While the Philippines rarely tops most travellers’ lists when discussing great culinary destinations in Southeast Asia, a new breed of innovative fine dining restaurants is raising the profile of the country — and its bustling capital, Manila — in the minds of epicures.

Whether you’re looking for reimagined Filipino dishes, tasting menus that can rival some of the most creative dishes featured on Netflix’s Chef’s Table, or establishments with great cocktail and wine selections, look no further than this list.

1. Metronome, Makati

Located in Legazpi Village, Makati, Metronome specialises in modern French cuisine with a Filipino sensibility. It was named the ‘Best New Restaurant in the Philippines’ by The Philippine Tatler in 2019 and was listed among the ‘15 New Restaurants to Try (2019)’ by CNN Travel.

Helmed by head chef Miko Calo, the restaurant is known for its multi-course tasting menus, bistro lunch dishes, and extensive cocktail and wine lists. Must-tries in the bistro lunch menu include the steak frites (with sauce au poivre), beef bourguignon, and Metronome Burger. Highlights of the tasting menu include foie gras, caviar, and roasted pigeon.

Address: G/F The Grand Midori Makati, Bolanos Street, Legaspi Village, Makati City, 1229 Kalakhang, Manila
Contact: +63 917 147 3776; +63 2 618 4337

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2. The Test Kitchen Manila, Makati

The brainchild of Anglo-Filipino chef, Josh Boutwood, The Test Kitchen Manila offers highly delectable tasting menus that fuse European with Southeast Asian cuisine. Boutwood focuses on curing, ageing, and fermenting choice meats — resulting in flavourful concoctions like duck prosciutto on toast, dry-aged beef tartare, and steaks seared to perfection.

Each table has a single light source that illuminates the diners and highlights the dishes being presented. The tasting menus are constantly evolving, so each dining experience is never repetitive.

Address: One Rockwell, east tower GF, Rockwell Drive, Makati City, 1211 Metro Manila
Contact: +63 977 288 5751

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3. Tatung’s Private Dining, Antipolo

Located in a well-appointed home in Antipolo, Rizal, Tatung’s Private Dining is helmed by celebrity chef Tatung Sarthou. The reservation-only establishment fuses first-rate gastronomy with dramatic elements. Sarthou’s recently unveiled Encounters presents reimagined Pinoy dishes he encountered while travelling around the Philippines. Encounters is constantly evolving, and the chef’s ceaseless creativity is the only constant.

Lunch and dinner guests are greeted with a welcome drink and wine pairing (cava, white, and red wine). Guests are also invited to take pictures around the lush garden, marvel at the chef’s antique collection, or take photos with the chef (provided he’s there).

Address: Paenaan, Antipolo, 1870 Rizal
Contact: +63 956 660 5913

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4. Balai Palma, Makati

A private dining experience from head chef Aaron Isip, Balai Palma equally amazes with its Mexican-inspired interiors and inventive take on haute cuisine. Diners can celebrate special occasions on the roof deck, savour the 17-dish tasting menu in the dining room, and enjoy a nightcap at the bar.

Notable dishes include the Live Spicy Lobster from Palawan Wrapped in Kurobuta Suckling Pig Belly, and Ube in Three Textures Adorned with Halaan Clams, Oscietra Caviar, and Clam Emulsion.

Address: 6081b R Palma, Makati, Metro Manila
Contact: +63 917 629 1020

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5. Alegria Manila, Fort Bonafacio

Located in the posh Bonifacio Global City development in Taguig, Alegria Manila boasts a 16-course degustation menu that fuses Filipino with Latin American cuisine. Headed by chef Charles Montañez, each artfully-presented dish has a cocktail or wine pairing.

Though the tasting menu is constantly evolving (depending on the occasion or seasonality of ingredients), standouts include Brazilian croqueta stuffed with chicken pianggang, the squid-silog (which pairs squid with fried rice and egg), and churro con jamon (which includes prosciutto, tomatoes, and compressed honeydew). Don’t forget to sample their unforgettable sangrias!

Address: GF Uptown Parade 9th Ave 38th St, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City, 1637 Metro Manila
Contact: +63 956 834 8677

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6. Elbert’s Steak Room, Makati

Looking for a world-class steakhouse in Metro Manila? Elbert’s Steak Room specialises in USDA Prime-grade beef and fine wines. Guests can sip wine or whiskey while watching sports at the bar or fraternise with other diners in the smoke lounge or cigar bar.

Standouts include the USDA “Super” Prime grade Ribeye, USDA “Super” Prime grade NY Cut Striploin, and USDA Double Gold Filet Mignon. Standard steak side dishes — including creamed spinach; pommes frites; and baked potato with sour cream, bacon bits, and chives — are also available.

Address: 3A Sagittarius Building III, 111 H.V. Dela Costa Street, Salcedo Village, Makati, 1227 Metro Manila
Contact: +63 917 529 9392

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7. Tiago’s Restaurant, Alabang

Another up-and-coming fine dining restaurant in Manila, Tiago’s Restaurant features an unforgettable tasting menu by chefs Carlos Garcia, Lea Malagamba, and Jon Fonseca. The triumvirate aspires to create dishes that utilise only the freshest ingredients while also providing a visual feast for the eyes.

Standouts include the Oyster Canapé Steeped in Lemon Confit (topped with ginger, pineapple, and Prosecco Granita) and Egg Toast Slow-cooked with Citrus (the egg yolk rests on a bed of sourdough brioche and is crowned with caviar). Don’t forget to document these culinary masterpieces for Instagram!

Address: Filinvest City, Somerset Hotel, 3409 Spectrum Midway Extension, Alabang, Muntinlupa, 1781 Metro Manila
Contact: +63 917 130 0568

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8. Samira By Chele Gonzalez, Tagaytay

Situated in Anya Resort, Tagaytay, Samira By Chele Gonzalez is the brainchild of the eponymous Spanish chef. Diners can sample the six-course set menu, Iberian-inspired a la carte menu, extensive wine selection, or signature Cocido Experience.

Standouts from the four-course Cocido Experience include the Cocido Paella, Chele’s Mama Fries, Burnt Basque Cheesecake, and Compango Croquetas.

Address: Anya Resort, Buenavista Hills, Road Brgy, Mag-asawang Ilat, Tagaytay, 4120 Cavite
Contact: (+63) 998 955 3630

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9. Metiz, Makati

Known for its contemporary Filipino cuisine, Metiz is helmed by French-Filipino Chef Stephan Duhesme. The standard five-course menu utilises exclusively local ingredients and places a strong emphasis on gulay (vegetables), prutas (fruits), and buro (fermentation).

Diners can enjoy the savoury, tangy flavour profiles of familiar Filipino dishes combined with new flavours and textures to create truly innovative dishes. The cocktails are equally remarkable, and diners should try the Balingkinitan, which includes dashes of gin, pomelo mist, and lemongrass-ginger kombucha.

Address: Karrivin Plaza, Ground floor, building A, 2316 Chino Roces Ave, Extension, Makati
Contact: +63 917 700 4109

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10. Pio’s Kitchen, Quezon City

Famous for its elaborate Filipino and Spanish comfort food, Pio’s Kitchen is one of the country’s best places to order a seafood paella. The restaurant is named after the founder’s favourite Catholic saint, Padre Pio — and many of the dishes are indeed miraculous!

Mouthwatering must-tries include the Pulpo Ala Gallega (grilled octopus and chorizo served on a bed of sliced potatoes), Galician Seafood Stew (grilled seafood paired with light and creamy saffron), and Seafood Paella (topped with heaps of large prawns). The well-appointed dining rooms are great for romantic dinners and social gatherings, and catering is also offered.

Address: Sct. Fuentebella Street, 96 Sct. Reyes St, Quezon City, Metro Manila
Contact: +63 2 8398 0005

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