Destination Dining, The International Scene, and History Museums

Manila Food Guide and More, Part 2

In Part 1 of my Manila Food Guide, you were introduced to the local neighborhood markets and to Filipino restaurants defining and redefining the food scene in Manila.

Here in Part 2 of my guide are the recommendations for epic destination dining with standout experiences from casual to high-end that will always make you remember Manila.

When you crave for food other than Filipino cuisine, Manila offers a diverse international selection of restaurants from local and expat chefs alike who transport guests outside of the Philippines upon entering the restaurant

Finally, if you want to learn more about the country and its culture, the last part of the guide shares history museum suggestions and recommendations for experiencing today’s modern Manila culture.


Reservation-Only Destination Dining

Purple Yam
First gaining popularity in New York with their restaurant, Cendrillon, Purple Yam has two locations, Brooklyn and Manila. At Purple Yam Malate in Manila, guests dine at Chef Amy Besa’s childhood home
The menu is inspired by the early morning visit to the local market
Reservations only for weekend dinners or weekend brunch
603 Julio corner Nakpil St, Malate, Manila

Bale Dutung
Another reservation only dining experience in Pampanga, about a 1.5-2 hour drive from Manila. Set in celebrity chef’s Claude Tayag’s home, the destination popularized with a visit from Anthony Bourdain
The meal is a set menu according to the theme (lechon, kapampangan, etc) and lasts for 3-4 hours
If you enjoy food and wine pairing, or beer pairing, you can bring your own drinks without a corkage fee
Paul Avenue, Angeles, Pampanga

Gallery Vask
Voted Number 39 on this year’s World’s Best Restaurants in Asia List
Spanish chef, Chef Chele, presents modern cuisine using his Spanish molecular gastronomy background and inspiration with local Filipino ingredients
Dinner only
5/F Clipp Center, 11th Avenue corner 39th St, BGC, Taguig


International Restaurants

Sofitel Spiral Buffet and Sunset Bar Drinks
One of the best buffet spreads in Manila with 21 stations and specialty chefs per cuisine. If you love cheese, you will fall in love with the dedicated cheese room. The a la carte menu offers excellent Asian and Indian selections as well
On clear afternoons, enjoy a leisurely drink at the Sunset Bar to watch the sun set over the Manila Bay
Address: Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila

People’s Palace
One of my favorite non-Filipino restaurants in Manila. A modern setting for Thai cuisine and popular among expats
Must try
I’ve tried the whole menu and everything is enjoyable
Address: Greenbelt 3, Makati / 11AM to 12AM

Wildflour Cafe + Bistro
My go-to restaurant in Manila for breakfast, lunch, an afternoon snack, or dinner. An LA chef known for his restaurant Republique has a similar concept here in Manila with 4 locations
Serving bistro cuisine with American, European, and Asian influences, the dishes are high-quality and reliable in a relaxed bistro setting
Recommended locations
Salcedo Village, Makati:
GF V-Corp Tower, 125 LP Leviste St., Salcedo Village
(02) 808-7072 / 0917 328 5915
Legaspi Village, Makati:
GF Frabelle Business Center Building, 111 Rada St., Legaspi Village
(02) 833 9799 / 0917 564 5748
G/F Net Lima Bldg, 4th ave cor 26th st. Fort Bonifacio Global City
(02) 856-7600 / 0917 852 0950
Hours: Monday to Thursday, 7AM to 10PM / Friday to Saturday 7AM to 11PM / Sunday, 8AM to 4PM


History Museums and more

Ayala Museum
A quick, comprehensive history lesson using miniature dioramas
Makati Avenue corner Dela Rosa Street, Makati
Tuesday to Sunday / 9AM to 6PM
Entrance fee: 425 pesos, 225 pesos for locals

San Agustin Museum
An in-depth history of the Catholic Philippines in well air-conditioned rooms (a much-appreciated break from the heat after walking around Intramuros)
General Luna Street, Intramuros, Manila
8AM to 12PM, 1PM to 6PM
Entrance fee: 100 pesos

National Museum
Featuring an extensive display of artwork and history of the country
Padre Burgos Avenue, Manila
Tuesday to Sunday / 10AM to 5PM
Entrance fee: free to all after registration

Explore the “Mall Culture” of Filipinos at Greenbelt Mall in Makati and Bonifacio Global City (BGC) High Street
Greenbelt Mall, Makati / 10AM to 10PM
BGC High Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig / 11AM to 10PM
SM Aura, Taguig / 10AM to 10PM


Purple Yam. Homemade lumpia crepe. Shrimp, kang kong, with sukang iloko caramel sauce. A traditional fresh lumpia with shrimp, morning glory, and a caramelized vinegar based sauce. A gorgeously elevated presentation of a classic dish
Purple Yam. Mud crabs. With tamarind black pepper sauce. The chefs of Purple Yam wake up early on the day of service to source the freshest seafood from the morning markets. The result is a dish like this proudly presenting the best of the Philippines
Bale Dutung. The setting for an epic afternoon. The house built by the chef-artist himself, Claude Tayag, shows off his skilled craftwork in details around the outdoor dining area. The traditional setting in the province is a perfect venue for a destination dining experience
Bale Dutung. Claude Tayag cutting into the roasted lechon. The skin is first cut with the beautiful crackling sounds echoing every trim. Then the meat, bones, and offal are used for the subsequent courses
Gallery Vask. Pre-dinner drinks of to welcome guests and set the mood for a Philippine-inspired tasting menu. The cocktail includes ginger and calamansi – two staple ingredients in Philippine cooking and popular in local drinks
Gallery Vask. In place of traditional petit fours to end a classic tasting menu service, the chef fills the holes with Asian-based sweets and plays on the nostalgic game of sungka, also known as mancala
People’s Palace. Whole fried snapper served with a sweet chili glaze. The restaurant modernizes Thai cuisine in this trendy and hip, yet inviting restaurant popular among locals and expats
People’s Palace. Mango sticky rice. A classic Thai dessert using local mangoes. While every Thai restaurant has this dessert, People’s Palace is a standout with the quality of the rice grains and the just-right level of sweetness
Wildflour Café + Bistro. French Onion Soup. A bistro classic that brings absolute comfort in every sip and bite. The soup can have added comfort with an order of sticky buns from the restaurant’s array of pastries and baked goods
Wildflour Café + Bistro. Carbonara. Topped with a beautiful organic egg. The restaurant excels in their pasta selection, some of which are topped with these fried eggs to enhance and add a smooth richness to the eating experience
Sofitel Manila. On clear afternoons, be sure to catch the sunsets over the Manila Bay at the Sunset bar of Sofitel. Before or after, enjoy the epic buffet spread inside at Spiral featuring 21 stations and a room dedicated to cheese and charcuterie
Manila Cathedral. Also known as the Minor Basilica and Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. The cathedral, where 3 popes have visited, is located in Intramuros, the famous walled city of Manila
National Museum. Near Intramuros, the National Museum is now free to guests after registration of their names. That being said, expect lines of students and visitors eager to see the artwork and history of the Philippines


Want more suggestions? Day trip from Manila, more to eat and see, anything! Contact me (link to contact page)

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