My 16 Best Savory Restaurant Dishes Of 2017
Here are my picks of the best dishes I ate in 2017, and would gladly eat more of this year.
1. Knotted Pandesal and Scrambled Free-Range Eggs with Crispy Fish palaman at Panaderya Toyo
Scrambled Free-Range Eggs with Crispy Fish palaman
At first glance, this newly-opened posh panaderya, seems to be just all about the bread, till you glance at the short menu and discover that there’s an interesting shortlist of palaman or sandwich spreads created by Chef Jordy Navarra that you can pair with your bread of choice. Unfortunately, unlike the breads, you cannot order the palaman to-go. But, I assure you, the scrambled eggs with crispy fish and smoky tortang talong palaman that I ate with a fresh-out-of-the-oven sourdough knotted pandesal was worth dining in for.
2. Super Chashu Ramen at Mendokoro Ramenba
Super Chashu Ramen
This off-the-menu ramen never fails to deliver with its umami-packed, big bowl of milky tonkotsu broth topped with an extra large piece of grilled pork chashu on top. Perfect for those with big appetites. Best eaten with a side of gyoza.
3. Foie Gras Sinigang at Discovery Primea’s Flame
Foie Gras Sinigang
Foie Gras Pot-Au-Feu with harvest vegetables and tamarind soured broth may sound like a weird combination. But, it works. If you are looking for a perfect dish to introduce a visiting friend from overseas to Filipino flavors and cuisine, please consider this.
4. Cheeseburger at Pink’s
Don’t let Pink’s reputation for serving good hotdogs prevent you from trying the real star of its Shangri-La at The Fort branch—its old-school, made with real beef, cheeseburgers. Best enjoyed with a side of Pink’s onion rings and a daiquiri from its sibling, Hotel Bar.
5. Karai Niku Soba at Kazunori
Karai Niku Soba
Those who don’t like ramen noodles, or are looking for a lighter ramen alternative, must try this. Soba noodles are served with a bowl of spicy hot broth filled with thinly sliced beef, meant as a dipping sauce for the soba noodles.G/F Mazda Showroom, 2301 Chino Roces Avenue, Makati City, (02) 989-3152
6. Spicy Chicken Isaw at Sarsa
Spicy Chicken Isaw
Isaw is a very popular Filipino snack usually made from chicken or pork intestines that are skewered then barbecued. Chef JP Anglo of Sarsa elevated this street food staple by making it more accessible and safe (no risk of getting HEPA) adding it to his restaurants’ regular appetizer menu and further improved it by adding a touch of chili that cuts through the natural richness of the intestines and making it a lot easier to eat.
7. Cheese Saganaki at Souv
Chef Robby Goco’s newest modern Greek restaurant centers on its rotisserie meats. But this fried meatless Greek cheese dish with peppered fig jam and honey sesame was the dish that lured me back.
8. Crispy Pumpkin coated with salted duck eggs at Conrad Hotel Manila’s China Blue
Crispy Pumpkin coated with salted duck eggs
My favorite salted egg flavored dish. It’s like a well-executed hash brown made with pumpkin in lieu of potatoes. I can’t believe that it’s meatless and super good.
9. Tripitas Tacos at La Chinesca
Chef Bruce Ricketts’ BF Homes neighborhood taqueria delivers big flavors in small packages. Its limited menu, comprised mostly of tacos and tostadas—has something for everyone. But don’t expect the usual taco joint flavors. Case on point is my favorite Tripitas taco made of beef intestines, watermelon, chile de arbol, onions, and cilantro.
10. Salmon TNT at Tomatito
These sexy tapas is meant to be eaten in one big bite. True to its name, the creamy contents of this mousse-filled, pillow-shaped, hollow bread will explode in your mouth after a bite. Adding an extra burst of deliciousness is the topping of Balik smoked salmon glazed with honey and truffle.
11. Uni Pasta at Bamba Bistro
It is extremely difficult to find a bad dish in Chef Tina Legarda’s Bamba Bistro, and this straightforward sea urchin pasta dish, enhanced with a hint of citrus to cut through the dish’s richness, is no exception. Simply well done.
12. Regata at Bar Pintxos
The culinary brain behind this very popular pinxtos joint that now has two branches, and soon three, is Miguel Vecin. His lip-smacking creations never fail to amaze me like this pinxtos called “regatta.” Homemade tomato jam is combined with caramelized onions and seared goat’s cheese, before it is topped with jamón for a special treat.
13. Josper-grilled Secreto Iberico at Txanton
Josper-grilled Secreto Iberic
When in Txanton, skip the steak and order this instead. Half a kilo of Josper-grilled Secreto Iberico, with a side of mushrooms sautéed in oloroso sherry. Best enjoyed with a side order of Txanton’s deconstructed pan con tomate.
14. Fried Crabs at Blue Posts Boiling Crabs and Shrimps
Crabs with Salted Egg Sauce
This famous crab place originally from Davao is perfect for fellow crab lovers who prefer to eat crab on the drier side, versus the more “sauced-up” options that one usually finds in other crab places. Best ordered fried with garlic or salted duck egg sauce.
15. Chick’n Crackers at Sunburst
Addicting, fried, crispy (and not oily) chicken skin from Sunburst that I recently tried for the first time in one of its branches in Cebu. The fried chicken served there can easily give its fellow, lightly-battered fried chicken peers a run for their money. Makes me wonder why it doesn’t have a Manila branch.
16. Uni Aburi at Makati Shangri-La’s Inagiku
Sometimes, we are so obsessed with trying the new restaurants that we fail to recognize an old haunt’s full potential. At a recent visit to good ol’ reliable Inagiku Japanese Restaurant at the Makati Shangri-La Hotel, a random order serendipitously led to this very good, “oishi” (delicious in Japanese) version of uni aburi.