MANILA, Philippines – It’s been more than two years into the pandemic, and thankfully, things have been shaping up for the restaurant industry. Gone are the days of limited dine-in capacity and delivery-only orders – establishments have been expanding, restaurants have even been popping up anew, and the dining scene is back and bustling!
However, not everything is back to normal just yet, and not everybody from the food and beverage industry was spared from the effects of the pandemic. Just like in 2021, several restaurants were not so lucky.
As 2022 comes to a close, let us pay homage to a few of our favorite beloved restaurants that we had to say goodbye to and that many of us will undoubtedly miss.
Ortigas City’s well-loved Japanese gem, Marufuku, permanently closed down its flagship branch on January 15 after 10 years, much to its patrons’ disappointment.
Jae Guanio’s fine casual, 80-seat Japanese resto was located at the ground floor of Ortigas’ Crescent Building. With “tradition as their cornerstone,” Marufuku was known for serving classic favorites like tempura, sushi, sukiyaki, teppanyaki, ramen, udon, donburi, soba, kamameshi, robatayaki, and bento boxes.
Comida China de Manila
After almost 26 years in business, Pasig City’s Comida China de Manila, located along E. Rodriguez Jr. Avenue, closed down on May 31.
The homey, family-owned restaurant was founded in 1996 in the same location, known to serve the “classic Cantonese taste of Binondo in a relaxing atmosphere,” with a menu housing the crowd-favorite fried shrimp balls, siopao, dim sum, bean curd/pork/beef/chicken/seafood dishes, soup, vegetables, noodles, and more “original Chinoy food.”
Good news, though! In November, Comida China de Manila reopened at a smaller space with a streamlined menu at the ground floor of S&R Libis, under a new corporation.
Makati City’s Elbert’s Pizzeria, the wood-fired pizza joint of restaurateur Elbert Cuenca, closed down in September to take a “short hiatus.” Cuenca said his pizzas and pastas would “make a comeback in a new concept.”
The Napoli-inspired pizzeria’s sole branch was founded in 2019 and located at V Corporate Center, Leviste Street in Salcedo Village. Elbert’s other concepts include Elbert’s Steak Room (also in Salcedo Village) and Elbert’s Cheesesteak & Sandwiches, as well as Elbert’s Diner at Power Plant Mall, which closed down in January 2021.
Le Petit Soufflé
Many patrons said au revoir to French-Japanese bistro Le Petit Soufflé, which closed down its Century City Mall branch in Poblacion on June 15 after seven years.
Le Petit Soufflé, a venture of Tasteless Food Group by chefs Miko Aspiras and Kristine Lotilla, was best known for its fluffy french soufflés and sweet cakes that came in uniquely Japanese flavors like matcha. In 2016, Aspiras and Lotilla opened another branch at SM Megamall, Mandaluyong City. The branch later closed in 2019.
In July, Quezon City’s iconic Alfredo’s Steak House permanently shut its doors after five decades (almost 54 years of service), two years after it stopped dine-in operations in 2020 due to the pandemic.
The steak staple along Tomas Morato Avenue first opened in 1968 under a different name – Alfredo’s Country-Style Steaks. It was located in a small apartment in Timog Avenue, managed by founding owners Alfredo and Mitos Araneta. Back then, it was already known for its quality selection of imported steaks.
A few years later, Alfredo’s moved to its iconic two-level structure along Tomas Morato Avenue, corner Scout Dr. Lazcano, Quezon City, known for its nostalgic, old Western-style charm. Over the years, the establishment grew famous for its classic sizzling plates of gambas and steaks, like tenderloin, filet mignon, porterhouse, T-bone, and steak ala pobre, served with Alfredo’s special house gravy.
Holy Smokes BBQ
Poblacion’s Holy Smokes BBQ closed down on August 5, but has since become Burnt Bean, a new concept that opened in September under new management, in Bonifacio Global City.
Holy Smokes BBQ was founded in 2016 along Molina Street in Poblacion, Makati City. It was known for its “low and slow” grilling, roasting, and smoking of different kinds of meats and seafood, like USDA prime ribeye, sea bass, 48-hour USDA beef ribs, and more.
Another Poblacion name that closed down on August 31 was Fook Yah, a Hong Kong street food joint that served a Cantonese-themed menu. At the time, Fook Yah said that the closure was temporary, and that it was set to move to a still unknown location.
Fook Yah is most known for its roasts, noodles, soups, and other Hong Kong-style dishes. Among the Signature House Specialties are the Cantonese Style Roasted Duck, Hong Kong Style Roasted Crispy Pork Belly, and Hong Kong Roasted Pork Shoulder Meat. The Viray family-owned brand opened in October 2021 along Don Pedro Street in Poblacion.
Filipinos are still grieving one of the most unexpected closures of 2022 – the countrywide shutdown of international ice cream parlor chain Baskin-Robbins, effective December 31. No official reason was given for the closure, which was just announced in November.
According to a Facebook post back in April, Baskin-Robbins branches are located at Glorietta 2, Solenad, Bonifacio High Street, Alabang Town Center, Ayala Malls The 30th, SM Aura, SM Dasmariñas, and SM Pampanga. Baskin-Robbins is one of the world’s largest chains of ice cream specialty shops, with almost 7,000 locations in nearly 50 countries.
Fireside by Kettle
After six years, Fireside by Kettle announced the December 31 closure of its flagship branch at Central Square, Bonifacio Global City, although it hinted at a “new location soon.”
Fireside by Kettle opened in 2016 at the ground floor of Central Square, as a spin-off to the popular Kettle restaurant at Shangri-La Plaza in Mandaluyong City. It had a different menu focusing on grilled meats and crispy chicken, but Fireside still adopted the signature buttermilk fried chicken that Kettle and, eventually, Fireside, would be known for.
In April, Bonifacio Global City’s fusion taco joint, Chino MNL, closed down its sole branch at One Bonifacio High Street after four years in business.
Chef Erik Idos’ Hong Kong-based brand said it was time to “close this chapter at this location” as they work toward “other new and exciting projects.” Chino MNL was known for serving Mexican fusion fare like tacos and burritos, with Japanese and Filipino twists. – Rappler.com