Kartilya offers creative dishes featuring familiar flavors with a modern twist. Among the standouts are the Liempo Queso Fundido (pictured; pork belly, three-cheese Mornay sauce), Corned Beef Kansi (corned beef in sour broth), and Queso de Bola Bibingka Soufflé. Reservations required.
Two Parkade, 30th St corner 7th Ave, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City; facebook.com/KartilyaPH
Isla Una’s cuisine takes inspiration from the country’s different regions, and the ample proportions of its dishes are meant for sharing. Try the Prawn Aligue, Kampukan (grilled pork belly tossed with onions and green chillies, with a hint of tangy citrus), and Isla Cake (pictured; moist cake topped with leche flan and wrapped in marshmallow icing). Reservations accepted.
City Golf Plaza, Julia Vargas Ave, Ortigas Center, Pasig City; facebook.com/IslaUnaPH
LOBO Filipino Tavern
LOBO Filipino Tavern has homey interiors that highlight upcycled and reclaimed wood, banig (mats), solihiya (a rattan weave pattern) and capiz. Have dinner and drinks at the balcony garden, and order the Lamb Adobo (pictured; slow-cooked lamb with soy vinegar, garlic and a dash of coconut milk) and kinilaw.
4898 Durban St corner Polaris, Brgy Poblacion, Makati City; facebook.com/LoboFilipinoTavern
Toyo Eatery serves food based on what it gets from the farmers and producers, and lets the ingredients shine. See Filipino fare prepared and served in a more refined way in dishes like Toyo Eatery Three-Cut Pork Barbeque (pictured), Toyo Eatery Silog and Garden Vegetable Salad. Reservations are highly encouraged, especially during weekends.
The Alley at Karrivin Plaza, 2316 Chino Roces Ave, Pasong Tamo Extension, Makati City; +63 917 720 8630
Trufa Pasta Bar
Trufa Pasta Bar allows you to build your own pasta plate. Choose your own sauce, pasta and toppings. Also, be surprised by the local twists infused in some of the dishes such as Croquetas de Chorizo (pictured; made with Ilonggo chorizo), Ensalada Asiatica (light salad topped with crispy dilis), and Tapastalog (beef tapa, pasta and egg).
G/F PPI Bldg 109 Esteban St, Legaspi Village, Makati City; trufa.ph
Tittos Latin BBQ & Brew
The food at Tittos is a culmination of South American influences with a touch of Filipino and Asian flavors. Some must-tries are the Paella Negra, Sisig Tacos, Kare-Kare Burrito, Gaucho Steak and Ube Churros (pictured). There’s also a not-so secret room at the back where you can eat and drink the night away. Reservations are recommended, especially during weekends.
16 East Capitol Dr, Brgy Kapitolyo, Pasig City; +63 2 535 9212 or 532 3414; facebook.com/TittosMNL
The Wild Poppy
The Wild Poppy was born in response to the creative and energetic vibe of Poblacion. Get a fresh perspective on casual dining in this open-air rooftop area where you can unwind with affordable hand-crafted cocktails and modern South-East Asian street food. Get the Kim & Reuben (pictured; smoked corned beef, kimchi, mayo, cheese, curry bun) and wash it down with a Cucumber Frost (gin, lemon juice, blended fresh cucumber). Reservations are taken only from Mondays to Thursdays.
5666 Don Pedro St, Poblacion, Makati City; +63 995 990 8737
Another Story has playful and quirky interiors featuring colorful mismatched chairs, fascinating knick-knacks and writings on the walls. The food here is simple, filling and comforting — soups, salads, roasts, steaks, cheesecakes and specialty coffee. Reservations are recommended, especially during weekends.
2/F Evia Lifestyle Center, Daang Hari Rd, Almanza, Las Piñas City; facebook.com/AnotherStory2016
Holy Smokes BBQ
Holy Smokes BBQ brings the American barbeque culture closer to home. Meats are smoked for 12 to 14 hours using local fruitwood, making them juicy and tender. Everything is made low and slow, and you’ll taste the difference in traditional barbeque staples such as briskets, pork ribs (pictured), chicken, beef ribs, and occasional specials like lamb ribs, ox tails, pork belly bacon, bone marrow and more.
5834 Matilde corner Jacobo St, Brgy Poblacion, Makati City; facebook.com/holysmokesbbqph
The Rabbit Hole
There’s a hint of whimsy in this themed restaurant that’s inspired by the White Rabbit from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. There are sandwiches, pasta and silog (fried rice and egg) meals. Individual diners would love the Chicken Teriyaki and Kimchi Rice (pictured), while big groups are better off with the Chicken Basket or the Crispy Pata Platter. It’s a nice place to have coffee and dessert: the Ube de Mercedes is one of the bestsellers.
20 Malugay St, San Antonio Village, Makati City; +63 2 772 6807
This article originally appeared in the December 2016 issue of Smile magazine.