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Old Mar 21, 08, 3:35 am   #1
 
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Best Food in Manila?

I've spent enough time here in Manila to try all the famous places and find my own favorite establishments. I'm just wondering if anyone can recommend some "hidden gems" in Makati, Paranaque or the Fort area. I actually prefer smaller venues like locally owned tuna restaurants, buffets, etc. I'm not all that impressed with the typical expat haunts like Outback, Hard Rock, etc. They are alright but I like to truly enjoy the local cuisine. Any suggestions?
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Old Mar 24, 08, 12:22 pm   #2
 
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I've never ventured away from The Greenbelts or The Fort but would love to hear some recommendations on great local places to eat.
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Old Mar 24, 08, 12:37 pm   #3
 
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There's a great place not terribly far from Greenbelt, amazing local Philippine food (chicken, pork, BBQ). Balutin is the joint (I hope I'm right)....or translated "Wrapped" in English. All the meals are wrapped in a banana leaf and are simply amazing! I've only had take-out from there, and do know they're open 24 hours a day, ask a local for directions!
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Old Mar 26, 08, 3:36 am   #4
 
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I've never ventured away from The Greenbelts or The Fort but would love to hear some recommendations on great local places to eat.

Ahhhh, you don't know what you're missing. I can understand your situation though. Going out in Manila can be a hassle when you are busy, but it is usually worth it if you can find the time. I have recently become addicted to the lobster balls (fried clumps of meat, not the testes ) from a small food stand located in the food court of Alabang Town Center. They are to die for and very cheap at only 29 PHP per stick containing three balls. I am also partial to some of the Mongolian style food joints that can be found in most any mall in Manila.
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Old Mar 26, 08, 4:12 pm   #5
 
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Hi viking407rob!

Have you tried the food stalls at the Salcedo Market (7AM-2PM, Saturdays only)? It's probably not a "hidden" gem anymore, but nevertheless it's still a gem.

Salcedo Market (near Makati Sports Club)
Salcedo Village
Makati
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Old Mar 26, 08, 7:09 pm   #6
 
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Originally Posted by Mr. Roboto View Post
Hi viking407rob!

Have you tried the food stalls at the Salcedo Market (7AM-2PM, Saturdays only)? It's probably not a "hidden" gem anymore, but nevertheless it's still a gem.

Salcedo Market (near Makati Sports Club)
Salcedo Village
Makati
I'll certainly look into that. Thanks for the tip!
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Old Mar 26, 08, 9:14 pm   #7
 
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I'll certainly look into that. Thanks for the tip!
You're welcome! Walang anuman!(sp?) Here's more information on the location:

Salcedo Market
Jaime Velasquez Park
Tordesillas & Leviste (formerly Alfaro) Streets
Salcedo Village, MAKATI

I also found some photos on the web: LINK

Another gem you might want to try is Café Juanita, which is more of a proper dining experience. It's just north of the Fort (just across the river), in a residential area, in between Ortigas & the Fort, but closer to the latter. The restaurant used to be a house, don't let outside looks deceive you. It's like eating at grandma's house, it's even furnished that way, (naturally I'm referring to a Filipina grandmother!) They have a Sunday lunch buffet which was priced at PHP375.00++ last year. The only thing I would caution you about is that it can get rather crowded on Sundays with families. Their regular menu (non-buffet) offers food from the Philippines as well as from Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, and the Mediterranean.

Café Juanita
21 United St (corner West Capitol Dr.)
Barrio Kapitolyo
PASIG
Open daily, 11am to 2pm; 5.30pm to 10pm. (Fridays until 12 midnight)
Credit Cards accepted.
Tel: +02 6320357 (good idea to write this down and call for reservations & directions, I had my mobile phone in the car and had them speak with the driver)

Please report back if you get to try any of these two venues and let us know if you discover any other places.

Addendum: Next door to Café Juanita is another place called Kainan au Gusto, which is more downscale and cheaper, but definitely just as tasty! The good thing is the two places are owned by the same person.

BTW, I saw your other post about the Holiday Inn in Ortigas, that's where I was last month! I usually stay at the Renaissance in Makati, but their rates were about double and they had some construction in the lobby area at the time. My only complaint about the Ortigas area is the traffic getting there from Makati, 30-40 minutes for a distance of only 7 kms. However, I did get to the Holiday Inn in 18 minutes from MNL airport (15 kms) when I arrived, naturally it was after midnight on a Sunday night (Monday early morning). And another minor complaint, if you want broadband access in your room (not free), someone has to come to your room to get you connected. Anyway, the hotel is connected to a shopping centre (Robinsons Galleria) which has free wi-fi. So for the price of a soft drink I sat at the Burger King for 2 hours and checked my e-mails and surfed the web (it was kind of noisy though).

Last edited by Mr. Roboto; Mar 26, 08 at 10:30 pm.. Reason: Addendum inserted
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Old Mar 27, 08, 5:08 am   #8
 
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Café Juanita
I'll be back in Manila next month and will plan to check this place out.

I also usually stay at the Renaissance - rates were regularly under $100 with a corporate discount. I was seeing rates for $125 and $150 for my stay next month and decided to give the CP Galleria a try instead.
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Old Mar 27, 08, 6:24 am   #9
 
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I also usually stay at the Renaissance - rates were regularly under $100 with a corporate discount. I was seeing rates for $125 and $150 for my stay next month and decided to give the CP Galleria a try instead.
Crown Plaza Galleria is nice. I love that area. If you're staying there I'd recommend checking out Side Bar @ St. Francis Square. It's about 3-5 minutes away by car or cab and easy to find. They have tasy snacks, inexpensive beer (3 San Migs for 90 PHP) and buy one get one cocktails. The atmosphere is laid back with no excessively loud music and a nice mix of people.

Oh btw, We will be going to Salcedo Market this coming Saturday. Thanks Mr. Roboto for the link with the pics. Can't wait to try the variety if foods!
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Last edited by viking407rob; Mar 27, 08 at 6:57 am..
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Old Mar 27, 08, 12:30 pm   #10
 
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Crown Plaza Galleria is nice. I love that area. If you're staying there I'd recommend checking out Side Bar @ St. Francis Square. It's about 3-5 minutes away by car or cab and easy to find. They have tasy snacks, inexpensive beer (3 San Migs for 90 PHP) and buy one get one cocktails. The atmosphere is laid back with no excessively loud music and a nice mix of people.

Oh btw, We will be going to Salcedo Market this coming Saturday. Thanks Mr. Roboto for the link with the pics. Can't wait to try the variety if foods!
I think the SideBar is at El Pueblo Real (a block from St Francis Square). I used to like the San Mig Pub at El Pueblo, this was several years ago and has closed. Is the SideBar on the 2nd floor, I think in the corner? Maybe it's in the old San Mig Pub locale.
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Old Apr 2, 08, 2:42 am   #11
 
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I think the SideBar is at El Pueblo Real (a block from St Francis Square). I used to like the San Mig Pub at El Pueblo, this was several years ago and has closed. Is the SideBar on the 2nd floor, I think in the corner? Maybe it's in the old San Mig Pub locale.

Yes, you are correct. It is in that location. If it makes you feel better there is a nice San Mig Pub in Alabang Town Center on the 2nd Floor. It's a great place to unwind or to have a casual business meeting. The SMP in ATC is very convenient for me, maybe 5 minutes from my place and not too far from Makati either. Just take South Super Highway to Alabang Exit and then take Alabang Zapote Road and you can't miss it. It's a nice mall (Ayala) with a TGIF's, Cable Car and lots of other decent places to eat and/or drink.
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Last edited by viking407rob; Apr 2, 08 at 3:01 am..
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Old Apr 2, 08, 11:00 am   #12
 
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Yes, you are correct. It is in that location. If it makes you feel better there is a nice San Mig Pub in Alabang Town Center on the 2nd Floor. It's a great place to unwind or to have a casual business meeting. The SMP in ATC is very convenient for me, maybe 5 minutes from my place and not too far from Makati either. Just take South Super Highway to Alabang Exit and then take Alabang Zapote Road and you can't miss it. It's a nice mall (Ayala) with a TGIF's, Cable Car and lots of other decent places to eat and/or drink.
Actually, my first visit to a San Mig Pub was the one in Alabang, this was back in 1996. My friends who live in Ayala Alabang brought me there for a quick drink, which naturally turned into a 4 hour session. My 2nd visit was to the one in Ortigas back in Sept. 2001. There used to be another one in Makati, near Greenbelt 1, but that closed years ago.

BTW, did you make it to Salcedo Market this past weekend?
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Old Apr 3, 08, 12:26 am   #13
 
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Actually, my first visit to a San Mig Pub was the one in Alabang, this was back in 1996. My friends who live in Ayala Alabang brought me there for a quick drink, which naturally turned into a 4 hour session. My 2nd visit was to the one in Ortigas back in Sept. 2001. There used to be another one in Makati, near Greenbelt 1, but that closed years ago.

BTW, did you make it to Salcedo Market this past weekend?
Kuya Mr. Roboto, I am quite familiar with those four hour sessions. In fact, thats why we didn't make it to Salcedo this past Saturday. We went out to see a local band at Blue Wave and ended up staying out past midnight. Come Saturday I didn't feel up to going out and facing the Manila Summer heat with a slight hangover in tow.

We will be attending the wedding of a former officemate on Saturday evening and am trying to work it into our schedule to go beforehand. The wedding is later and also in Makati. We will just have to change because I doubt a barong and formal dress will fit in at Salcedo. I'll be sure to post my thoughts and impressions if we make it this weekend.
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Old Apr 7, 08, 1:32 pm   #14
 
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I have been traveling to Manila every 90 days and my current favorite restaurant for Filipino cuisine is a restaurant in Greenbelt called Centro. Their Corned beef sinigang and boneless crispy pata are pretty awesome.
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Old Apr 7, 08, 1:55 pm   #15
 
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I have been traveling to Manila every 90 days and my current favorite restaurant for Filipino cuisine is a restaurant in Greenbelt called Centro. Their Corned beef sinigang and boneless crispy pata are pretty awesome.
I had dinner there back in 2006. The correct spelling is SENTRO and the full name is SENTRO 1771.
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