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Your Ultimate Guide To The Mother's Day Dining In The Metro

Mother’s Day is just around the corner, and for many of us, this means one or several trips to different restaurants to celebrate with the different mother and mother figures in your life. We’ve featured many restaurants in the past couple of months, so here are some of our recommendations on where you can take your mother.

 

Seafood

Ministry of Crab

Why you should go: Ministry of Crab has been included on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list since 2015, garnering the No. 25 spot in 2018. The original MoC made a reputation for serving only export quality Sri Lankan lagoon crabs, very popular outside Sri Lanka, but hard to find in the country since the best crabs are all exported. Through the years, this popular crab haven has gained a reputation for its seafood dishes, which uses seafood that is never frozen.

What to eat: Just like in any other Ministry of Crab location, the crabs are the “stars of the show,” with prawns playing a significant supporting role. On the menu, there are at least 10 sizes of crabs and prawns to choose from, ranging from 500 to 600 grams for the smallest crabs and prawns, to gigantic 2-kilo “Crabzilla” crabs and “Prawnzilla” prawns. Guests have a myriad of flavors to choose from, ranging from Sri Lankan signatures to a selection of Filipino favorites.

Why mom would love it: The interiors are gorgeous. Ministry of Crab Manila is found in a beautiful bi-level space that exudes a sexy colonial vibe said to be inspired by the Colombo flagship. 

 

Korean

Gaja Korean

Why you should go: For those who love samgyeopsal but would like to go beyond traditional Korean barbecue, and if waiting in long lines isn’t really your thing, then a visit to Gaja Korean Kitchen in Poblacion, Makati may be in order. With the Korean word “gaja” meaning “let’s go,” Gaja Korean Kitchen hopes to show its customers the beauty and intricacy of Korean food but mixed with a modern twist

What to eat: Try the Sundubu-jjigae or soft tofu soup, made with freshly curdled, soft and creamy tofu that melts in your mouth, mixed crunchy vegetables, and seafood; the Kimbap or seaweed and rice roll with different fillings: Samgyeopsal Kimbap that gives you that Korean barbecue feel in just one bite; Kimbap Aburi made with kimchi fried rice and bulgogi, topped with house-made cheese sauce; and crunchy fried Spicy Salmon and Tuna Kimbap.

Why mom would love it: It’s a special take on Korean dining so you get traditional dishes presented in new ways.

Gaja Korean Kitchen, 8445 Kalayaan Avenue, Poblacion, Makati City, (0906) 493-0799, IG @gajaph

 

Japanese

Ikomai

Why you should go: On the choice of restaurant name, Chef James Antolin answers, “Ikomai is a Japanese slang word which means ‘Let’s go’ and is a term used in Japan when someone asks another to go and eat. While our dessert brand is Tochi which means ‘land’ since our idea is to offer a land of desserts.” Even with the interiors, Ikomai doesn’t look like your typical Japanese restaurant, instead featuring a more industrial-minimalist look that Taro and Chef James helped design, along with the choosing the furniture and other items. The restaurant is divided into three areas: Tochi Desserts for pastry, the Ikomai main dining area, and the al fresco garden area which holds Hideout nights every other Friday. “We have a Japanese DJ play jazz music and we offer customers yakimono or grilled dishes,” Chef James shares.

What to eat: For the afternoon tea, try the cuapao which has buta kakuni (braised pork) inside, a French baguette with karaage (fried chicken), ebi sandwich, sushi, and pair with Japanese sencha, black barley, Earl Grey, chamomile, or a Paris blend.

Why mom would love it: You get to experience a Japanese-style tea break. Take her to a relaxed lunch date in the afternoon from 2-5PM.

Ikomai and Tochi Desserts, G/F ACI Building, 147 H.V. Dela Costa Street, Salcedo Village, Makati City, www.ikomai.today

 

Teppan Okochi

Why you should go: Get to know the secrets of the “iron plate” from Chef Akihiro Okochi from Osaka. Teppan Okochi, now in Bonifacio Global City and Rockwell Power Plant, is known for its fantastic okonomiyaki, along with other standout dishes from its extensive menu.

What to eat: Aside from the superb okonomiyaki, there’s much to choose from—seafood, Wagyu beef, yakisoba, grilled teppanyaki style; unagi on rice; and a host of appetizers. But the menu has expanded beyond teppan dishes, to include a range of Japanese dishes—sushi and sashimi, tempura, ramen and other noodle dishes, tonkatsu, and even an excellent chicken karaage—that can please the pickiest of eaters.

Why mom would love it: Apart from arguably the best okonomiyaki in town, the restaurant is also home of a gorgeous dragon artwork by Japanese artist Hirono. 

R1 Lopez Drive, Power Plant, Rockwell Center, Makati City, (0917) 795-0051

 

Wonder Bowl by Ramen Nagi

Why you should go: From the ramen chain restaurant by Chef Ikuta Santoshi has 20 branches all over the Philippines comes this special restaurant concept—Wonder Bowl by Ramen Nagi. The goal is simple: to provide an elevated izakaya experience that incorporates modern-day delicacies, such as lobster and Wagyu, into premium flavors of ramen, all of which are best paired with one of many special alcoholic libations put together by Japanese mixologist Makoto Nagano.

What to eat: The limited edition Wonder Miso Ramen or flat noodles in a golden salt base broth with a burnt miso taste topped with Wagyu beef, mushrooms, onions, Japanese leeks, and Chinese chives or the Wonder Salt Ramen which is topped with red onion, kale leaves, bamboo shoots, Japanese leeks, Wagyu beef, and shredded chili. Along with this jumbo-sized ramen bowl.

Why mom would love it: Ramen with such diversity and creative pairings will truly elevate the experience for her. 

 

Continental/Steaks

Chateau 1771

Why you should go: For its modern, romantic interiors and special menus, Chatteau 1771—by the Chateau group of restaurants of Chef Vicky Pacheco and CEO Ricky Gutierrez—is a must-visit for any special occasion. 

What to eat: Try the Potence - Beef Tenderloin Flambé that’s done hanger steak style and accompanied by garlic butter French fries and three kinds of sauces; Ravioli Primavera, filled with squash and Parmesan, topped by Napolitaine sauce, grilled broccoli, carrots, and zucchini; and Mahi-Mahi with Lime Butter Chorizo, a firm but tender dorado fish in a sauce that reminds of home cooking and comfort food; or the Vanilla Brick Chicken—if you’re dining with children or in a big group as it’s ideal for sharing—baked chicken infused with vanilla bean and complemented by a sauce that intensifies the surprisingly good vanilla influence.

Why mom would love it: The interiors are great for photo ops—we love the new al fresco area that overlooks the driveway of Shangri-La at the Fort; and there’s a very classic, eve nostalgic feel to the eatery, bringing back memories of your first fine dining experience.

2/F One Bonifacio High Street, 5th Avenue corner 28th Street, Bonifacio Global City, (0917) 862-6467, chateau1771.com.ph

 

Chef Jessie Rockwell

Why you should go: Chef Jessie has been a familiar presence in Rockwell for many years now, welcoming the many fans of Chef Jessie Sincioco’s excellent food and service, including Manila’s most prominent business and society people. The new tropical colonial interiors and the amped up menu give you plenty of reasons to come back.

What to order: 

What to order: With the restaurant makeover, Chef Jessie revamped the menu as well. Most prominent among the new dishes she has introduced is the Award-winning Sisig, highlighted on the first page of her new menu. This pork sisig won first place (both the People’s Choice and Judge’s Choice awards) at the Embassy Chef Challenge in Washington, D.C. in May, 2018. Kudos go to Chef Jessie’s niece, Abie Sincioco-Mateo, who created the dish as the chef of the Philippine Embassy in D.C. Chef Jessie was there to help her niece, as the proud and supportive aunt that she is. Another highlight of the new menu are the Chestnut Pork Barbecue and Grilled Olive Pork Steak. At first glance, they may seem like your ordinary Pinoy pork barbecue and pork chops, but they are anything but, using special olive and chestnut pork from Spain. The Chestnut Pork Barbecue, in particular, may look like our familiar pork barbecue on sticks with atchara on the side, but at first bite, the pork belly is melt-in-the-mouth tender, oozing with fat, perfectly flavored with Chef Jessie’s tangy-sweet barbecue sauce—well worth the extra cost.

Why mom would love it: We love the restaurant’s personal touch—seen in the menu and in how Chef Jessie greets her guests and patrons during mealtimes. 

 

Wolfgang’s Steakhouse

Why you should go: If our travels to the likes of New York, Chicago, and Florence have yielded favorites such as Peter Luger, Bavette’s, and l’Tuscani respectively; it’s always good to know when a comparable brand has made it to our own fair city of Manila. The story behind Wolfgang’s founder Wolfgang Zwiener is a well-travelled one: head waiter at Brooklyn’s legendary Peter Luger Steakhouse for decades, and when about to retire, was convinced by his family to establish his own restaurant along with trusted friends from the industry, to create an experience that took the best of his restaurant knowledge, improving on it where possible.

What to eat: Check out the fabled USDA Prime Black Angus Beef Porterhouse, the Seafood Platter, and the Salpicao and Steak Rice, developed just for Manila.

Why mom would love it: Nothing says “I love you mom” more than a spectacular dinner in a fine dining, steak place—as you go on and make a yearly tradition for your family.

Wolfgang’s Steakhouse, L/G One Bonifacio High Street, Bonifacio Global City, (02) 586-4892, (02) 618-3975, (0917) 710-1682; Closest drop-off is at the building’s 3rd Avenue entrance, building parking entrance at 28th Street corner 5th Avenue

 

Food Halls/Parks/Courts

The Food Hall

Why you should go: The Foodee Global Concepts' re-imagined dining destination brings together crowd favorites from four restaurants—Pound, Flatterie, Hook, and The Grill—as well as presents exclusive dishes available only at the hall, all of which have international twists. Best of all, they're presented to diners in the way they were originally meant to be enjoyed: Food theater style! 

What to eat: The Surf & Turf from Pound—tender slices of flat iron steak for the meat-lovers, and fresh, juicy, shrimp for those who prefer seafood; the Food Hall’s exclusive Asian Chicken Salad and Nachos, Pan-seared Halibut from Hook; and the Raw Platter from Hook.

Why mom would love it: There’s something for everyone, so it’s great for big families with different dietary requirements.

Food Hall is at SM Aura, 26th Street, Corner McKinley Pkwy, Taguig

 

The Pallet

Why you should go: The Pallet first opened in late 2018 and is the first food park in Poblacion surrounding the Z Hostel area. If you’re craving for Curry Laksa or Nasi Lemak, Asian Hawker takes you on a culinary tour, stopping by Thailand to Malaysia to Singapore. It’s fusion and it works! 

What to eat: Try the Curry Laksa or Nasi Lemak in the Asian Hawker; or if street meat makes you sizzle, then Mang Jose chars up everything from BBQ Chicken to Isaw to Liempo, add a side of vinegar and some hot chilies and you’ve got a no-to-low-carb quick bite. Don’t forget to try the Creamco Creamery, or Health Fit Fast Food, and Ramen Attack.

Why mom would love it: If your mom wants to keep it casual, but still wants to try different cuisines, consider giving Pallet a spin.

The Pallet, 5804 Jacobo corner Doña Carmen Street, Poblacion, Makati City, IG @thepalletph

 

Spanish/Italian

Osteria Daniele

Why you should go: The newest dining concept of the Bistronomia group, Osteria Daniele was founded by three Spanish friends originally from the Catalan region, Bistronomia is well known for its Spanish restaurants like Las Flores, Rambla, Tomatito, and BCN. The restaurant is simply described by its owners as a “straightforward” osteria, which in Italy usually refers to a restaurant that serves simple meals with a focus on wine. Upon entering, you are greeted by a prominent circular bar to your right and the main dining area, which seats 60, to your left. Al fresco dining that seats 28 will eventually be added to the sidewalk surrounding the restaurant on two sides.

What to eat: From the Affettati (cold cuts) e Formaggio (cheese) section of the menu, try the perfectly marbled Coppa Medaglia d’Oro and Montasio cheese, a hard yet creamy, cow’s milk cheese from the northeastern part of Italy. From the Antipasti section, you can try the Vitello Tonnato, which is thinly sliced, cold roast beef topped with a creamy, tuna-flavored mayo with capers. The Insalata (salad) e Zuppe (soup) menu section offers a dreamy Smoked Burrata Salad that’s served with either prosciutto or Parma ham and finished with anchovies. From the Pasta e Risotto section, my early favorite is Bucatini alla Carbonara, which is thick, long pasta lightly coated with Pecorino cheese and egg yolk, with crisp morsels of heavenly seared guanciale, a type of Italian cured pork made of pork cheeks (and better than bacon!). Those with big appetites or who are craving for something heartier may want to try Osteria Daniele’s Osso Bucco (veal shank stew with polenta and gremolata) or Bistecca alla Florentina, which is one kilo of grilled Wagyu T-bone MB5 served with seasonal vegetables and sea salt. 

Why mom would love it: No-fuss Italian that is memorable yet not too complicated, Osteria Daniele should definitely be on your radar.

Ground Level, Tower 1, High Street Corporate Plaza, 9th Avenue corner 26th Street, Bonifacio Global City, (0915) 874-5792, FB: OsteriaDanielePH

 

Rambla Salcedo

Why you should go: Go back six years when the first Rambla had just opened its doors on the ground floor of the Joya Building in Rockwell Center. This Barcelona-style open kitchen and cocktail bar concept was named after La Rambla, one of Barcelona’s most famous streets. Rambla soon set itself apart from the other Spanish restaurants in the city. It didn’t serve typical Spanish dishes most Filipinos are familiar with, but instead focused on the Mediterranean influences of Catalan cuisine, as well as on the application of modern cooking techniques to the dishes. So instead of classic Spanish tapas, you could enjoy fun appetizers like the signature Spherical Olives and Air Baguettes, among others.

What to eat: Empanadas with Foie and Pineapple Jam; Gambas Roll, which is like a mini-shrimp roll on brioche with green apple and celery for crunch, finished with a spicy cream; Escalivada or grilled vegetables with anchovy on air baguette. Don’t miss the Gambas roll, and Escalivada. 

Why mom would love it: A carefree, joie de vivre kind of vibe that’s conducive to great conversations and quality time; plus this Salcedo location looks even bigger with its high ceiling and floor-to-ceiling glass windows on two sides—with a great L-shaped cocktail bar.

Rambla Salcedo, 129 Unit G12, Tordesillas corner Bautista Streets, Salcedo Village, Makati City, (0966) 331-1351, [email protected], [email protected], FB: RamblaPH, IG: @RamblaPH, open 11 am to 2 am. For Rambla Catering, call (02) 800-3213 or email [email protected]

 

La Collina

Why you should go: As if transported to a picturesque sidewalk cafe in Florence or Madrid, La Collina is Spanish and Italian causal dining at its best. The name means “the hill” and while it was initially intended to be located in Tagaytay, it was eventually set up in an old two-storey corner house in Poblacion. 

What to eat: Try the Bruschetta duo (with roasted eggplant and savory artichoke dip), the Arancino (made of deep-fried breaded rice balls stuffed inside with creamy mozzarella, and the Frito Misto, an assortment of seafood deep-fried in a flour batter. The Ravioli is also a treat, as it is made from scratch, while the Paella Mixta is an abundant mix of fresh seafood and a variety of meat toppings. 

Why mom would love it: Classic Italian and Spanish fare with the sensibilities of the Slow Food movement give this a refreshing take on old favorites—imbibing the philosophy that even the simplest ingredients, when prepared well, can be made into a masterpiece.

4558 Molina corner Quintos Streets, Poblacion, Makati City, (02) 879-7401

 

Osteria Salcedo

Why you should go: With five branches scattered around Makati and Bonifacio Global City, Single Origin has become especially popular for its specialty coffees and breakfast and brunch menu. Many assume it’s just a coffee shop, but technically they’re a restaurant with a lot of comfort food. To prove just that, Single Origin recently reinvented itself as an Italian osteria in the middle of Salcedo Village. An osteria is usually an informal, family-owned restaurant in Italy that serves wine and home-cooked food, and acts as a gathering place for the community. Single Origin Osteria is proving to be the same way for the neighborhood in Salcedo.

What to eat: Try the Malanzane (eggpant baked with tomato passata), the aperitivo, and the Bistecca Fiorentina, an 850-gram UPS Prime bone-in ribeye with roasted tomato garlic confit and arugula salad, the Margherita Pizza, and Seafood Pasta, and for the dessert, the Pavlova, which is baked Italian Meringue.

Why mom would love it: For mother’s day, you must try the Lasagna Della Nonna (which means grandmother), as this dish, and some others are inspired by Chef Barcos’ grand’s heritage. 

Single Origin Osteria, G/F Frabelle Building, Tordesillas Street corner Bautista Street, Salcedo Village, (0956) 301-5267

 

Filipino

Bench Café 

Why you should go: If you have a sweet tooth and love Filipino desserts, don’t just walk, but run to the Bench Cafe in Greenbelt 3 and order the especially dense Leche Flan with macapuno shavings and syrup. But more than that, Bench Cafe, which now has two branches, one in Bonifacio High Street and the other on the second floor of Greenbelt 3, offers some of the most refreshing new takes on Filipino cuisine. 

What to eat: Try the Bagnet Kare Kare with Bagoong Rice, the Insasal Liempo with Gising Gising, and the US Beef Tapa Silog. We’re very invested in the dessert though—so you’ve got to try the Halo-halo and Turon.

Why mom would love it: Did she say she wanted Filipino food, but wants to try something new? Surprise her with a treat in Bench Cafe—even if you’re just in the mood for dessert, this will surely be one of your new favorite spots.

At Bonifacio High Street and 2nd Floor Greenbelt 3; visit @benchcafeph on Instagram and Bench Cafe on Facebook

 

Casa Daza

Why you should go: Celebrity chef and restaurateur Sandy Daza enjoys a lifelong love for food. Host of FoodPrints and Casa Daza on Metro Channel, celebrity chef and restauranteur Sandy Daza has certainly come a long way from his days as a cashier at Au Bon Vivant, his mother’s French fine dining restaurant in Manila. He has translated this love for food to the eclectic menu of Casa Daza, his homey restaurant in UP Town Center. Here, he brings together his experience, his ideas of what he thinks people will love, in the form of affordable, hearty meals. 

What to eat: The Crispy Pancit with Crab Omelette, Three Egg Salad for adventurous diners, and the Ilocano dish Dinakdakan. Try the Stuffed Pechay and Pochera (which is both pungent and flavorful, and the Papaitan, Sizzling Bopis Sisig, and Pork Sisig. 

Why mom would love it: Homey, with dishes served with love, this restaurant sounds like something your mom would have wanted you to build with her.

Casa Daza, 2/F UP Town Center, Katipunan Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City, (02) 720-2290

 

Lampara 

Why you should go: Lampara is quite an experience—stylish interiors perfect for Instagram, from a dining area, to its outdoor patio and terrace. But it’s biggest draw for us would be the Modern Filipino dishes—not your lola’s cooking—with unique and highly inventive flavors and combinations to some favorites.

What to eat: While Lampara’s menu is still growing, the current line-up has already been impressing foodies and word of mouth has made it one of the buzziest new restaurants around. Highlights include the flavor bombs they call Rice Cups, appetizers that are filled either with heavenly tofu with ubod or wicked longganisa dressed in crab fat. Both go so well with the spiced vinegar dip. Another is the silky Tofu with Filipino ingredients like crispy candy-like pork bits, pickled onions, and an addicting black vinegar syrup, which you can mop off with the pork floss. If there is a starter that should not be missed, it is the Dinuckduckan. Lampara’s rendition of the classic Ilocano delicacy uses smoked duck breast heavily garnished with onions and green peppers then seductively plated on a nest of fried eggs. The Pork dish is a delicious symphony of sorts, starting with the crispy crackling pork skin to the well seasoned meat infused with star anise and other aromatics. The Veal Steak, on the other hand, is a sous vide sensation that takes 48 hours in the making, resulting in meat so tender, all you need is a fork to do the job. 

Why mom would love it: The decor is lovely—retro furniture and midcentury modern interior fixtures, with the sumptuous small plates and the 48-hour Veal Steak, everything here is given such loving attention and care—much like how you love your mother.

83 Enriquez Street, Poblacion, Makati City, (0917) 173-5883, IG @lampara.pob, open Monday to Saturday, 6 pm to 2 am