Where To Eat Off The Grid: 10 Fave Spots Outside Makati’s CBD
Anyone who’s visited Makati knows that most of the action happens in the Central Business District or CBD. This is where most of the top flight hotels, restaurants, shops, cafes, and bars are located. But the truth is that if you dig a little deeper, there is much to find in the fringes—the humble corners, away from the glitz, offer gustatory delights too, if you know where to sniff them out. Here’s a short list for you to start with:
1. Goto Monster
This feels like an operation that has clearly upped its game. You can see it in their branding, their packaging (They sell condiments!), and in their food—it’s some of the cleanest tasting goto I’ve tried. And that’s a good thing, because when you’re eating it at 1 am and you’re kinda buzzed, all you want to do is concentrate on how good it is! Don’t forget your side of tokwa’t bagnet.
Pablo Ocampo Sr. Ext, La Paz, Makati, (0916) 300-2600
2. Hummus Elijah
This is actually one of my favorite places in Manila, period. They make some of the most satisfying vegetarian food in the land—stuff that us meat eaters will gladly scarf down. Their hummus is, of course, exemplary, but please do try their Sabich: a fried eggplant, egg, hummus, and vegetable sandwich that is an Israeli favorite. And do NOT miss spooning some zhug – an amazing Yemeni hot sauce that you can use on any of their dishes.
7850 Makati Avenue, Makati, (02) 802-1885
3. Kabab & Curry
To my knowledge, this is the only Pakistani restaurant in town, and it’s really something under most people’s radars, which is funny considering it’s right along Jupiter Street. The food is deliciously exotic, and there’s a bonus—all their vegetables are organic. Be adventurous and order stuff you normally wouldn’t. That’s how I found their bhindi masala (okra cooked in tomatoes and spices)—one of the best vegetable dishes I’ve ever tried in Manila.
Makati BLISS 1, Pablo Ocampo Sr. Ext., Makati
5. Three Guys & A Grill
Three gents (one of them a Swiss sausage aficionado!) decide to open a little restaurant dedicated to some of the world’s great comfort combos: sausage and beer. How can you go wrong with that? Their sausages are made to their specs, using a slew of house made sauces and condiments. The beer is always cold, and now they even have a TV with a video game console so you can challenge your buddies while waiting for your sandwich! All good wholesome fun!
4364 B. Valdez, Makati, (02) 817-4449
6. Bon Bahn Mi
Run by a hard working Vietnamese couple, Bon is one of the first truly legitimate bahn mi shops in town. Using bread baked on the premises, Bon Bahn Mi serves this Viet street staple and little else, which is perfectly fine—their specialty of the house is really good.
8390 Mayapis Street, Makati, (02) 808-7979
7. Yukino Hana (Snow Man)
One of many Korean drinking joints along the Polaris Street area, this one built a menu around cold beer, and it always hits the mark. If you want to go easy on yourself, have some fried chicken, but again you will be rewarded if you dive in head first: check out the seafood and rice cakes in spicy sauce, or the spicy ramen with … Spam.
5786 Polaris Street, Bel Air, Makati, (02) 555-1547
Here’s another small Viet eatery that has proven to be a fun little lunch or early dinner spot. Most people will gravitate towards the “broken rice” dishes—grilled chicken or pork. But I say go all the way and have the beef steak: tenderloin cooked in spices, and served with sausage, cream cheese, fries, veg, and a baguette. Slightly offbeat, but it really does hit the spot!
7467B Bagtikan Street, Makati, (02) 824-3236
9. 8065 Bagnet
This is a San Antonio Village classic, and it need not be said what to order here. Just close your eyes and go for it. Any day is a cheat day here, so go big: extra rice is in order!
8065 Estrella Street, San Antonio, Makati, (02) 519-6511
Another San Antonio classic—residents in the know have been visiting this for ages: a tonkatsu joint owned by a Japanese chef who’s been doing this dish forever. Tonkatsu with grated radish is a refreshing twist, and if you are so inclined, check out their Japanese curry, too!
Years before Yabu came into the scene, there was Tonkatsuya, helmed by a Japanese chef who's had 30 years experience of cooking tonkatsu in his homeland before marrying a Filipina and setting up shop here in the Philippines. Now, as then, it's still one of the most authentic and delicious katsus I've ever had in Manila. And I'm so glad they deliver. That way, I can get to eat this delicious Miso Katsu Set (my fave from their menu) in the comfort of my own home. A large, tender, juicy, tasty chunk of fried breaded pork with a luscious miso sauce, each order already came with rice, some salad, miso soup, and some mung bean sprouts. I usually put a bit of their very potent mustard in every bite, to heighten the excitement. This was last Sunday's dinner at @tonkatsuyaph which we ordered via foodpanda_ph. . . . . . . #a6000 #bestinchamba #spotph #yummyph #gourmanila #gomanila #whattoeatph #thefoodcrawlers #pepperph #zomatoph #thefoodiestation #wheninmanila #discovermnl #yourfoodtographer #eater #bookymanila #eatsplorations #forkfeed #nationsbestbites #foodtrailph #filipinofoodmovement #tonkatsuya #ricebowl #japaneserestaurant #asiancuisine #asianfusion #tonkatsu #katsu #katsudon #donburi
LGF Palm Tower C, 7 Saint Paul Road, San Antonio, Makati, (02) 896-1990
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Cover photos from Three Guys & a Grill and Hummus Elijah Facebook accounts