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Restaurant and Place to Hangout in Manila

The Business Lunch

The Tivoli – Hotel mandarin Oriental
Cuisine: Euro-Pacific
Closed: Saturday and Sunday breakfast and lunch
The habitués from the upper floors of Makati’s office towers congregate daily in this attractively shaped dining room, with its bleached furniture, seasonally changing fresh vegetables or fruits and towering plants. Such fine cuisine merits an equally elegant setting and The Tivoli surpasses all expectations through the judicious use of ambient light and a neutral palette, as well as such beautiful details as mirrors, trellises and a moulded ceiling. Guests wishing for added exclusivity can also choose to dine in semi-private alcove, which is delineated by a chic glass wine cellar.

The Business Dinner
La Tasca
Legaspi Street, Ayala Center, Makati
Cuisine: Spanish/Philippine/International
An institution over twenty years for dignified elegance and consistently excellent food. Corporate celebrities feel good in the Hispanic warmth of dark woods, red upholstery and sun-drenched stucco. White-aproned waiters serve traditional paella, bacalao and lengua, or revolutionary ducklinlg in sugarcane wine sauce.

The Social Lunch
Mi Piace – Hotel Paninsula
Cuisine: Italian
As with a hairdresser, tailor or dentist, everyone seems to know the best pasta-and-pizza place in town. Which does not correspond with anyone else’s, of course. Except in Manila, where cognoscenti flock to the Peninsula’s yellow-and-green trattoria. Hong-Kong-based Lindie Cooper’s chiaroscuro mural heightens the terracotta-and-wood ambiente. Mi piace moltissimo!

The Social Dinner
Le Souffle
Ayala Center, Makati
Cuisine: Mediterranean
‘Blue-Eyes’ Billy King could also qualify as an Irish freedom fighter, or perhaps a romantic raconteur, but he does well in the kitchen of his cozy wine-bar-restaurant, too. The pan-fried foie gras, with either scallops or salmon in raspberry sauce, is a must as is the Green-Isle rack of lamb in herbes de Provence. Of course, there are soufflés – chocolate, coffee, et al.

Romantic Dining
The Champagne Room – The Manila Hotel
Closed: Sat. lunch; Sun. dinner
Cuisine: French
If the glamorous interior of floral splendor, gold wrought iron and glass chandelier, crystal palm trees and silver table settings doesn’t romance you, the eleven-member Champagne Strings serenading among the tables will. Opened in the 70s, the ‘Maxim’s’ of Manila attracts le gratin of society and international business for its cuisine, too. The Iced Grand Marnier Souffle is to die.

The Operetta
La Scala
148 Jupiter Street/corner Comet Street, Bel Air 111, Makati
Closed: Sat. lunch; Sun.
Cuisine: Italian
Milan’s Gran-Teatro outlet in Manila. When in uncharismatic company, let the waiters at this trattoria do the entertaining. The Maitre d’ will soulfully warble his Mamma while gracefully serving you Segismundo’s muscardini alla Genovese or pollo alla partenopea. Reserve seats at Asia’s first and only bel-canto restaurant.

The Seafood Place
Nandau
Delton Arcade, Legaspi Street, Legaspi Village, Makati
Cuisine: Filipino
The coconut crabs at this rustic Subano tavern surprise even fans of good old Joe’s in Miami Beach. The southern Philippine tribe’s seafood cuisine is truly exotic: steamed caba-caban, kinilaw na tanguigue carpaccio-style, chiken binakol cooked in a bamboo trunk. Wood panels, rattan furniture, cozy atmosphere.

The Trendy
Intermezzo
Greenbelt Mall, Legaspi Village, Makati
Cusine: Eclectic
Indulge in the latest gossip at the bar of this pie-wedge shaped café, with booths so colorfully, comfortably upholstered, they could serve as antichambre for a romantic intermezzo. Yuppies groove on the bright and cheerful ambiente and Conrad Calalang’s Nouvelle Italo-Californian cuisine – with its Decadent Chocolate Cake as a grand finale.

The Show Place
Maynila – Manila Hotel
Closed: Sat. – Mon.; lunchtime
Cuisine: Filipino
A naively beautiful way of experiencing some of the Filipino folklore in the turn-of-the-century ambiance of this large, amphitheatrical restaurant in Manila’s traditional Grand Hotel. The buffet is out shore by the twice-weekly cultural shows of the world-renowned Bayanihas Philippine Dance Company on stage. Come with a group and reserve your own corner.

The Chinese
Jade Garden
Greenbelt Mall, Ayala Center, Makati
Cuisine: Cantonese
The mirrored entrance is highlighted with gold bamboo patterns, the dining room with grand floral designs. Among huge pillars and important paintings, you are served rare specialties prepared by Hong Kong chefs. Jade pottage, fish lip soup, oil-simmered lapu-lapu, chicken in black pepper sauce and stewed ma por bean curd will even do for the spoilt Sino-foodies.

The Italian
Paparazzi – Edsa Shangri-La Hotel
The older, less glamorous Shangri sports the city’s most original trattoria. White-brick walls, checkered upholstery, an open kitchen and an earthen pizza oven set the pleasant surroundings. The ingenious Filipitalian cuisine uses the richness of local herbs and spices for Mamma’s traditional favorites, e.g. poached salmon with marinated vegetables and spumante sabayon. Paparazzi, our vibrant Italian restaurant, features an a la carte and antipasti buffet for lunch, and a diverse a la carte menu for dinner.

The Business Bar
The Captain’s Bar – Hotel Mandarin Oriental
Standing tall in the center of Makati, the Mandarin remains the most business-like business hotel, attracting to its elegantly conservative bar the managers from the area and many from the rest of the world. Power breakfast or cocktails, prime rib lunch or just afternoon tea: perfect privacy, excellent service and a full menu are guaranteed. Plus a sultry chanteuse in the evening.

The Social Bar
Cable Car
924E Pasay Road, Makati
Closed: Sun.
Saloon cars, sailing boats, antique aeroplanes, even circus tents and chapels have been turned to restaurants and bars – why not use the interior of San Francisco’s fabled public transport for a fun pub-restaurant? The turn-of-the-century style lends an affable ambiance to Manila’s largest bar, while pizzas and light snacks attract the beautiful-people habitués.

The Pub
Prince of Wales
Basement, New Plaza Building, Green-belt, Ayala Center, Makati
Omnipresent pictures of His Royal Highness adorning the walls give meaning to the name of this anglophile institution, where the lunch buffet is a magnet in Makati. At night, drinking takes over in a jovial way around tournaments at the dart board, but hearty steaks, grilled fish and apple pie provide the stamina to prolong the festive mood.

The Rendezvous
Giraffe Bar
6750 Building, Ayala Avenue, Makati
Closed: Sunday; Monday
The most social animal in town, where stars celebrate the end of any day with their hangers-on, pretty girls, Shangri guests from across the square and regulars who can afford to sleep in the morning after. The glass paneling reflects what light there is, but with the best drinks, best music and people who know they’re the best who needs the limelight?

The Hangout
e’s Bar – Edsa Shangri-La Hotel
e's Bar is one of the metro's most chic party places and chill out lounges with its sleek interiors, state of the art lights and sound system and nightly DJ events. Features an al fresco trellis with canopied seating, all-time favorite bar snacks, an extensive bar list and signature drinks.

The Discotheque
Studebaker’s
Glorietta 3, Ayala Centre, Makati
Closed: Sunday
You won’t find many in Manila’s latest pleasure dome who remember the car that looked as if it were going in both directions at the same time. Three floors of food and fun: coffee shop and wine bar, then brasserie and music lounge and live bands and disco above.

The Fun Place
Barbareeba
122 Jupiter Street, Bel-Air III, Makati
Here a touch of Carioca allegria tops the Filipino joy of life. Philadelphian Bill Stelton combined the cachet of the name sake café in Chicago (plus the plastic palm trees) with a menu that would do honor to Copacabana’s churascerias. Ipanema Surf salad, Bacalao a la Salsa and Pato Rio de Jeneiro go well with the Sabor Latino band’s Samba rhythms.

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