The most memorable restaurants, bars, snacks, and food halls Coconuts Manila tried in 2018

Image composite: Coconuts Manila.
Image composite: Coconuts Manila.

There’s never a shortage of new restaurants in Metro Manila to try, and here at Coconuts Manila, 2019 has been particularly busy with hitting up trendy new hot spots, cafes, fancy joints, and trying out the latest F&B gimmick.

Some were misses, but many were hits — offering delicious food and, often times, Insta-worthy interiors, to boot.

From a mall kiosk to a sprawling food hall, and even an underground restaurant, here are all the places we tried in 2018 that are getting the most love from our Coconuts crew.

Flossom Place in San Juan houses a neighborhood cafe and a one-stop shop for your event planning needs

Flossom Kitchen + Cafe is exactly the type of place every neighborhood needs.

It’s an intimate space located in San Juan City that’s decked in fresh flowers and colorful industrial furniture.

While not everything on the menu got an A+ from us, we appreciate its modern take on classic Filipino comfort food like the Ube Champorado made with purple yam instead of chocolate.

Photo: Therese Reyes

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Run Rabbit Run: New ‘neighborhood bar’ serves up cocktails co-created by S’pore’s Bitters & Love

Many of the seen-and-be-seen bars and restaurants in Makati’s Poblacion area can get really crowded, so we were glad to have found Run Rabbit Run, a low-key bar on the quieter side of the neighborhood that’s fit for imbibers who just want to chill.

Their craft cocktails were concocted by the team behind Bitters and Love, a bar in Singapore’s Telok Ayer neighborhood, but also includes drinks inspired by Filipino flavors like the flower Sampaguita and the shaved ice dessert halo-halo.

Photo from Run Rabbit Run.
Photo: Run Rabbit Run

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Burrow Café: This almost inaccessible cafe is the place to escape the chaos of Manila

The coziest place we visited this year was by far Burrow Café.

As its name suggests, the restaurant is underground. It’s located in Antipolo, a city right outside Manila and has brick walls, a wood-paneled ceiling, and hammocks for swinging in.

All these factors make the place the perfect retreat for Manileños who want to get away from the bustle of the city.

A look at Burrow from our table. Photo by Rachel Malaguit.
Photo: Rachel Malaguit

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From NYC to BGC: Magnolia Bakery brings its famous cupcakes, banana pudding, and more to Manila

Another taste of New York City was brought to Manila earlier this year when the famous Magnolia Bakery opened in Bonifacio Global City in August.

Known here as M Bakery, the shop serves favorites like the creamy banana pudding and the iconic “Carrie” cupcake featured on Sex and the City, as well as classic desserts like a chocolate icebox cake and chocolate chip cookies.

Quite expensive but for the most part, they were all really good.

The Carrie cupcake. Cupcake prices start at PHP120 (US.26) (Photo: Therese Reyes)
Photo: Therese Reyes

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What’s good at The Grid, Rockwell’s new curated, minimalist chic food hall

Like other food halls, The Grid in Rockwell’s Power Plant Mall has some delicious and not-so-delicious offerings.

But we liked it for the sheer idea of having Thai, Japanese, Filipino, Spanish, Mexican, and American food housed in one minimalist chic space.

It’s best for big groups that can’t seem to agree on where to have dinner.

Outside The Grid. (Photo: Therese Reyes)
Photo: Therese Reyes

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Inside the Paw Club Philippines: A pet cafe, grooming salon, and hotel in one

This one is for the dog lovers out there.

Paw Club Philippines is a pet cafe that also houses a grooming salon and pet hotel.

Its owners wanted to create a place for doggos and their hoomans to bond indoors — perfect during the rainy season.

The food was just OK and we mostly only liked the Glazed Pork Ribs but that’s fine because dining there meant our pet dogs could order their own food too. Pupcakes, anyone?

Photo: Kaka Corral
Photo: Kaka Corral

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We lined up for almost 4 hours at a MAXI Mango pop-up to see what the hype is all about

To be honest, we only tried MAXI Mango because we were curious to find out why so many people were lining up for it. We quickly found, though, that the hype was real.

The kiosk’s main offering is the mango float, their version of the classic Filipino refrigerator cake. It’s made with graham crackers, condensed milk, mangoes, and soft serve ice cream.

Heaven in a cup, if you ask us.

Maxi Mango. Photo: Kaka Corral
Photo: Kaka Corral

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Modern Merienda: Manam Cafe recreates classic Filipino snacks

It’s easy to get Filipino food wrong, especially when restaurants try to change it up too much, but Manam is one of the few places that successfully serves the national cuisine with a twist.

This year, Manam opened a Cafe that has the same signature dishes people love from its main restaurant alongside cafe-exclusive items.

One of our favorites was the Calamansi Tart, a Filipino take on a lime pie that has a creamy center and a crumbly crust.

We still daydream about it from time to time.

Photo: Therese Reyes.
Photo: Therese Reyes

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Review: Grand Cafe 1919, the restaurant that resurrected an abandoned colonial-era building in Manila’s Chinatown

Last on the list: Grand Cafe 1919. Admittedly, the actual food isn’t much to write home about — but we still can’t forget about the place because of what it represents.

Grand Cafe 1919 is found inside a beautifully refurbished colonial building in Manila’s Chinatown that was almost taken down.

As a restaurant, it gets low marks, but we love how it is proof that historic architecture can and should stay relevant.

Photo: Angelica Reyes.
Photo: Angelica Reyes

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What’s the best restaurant you tried in 2018? Let us know below or tweet us @CoconutsManila.

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