Promo alert! 6 fun restos for your Poblacion food crawl

Poblacion in Makati City has become the hottest destination for neighborhood restaurants. So how do you choose among the restaurants and bars popping up at this foodie hotspot? BigDish, a restaurant reservations platform, took us on a #PobCrawl, and here are our top picks:

Pink Panda

First stop is Pink Panda, a diner by celebrity restaurateur Erwan Heussaff. While a lot of restaurants battle for authenticity, Pink Panda offers Southeast Asian comfort food from the region … with a twist.

Try:

  • Pork Laksa, which uses rice noodles instead of the traditional egg noodles
  • Sisig Bun trades the sizzling plate bar chow for a pillowy soft bun
  • Mango Papaya Catfish salad uses crispy catfish that adds an interesting texture  

Y2 Residence Hotel, Santiago cor B. Valdez street, Poblacion Makati; 09277288753; Opens from 10am-11pm; fb.com/thepinkpanda.ph

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Bonus for Smile readers in Manila:

Create your own travel kit on waytogo.ph and get a chance to win a free meal for two. Simply click on My Travel Kit on the waytogo.ph homepage, enter your details and hit “go”.

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Crying Tiger

Crying Tiger is one of the OGs (read: old gangsta) of Poblacion, serving up Thai and Malay street food to the foodies who can find this joint.

Try:

  • Som Tam, a slightly tart green papaya salad that’s a refreshing welcome to this summer heat
  • Mee Goreng, a spicy seafood noodle dish that’s commonly found on the streets of Malaysia
  • Chicken Satay, a flavorful chicken cubes with peanut dipping sauce — another common Southeast Asian street food.

4986 P. Guanzon street, Poblacion, Makati; 028941769; Opens from 5pm-1am; fb.com/officialcryingtiger

Buddha Bar

Parisian restaurant-lounge Buddha Bar, known for innovative Asian cuisine with branches all over the world, including Manila. Its spacious establishment is a perfect way to end a workday.

Try:

  • Bubble Wap — a mixture of strawberry and raspberry purée, elderflower and rose liqueur, and sparkling wine
  • The Ultimate — another signature Buddha Bar cocktail of fresh pineapple, agave syrup, maraschino liqueur, almond milk, and passion fruit juice
  • Sisig to go with the drinks — it’s a mixture of pork, foie gras, and quail egg — you only live once, after all

Picar Place, Kalayaan avenue, Poblacion, Makati; 028566719; Opens from 4pm-1am, Mon-Thurs, til 3AM on Fri-Sat, til Midnight on Sunday; fb.com/BuddhaBarMNL

Kite Kebab

Neighborhood spot Kite Kebab serves Mediterranean classics – tapas style, which works out great since Filipino diners often share their food.

Try:

  • Falafel Salad, a unique take on a popular Persian street food
  • Ox Tongue skewer with yogurt sauce, but it’s good enough as it is
  • Vegetarian Samosas, deep-fried puffs filled with savory vegetables

5772 Ebro, Poblacion, Makati; 028107388; Opens from 11am-3am, til 4am on Fri and Sat

Bucky’s

Their “non-brownies” gained a cult following back when they were just sold in bazaars, so it makes perfect sense that Bucky’s would start serving desserts that would put their thick fudge bars to better use.

Try:

  • Bucky’s Original Parfait includes their famous Bucky bar, brown butter polvoron, salted caramel syrup, marshmallows, dark chocolate chips, topped with milky soft-serve ice cream.
  • Buckygato has salted caramel, soft-serve ice cream, a Bucky bar, and drenched with a shot of espresso to temper the sweetness

5666 Don Pedro street, Poblacion, Makati; 028869955; Opens from 11am-11pm on Wed-Thus, til midnight on Fri-Sat, til 10pm on Sun; fb.com/buckysnotabrownie

Pura Vida

Our last stop is Costa Rican Reggae bar Pura Vida that would be a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy the island life.

Try:

  • Surtido de bocas, an appetizer sampler that includes patacones (fried plantains), chicharrones con yuca (pork rinds with cassava fries), enyucados (fried cassava balls with beef and cheese), and dados de queso (fried cheese balls). It’s good for sharing … or not, either way this platter will make a good pulutan.
  • Reggae Fyah – drink mix of grenadine, rhum, mint and banana liqueur … and set on fyah
  • Black Cocaine or the Chili Guaro, if you prefer drinks without the fanfare

Don Pedro street, Poblacion, Makati; 09219509263; Opens from 6pm-2:30am Mon-Sat; fb.com/PuraVidaMNL

Whether it’s a big date or a fun meal with friends, you can use Big Dish (bigdish.ph) to reserve a table at some of the hottest restaurants in Metro Manila. The online reservations platform, which is also available in Jakarta and Hong Kong, has more than 250 local restaurant partners. 

All you need to do is download the Big Dish app on iTunes or Google Play Store, select a restaurant, book a table by entering your reservation details and confirm. Depending on the time of your reservation, the app offers discounts of up to 50%. Just show your confirmation details to the restaurant staff.

Written and Photographed

Kristine Ching

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