Top 20 Best Restaurants 2018 February 6, 2018 | BY Philippine Tatler Every year, Philippine Tatler celebrates the craft and the dynamism of the local restaurant scene with the Best Restaurants Guide. For the third year in a row, 20 of the 173 culinary gems were awarded the special distinction of being part of the Top 20 Restaurants list. So whether you're looking for a place to dine with your loved ones or simply experience an enticing culinary adventure, you won't go wrong with these top picks: START GALLERY Digest Top 20 Best Restaurants 2018 February 6, 2018 | BY Philippine Tatler × Antonio’s Purok 138, Brgy. Neogan, Tagaytay City Destination dining at its absolute fine- dining best, Antonio’s is a lush oasis away from the frenetic metropolis, literally giving diners a sense of being in another part of the world. Venerated chef Antonio “Tony Boy” Escalante masterfully realises this exceptional gastronomical experience through a classic (and very memorable) bill of fare paired with a well-curated wine list. To fully enjoy the Antonio’s experience, arrive in time for sundowners at the adjoining Lanai Lounge garden (though day drinking is just as fun) and indulge, sans guilt, in what is arguably one of the best meals you’ll get in the country. Definitely worth the long drive. Advertisement Click To Skip Bar Pintxos G/F Don Gesu Bldg., Don Jesus Blvd., Alabang Hills, Cupang, Muntinlupa City Casual cool and hip with it, this popular restaurant-cum-watering hole offers some of the most outstanding Spanish dishes in the city. One could definitely picture this charming space fitting right in with the hipster Portland food scene.While this original Bar Pintxos caters to those in the South (though many make the trek from Makati for mind-blowing Spanish fare), the second Bonifacio Global City branch, meanwhile, also attracts a wide cross-section of foodies that are serious about their authentic pintxos, tapas, local craft brews, and a mean gin and tonic. Canton Road 3/F Shangri-La at the Fort, Manila, 30th Street cor. 5th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City Traditional meets modern at Shangri-La at the Fort, Manila’s signature Cantonese restaurant, Canton Road. While remaining true to the rich heritage of Cantonese cuisine, the core of its menu, there is a regional touch of Huaiyang that highlights the chef Wang Wei Qing’s masterful knife skills and delicate cutting, which complements each dish. Here, aside from authentic flavours, attention and effort are put into each plate to give the dishes a distinctive and intricate presentation. The harmonious dining space is bathed in natural light to provide guests with an inviting ambience. Add to that, subtle floral and geometric patterns, as well as textured silk panels that lend a contemporary vibe. China Blue by Jereme leung Conrad Manila, Seaside Blvd. cor. Coral Way, Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City Reflecting the rich culinary heritage of China, this fine-dining gem serves an array of traditional as well as contemporary Chinese creations by the award-winning and internationally acclaimed chef Jereme Leung. Known for his ability to reinvent the wheel while remaining authentic, chef Leung is a pioneer for modern Chinese cuisine. The combination of artful fusion cuisine in an opulent setting (and with a sweeping view of Manila Bay to boot), makes this mind- blowing experience an unforgettable one. Cru Steakhouse Manila Marriott Hotel, 2 Resorts Drive, Pasay City A carnivore haven par excellence, you are sure to be impressed with the array of speciality meats this restaurant offers. Manila Marriott Hotel’s high-end steakhouse, Cru takes pride in serving some of the world’s best cuts using a unique method to maintain specific temperature and humidity levels. Indulge in the bestselling U.S. prime rib-eye and see the difference as soon as your steak knife slices through. And how else to best enjoy a succulent cut but with a pour or two from the restaurant’s well-curated wine list, or better yet, create your own gin and tonic. Tables are well spaced so you can enjoy an intimate dinner with the open-themed kitchen not too far from sight. Advertisement Click To Skip Crystal Dragon UG/F Crown Towers, City of Dreams Manila, Aseana Ave. cor. Roxas Blvd., Parañaque City The moment you step into this dining gem of the City of Dreams Manila, you instantly realise that you are in for a luxurious meal that highlights the interesting flavours of China. The well-appointed dining room accentuated with touches of gold serves as the perfect backdrop to the feast you are about to savour. The menu may be extensive but the friendly staff will be glad to make suggestions, taking into consideration requests and preferences. Highlighting authentic regional Chinese fare and premium Cantonese dishes, you are spoilt for choice—from the dim sum selection that includes old-time favourites such as the steamed crystal prawn dumplings and the crispy barbecue pork bun, to the chef recommended pan- fried Ohmi wagyu beef. Donosti G/F NAC Tower, 32nd Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City The culinary masterpieces of the chef Pablo Lopez Iglesias take your palate to the Basque region of Spain, a town called Donostia (AKA San Sebastian) where the name of this fine dining nook in BGC originated. Crafted from the finest ingredients, the menu’s approach is very traditional and authentic; each forkful will keep you wanting more. The home-made sausages such as the diablitos and butifarra are famous for a reason, as well as the Josper-cooked cordero lechal (baby lamb) and the chuletitas (little lamb ribs). The extensive wine list is mind-blowing, with selections from almost all corners of the globe. These, combined with the classy ambience, are hard to beat. Enye by Chele Gonzalez Crimson Resort and Spa Mactan, Seascapes Resort Town, Mactan Island, Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu All abuzz this year is Cebu’s new kid on the block, Enye, a tapas y pintxos restaurant helmed by the famed Spanish chef Chele Gonzalez. Set amidst the charming Crimson Resort and Spa Mactan, the inviting contemporary interiors strike a nice contrast with the lush greenery and theinfinite views of the seas. Like a magician waving his wand, Gonzalez whips up an array of spellbinding traditional and modern Spanish dishes, some even with a Filipino twist like the innovative lechon Cebu tacos. The paellas and the churros are made simple yet are phenomenal. One will also appreciate the lean but well- curated wines and cocktails on offer. On this side of the planet, Enye rocks. Finestra Solaire Resort and Casino, 1 Asean Avenue Entertainment City, Tambo, Parañaque City Arguably home to the most authentic Italian cuisine in Manila (albeit in a rather fancy and sophisticated setting). Though Finestra has been open for some time, as of last year, executive chef Alan Marchetti has been working tirelessly to update the menu, which features gueridon service-style dishes that are good to share. Marchetti’s culinary language revolves around family-oriented gioie della tavola ( joys of the table) as each stellar dish that emerges from the open kitchen makes one dream of la dolce vita. Advertisement Click To Skip Gallery Vask 5/F Clipp Centre, 11th Avenue cor. 39th Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City Diners from all over the world clamour to sample the inimitable modernist cuisine of rockstar chef Chele Gonzalez. Here, his unique twists on tantalising fare meet highly covetable art in this hip gallery-cum-restaurant owned by Carlo Calma. Gonzalez has been very instrumental putting the Philippines on the global culinary map with Gallery VASK ranking in at number 39 in the 2016 Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list and for the second year in a row, it remained on this prestigious list climbing to the 35th spot in 2017. This is no surprise of course being that Gonzalez has worked at some of the world’s most illustrious restaurants like El Bulli, Arzak, and El Celler de Can Roca. Inagiku 2/F Makati Shangri-La, Manila, Ayala Avenue cor. Makati Avenue, Makati City With consistently superb fare by the executive Japanese chef Wataru Hikawa, who has gained a loyal following through the years, Inagiku remains on the Top 20 this year. No surprise here as Inagiku’s expertise traces its roots to over 150 years back, starting out as a humble little tempura nook in Asakusa, Japan, which has now grown globally, including in the Philippines. Meticulous attention to detail is exercised in each dish presented at the table. Hikawa’s mastery of the cuisine, obviously emanates in the aburi sushi—lightly torched instead of raw, delivering a panoply of rich, natural flavours and the tempura moriawase that is infused with a specially blended oil. M Dining 3/F 2294 Pasong Tamo Extension, Makati City Quiet, sophisticated, and dimly lit, M Dining boasts a downright delicious menu and a very well-stocked adjoining bar (Bar M). The masculine interiors are subtly sensual and extend from the main dining area through to the bar and private dining room. Menu-wise, there is a carry-over of enduring bestsellers from its Masseto days, and executive chef Tom Bascon has marvellously tweaked the bill of fare with a handful of unforgettable additions. M Dining’s sommelier, Gigi Varua, masterfully ensures pairings hit all the right heady notes. Then of course, well-loved New York-trained chef and the establishment’s operations manager, Tippi Tambunting, runs this tight ship. Man Ho Marriott Hotel Manila, 2 Resorts Drive, Pasay City Anew-comer to the Top 20 list this year, Man Ho delights diners with its refined Cantonese cuisine and dim sum specialities crafted from the freshest ingredients possible. With high ceilings, elegant interiors in light earth tones, walls adorned with embroidered cherry blossoms, and intricate accents reminiscent of Chinese dynasties (plus a fantastic view of the verdant golf course), it is a visual treat as much as it is a delicious one. Brace yourself for irresistible Chinese specialities such as the sautéed lobster with supreme sauce, pan-fried shrimp in soya sauce, seafood potato nest, scallop and broccoli in chilli sauce, and the sinful Hong Kong-styled roasted goose. Advertisement Click To Skip Mirèio 9/F Raffles Makati, 1 Raffles Drive, Makati Avenue, Makati City From pre-dinner sundowners out on the terrace to a delightfully unforgettable traditional Provençal-style meal prepared by the executive chef, Herve Claire, you are in for an absolute treat from start to finish. Mirèio’s interiors are as casual as they are refined with floor to ceiling windows displaying the breathtaking Makati cityscape. Commissioned artworks from Philippine artists are exhibited throughout including a modern painting depicting the story of Mirèio (the title of the celebrated poem by Nobel Laureate Frederic Mistral) by Marcel Antonio. How can one go wrong with a scrumptious menu combined with an amazing wine list that includes some of the world’s best pours, and that one-of-a-kind view? The Pig & Palm G/F MSY Tower, Pescadores Road, Cebu City In the Queen City of the South, this quiet, unimposing establishment might make you think it is as ‘simple’ as it looks on the outside. Do not be deceived; behind this warmly lit chic restaurant is the Michelin-starred British chef Jason Atherton. Designed by Shanghai-based studio Neri & Hu, the design takes inspiration from Cebu’s Spanish colonial past executed with a modern flair. The menu, created by Atherton and the head chef, Karl Emsen, features modern tapas-style cuisine interpreted using the finest Filipino produce as well as Cebu’s most celebrated ingredient—pork. Topping it off, innovative cocktails and fine wines seal the deal. Raging Bull Chophouse & Bar 3/F, Shangri-La at the Fort Manila, 30th Street cor. 5th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City Channelling original retro-classic steakhouses combined with mid-century residential Manhattan style and modern luxury, Raging Bull Chophouse and Bar evokes the nostalgic feel of the 60s. Landing on your plate are quality premium meats from the finest sustainable farms in Australia and the U.S. such as Mayura, David Blackmore, Cape Grim, Jacks Creek, and Kimberley Red, among others. Sample some of these cuts by ordering The Chopping Block, one of the restaurant’s bestsellers. A well-curated list of classic American cocktails, whisky, and over 300 wines complete the gastronomic journey. Rima Shangri-La’s Boracay Resort and Spa, Brgy. Yapak, Boracay Island, Malay, Aklan Nestled atop a verdant cliff with a sprawling view of Boracay island and its pristine waters is a pretty A-frame treehouse which offers world- class Italian cuisine in an idyllic tropical setting. The tight and well-curated menu features gustatory delights highlighting the bounties of the sea masterfully created by chef de cuisine Omar Ugoletti. Shangri-La’s trademark service, of course, never fails to impress. Infinitely romantic, the Rima experience is all about the sun setting on that postcard-worthy view, fine Italian fare, and a good bottle of vino to share with that special someone. Advertisement Click To Skip Sala Restaurant Podium Level, LV Locsin Building, Ayala Avenue corner Makati Avenue, Makati City Not so much an oldie now as it is a goodie, Sala has recently made a chic comeback what with its revamped menu and plush new interiors to match. Truly the fine-dining jewel in owner and chef Colin Mackay’s culinary crown, Sala has always and will remain a perennial favourite thanks to its unfailingly exquisite bill of fare, which is still classic Mackay-style modern European. Add to that the consistent top-notch white tablecloth service, timelessly elegant setting (with the option to dine alfresco where Sala extends out onto a pretty and tranquil terrace) as well as its prime Makati CBD location. Now that there are less seats to fill since its reopening, we are 100 per cent certain that the oft elusive Sala reservation will be even harder to come by. Tsukiji 3/F Milky Way Bldg., 900 A. Arnaiz Avenue, Makati City This time-tested Japanese favourite has been top of mind for almost three decades. Since Tsukiji’s doors opened in 1989, acclaimed chef, J Gamboa, and his sister, Malu (also the culinary power tandem behind the likewise massively popular Cirkulo, Milky Way, and Azuthai) have worked tirelessly to ensure that their loyal patrons and newcomers alike experience the gold standard in premium Japanese cuisine. Prepared by the chef Toshiro Okajima, dishes are crafted from ingredients flown in regularly from Japan. These is no room for disappointment here. Wildflour Café + Bakery G/F 111 Frabelle Business Centre, Rada Street, Legaspi Village, Makati City Casual and laid-back, the chef Ana de Ocampo’s NYC loft-like space has become a favourite of the discerning Makati and BGC crowd. The tempting aroma alone of the freshly baked breads combined with the luscious desserts, and mouth-watering line-up of all-day favourites are all the reasons why. Health conscious diners are also in for a delightful feast with the café’s array of guilt-free concoctions. Wines and cocktails are stellar, too, so do complement your breakfast, brunch, or dinner with any of the available pours from around the world. Here, languorous meals and conversations flow amidst the carefree, albeit sophisticated Wildflour vibe.