This Brooklyn-inspired neighborhood hangout offers inventive Asian comfort food for the hip and hungry, if you’re lucky enough to snag a table. While waiting, enjoy a cup of joe at the adjacent third-wave coffee shop Yardstick.
Must-tries: Torched Salmon Donburi served with shitake black rice (P440), Beef Rendang Buns (P290), and Feel Good Chicken (prawn paste chicken wings with maple cream cheese, P295)
G/F Universal LMS Building, 106 Esteban St corner V.A. Rufino St, Legaspi Village; +63 2 823 6206; yourlocal.ph; $$
Le Petit Soufflé
The latest venture of award-winning pastry chef Miko Aspiras, this hip and cozy French-Japanese bistro dishes out innovative, exquisite eats.
Must-tries: Mac and Foie (indulgent Mac & Cheese, P625), the best-selling Valrhona Guanaja Chocolate Souffle (P350) and the light, fluffy, decadent Classic Souffle Pancake with cream cheese (P200).
3/F Century City Mall, Kalayaan Ave, Brgy. Poblacion; +63 2 886 3056; facebook.com/Lepetitsouffle; $$
Ramen devotees swear by the slurp-tastic fare served up at the sleek, horseshoe-shaped bar, where you are seated as each individual space frees up (in other words, don’t expect to sit with your friends or family!).
Must-tries: The Tantanmen (P440) or savory Shoyu Tonkotsu Ramen (P390) with a side of Aji Tamago (P90), the refreshing Hiyashi Chuka (P410), or the Karai Tokusei Tsukemen (P450).
G/F V Corporate Center, 125 LP Leviste St, Salcedo Village; +63 2 478 9625; facebook.com/mendokororamen; $$
Va Bene Pasta Deli
In this teeny gem above a gas station, Chef Massimo Veronesi serves up arguably the best, eyes-roll-to-the-back-of-your-head-delicious pasta in the metro.
Must-tries: The Polipo (braised octopus salad, P450), Veal Cheeks Ravioli (P450), Pappardelle featuring 12-hour braised lamb shank (P460), Organic Eggs Tagliatelle (P440), and practically every item on their fresh pasta menu.
2/F Petron Gas Station, EDSA corner Pasay Rd, Dasmarinas Village; +63 2 556 9442; vabenepastadeli.com; $$
The “only tequila bar in town” offers an impressive, mouth-watering array of tequilas and delicious Mexican grub (the owners are the same group behind cult favorite Tacos Chingones) and has an intimate yet festive vibe.
Must-tries: The tacos and frozen margaritas. Or ask for a new tequila recommendation.
G/F Sunnette Tower, Durban St corner Makati Ave; +63 998 985 5198, atodamadre.com.ph; $-$$$ (depending on how high-end your palate is – or how many shots you can down)
Expect deceptively simple, dangerously addictive, ultra-juicy burgers with a secret sauce. Despite Sweet X’s modest, open-air set up, burger fans descend in droves even on the hottest days to get their fix.
Must-tries: The Double (P230), Sriracha Lime Wings (P200) and Adult (aka spiked) Milkshakes (P160).
10 Jupiter St corner Asteroid St, Bel Air; +63 291 6594 1229; facebook.com/SweetXManila; $
$ – P100-P400
$$ – P400 – P800
$$$ – P800 up
This article originally appeared in the July 2015 issue of Smile magazine.