please his customers was validated through the various “Best Pizza” awards Steveston Pizza has won. Today, Steveston has branched out to the Philippines (their sole branches outside Canada!) and can be found in Tomas Morato and UP Town Center. […]

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