Dating in Manila is difficult, especially with the traffic that keeps people from leaving their houses. Of course, some special occasions still call for a proper meal in a romantic setting — something that might be difficult to find for couples who prefer to stay in and binge-watch the latest hit TV show.
That won’t be a problem anymore because Coconuts Manila has gathered some of the best options in and around Manila and organized them in a handy list below. This includes cozy cafes, fine-dining establishments, and even one located in a highrise building with a spectacular view of the city.
Tucked in the streets of San Juan City is Flossom Kitchen + Café, a restaurant decorated with green plants and fresh flowers all over. The founders of the cafe sought inspiration from their travels abroad and came up with this rustic, wooden interiors with pops of pink and aquamarine.
It serves sweet and savory Filipino comfort food with a modern twist for couples that like to try new things.
They have the ube champorado (PHP280/US$5.39), a twist on the classic Filipino chocolate rice porridge that switches the cocoa with purple yam. It comes with salted fish flakes, macapuno (coconut) strings, and yema (egg yolk-based candy) sauce.
There’s also the Rib Eye Salpicao (PHP650/US$12.52), rib eye cubes with garlic, sauteed mushrooms, and rice. Those who prefer seafood dishes can go for the Spicy Shrimp Pasta (PHP350/US$6.75) — linguine with shrimp, chili flakes, white wine, garlic butter, cherry tomatoes, and basil.
These dishes can be paired with one of their wines (PHP650/US$12.65 – PHP1,200/US$23.35 per bottle), coffees (PHP100/US$1.95 – PHP190/US$3.70), and teas (PHP80/US$1.56 – PHP95/US$1.85), among other beverage options.
Flossom Kitchen + Café is at 187 N Averilla St., Brgy. Sta Lucia, San Juan City
Hours: Sunday to Thursday, 8am — 10pm; Friday to Saturday, 8am — 11pm
Phone: +632 356 6900
Blue Rocket Cafe + Kitchen is a cozy little cafe situated in a quiet residential neighborhood in Quezon City that serves Asian comfort food. They have appetizers, pasta, and all-day breakfast meals. It has homey and rustic interiors with hues of grays and reds. There’s even a grand piano by the entrance for that added piece of posh.
Couples can try the bestselling Honey Garlic Pork Belly (PHP295/US$5.69) which is crispy liempo (pork belly) tossed in Blue Rocket’s homemade honey garlic glaze, or the Meltique Beef over Cheesy Rice which is a succulent Meltique steak doused in a tangy marinade with cheesy umami rice. A half steak goes for PHP465 (US$8.96) while a whole steak goes for PHP725 (US$13.98).
Blue Rocket Cafe + Kitchen is at 79 Sct. Reyes cor. Sct. Lozano, Brgy. Paligsahan, Quezon City
Hours: Monday to Thursday, 11am — 10pm; Friday to Sunday, 11am — 11pm
Phone: +632 931 7769
Grape Escape is a casual wine-and-dine restaurant that serves tapas such as the Salpicao (PHP375/US$7.21) and Italian dishes like the Polpette (Italian meatballs) (PHP549.00/US$10.55). They also have brick oven pizzas (PHP439/US$8.54 – PHP549/US$10.68) with a number of different toppings.
They also have an all-day breakfast menu.
Couples can cap the night off with their wine-all-you-can promo for PHP499 (US$9.59).
Grape Escape is at 99 Maginhawa Street, Teacher’s Village, Quezon City
Hours: Monday to Thursday, 4pm — 1am; Friday to Sunday, 12pm — 1am
Phone: +632 405 2546
If it’s fancy you want, Blackbird at the historic Nielson Tower is the way to go. It’s an upscale contemporary European and Asian restaurant spearheaded by Scottish Chef Colin Mackay of Sala Bistro and Thai restaurant People’s Palace.
The structure where Blackbird is located was once an air control tower of the Nielson Airport, which was inaugurated in July 1937. The restaurant continues to showcase this heritage through Art Deco interiors. The restaurant, which opened in 2014, also maintains an aviation-themed design.
It’s recommended to book a table in advance as it can get quite packed.
Blackbird’s menu includes Dry Rubbed Wagyu Hanger Steak (PHP980/US$18.89), Lobster Spaghetti (PHP780/US$15.04), Grilled Tiger Prawns (PHP980/US$18.89), and Crispy Soft Shell Crab (PHP460/US$8.87). They also have signature cocktails (PHP320/US$6.23 – PHP520/US$10.12).
Blackbird at the Nielson Tower is at Nielson Tower, Ayala Triangle Gardens, Makati City
Hours: Sunday to Thursday, 11am — 11pm; Friday to Saturday, 11am — 12mn
Phone: +632 828 4888
Pio’s Kitchen is found in Quezon City on a corner lot with a white fence and gray gate. It is owned by Chef Chin Gallegos and is named after her favorite saint Padre Pio. It’s situated in her family’s ancestral home, which has been converted into a private dining space. The restaurant, exclusively for reserved guests, specializes in the Spanish rice dish paella.
The house history is highlighted further with antique ceiling lamps and random household items that belong to her family. It has an eccentric, rustic, yet dreamy mid-century feel.
Because the place only accepts reservations from a minimum of 15 people, this is best for group dates with friends. The classic Pio’s Menu, which comes with 10 courses and drinks, is priced at PHP3,450 (US$67.13) per head.
Pio’s Kitchen is at 96 Sct. Reyes cor. Sct. Fuentebella, Brgy. Laging Handa, Quezon City
Phone: +632 509 4529
Ninyo Fusion Cuisine is a Loyola Heights restaurant which offers modern Asian and European dishes. There’s a garden where couples will find a wall filled with padlocks, similar to Paris’s Love Lock Bridge. There are set menus at the romantic spot, and also an a la carte menu.
Some of their menu offerings include the Ravioli of Short Ribs (PHP470/US$9.05), which is braised in miso and truffled carabao’s milk. There’s also the Wild Mangosteen Duck Jus (PHP800/US$15.41), a duck leg confit with a distinctly tropical flavor. It’s served on a bed of roasted onion leeks and a cassoulet of local grains.
For extra special date nights, couples can reserve a private outdoor gazebo, which the staff can decorate with rose petals.
Ninyo Fusion Cuisine is at 66 Esteban Abada St., Loyola Heights, Quezon City
Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 11am — 2pm, 6pm — 10pm
Phone: +632 426 0301
Top of the City is a fine dining restaurant situated on the 34th floor of the Citibank Tower along Makati City’s Paseo de Roxas. It’s spearheaded by the first Filipina pastry chef Jessie Sincioco and serves French and Filipino food.
Guests can sit at the main dining area or have their meals al fresco at the two terraces that offer a 360-degree view of the metro.
The restaurant is known for its Charcoal Grilled Lamb Chops in Adobo Sauce (PHP1,700/US$32.76), Grilled Chilean Sea Bass with Goose Liver (PHP1,600/US$30.84), and Chef Jessie’s Baked Cheesecake (PHP395/US$7.61).
Top of the Citi by Chef Jessie is at the 34/F Citibank Tower, 8741 Valero St., Salcedo Village, Makati City
Hours: Monday to Friday, 11am — 10pm
Phone: +632 750 5810; +63 917 858 5465
Antonio’s is a fine dining restaurant in Tagaytay owned by chef Antonio “Tonyboy” Escalante. It is one of the four restaurants under Antonio’s Group of Restaurants.
The Spanish colonial-style house has elegantly crafted interiors, perfect for when you and your S.O. want to get a way from the city an enjoy the cool Tagaytay breeze. It’s majestic in daylight but sparkles with lights at night.
Its menu consists of French, Mediterranean, American, and Italian food, with specialties such as the Grilled U.S. Short Ribs (PH2,500/US$48.17), Roasted Duck Breast (PHP2,600/US$50.09), Grilled Prawns (PHP2,000/US$38.53), and Bacalao Pasta (PHP1,800/US$34.68).
Antonio’s is at Purok 138, Barangay Neogan, Tagaytay City, Cavite
Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 11:30am — 1:30pm; 5:30pm — 7:30pm
Phone: +63 917 899 2866 ; +63 918 899 2866
Tucked inside Crosswinds Leisure Resort in Tagaytay is an Asian-inspired restaurant called Cafe Voi La.
The whole restaurant is adorned with vibrant Asian art, oriental displays, and vibrant yellow-red-and-blue interiors.
The menu consists of Filipino and Asian dishes, including Homemade Chicken Pork Adobo (PHP425/US$8.19) and the Cafe Voi La Signature Chicken Satay (3 pieces/PHP395/US$7.61; 4 pieces/PHP495/US$9.53). They also have an all-day breakfast menu.
Cafe Voi La is at Tagaytay-Calamba Road, Magallanes, Maharlika East, Tagaytay City, Cavite
Hours: Tuesday to Thursday, Sunday, 8am — 9pm; Friday to Saturday, 8am — 10pm
Phone: +63 905 331 4457
The Purple Owl founded in 2014 is an events space that serves homemade Asian comfort food. More than just a fancy meal, going on a date there is an experience.
Couples can choose between three packages, a private full course meal (PHP6,000/US$116.74), a private full course meal with a movie (PHP10,000/US$194.57), or a private full course meal with a live band (PHP15,000/US$291.85). Each package comes with a personalized romantic setup.
Dishes found in their set menus include rosemary chicken with baby potatoes and steamed rice, basic pesto fettuccine with garlic butter bread, grilled blue marlin with corn kernels and steamed rice, and rib-eye steak with corn kernels and rustic mashed potatoes.
It’s an ideal location for couples that want to avoid crowded date spots and just have an intimate space where they can enjoy each other’s company. The place is only open by reservation.
The Purple Owl is at Gardenia Loop, Villa Pura, Tagaytay City
Phone: +63 977 754 6987
Mon’s is short for “Meant for Organic and Natural.” It’s a farm-to-plate concept restaurant in Cavite serving Filipino food. The restaurant rests atop a small hill in Camp Benjamin and is nestled among greenery.
It also has a “dine under the stars” concept, which is a night picnic with a view of the night sky.
The restaurant serves mostly local, healthy home-cooked dishes with their ingredients sourced fresh from Camp Benjamin’s farm.
Bestsellers include Adobong Manok sa Tablea, stewed chicken in tablea served with caramelized onions and garlic chips (PHP300/US$5.78); Crispy Kare-Kare, crispy boneless pork leg served with sautéed organic vegetables and rich peanut sauc (PHP650/US$12.52); and Pancit Buko, buko (young coconut) meat with an assortment of sautéed shrimps, squids, vegetables, and toppings of garlic chips and spring onion (PHP250/US$4.82).
Mon’s Restaurant is at Camp Benjamin, Alfonso-Maragondon Road, Brgy. Taywanak Ilaya, Alfonso, Cavite
Hours: Monday to Sunday, 8am — 9pm
Phone: +63 977 134 9078
There are plenty of tourist traps in Baguio City, but there are also many hidden gems, including Foggy Mountain Cookhouse nestled in San Carlos Heights.
Owner Marianito “Chef Babes” Reyes turned his home into a restaurant where he personally prepares the Mediterranean-inspired dishes.
The restaurant also has a scenic view of the mountains and is a great spot to catch the City of Pines’ year-long cool air.
Menu items to try include the Grilled Chipotle Pork Chop (PHP550/US$10.59), Oven Roasted Whole Chicken (PHP1,000/US$19.26), and the Brick Oven Roasted Boneless Leg of Lamb (PHP650/US$12.52).
It’s best to book a table a day in advance.
Foggy Mountain Cookhouse is at 172 St. Joseph St., San Carlos Heights, Baguio City
Hours: Monday to Saturday, 11am — 3pm, 6pm — 11pm
Phone: +63 916 767 4687; +63 932 762 3639
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