Some of the most interesting gastronomic gems in Metro Manila are the restaurants in Makati. Even before it earned its cityhood in 1995, Makati was the scene for major restaurants. Today, it still is more popular than ever, with its steady foundations giving rise to other flavours ranging from classic to fusion cuisine. Discover and eat your way through Makati’s finest meals with this list.
Classic restaurants in Makati for their timeless flavours
1. Korea Garden Restaurant
For some of the best restaurants that Makati has to offer, look no further than Jupiter Street. Many famous restaurants made their name off the strip, one of them being Korea Garden Restaurant.
This restaurant has consistently served authentic homemade Korean meals long before samgyeopsal and tteokboki became weekend staples. The sweet and spicy combination of traditional Korean food is always present in their dishes, fitting just right with the Filipino palate. Try out their ggalbi-jjim (braised short ribs) or pajeon (scallion pancakes) for a taste of the Land of the Morning Calm.
2. Aling Nene’s Barbecue
Located between Manila and Makati, Aling Nene’s Barbecue is another institution of culinary excellence. Grilling its signature barbecues for about three decades now, the restaurant is especially popular with drivers going through the busy roads of South Super Highway. Most vehicles would make a stop in Aling Nene’s for their delicious barbecue.
The pork is tender to the bite while achieving a sweet and tangy balance. Just one stick of these skewered snacks is not enough!
3. Alba Restaurante Español
While it has expanded across Metro Manila, the original Alba Restaurante Español first established its rich Spanish menu in the Bel-Air neighbourhood. It was an immediate hit among the foodie denizens of Makati. While its food uses familiar Filipino ingredients, it also adds contemporary European cooking techniques and flavour profiles into the mix. With dishes like tuhod y batoc (stewed ox chuck and kneecap), it’s no wonder Alba became popular with Pinoys.
While there’s now a wide selection of Japanese restaurants in Makati, it was Sugi that started it all. Every dish in its kitchen showcases the refinement and respect that the Japanese have for their cuisine. Here, the fish are cut clean and precise, the vegetables are always fresh, and the tempuras are light, crispy, and balanced.
Consider ordering a kaiseki meal when dining in Sugi. Traditionally eaten in Kyoto, kaiseki meals are precisely portioned and composed to create a holistic Japanese dining experience. This is to make sure that the body’s nutrients recover well.
It seems like every meal served at Cirkulo’s spread is a star. Eating their delicately flavoured tapas is usually an exciting way to discover Spanish cuisine in the metro. They even elevate and refine the humble sisig into a gourmet restaurant dish! The pork from this exquisite dish comes from their equally famous cochinillo. It makes for a beautiful culmination of flavours and textures!
Cirkulo has been serving patrons young and old for years. With consistent flavours and excellent service, its legacy will only grow.
Tsukiji delivers Japanese dishes with impressive precision and consistency. Named after the famous fish market in Tokyo, Tsukiji swears that all their ingredients come in fresh from Japan itself; biting through any of their juicy sashimi reinforces that fact. Topping these all off with ingenious recipes, this restaurant in Makati brilliantly represents Japanese cuisine.
7. Melo’s Steakhouse
Sometimes, the most memorable dinners only need a nice, fat, and juicy steak. And for steak dinners, eating at Melo’s Steakhouse elevates the already divine experience. The chefs here fully dedicate themselves to creating the best experience for steak connoisseurs. Just leave it to their delectable and succulent Angus beef steaks to do all the talking and wooing. It’s truly one of the restaurants in Makati you shouldn’t miss!
Restaurants in Makati that are modern classics
8. Bourbon New Orleans
There is a limited selection of Cajun restaurants in Metro Manila (quite possibly the Philippines, in general). Leave it to Makati, then, to draw in Bourbon New Orleans to satiate that craving. Apart from being a Cajun restaurant, it also doubles as a jazz bar. This combination of good music and better food makes Bourbon an exciting entry point to Cajun cuisine. Try their seafood jambalaya, which is somewhat reminiscent of the Spanish paella, but with a few more spices and ingredients. It is a multitude of flavours all in one dish!
The growing popularity of Negrense cuisine is responsible for the inception of Sarsa. Founded by Chef JP Anglo, Sarsa introduces popular Negrense dishes in a new and modern light. Their menu combines the strong and tangy flavours of the cuisine with different kinds of ingredients. This experimental venture resulted in interesting results, like the inasal tofu and especially the pork belly topped with ginamos. It’s a lot more delicious than it sounds!
The former Nielsen Tower is now home to one of the most sought-after restaurants in Makati: Blackbird. An undeniably posh restaurant, Blackbird also allows guests to feast on its art deco design. While the restaurant seems lovely, it’s ultimately the food that keeps patrons coming back for more. Try out their Iberico pork dishes and any of their seafood selections for a grand showcase of Asian fusion cuisine.
We’ve only scratched the surface of the culinary iceberg that is Makati. The most exciting part about it is that the scene still keeps on growing! So, better start that culinary journey by going through the best restaurants in Makati, new and old alike. Catching up is difficult, but absolutely worth it!
Featured image credit: Blackbird at the Nielson Tower | Official Facebook Page