Lately, Filipino food has been on the lips—and mouths—of food connoisseurs. With its distinctly rich and layered flavors, the real surprise is why Southeast Asian cuisine seems a little late to the food scene.
In this list, you’ll find there’s more to Filipino food than the outright bizarre duck embryo or balut.
Check out our roundup of the best Filipino restaurants in the Philippines, starting from the country’s capital.
The 8 Best Filipino Restaurants in the Philippines (Metro Manila)
Kicking off our culinary tour for some of the best restaurants in the Philippines, join us at Lampara, a hole-in-the-wall cafe nestled in a bustling street in Poblacion. A narrow passageway brings you to the second level of a nondescript building and into a cozy retreat.
The space bursts with retro-chic vibes because of its distressed walls, mismatched furniture, and vintage trinkets. There’s an open patio to catch some air and watch the street scene below.
Next to it is a glass-walled nook to enjoy signature cocktails, like Hallelujah (Jameson and ginger) and Smash (Sta. Ana gin and basil).
The neo-Filipino restaurant, whose name translates to ‘lamp’ in the vernacular, puts classics in a new light with its modern interpretations. Nothing on the menu suggests anything less than a love for cooking and an exploration of flavors and textures.
For starters, the Rice Cups are crunchy tubes filled with crab fat, longganisa (sweet sausage), and ubod (heart of palm). This appetizer is a nod to the humble lumpia (Filipino spring rolls). A duck dish called Dinuckdakan is a playful rendition of the regional delicacy Dinakdakan.
The pièce de résistance is the Veal Steak, which is a spin on kaldereta (beef stew). You can cap off the meal with Yema & Tsokolate nougatine, made with Malagos chocolate, toasted condensed milk, and honey isomalt.
2. Kanin Club
It doesn’t get more Filipino than this restaurant named after rice—the quintessential food of the Philippines and perhaps half of Asia. Located at the Ayala Triangle in Makati, Kanin Club mirrors rural life with vintage wrought-iron chairs, capiz decors, and stained glass windows.
True to its name, Kanin Club offers a medley of rice offerings, with toppings ranging from chorizo bits to flakes of smoked or sun-dried fish. There’s also an option for all-you-can-eat rice to pair with rich and savory dishes.
Some knockout dishes include Crispy Liempo (fried pork belly), Crispy Pork Dinuguan (pork blood stew but crispy), and Crispy Pork Binagoongan (fried pork belly in shrimp paste). Another crowd-pleaser is Seafood Kare-Kare (squid, shrimp, and mussels in thick peanut sauce).
You want to leave room for dessert too! On the menu are Suman and Mango (sticky rice cake topped with mango) and Turon ala Mode (fried banana roll with purple yam).
The go-to Filipino food wonderland started as an ice cream bar in the 60s, which explains its name. The charming old-timer evokes nostalgic elegance with narra walls, molded ceilings, and solihiya chairs (caned rattan in sunburst pattern).
On the table are all-time favorites like Sinigang (sour soup) and Adobo (meat braised in soy sauce and vinegar) in different varieties. The house specialty is a creamy version of the signature Filipino dessert, Halo-Halo (shaved ice and sweetened fruits, drizzled in evaporated milk).
You can check out the takeaway shelves for tubs of homemade ice cream, native snacks, bottled preserves, and microwaveable dishes. Halo-Halo kits are available in insulated bags to enjoy at home too.
For parties and potlucks, you can order the Pancit Cake too. The not-your-usual cake is a hefty serving of savory glass noodles hugged by 25 thick stubs of lumpia.
MilkyWay Cafe also has banquet rooms for private gatherings and corporate events. The place offers hors d’oeuvres, cocktails, and buffet meals.
4. Toyo Eatery
For an elevated taste of traditional Filipino fare, look no further than this multi-awarded restaurant in Makati. Toyo Eatery borrows its name from the Filipino word for soy sauce. Its complex flavors and constant presence in Filipino kitchens resonate well with the brand’s vision.
Because of its out-of-the-box spin on classic dishes, Toyo is no stranger to rave reviews. In fact, it’s a three-time 50 Best Restaurants in Asia awardee.
The service reflects the warm Filipino hospitality, and the airy interiors add to the welcoming atmosphere. Local craftsmanship is on full display, with rattan chairs, acacia tables, and capiz-laced pendant lights.
Toyo’s defining dish is the Garden Vegetables, made of all the 18 veggies mentioned in the children’s folk song, Bahay Kubo. Another playful dish is the three-cut Pork BBQ, which is a gourmet take on the popular street food delicacy.
The best way to enjoy Toyo’s offerings, though, is through its 11-course tasting menu.
Tucked away in the Walled City of Intramuros is a vintage restaurant with all the charms of Old Manila. The Hispanic architecture is reminiscent of a time when Spanish conquerors called educated, well-traveled Filipinos, Ilustrados.
Apart from the main dining room, it has a garden courtyard, bar, grand ballroom, and smaller function halls.
Ilustrado brings timeless Spanish-Filipino cuisine into the spotlight, feeding the likes of the King and Queen of Spain. With a clientele composed of heads of state and foreign dignitaries, the food haven has a well-earned reputation among local patrons.
One standout dish is the Adobong Bagnet with Prawns and Crab Fat. It’s a fusion of two Filipino favorites—adobo and bagnet (deep-fried pork belly strips)—with a tasty twist.
You can also try other house favorites, such as Lengua (ox tongue in mushroom sauce), Baked Eggplant, and Paella Ilustrado.
To end your meal on a sweet note, the Sampaguita Ice Cream is a must-try. The unique creation is infused with the fragrant Arabian jasmine, which is the national flower of the Philippines.
Helmed by a celebrity chef couple, Guevarra’s by Chef Laudico marries excellent food with a comforting ambiance.
The 1920s heritage house-turned-restaurant boasts vintage interiors, private function rooms, and a sprawling garden. It’s no wonder it’s a favorite venue for intimate gatherings and corporate events.
Guevarra’s serves buffet spreads of classic and modern Filipino dishes. On top of the menu are Lechon (spit-roasted pig in charcoal) and Bellychon (roasted pork belly). Party trays of mainstay dishes are also available for pickup at their quaint San Juan address.
Sundays are breakfast buffet days, with around 40 dishes to choose from. The bread station has Ensaymada, Spanish Bread, and Pan de Coco, to name a few.
Additionally, unique pizza creations feature Filipino breakfast-inspired toppings, like Tuyo (dried fish) and Tocino (sweet cured pork).
Apart from the salad section, there’s an egg station where you can create your dream silog (fried rice and egg combo). Aside from the usual bacon, hotdogs, and corned beef, you can try Vigan Longganisa, Daing na Bangus (dried milkfish), and Chicken Adobo for your mains.
With 29 branches in Mega Manila alone, it’s not surprising how Mesa never fails to draw a crowd. It consistently earns a place on lists of the best Filipino restaurants because of its delicious, inventive reimagining of Filipino cuisine.
For the appetizers, Tinapa Rolls (smoked fish flakes) and Hito Flakes on Spoon (catfish topped with mango salad and chilies) are crowd favorites.
Other bestsellers include Chicken Binakol (chicken simmered in ginger and coconut juice) and Laing Two Ways (dried taro cooked in coconut milk and shrimp paste).
Meanwhile, the desserts are a symphony of Filipino delicacies. Aside from Halo-Halo, you can try other shaved ice treats, like the Saba Con Hielo (sweetened plantains) and Mais Con Hielo (creamy corn).
However, the real showstopper is the Crispchon, hailed as the best Lechon by Taste Atlas. You can enjoy morsels of deep-fried suckling pig wrapped in malunggay crepe and a few sprigs of fresh greens. Lastly, a variety of sampler sets are also available for sharing.
Barbara’s preserves the historical Intramuros ambiance with its 18th-century colonial architecture. With crystal chandeliers and dark-colored wood, the interiors will instantly transport you back to a bygone era.
Like the Ilustrado, the heritage restaurant served foreign luminaries and didn’t disappoint. For many loyal customers, it’s an old friend you visit when you want a touch of nostalgia—plus some sumptuous food.
Barbara’s buffet features a carefully selected collection of local favorites. The mains include the classic Adobo, Beef Kare-Kare, and Crispy Pata (deep-fried pig trotters or knuckles with soy-vinegar dip).
You can enjoy their dessert after a meal in the dining hall or the alfresco coffee shop. A steaming mug of Spanish chocolate is a heavenly match for Pilipit (fried rice cake). Though you can also pair it with Brazo de Mercedes (jelly roll) and Ensaymada.
Every night, an ethnic show offers guests a glimpse into Filipino’s vibrant culture through enthralling performances. During the 45-minute dinner buffet show, Folklorico Filipino Dance Company entertains diners with folk songs and dances.
Kultura Night is always a hit, with some enthusiastic patrons trying their feet at Tinikling, the Philippine national dance. Besides good food and ambiance, Barbara’s is definitely a place of happy memories.
When looking holistically at some of the best restaurants in the Philippines, this is one of them.
What Have We Learned?
You don’t have to travel to the far reaches of the country for a taste of authentic regional cuisine.
Just within the concrete jungle of Metro Manila, you’ll discover the best Filipino restaurants in the Philippines, offering modern interpretations of traditional dishes.
So, remember to try these restaurant recommendations if you’re craving something flavorful and filling. If you’re looking for more information on food in the Philippines, and even where to stay when visiting to enjoy this amazing fare, be sure to keep browsing around.
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