Looking for where to hang out this weekend? We scour different gastronomic destinations from the north to the south to find good food for you to enjoy alone or with great company, from your barkada to the whole fam.
Written by Bea Gabuya
Photographed by Mark Jacob of Studio 100
Art direction by Ning Hilario and Macrin Señas
Magnum Opus Coffee
Perfect for: a quiet coffee date with your favorite book
Must-try: The Insane Monte Cristo lives up to its name. The bread is cooked much like a French toast, filled with smoked ham, chicken roast, melted cheddar and mozzarella served with homemade cherry jam. It’s like your favorite sandwich but three times better.
Best Sellers: Their Apple Strudel makes us feel the Christmas spirit in full force! The tart apple in the pastry is served with butterbrandy sauce and ice cream. For coffee lovers, pair this with the Flat White, which is espresso with lightly textured milk.
MAGNUM OPUS COFFEE is located at 2/F The Prime Building, #115 Aguirre Ave, Parañaque
Perfect for: family lunch out! It’s the meat counterpart of our favorite seafood dampa. Choose the meat, how it is cooked, the side dish (mashed potato, fries or rice) and the sauce.
Must-try: Meat Depot’s Grilled Tapa with rice and their special concoction of vinegar and spices will make you want to order that cup of extra rice.
Best Sellers: Meat lovers won’t be able to resist the Aged Angus Rib Eye Steak (extra tip: pair it with fries!) but we find that the most sulit meal is the Tomahawk Pork Chop—a huge slab of pork, big enough to share with your best friend.
MEAT DEPOT is located at 283 Aguirre Ave, Parañaque
Perfect for: dinner with your balikbayan titas. Get your Ilocano food fix with authentic hundred-year-old recipes from the owner’s family cookbook.
Must-try: Their Pinakbet is served with fresh vegetables—not too soggy and not too crunchy—and bthere’s no guilt as we finish one bowl swiftly. The classic Ilocano dish, Igado, with ground pork and liver tastes like something our own lolas would serve at home.
Best Sellers: They mean it when they say that you won’t forget their ‘Di Malilimutang Mechado, a masterpiece that is made of tender pork, the right amount of sauce, and just a hint of bagoong. Their Binagoongang Bagnet, perfectly fried with ginisang bagoong on the side, makes us want to go back again and again.
BALAI ILOCOS is located at 188 D Aguirre Avenue, BF Homes, Paranaque City
Perfect for: satisfying that craving for sushi or for you to bring your health buff lunch buddy for a quick bite in the quiet side of the city
Must-try: They sell their sushi by rolls and in packs to make it more sulit. The Ocean Warrior Pack has a tuna roll, a fresh salmon and avocado roll, and three pieces of fresh salmon and nigiri. The Spicy Tuna also has a kick to it. Dip it in their signature wasabi mayo sauce for added heat.
Best Sellers: The Seared Salmon and Mayo Warrior Bite is a melt-in- your-mouth experience—one bite is all you need to taste the different spices drizzled on top. The Inari with Seaweed is already a meal on its own with sweet rice and fresh, tangy seaweed inside a thin tofu pocket.
WASABI WARRIORS is located at Kalayaan Avenue Cor. Salamanca Street, Poblacion, Makati City
Perfect for: that time of the month when you’re looking for a dose of greasy, comfort food.
Must-try: A crowd favorite, the Burger Fries has all the toppings of a burger, sans the bun, topped with jalapenos for a good kick. Sweet X has a total of 26 milkshake flavors to choose from, and we were not disappointed with the irresistible Speculoos Milkshake. They also have Adult Milkshakes that have a shot of alcohol in it.
Best Sellers: Their Cheeseburger is unlike any other burger this side of the world—we can’t tell what ingredients make it taste so great, but who cares? Their Honey BBQ Wings comes with a warning, it can take up to 20 minutes to get to your table but like all good things, this is worth the wait.
SWEET ECSTASY is located at 10 Jupiter corner Asteroid Street, Bel-Air, Makati City
Perfect for: merienda date with your good friend. They have a menu board full of hot chocolate options, and you can sit back and relax in the cozy home-turned-restaurant even after your meal
Must-try: The perfect churro is crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside, but the Dark Chocolate Churros con Xocolat elevates its #churrosgame with a bittersweet flavor. Looking for a mix of sweet and salty? The hand-cut Xocolat Fries is coated in melted chocolate and served with aioli dip on the side for a balanced palette.
Best Sellers: The Xocolat French Toast is a good ol’ favorite— the chocolate-flavored French toast is cut in cubes, oozing with a gooey chocolate filling. For a savory treat, try their Albondigas, a plate of tasty Mexican meatballs, served with mushroom espresso latte on the side.
XOCOLAT is located at 172 B. Gonzales Street, Loyola Heights, Quezon City.
Perfect for: a big barkada looking for ginormous servings. The dishes here are so big you can split them with friends
Must-try: Start the meal with their Best Sampler, a platter with something for everyone— buffalo wings, bacon and cheese, potato skins and golden fried cheese with bleu cheese dressing, sour cream and marinara dips. They also have the biggest milkshake in town: the Milky Way, a classic chocolate drink with whipped cream…and a cherry on top, literally.
Best Sellers: Almost everyone orders the 12-inch Mighty Ton burger. Why? It has a heaping 125 grams of bacon! We also like the baked Brian’s Ribs, two slabs of pork ribs with a sweet and tangy flavor.
CASA VERDE is located at 2/F UP Town Center, Katipunan Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City
Ground & Brew
Perfect for: that meal to complement your hardcore training at the gym. It’s best to replenish your energy with sumptuous but healthy meals
Must-try: If you’re hungry before a workout, grab the classic Cereal Milkshake or load up on some carbs! The Tuna Pesto makes you feel less guilty about bingeing (you’re going to burn it anyway, so dig in!)
Best Sellers: Their Signature Nachos is a special take on the Mexican snack with homemade chili con carne, aioli, tomato salsa, and cheese. The Huevos Ranchos is a breakfast dish of corn tortilla with tomatoes, lettuce, and fried egg on top.
GROUND & BREW is located at 10 Almond Street Corner Gil Fernando Avenue, San Roque, Marikina City.
Perfect for: a father-daughter bonding date, where you can choose from Filipino, Japanese, and Italian cuisines. Plus points: they give you complimentary popcorn to nibble on right away
Must-try: Don’t miss the Double Happiness Maki with tempura inside the sushi roll. How about a plate of the Longganisa Fries? Shoe string potatoes mixed with longanisa bits and melted cheese.
Best Sellers: The thin crust Industriya Pizza with cured salmon, arugula, mozzarella and blue cheese puts our taste buds in a crazy, happy state. We can’t get over their version of Filipino favorite Kare-Kare—its peanut sauce, the bagoong that goes with it, the fresh veggies, the soft oxtail are an unforgettable mix!
INDUSTRIYA MARIKINA is located at 23 M. A. Roxas Street, Marikina City
Miguel & Maria
Perfect for: Saturdate with your high school barkada. Make sure to come in earlier to avoid the long waiting lines
Must-try: Miguel & Maria’s Mac & Cheese is a sure win—our happy tummies say so! It’s a mini skillet filled with macaroni oozing with cheese, slightly burnt on top but chewy on the inside—totally irresistible. If you’re opting for something heavier, try their Baby Back Ribs, a huge slab of ribs with a hefty amount of sauce with a spicy kick.
Best Sellers: Their Baked Salmon is coated with three kinds of cheese and mashed potato and veggies on the side. Another seafood star is the Miguel & Maria’s Paella— shrimp, squid and mussels all in one dish.
MIGUEL & MARIA is located at 89 Lilac corner Panorama Street, Concepcion Dos, Marikina City.
Perfect for: Sunday alfresco dining with your family after church. We love the home-away-from-home vibe
Must-try: The upgraded Gourmet Hotdog Sandwich does not have the usual ketchup and mayo but is paired with chili con carne and a sunny side up egg. We cannot stop munching on the Crispy Waffle Churros, cooked like a waffle, topped with cinnamon powder, drizzled with syrup.
Best Sellers: They take breakfast to a whole new level with their Real Buttermilk Pancakes, served with hash browns and bacon on the side. Their Pinoy Burrito gives the classic Mexican dish a twist—they fry it for a lumpiang shanghai effect.
RUSTIC MORNINGS is located at #11 Isabelo Mendoza Street. San Roque, Marikina City