Restaurants in Metro Manila serving modern Filipino food that won’t break the bank

The savory peanut-based Filipino stew, kare-kare. Photo: Sarsa Kitchen + Bar/FB
The savory peanut-based Filipino stew, kare-kare. Photo: Sarsa Kitchen + Bar/FB

Despite a recent survey which showed that Filipino fare is the fourth least-liked cuisine by other nationalities, the truth remains that our country’s food is awesome (you’ll have to fight us if you disagree). Aside from their fantastic flavors, we’ve also got plenty of variety in dishes, too, thanks to our cuisine’s history of cross-cultural breeding.

And, yet another plus: Filipino food is relatively inexpensive, even when served by Manila’s hip restaurants.

Coconuts Manila has come up with a list of places which have yummy but budget-friendly local food. Our list is in no way exhaustive because there are just so many great places to eat in Manila, but in terms of price, taste, and cool interiors, these restaurants are at the top of their game.


Abé's Liempo Hamonado. Photo: Abé's FB account.
Abé’s Liempo Hamonado. Photo: Abé’s/FB

Named after the late artist and writer Emilio “Abé” Aguilar Cruz, this restaurant serves mostly Kapampangan fare (Read: from Pampanga province), although dishes from other Philippine regions also make a special appearance on its menu. Food bloggers say that the eatery serves local food at its most authentic — modern fusion cuisine is not their thing, so people looking for the real deal will no doubt be happy.

A few highly recommended dishes include Mutton Adobo (PHP450/US$8.63); Abé’s Chicken Supreme (PHP950/US$18.22), which comes stuffed with rice, chestnuts, and raisins; and Sinigang na Boneless Bangus Fillet with Ripe Guava (sour soup) (PHP399/US$7.65).

Check this link to find all their branches.



Batchoy at Crisostomo. Photo: Crisostomo's Instagram account.
Batchoy at Crisostomo. Photo: Crisostomo/IG

An eatery which banks on giving classic Filipino dishes an interesting twist, Crisostomo is owned by famed local chef Florabel Co-Yatco, one of the most successful cooks in the country today.

Crisostomo serves food bestowed with names that are linked to the Philippines’ colonial past, such as Salome’s Secret (PHP315/US$6.04), which are sizzling squids glazed with a special sauce; Filibustero (PHP245/US$4.70), bitter gourd with egg; and Paborito ng Katipunero (PHP300/US$5.75), their version of dumpling soup.

Learn more about the country’s history through their food by visiting one of their 10 branches. Check this link to see their locations.


Locavore Kitchen & Drinks

Locavore's Crispy Corned Beef Silog. Photo: Locavore's FB page
Locavore’s Crispy Corned Beef Silog. Photo: Locavore/FB

This restaurant prides itself for using fresh, locally sourced ingredients, from appetizers to its main courses.

Visitors can expect to dine on Filipino dishes with a different spin, thanks to the talent of its co-owner and chef Mikel Zaguirre who uses his background in French cooking to present local dishes in a new light.

A few standouts in its menu include Sizzling Sinigang (PHP550/US$10.56), Grilled Bistek Omurice (beef steak on rice) (PHP420/US$8.06), and Ensalada ni Andres (PHP320/US$6.14).

Check this link to see all their branches.


Manam Comfort Food

Manam's famous sisig. Photo: Manam's Facebook account.
Manam’s famous sisig. Photo: Manam/FB

Known for its homey interiors, Manam first opened in 2013 and became known for serving classic Filipino dishes as well as reconceptualized Filipino food.

They’re particularly proud of their crunchy House Crispy Sisig (chopped pig face) (PHP395/US$7.60), and they stay true to the dish’s Kapampangan roots by serving it sans egg.

But the restaurant doesn’t stop there — it also serves other delicious fare such as Housemade Tuyo (dried fish) (PHP245/US$4.70), Pancit Miki Special (noodles) (PHP165/US$3.17), and Kare Kare with Oxtail (PHP295 for small/US$5.67), a stew made with peanut sauce.

Check this link to see all their branches.



Sinigang from Mesa. Photo: Mesa's FB page.
Sinigang from Mesa. Photo: Mesa/FB

Founded in 2003, Mesa is one of those restaurants which bring a little showmanship to dining. Its eateries grill customers’ food right on their tables, which will make for an interesting conversation-starter for those running out of things to say to their dining companions.

With 128 items on its menu, diners have ample dishes to choose from, such as Pinakbet with Bangus Belly (fish with vegetables) (PHP233.10/US$4.46), Pochero (stew) (PHP460.80/US$8.82), and Pork Sisig (PHP227.70/US$4.36).

Check this link to see all their branches.


Sarsa Kitchen+Bar

Sizzling Kansi. Photo: Sarsa Kitchen+Bar
Sizzling Kansi. Photo: Sarsa Kitchen+Bar

Negros island is known for its yummy cuisine, aside from its fantastic landmarks and warm people.

Traveling to the region to experience their food is a privilege given to few but thankfully, Sarsa brings amazing Negrense food to the metro, all of which are conceptualized by renowned chef JP Anglo.

A few must-haves in the restaurants include the Bacolod favorite Inasal (grilled chicken) (PHP185/US$3.54), Sizzling Kansi (sour soup) (PHP410/US$7.86), and Sizzling Adobong Pusit (squid adobo) (PHP350/US$6.71).

Anglo also introduces something new every six months, which keeps things interesting even for the most discerning diners.

Check this link to see all their branches.


Sentro 1771

Catfish Adobo Flakes from Sentro 1771. Photo: Restaurant's website.
Catfish Adobo Flakes from Sentro 1771. Photo: Sentro 1771

Sentro made waves when it introduced its Corned Beef Sinigang (PHP319/US$6.10) 17 years ago. It was a cool new twist in a much-loved classic dish, and its the first thing that comes to mind for many diners.

But Sentro has slowly become known for other dishes too: such as their Fried Kesong Puti (PHP219.99 for small/US$4.20), breaded native cheese and cooked until golden brown; Tochong Bangus (PHP289.99 for small/US$5.54), fish stewed in sweet and sour sauce flavored with locally sourced sugar; and Tilapia Fillets with Coconut Milk (PHP299.99 for small/US$5.73), where the fish is flavored with garlic, ginger, and coconut milk.

What makes the restaurant even better is that it is one of the few Filipino restaurants to have a sommelier.


Ground floor, Greenbelt 5, Greenbelt Dr. Ayala Center, Makati City
Phone: (02) 757-3941; (02) 917 8660449

Capitol Commons, Meralco Ave., cor. Shaw Blvd., Kapitolyo, Pasig City
Phone: (02) 917 3278183

Uptown BGC, 36th Street corner 9th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City
Phone: (02) 792-9133; (02) 917 8147794

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