The Best Filipino Restaurants
Finding a restaurant with utterly good eats, and fine ambiance, and great customer service? If you want that all-in-one place, this list is for you! Let's go food hopping!
FELY J’S KITCHEN Greenbelt 5, Makati City
"The restaurant features Filipino and Asian dishes. Must try are the piniritong hito or deep fried catfish served with balo balo (fermented rice), a Kapampangan delicacy; Bistek Tagalog ng Kano, thinly sliced US black Angus beef pan fried in olive oil, garlic, calamansi, onion rings and soy; Crispy Pata Bawang or the tastefully done deep fried pork leg served with a generous sprinkle of chopped fried garlic and special dipping sauce; and vegetables and shrimps in coconut cream; and for dessert, cassava bibingka with buko, homemade tapioca with young coconut. For drinks, there’s red or white wine by the glass, the very good Ising’s iced tea, and a wide selection of tea.
"Romantic and homey. Prominent features of the restaurant are the wall that’s a replica of the one found at the Cruz Family’s old home in Quezon City; the artworks of Abe, mostly of women; old photographs of Fely alone and with family and friends in carved wooden frames; and a photograph of the beautiful Fely at the entrance. There are two main dining halls and two function rooms that make up the dramatically-lit, sparsely-furnished interiors of Fely J’s Kitchen. This is an it place so it’s popular with local celebrities and politicians."
Fely J’s crispy pata bawang. Photo by Dane Soriano
ARACAMA FILIPINO CUISINE Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City
"The food at Aracama Filipino Cuisine, named after the chef behind the dishes, Chef Fernando “Ferns” Aracama, is a mix of Visayan and Filipino. Chef Sau particularly favors the pork sinugba or grilled pork of Aracama, while Chef Ferns recommends the kadyos or pigeon pea cooked with pork, young jackfruit and herbs; chicken inasal or barbecued deboned chicken marinated in tuba vinegar; fishballs, a Filipino street food, which Aracama makes using a better quality fish, less extenders and served with three dipping sauces; and the salpicao de casa, melt-in-your-mouth beef riblets, cooked for 24 hours, great as appetizer or with garlic rice. For dessert, try the Chocnut ice cream and the bunuelos served warm with homemade caramelized milk for dipping. For cocktails, there’s the MDA or Mojito de Aracama, a concoction of sugar cane juice, buko juice, muscovado syrup, buko meat, lime and mint leaves; Gin Pom using premium gin and fresh pomelo juice; and the mean drink Dirty Pierre made of gin and vodka and hot spices, a refreshing drink.
"Modern with subtle Filipino touches, mixing glass, lines and subdued pin lights, and accents like woven rattan on cushioned chairs and couches. The big dining tables evoke the feel of traditional komedores (dining rooms) where Filipino families dine. Lots of use for natural wood, including teak wood planks for the floor. Come sun down, the place transforms into a stylish party venue. An open air terrace overlooks the Bonifacio Global City Skyline."
Aracama Filipino Cuisine modern interior. Photo by Dane Soriano
ABE Serendra, Bonifacio Global City,Taguig City
"Chef Sau loves buro, a Kapampangan delicacy of fermented rice best paired with mustasa leaves and binukadkad na tilapia, a freshwater fish fried to perfection and an Abe specialty; gising gising, a spicy dish of sliced kangkong stalks and coconut milk; baby squid sautéed in garlic; and the to die-for morcon, a dish made of hashed pork, carrots and spices, topped with tomato-based sauce and spring onions.
"Modern Filipino, made personal by Abe Cruz’s memorabilia and family photographs. The entrance is adorned by a sketch of Abe, while its facing wall shows off his framed artist’s tools. There are several old blown-up photos along the ceiling, including a painting of Mt. Arayat in Pampanga, the Cruz’s hometown. The main dining space sits 60. An extension at the back of the restaurant has been opened recently, adding 50 more seats."
Abe’s interior is modern Filipino made personal using things that are Abe’s. Photo by Dane Soriano
CHEF TATUNG Acacia Estates,Taguig City
"Dishes on the menu are Tagalog and Cebuano dishes. One of Chef Tatung’s signature dishes, and a must try, is the balbacua, a Cebuano dish — a cross between callos, a stew with beef tripe, chorizo, bell pepper and chickpeas, and kare-kare (peanut stew) — of ox trotters and knee caps slow cooked for 10-12 hours with ginger and star anise, together with black beans and peanut. His adobo sampler will give you a taste of not one but four styles of adobo — classic, Visayan, Batangas and Iloilo. One other item not to miss on Chef Tatung’s menu is the garlic and lemongrass-garnished honey-glazed lechon, slow roasted for six hours.
"The restaurant is a bungalow — a driveway leads to the warm facade with a welcoming porch — is furnished with traditional Philippine hardwood furniture and design pieces, including capiz windows, ventillas on the wall, old fashioned rectangular and round tables, and chairs made of Philippine hardwood, and Chef Tatung’s personal antique collections, handpicked paintings and photographs of the last woman tattoo artist of the Kalinga Tribe."
Chef Tatung’s wood-carved dining table and chairs. Photo by Dane Soriano
MILKY WAY CAFÉ Arnaiz Avenue, Makati City
"For the main course, Chef Sau recommends the lengua estofado or ox tongue asado, tenderized ox tongue cooked in tomato sauce with chopped olives and spring onions; tilapia cooked in miso soup (tilapia kulob); and homemade corned beef. For dessert, order the guinumis and mais con hielo, or their homemade ice cream. Try the avocado flavor. Other favorites are the crispy hito (catfish) with mustasa salad; baby crispy pata or suckling pig cooked to perfection; and for dessert — or merienda — the halo-halo. Milky Way Café started life in the 70s as an ice cream parlor, and expanded its offerings to include Filipino dishes, and has not looked back.
"No-frills casual café, furnished with simple white tables and wooden chairs accented by Filipino weaving, and a coffee and refreshment station. Function rooms can be booked for private events."
Dining at Milky Way is casual and easy. Photo by Dane Soriano