Couples share 15 favorite restaurants for dates
MANILA, Philippines – There are always reasons for couples to celebrate milestones, but they can also appreciate even the small, tender moments. (READ: 7 romantic PH travel destinations for your dating milestones)
Often, the best way to spend time in the company of a special someone is over good food, but a romantic restaurant doesn’t necessarily mean great wine and candlelit dinners. Maybe just comfort food with a dose of nostalgia can do the trick.
We asked a few couples to share their favorite spots in the metro for dates – or even just eating out on a whim. Take these as just a few suggestions:
Ceej Tantengco, NCAA courtside reporter & Job de Leon, law student, University of the Philippines
Hole in the Wall
“We stick to old favorites for most of our dates,” says Ceej, who likes to mix-and-match meals at Hole in the Wall at Century City Mall, Makati. A 500-seat food hall, Hole in the Wall has various stalls like Scout's Honor, Serious Dough, Mr. Delicious, The Beef, Liberation Shawarma (by Chef JP Anglo), and Green Cheese.
She adds, “We keep going back to HITW [Hole in the Wall] because the food hall lets us create a different dinner for ourselves each time. We split up and surprise each other with our halves of the meal. So may (there’s an) interactive factor.”
“What we usually do is order one dish each then share kesong puti [cheese from carabao's milk] quesadillas from Posporo, spicy Korean octopus salad from Garde Manger PH, Umami fried chicken from Bad Bird, and then craft beer from Smoky Bastard.”
The Snack Shack
Roces St. cor. Laurel St., Diliman, Quezon City (with branches at Sikatuna Village and Marikina Heights)
Ceej also says The Snack Shack in the University of the Philippines is a favorite spot of theirs – especially because of the fond memories she and Job have shared at the burger joint. She says, “We like UP Snack Shack for nostalgia value. [We] used to go on a lot of UP dates in college, and we still go there a lot these days that he's in law school. So going there feels like a simple joy. Just us, burgers from Snack Shack, shakes from Area 2, eating in a car.”
"We like going to Hanamaruken Ramen to get the Happiness Ramen and Tempura. The serving sizes are huge, and the tempura uses sugpo-level big shrimps, so we can share everything," says Ceej.
She also recalls another memory from the place: "It was [also] the first place we ate when I got my new job. So we've made a lot of good memories there!"
Bardo Wu & Jake Jereza, filmmakers
"We liked the cozy, homey feel of the place. Not to mention the al fresco area (we do like al fresco areas)! The food is good and they've got a variety of drinks and pastries to choose from so we end up staying for long periods of time," says Bardo.
"A bunch of films and creative project ideas were born there too so it's a very dear place to us," he added about the popular college hangout.
Ena Terol, photographer & Kim Garcia, HR business analyst
"The owners are very accommodating, you can order food ahead of time so when you get there they serve na lang the food. The chef is Japanese and everything is authentic. It's small, quiet and the food is really really good," says Ena.
"I really like the fish, there's no aftertaste. Takeshi-san seriously is an amazing chef," she adds. "That's what you want naman when dating eh, chill; you get to talk and eat great food. (READ: Where you can get these 12 sushi rolls in Manila)
Eloi Hernandez, teacher & Grace Gregorio, chef
2277 Chino Roces Avenue, Makati City
"Seryna is almost always packed on Sundays primarily because of their value-for-money bento boxes that are truly a joy to behold and devour! The staff are very accommodating and attentive. One time the parking attendant even washed our car," says Eloi.
Lucky So Alabado, founder, Discover MNL & John Ilaguno, sports analyst
"Sarsa in BGC would have to be our top pick! Because that's the first restaurant where we both ordered an extra cup of rice and we knew then that we reached another level in our relationship," says Lucky of the Negrense kitchen helmed by Chef JP Anglo.
2277 Pasong Tamo, Makati City, Chino Roces Ave, Legazpi Village, Makati City
“We don't have a specific place where we celebrate special occasions but our favorite date place is definitely [Izakaya] Kikufuji," says food and travel writer Mikka Wee of her and Andre's favorite date spot. (READ: Where to get these 7 delicious chirashi sushi bowls in Manila)
“We like it cause it's no-frills and it's close to Yardstick. Food's also reliable and consistent," she says, citing the spicy tuna sashimi, beef cubes, cartilage as their favorites.
Projectvanity.com & James Pacaba, CFOLiz Lanuzo, Editor-in-Chief of
21 West Capitol Drive, Kapitolyo, Pasig City
"Haru is our more casual date place because we love kitschy vibe and awesome sushi. Japan is a common love of ours and Haru makes us feel like we're there! The sushi is legit!" Liz raves.
Nielson Tower, Ayala Triangle Park, Makati Ave, Makati
"We love going to Blackbird when we feel like dressing up and looking fancy. The ambiance and interiors are elegant, and the food is pretty good without being too expensive," she adds.
"I like it because despite the short menu, the food's inventive, there are always new dishes or new iterations of older dishes, and the service is always on-point," says Jonathan about 12/10, a restaurant in Makati's Guijo Street where fabled gig spot SaGuijo can also be found. The restaurant is a brainchild of Thea de Rivera and Gab Bustos of The Girl + the Bull, formerly in BF Homes Parañaque.
"They also have quite the selection of bourbon and Japanese whiskies, which can be enjoyed by both casuals and enthusiasts," adds Jonathan, before mentioning that the restaurant serves marvelous cocktails as well. "I [once] had the Oskar, which was a sweet, foamy drink that reminded me of a black forest cake. Other times, I'm content with an old fashioned or a highball."
"I like ordering what they suggest, really. But two standout dishes are the uni toast (sourdough, pineapple jam, uni) and the salmon kushiyaki (skin-on salmon with sea salt and truffle oil, skin-less salmon with curry mayo and cornflake). The latter is a fish skewer with alternating components."
Our Awesome Planet, & Rache DiazAnton Diaz, founder,
"In Manila, one of our favorite restaurants is VASK Gallery by Chef Chele Gonzales. We enjoyed San Sebastían cuisine and Chef Chele's creation using local ingredients inspired by the Filipino heritage and his travels," says Anton Diaz, founder of food and travel blog Our Awesome Planet.
Anton also recounted his and Rache's travels to Spain, where they savored the exquisite gastronomy: "One of our foodie dreams came true last January when we were able to go to San Sebastían together with my wife going on a pintxos [similar to tapas, especially popular in the Basque region] food trip in the old city, eating the best grilled seafood in Elkano at Getaria, and a memorable dinner at Asador Etxebarri."
Geolette Esguerra, executive editor, Metro magazine and Aurelio Icasiano III, associate editor, Vault magazine
Ground Floor, Net One Center, 26th St. cor. 3rd Ave., Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City
"Aurelio and I love going to Champêtre in BGC [Bonifacio Global City]. Good food in a bistro setting, it reminds us of our trip to Paris where we got engaged," shares Geolette.
Hana Chua, operations manager & Maxi Tong, technology officer
Hana recommends Allium in Legaspi Village, Makati: "I like that it's quiet and the service is top notch and the servers don't hover. The menu/seasonal menus are well thought out and not overly complicated. Good ambiance + good service + good food + love of my life = perfect date." (READ: Allium, a beautiful Makati gem: 9 fabulous things to try)
theAsianparent.com & Teri Sy, financial analyst at Fortman Cline Capital MarketsDazzle Sy, content director and lead for special projects,
Purok 138, Barangay Neogan, Luksuhin-Mangas Road, Alfonso, Tagaytay City
"Kung special, Antonio's talaga. That's our yearly Valentine's date," says Dazzle.
Antonio's is a fabulous fine dining restaurant in Tagaytay where diners can choose to follow their set menu, which includes a soup and salad course, their choice of main course, and their choice of dessert. (READ: Tagaytay road trip? 5 must-try destination restaurants)
Do you have any favorite date spots? Share them with us in the comments below. – Rappler.com
All photos courtesy of the couples unless otherwise stated