I'd like to preface this by saying I'm not a food snob. I'll eat pretty much anything you put in front of me (although sometimes with a bit of trepidation), in any type of setting. I just happen to enjoy inconveniencing myself and my friends by eating at out-of-the-way joints. Seriously though, I love finding hole-in-the-wall restaurants because there's that delectable thrill that comes with making a new discovery in obscure locations and sinking your teeth into something for the first time.
Here are a few of my recent favorite holes-in-the-wall in Metro Manila:
(photos courtesy of Aaron Roselo)
Although Kapitolyo in Pasig has been steadily turning into foodieville in recent months, this quaint little deli was already there before the rest of the establishments started mushrooming. If you love meat like I do, you'll love their bacon steak. Yes, you read that right. It's a fat, juicy slab of beautiful red-brown pork with just the right amount of fat. You know what makes it better? It comes with eggs and –wait for it – bacon rice. Sure, the meal will probably shorten your life by 20 years, but then you'll die happy, right? They also have excellent sausages, but the amount of cheese they include in their sausage and cheese platter is a bit bitin. Other must-tries: Jamon de Oro and BlackOut Chocolate Cake.
21 East Capitol Drive, Kapitolyo, Pasig
(photos courtesy of Mia Bontol)
Have I mentioned I love meat? So at Galileo Enoteca, we ordered their cold cut and cheese platter, which can easily be shared by three people. To offset all the meat, my girlfriends and I ordered cream and mushroom penne and margherita pizza. And a bottle of red, of course! Being the cheapskate I am, I loved the unlimited free bread (or at least it seemed unlimited since we just kept asking haha) and three types of dips. This is a lovely place; great for dates. It makes you feel like you're in some wine cellar in Italy, with dark wood furniture and the walls lined with bottles upon bottles of wine.
80 Calbayog St. cor. Malinao St., Mandaluyong City
The Frazzled Cook
(photo courtesy of Sanndra Orosa)
Meat lovers, get the wagyu salpicao! Admittedly, it’s not much to look at, but it's ridiculously tender, has that beautiful reddish tint on the inside, and is bursting with flavor. And it's loaded with garlic – in a good way! I just wish the serving was bigger though, for something slightly over P500. Another favorite was the lamb kebab, which went really well with the curry rice. According to my friend who got the lengua, it was good, too – the kind that melts in your mouth. This is a great place to go on a date; it has cute, kitschy, mismatched furniture, different kinds of knickknacks, and a wall stacked with those lucky Japanese cats that create a fun, bohemian ambiance.
916 Luna Mencias Street, Brgy. Addition Hills, Mandaluyong City
(02) 782-5980 / 725-3354
101 Hawker Food House
(photo borrowed from https://www.facebook.com/pages/101-Hawker-Food-House)
When you have a relatively strict one-hour lunch break like I do, you'll want to make the most out of it. I work at a building along Ayala Ave., just a stone's throw away from Makati Med, behind which is this obscure Singaporean food house patterned after hawker stalls in – you guessed it – Singapore! The salt and pepper pork ribs were good, but sadly there were only about six pieces buried in a bowl overflowing with rice. Because it was lunch (and I was too cheap to spring for another dish), I took a nibble off my officemate's Hainanese chicken, which was really juicy and flavorful. My other officemates said the Nasi Goreng was also pretty good for its price.
Unit 102, Campos Rueda Bldg., 101 Urban Ave., Makati City
Le Bistro D'Agathe
(photos courtesy of Mia Bontol)
Because it's called a "bistro," my two girlfriends and I thought nothing of it when we suddenly showed up at their doorstep. An imposing French man (who turned out to be the chef) met us at the door and asked if we had a reservation, to which we haltingly answered "no," while shooting glances at each other. He seated us anyway, and says with mock admonition, "Next time, you make reservation, okay?" We ordered terrine for starters, buttered salmon and pork tenderloin for the main course, and apple tart and the signature crème caramel for dessert. The prices are a bit steep for an average yuppie's budget, costing about P800+ for the set meal (and because we got a bottle of wine, we ended up forking over P1000 each), but it was worth the experience. The bistro is also an art gallery, and the paintings added that extra charm that starkly contrasted the somewhat dreary surrounding area.
1154 A Lacuna St. cor. Rodriguez Ave., Bangkal, Makati City
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