Manila’s dining and drinking scene has come on in leaps and bounds in recent years. Emerging talents like chef Alphonse Sotero of Lampara are reinterpreting Filipino cuisine – and emerging districts like Escolta are experiencing a cultural and commercial revival, as new restaurants, bars and brands pop up.
While neon-lit Poblacion was once more famous for its dark side, bright spots like taqueria El Chupacabra have brought it new life and new crowds. Even areas that were previously military bases are now armed to the teeth with well-dressed hipsters and hungry visitors keen to explore Taguig’s Bonifacio Global City or BGC, as the popular ‘hood is often billed.
To get a fresh taste of Manila’s drinking and dining scene for yourself, start with these three hotspots.
Located at the heart of the gritty and trendy Poblacion, Lampara is a little joint that serves tasty neo-Filipino bistro fare in a chic, mid-century vintage setting. Think classic crackling roast pork belly updated with pork floss; crispy duck confit with an adobo inspired glaze; or tanigue steak topped with calamansi foam and onion.
5883 Enriquez Street, Poblacion, Makati; +63 917 173 5883
Also in the Poblacion area is this impressive, apothecary looking watering hole. The centrepiece at The Spirits Library is the floor-to-ceiling shelves stocked with a dizzying amount of spirits ranging from rare cask whiskeys to obscure sloe gins.
4963 Guerrero, Poblacion, Makati; +63 917 160 1162
Joël Robuchon alumna Miko Calo brings her own creative take on modern French cuisine with an Asian touch at upscale eatery Metronome, which also features gorgeous art deco interiors to pair with the stellar plates of food.
G/F, The Grand Midori Makati, Bolanos Street, Legazpi Village, Makati; +63 917 147 3776
Hero image: Courtesy of Lampara