The 10 Best Restaurants in Antipolo (Spot.ph)

(This feature was published in Spot.ph last April 14, 2019)

About an hour’s drive away east of Manila is Antipolo, a popular weekend getaway for its fresh air and spectacular view of the Metro. A lot of people come here because it’s been a well-known pilgrimage site for decades, but it’s now also gaining popularity for its unique dining destinations as well as cool accommodations. If you need a break from the city, Antipolo might just be your next escape.

For your next out-of-town food trip, we’ve listed 10 must-visit dining spots in Antipolo:

Burrow Cafe

Burrow Café is probably Antipolo’s best-kept secret—no more. Serious foodies have spread the word about this hidden garden haven that city-dwellers often flock here on the weekend. Their rustic and cozy ambience featuring mismatched furniture and lots of greenery set the mood for a romantic dining experience. The restaurant’s menu highlights all-day breakfast fare, like the mouthwatering and true-to-its-word-succulent Tender Beef Tapa (P320), and Salmon Poke Bowl (P475), which is perfect if you’re looking for a light but tasty lunch. Save room for coffee and dessert, and don’t hesitate to lounge in their comfy hammocks after a filling meal.

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10 Great Places for Seafood in Metro Manila (Spot.ph)

(This feature was published in Spot.ph last March 31, 2019)

Living on an archipelago has a lot of perks—you’ve got beautiful beaches, over 7,000 islands to explore, plus an abundance of seafood all-year round. That’s why there’s no shortage of excellent places for seafood in the Metro—besides getting the freshest catch, you also get to try a lot of dishes that put the spotlight on this precious ocean-dwelling protein, whether it’s fish, crustaceans, mussels, squid, or what have you. You just need to know where to find it!

No need to fish around—here’s where you can have great seafood in Metro Manila:

Wantusawa

Who would’ve thought you’d find a little oyster bar in Poblacion? Pass by the more popular food and drink spots and your feet would eventually lead you to this hidden gem called Wantusawa. At this 16-seater restaurant, you can get your oyster fix, which are freshly harvested and flown in daily from Aklan. Have it fresh, baked, or grilled (P50/piece) and enjoy its bold and briny flavor as is, or with a dash of hot sauce, cocktail sauce, or vinegar for that extra oomph. Don’t forget a cold bottle of beer.

Read the rest of the article HERE.

The 10 Best 24-Hour Restaurants in Manila (Spot.ph)

(This feature was published in Spot.ph last March 28, 2019)

Picture this: It’s past midnight and you’re out and about in the city, chilling at a cool new bar you just discovered or partying at a friend of a friend’s house. Despite the ungodly hour, cravings start to kick in—a luscious burger, greasy Korean barbecue, a bowl of piping hot soup—you’d eat anything that could save you from falling into that black hole of drunkenness. Probably the best thing to happen during these crucial times is the abundance of 24-hour restaurants around the Metro. We’ve narrowed down the choices to reveal the best places you can go to, whether you’re still out in the wee hours of the morning or are just a really, really early riser. These restaurants are open all day—or all night, for that matter, and you can count on them for your late-night food run.

Here are our picks for the best restaurants in Metro Manila that are open 24 hours:

Recovery Food

The idea behind Recovery Food was to provide night owls a great, feels-home-cooked “recovery” meal, post-drinks. Created by the same people behind Mamou, they definitely have more menu options now than when they first opened almost a decade ago. Their dishes come in two sizes: Depending on your hangover, you can go Regular or Full Recovery. Warm your belly with the Rau Men (P240), noodle soup that has a mildly spiced peanut-based broth, or get any of their Rice-A-Bowls for filling and and protein-packed rice bowls. The Happy Beef Rice (P160/regular; P290/full recovery) is their best-selling rice bowl, which will remind you of a good and hearty pares.

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10 Places for Great Rice Bowls in Manila (Spot.ph)

(This feature was published in Spot.ph last March 22, 2019)

Whether it’s for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, rice is always part of every meal—at least in the Philippines. A staple in every household, it pairs perfectly with savory-rich dishes, plus it’s even used for dessert. And as much as we want to avoid it sometimes (keyword: sometimes), we just can’t stay away from it because it’s that good. Rice bowls are an all-in-one meal that you can have whatever time of the day, every day. It’s complete with proteins and, of course, this pillow-soft grain. We’ve gathered a list of places that offer great rice bowls in the Metro, so you can do some serious carbo-loading.

Tenya Tempura Tendon

Tempura is one of the most popular Japanese dishes around and Tenya Tempura Tendon does a pretty impressive take of it. In fact, their ebi tempura ranked fifth on our Top 10 Ebi Tempura in Manila list! You can’t go wrong with their tendon sets, with a variety of tempura over piping-hot Japanese rice, drizzled with their signature dontare sauce, and served in a big, shallow bowl. The All-Star Tendon (P325/ regular, P355/large) has black tiger prawn, squid, salmon, kani sticks, green beans, and mushrooms, all covered in a light and crispy tempura batter.

Read the rest of the article HERE.

10 Splurge-Worthy Burger Places That Deliver (Spot.ph)

(This feature was published in Spot.ph last March 20, 2019)

We’ve practically adopted the Western burger as our own; you can find it almost anywhere in the Metro. And although burgers from fast-food favorites are always a reliable and convenient choice, it’s good to switch things up once in a while. And now, you can have a big, juicy specialty burger conveniently sent straight to your desk with a few taps on your phone. We’ve done all the work for you and listed some great burger places that deliver in Metro Manila.

Sweet Ecstacy

Sweet Ecstasy wowed meat lovers with their juicy burgers when they opened in 2012. The menu is pretty straightforward but what keeps diners coming back are their freshly made sandwiches and milkshakes. Their luscious beef patties are sandwiched between a hybrid brioche-and-butter bun—soft yet firm enough to hold the glorious pure-beef patty. First-timers should try The Cheese Burger (P240) because you just can’t go wrong with a classic. You can also try the Metro’s best-kept secret, the flavor-packed Steam Burger (P250), which bagged the top spot on our Top 10 Cheeseburgers in Manila list.

Read the rest of the article HERE.

Sizzling ramen and 6 other delicious Japanese specialties in Kureji (GMA News Online)

(This feature was published in GMA News Online last March 14, 2019)

Ramen is among the first things that come to mind when you think about Japanese cuisine. It is what Kureji specializes in, and in this restaurant, you’ll find that not all ramen are created equal.

Kureji, which means crazy in Japanese, is a local concept launched in January 2018. “It’s a re-imagined Japanese restaurant,” revealed Mia Teng, Marketing Assistant, who said that the idea was inspired by a trip to New York where tori paitan or chicken ramen restaurants are plentiful.

Since Metro Manila has its fill of pork-based noodle soups, they decided to make chicken broth the star of their show. “We don’t want to serve food that’s too ordinary, but of course, we still keep some traditional ones. Some people don’t want to stray too far away.”

With the white brick walls, colorful Japanese art and knick-knacks, plus minimalist furnishings, you would think that you’re eating at some hole-in-the-wall in the Tokyo subway station. Sample the usual favorites here, but also try something new. Here are our top picks.

Read the rest of the article HERE.

This New Makati Café Is Your Next Must-Try Brunch Spot (Spot.ph)

(This feature was published in Spot.ph last March 1, 2019)

It’s not a place you’d easily miss, with sleek black-and-white interiors, elegant furniture, shiny light fixtures, and stylish wall accents. It might even make you think of the sort of café they’d have in the movies—you know, the kind where the girl bumps into the guy and maybe accidentally spills some coffee on him. But it’s right in the middle of the busy Makati business district, and it’s just the kind of place you’d want to have coffee in every single day, guy or no guy.

“The vibe is like New York-chic, café-restaurant. The reason behind that is because before my mom got into the restaurant business, she was a fashion designer,” shares Nicole Thorp, who helps manage family-run NIC’S.

NIC’S started as a commissary in 2001 and evolved into a full-fledged restaurant a few years down the road, with their first branch at UP Town Center. In November 2018, they opened a second outpost at Ayala Center’s Park Terraces in Makati. “There are a lot of recipes that my mom used to do when she lived in New York with her now-late sister, and a lot from our travels. She replicates it and makes it her own,” Thorp shares, explaining the restaurant’s Filipino-European cuisine.

NIC’S started as a commissary in 2001 and evolved into a full-fledged restaurant a few years down the road, with their first branch at UP Town Center. In November 2018, they opened a second outpost at Ayala Center’s Park Terraces in Makati. “There are a lot of recipes that my mom used to do when she lived in New York with her now-late sister, and a lot from our travels. She replicates it and makes it her own,” Thorp shares, explaining the restaurant’s Filipino-European cuisine.

Read the rest of the article HERE.

An overnight in: Batangas (GMA News Online)

(This feature was published in GMA News Online last February 28, 2019)

Living in Metro Manila will definitely take a toll on you, what with stress from work, worsening traffic, worsening commutes, and so it goes.

So we propose a quick getaway to de-stress and recharge. Just about an hour away from Manila is Batangas. This means, there is no need to wait for another long weekend just to book an escape.

Below are under the radar things people can enjoy in the land of Barako coffee — of course, that too is in the agenda.

See Taal Lake up close

You can do so with the 32-footer catamaran, M/Y Lady of the Lake from the Taal Lakeland Tours that you can book through Lima Park Hotel.

Lake Point Manakah

Better have your hiking shoes on because you’ll need to do a short walk up the hill while there. Don’t worry, you’ll be rewarded with a breathtaking view of the lake, Volcano Island, and Mt. Maculot during sunrise or sunset, depending on your tour schedule.

Read the rest of the article HERE.

Bench Café Brings Their Fiesta Faves to Makati (Spot.ph)

(This feature was published in Spot.ph last February 16, 2019)

If their stylish interiors aren’t enough to pique your interest, then it might be their familiar name that would most likely make you come inside. Bench Café is from the same family of homegrown fashion line Bench, which started over 30 years ago. Since then, it has evolved into a giant lifestyle brand with a salon, barbershop, and now, a restaurant, which first opened in 2018 in BGC.

Now, residents, cubicle-dwellers, and mall-goers in the Makati CBD can finally get a taste of the restaurant’s modern Filipino cuisine through their second branch at Greenbelt—the menu still offers the same, familiar flavors of home-cooked meals presented in a modern way.

In fact, Bench Café’s signature dishes reflect the sleek vibe of the restaurant, which is accentuated by monochromatic geometric floor patterns juxtaposed with tropical wallpaper prints, plus walls peppered with mirrors, neon lights, and framed statement artworks. It’s safe to say it’s unlike other conventional Filipino restaurants that are heavy on the woodwork and native details. Bench Café is the kind of place where a big group can share a family-style meal, office workers can grab a quick lunch, or solo diners can enjoy a set meal or have a leisurely merienda.

Read the rest of the article HERE.

10 Great Places for Hot Pot in Manila (Spot.ph)

(This feature was published in Spot.ph last February 13, 2019)

There’s nothing more comforting than a hot bowl of soup on a chilly day. Hot pot—a centuries-old Chinese cooking method where various types of protein and vegetables are cooked in a simmering broth in front of you—can give you this satisfaction and more. Not only does it warm up your belly, but it’s lip-smacking and nutritious, too. Take advantage of the last few days of this cold season and head over to these great hot-pot places around the Metro.

Shaburi

Besides their regular shabu-shabu sets, Shaburi is known for their unlimited Wagyu, which you can cook in their signature umami broth. It’s best to come hungry so you can maximize your 90-minute time limit. Their Regular Shabu (P549/weekday lunch; P649/dinner, weekends, holidays) comes with tender slices of beef and pork and a slew of fresh veggies that you can mix and match. Or you can also splurge on the Shaburi Wagyu (P1,249/weekday lunch; P1,349/dinner, weekends, holidays), with Wagyu beef and other proteins like pork and chicken.

Read the rest of the article HERE.