We know you’ve heard it again and again over the last six months, but allow us to say it once more, with feeling: we highly encourage everyone to stay home if you can and to limit your trips outside to the essentials (say, for work or supplies). We understand that the siren call of your favorite restaurant is hard to resist — trust us, we hear it too — but delivery and take-out are still the better options: you get to support local businesses and enjoy your culinary favorites while also limiting your exposure and the restaurant staff’s.
If you must dine out, however, then it’s best to choose a restaurant with an outdoor seating area. Indoor spaces tend to have the poor airflow, reduced physical distancing and prolonged exposure associated with the spread of Covid. In an interview, Harvard Medical School physician Abraar Karan said that the outdoors allow for coronavirus droplets to disperse more quickly and may also offer more room for tables to be spread out, making it less risky.
That being said, consider these restaurants that not only offer delicious food but also outdoor seating that allows for better air circulation and physical distancing.
Wildflour Cafe + Bakery
Comfort food but make it sosy — Wildflour Cafe + Bakery serves up creative, filling meals and mouthwatering breads and pastries in a cool, casual and elegant space. All their branches are open for dine-in, take-out, delivery, pick-up and drive-by and they encourage customers to order ahead and make use of their contactless payment system here. Try their kimchi fried rice while you’re there!
Visit their website for branches and more info.
Mary Grace Cafe
Titas of Manila, rejoice! Our favorite hangout is open, and a number of their branches has outdoor seating, done up in their trademark nostalgic Pinoy decor.
And since the Ber months have arrived, it’s the perfect time to order a holiday staple: pillowy ensaymada and a piping hot cup of tsokolate!
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The Greenbelt 2 branch and the One Bonifacio branch are open daily from 11:00AM to 8:00PM. The Serendra branch is open daily from 10:00AM to 8:00PM. Visit the Mary Grace website for contact details and other info.
Rustic Mornings by Isabelo
If all-day breakfast is your thing, then this restaurant set amid lush greenery is the place for you. This Marikina spot serves breakfast and brunch staples like fluffy pancakes, hearty omelettes and, yes, even Ilocos bagnet — because if the world is ending, we might as well have deep-fried pork belly for breakfast.
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Rustic Mornings by Isabelo is located at 11 Isabelo Mendoza St., San Roque, Marikina City. Open daily from 8:00AM to 4:00PM. Call (02) 8425 8610 for reservations. Visit their website for more info.
Greg & Sally Tree Garden Cafe
Another Marikina spot, this cafe offers herb-infused lutong-bahay goodness in a relaxing outdoor setting. Whether you order their sisig, peppered pork steak or honey glazed chicken, make sure to pair it with their signature iced tea.
Greg & Sally Tree Garden Cafe is located at 145 Ipil St. cor. Champaca, Marikina Heights, Marikina. Al fresco dining open on weekends. Call at (02) 82555659 or 09158926158 or visit their Facebook page for more info.
Stay Safe while Dining Out
Safety first! Aside from frequent hand washing, carrying your own hand sanitizer and masking up, here are a few more reminders when eating at a restaurant:
- Choose wisely. Pick a place that adheres to physical distancing rules (that means limiting the number of customers), wipes down and disinfects tables after each use, checks temperatures of customers and ensures that staff — both on the floor and in the kitchen — are wearing masks. Bonus points for digitized contact tracing, menus and payment options that minimize the surfaces that you touch.
- BYOP. Bring your own pen for filling out forms in places with non-digitized health declaration forms.
- Masks on. Only remove your mask and face shield when you are eating or drinking. Keep voices low when conversing to contain the spread of droplets.
- Handle your mask with care. Only touch the ear loops when you remove it and keep it in a clean, safe place, such as a plastic bag. (No leaving it exposed on the table!) You might even want to pack a fresh mask for use after eating.
Don’t forget to tip your server! They’re putting their health at risk by going to work so make sure you show your appreciation.