Without question, Makati is Metro Manila’s most delicious district. It’s also refreshingly compact and strolling-friendly, so Manila’s maddening standstill traffic isn’t on the menu.
Recently, VOGUE noted that Filipino cuisine is taking the foodie world by storm, so dig in with Makati’s wide range of fare from across the country, plus creative Asian fusion, outstanding craft coffee and cocktails, sweets, and even organic street food at Metro Manila‘s hippest outdoor Sunday market.
XO 46 Heritage Bistro
Filipino cuisine was heavily influenced by the country’s Spanish settlers, plus Chinese, Indian, Latin American, and other ethnic groups and cultures. Flavors are bold and in-your-face. Salty, sour, fried and rich rule, while crispy textures and sauciness are beloved qualities. Hey—you can worry about cholesterol when you go home, right? Like a belly-filling 101 course in the country’s culinary classics, XO 46 specializes in high quality, wholesome takes on its owners’ family recipes. The interiors also ooze authenticity and atmosphere, down to the servers’ barong outfits.
Must try: The Crispy Binagoongang, deep fried crunchy pork in shrimp paste, and Kare Kareng Crispy Tagyang, beef ribs served with a savory peanut dipping sauce.
Sarsa Kitchen + Bar
At Sarsa Kitchen + Bar Chef JP Anglo puts local ingredients to use and a lot of signature sauces, aka “sarsas,” plus dishes representing Philippines’ regional Negrense cuisine. The English-language menu includes a helpful ingredient glossary .
Must try: The rich Sizzling Kansi, a pan of tender buffalo meat, onion and marrow doused in a succulent sour gravy.
The colorful, contemporary Manam presents both classic and modern twists on Filipino comfort food. Located in the lively, lushly landscaped Greenbelt complex, Manam is also a treat for its fabulous photo-illustrated menu with clear, mouth-watering English language descriptions of each dish, which can be ordered in small, medium or large portions.
Must try: Adobo, meat simmered in soy sauce, vinegar and garlic, gets an “overloaded garlicky” chicken and pork belly rendition, and Manam’s version of Sizzling Sisig, a tastes-better-than-it-sounds plate of chopped pork face, is made with corned beef and topped with fried eggs.
Wildflour Bakery and Cafe
Yes, you did just fly to Southeast Asia for some of the world’s best Western baked goods. Wildflour is the handiwork of Filipina chef Margarita Manzke and American husband Walter, of Los Angeles’ Republique, and their assortment of sublime cakes, donuts, cronuts, croissants, Kouign Amann, pies and cookies could seduce you into expat life. There’s an extensive savory menu as well.
Must try: Chewy chocolate chip cookies, Creme Brulee scones, and the Nutella danish.
Slickly designed with ceramic tiles and an open kitchen, Your Local was the Philippines’ sole inclusion on Conde Nast Traveler’s “Where In The World To Eat.” Why? Chefs Denny Antonino and Ynigo Santos’ fusion of Southeast Asian, Korean and Japanese with Western is culinary neurosis at its most delicious. The craft cocktails are outstanding, too.
Must try: The Beef Rendang Slider, a fried mantou bun filled with aromatic Malaysian curry, and the signature Torched Norwegian Salmon Donburi over shiitake fried rice.
Opened in 2015, Naimas specializes in North Luzon’s Ilocano cuisine, which tends to be earthy and more vegetable-driven. Sure, there’s still plenty of pork on the menu, including dried, twice-fried, addictively fatty and crisp Namias Bagnet. Adventurous eaters can sample the local delicacy balut, a hard boiled duck egg with a partially developed embryo (often seen on reality show eating challenges), in a spicy and more accessible preparation.
Must try: The creamy Gising-Gising, with chopped wing beans, coconut milk, garlic and ground pork.
The Curator Coffee & Cocktails
Serving some of the city’s best craft coffee by day and cocktails by night, The Curator’s a double treat. Their coffee beans are from local small batch roaster #YKW, and a talented mixologist team is in charge of the highly coveted spirits collection. There’s a small food menu, too.
Must try: The Grambol, a Filipino variation on the Bramble with guyabano (aka soursop) fruit.
Legazpi Sunday Market
Simply put, the outdoor Legazpi Sunday Market is the place for expats and local hipsters of all ages to shop forlocal artisanal goods, from clothing to honey—and to eat. Even those nervous about getting a gut bug from street food can feel confident about the largely organic, carefully prepared offerings here.
Must try: Liq My Stick‘s organic, vegan popsicle creations.
Anchored by the upscale, beautifully designed shopping and dining developments Salcedo Village, Legazpi Village and Landmark Mall, Makati offers dozens of lovely eateries and boutiquey businesses line the leafy surrounding streets. There’s no better place to eat your way through the best of the Philippines.