Now, when I am in town, my friends and family usually eat out and explore the many new options.
My list of great restaurants and the dishes that I enjoyed..
Kafe Batwan - modern Filipino food. Pancit Palabok with crab fat, squid ink and a perfect soft boiled egg that reminds me of ramen egg and Lechon Kawali with chocolate sauce.
Mecha Uma - creative Japanese inspired dishes using premium ingredients. We had 9 courses and my favorite were Chef Rickett'storo aburi with truffle and Matsusaka wagyu with seared eggplant and cabrales cheese.
Serye - A friend took me here because the kare kare won Best Kare Kare at Food Wars Asia. It is excellent.
Tim Howan - the first time that I tried the baked BBQ pork buns, I was hooked. I wish that I could bring them to San Diego (I can imagine the customs officer interrogating me), but I have a feeling that Tim Howan will open in the States and expand rapidly like Din Tai Fung.
Cirkulo - I love the understated sophisticated elegance of this restaurant plus their sisig is amazing.
Milky Way Cafe - Filipino comfort food...the restaurant that has been around since I was a child ....Their lechon kawali, catfish and buko lychee sherbet is amazing.
VASK Modern Tapas and Gastronomic Cuisine_- Innovative tasting menu and tapas. Tapas at the Vask Dining Room and Gallery Vask for degustation dinners.
Kichitora Tokyo - Ramen (Paiten Zenbu No Se) with the perfect ajitsuke tamago (ramen egg).
The Manila Peninsula - This hotel has been a favorite place to visit since I was a child. I love the grand, elegant old world feel...Their burger with egg served on a pretty plate is a treat.
Izakaya Kikujuji - High quality seafood, traditional Japanese dishes and decor (including zashiki style floor seating), casual vibrant atmosphere. When I visit, I order the chirashi and appreciate the generous portions of uni.
XO 46 Bistro Filipino - Classic Filipino dishes prepared well ...Delicious crispy pata and garlicky gambas.
Rambla Joya Building Rockwell - Spanish Mediterranean food...Paella negra with salmon and spherical olives.
Todd English Food Hall - I wanted to see if the experience would be similar to the one at the Plaza Hotel. I had dinner with my mom and although our meal was good, what made our night extraordinary was the service. Yummy local raw oysters which was a deal for less than $1 each.
Saboten - A tonkatsu chain originally from Shinjuku, Tokyo.
I like the grated radish katsu (tender chicken cutlet with grated radish and squeezed grapefruit).
Dulcinea - a favorite since high school. Their churros con chocolate is legendary.
Honey Creme at SM Aura - Cotton candy affogato...how can you not smile when you see ice cream and cotton candy together? Aside from being a cute dessert, it is delicious.
Pi Breakfast and Pies at the Grove by Rockwell - Peter, my mom and I had breakfast here with no expectations and the ricotta ensaymada and wagyu tapa with kimchi fried rice made us want to try more dishes. On our next visit....
Family Mart - at 25th St BGC ..not a restaurant but their fried chicken, California roll (I eat them in Manila because mango is used here) and green tea soft serve are favorite cheap eats.
JT Manukan Grill - for the best chicken inasal (grilled chicken from the Visayas). They also serve tender pork sate babe which is incredibly delicious.
Pepper Lunch - Beef pepper rice....quick, cheap, delicious.
Shakey's I will never tire of a Friday Special (shrimp, anchovies and mushroom). For as long as I can remember, Shakey's pizza has always been a treat.
Backyard Kitchen + Brew at the Grove by Rockwell - The salted egg chicken skin pizza is a must try. My first time eating chicken skin on pizza and it is so guilty pleasure good.
Highlands Prime Steakhouse - Very good classic burger with a thick high quality meat patty and perfect size fries.
Kuppa Roastery & Cafe - an intimate and cozy space which made me feel like I was in a coffee shop in New York. Tanzania cherry flavored coffee, breakfast linguini with an oozing soft boiled egg, and spam with kimchi fried rice. Perfection.
Ramen Nagi - in SM Aura Despite looking like an oil spill, their Black King (Butao broth with squid ink) ramen is very good.
Paul Boulangerie in SM Aura - was started in Northern France in 1889 and is now in Manila. Pretty amazing history. One of my mom's favorite places for a sandwich (smoked salmon and chicken) and I really like their fougasse (olive bread).
Spiral at Sofitel Philippine Plaza - when we went to Spiral, we were stuck in heavy traffic for 3.5 hours (a drive that normally would have taken 30 minutes) but dishes from different countries, a large cheese room, fresh oysters and a foie gras station made the drive worth it.
Ogawa - upon entering you feel like you are transported to Japan. The toro tasted like rich butter perfection.
Outside Manila but the food is so good....
Taza at Taal Vista Hotel - I went with friends for a "light" lunch and ended up having a feast. Fresh ingredients, high quality products and generous portions made the dishes memorable. Chef Jayme's duck and mushroom lasagna, home made bacon, Tomahawk pork chop and boquerones were extraordinary.