The Food and Restaurant scene in Manila is booming, and finding the latest restos here is exciting as ever. Here are the best sites/apps for discovering new restaurants in Manila in 2013:
Looloo has a cool mobile community of restaurant reviewers who are very active in discovering and sharing their finds with a photo and a short review. It is a proudly Philippine-made app for Filipinos, inspired by Urbanspoon in the US. The people in looloo are down-to-earth and fanatic about discovering new restos and sharing it on the platform.
To participate, you need a looloo app installed in your mobile phone to put in your own review or to follow the reviewer that you trust. Although, you can only view the reviews online.
What I like about looloo is the curated themed newsletter they send out to all the users, to summarize what's trending in the platform. This is were I got the tip on Movie Stars Cafe.
- looloo is focused exclusively on the Philippines and now has over 45,000+ users.
- looloo users come from all over the Philippines -- Manila, Cebu, Davao, Tagaytay, even Bohol!
- While restaurants are popularly reviewed, looloo users also review hotels, spa, salons, and tourist attractions.
- The looloo community is very active on the app. We’ve had 40,000+ reviews, 70,000+ comments and 100,000+ likes made since looloo was launched 5 months ago.
- Aside from being active on the app, looloo users also meet each other in person! We have a meetup group that now has 120 members. We’ve done 2 looloo eatups so far and have had about 20-30 members attend each time. Both eatups have lasted at least SIX hours and also tend to involve visiting multiple places.
- With over 40,000 reviews, looloo currently has the most number of reviews for places in Metro Manila and also has the most number of restaurant reviews for the Philippines.
- looloo strives to have the most accurate place database. The team physically maps and curates places on looloo while the rest are suggested by community members.
- You can search for places and read reviews even if you’re not on an iPhone. You can just go to www.looloo.com using any browser -- whether desktop or mobile.
Check out --> Challenge: Beat These 10 looloo Record Breakers
ZOMATO is a global (and fast-rising) restaurant review site, which is a combination of the best learnings from Yelp, Urbanspoon and Zagat. It has a very strong and neat website + mobile app platform to present the reviews. It's proudly Asian-made, one of the software brand exports of India.
What I like about Zomato is that it has the most up-to-date, scanned menus that you can search, and restaurant info list in the metro. The Zomato community focuses more on the foodies in Manila, categorized into Foodie, Big Foodie, Super Foodie and the Connoisseur.
Can't wait for them to publish a restaurant review guide book for Manila based on the reviews contributed online and credible ratings from the foodies.
About Zomato (from the Zomato Manila team):
Zomato is the world's fastest growing online restaurant and nightlife guide, and Manila is their first stop in the South East Asian Market. As of now, they cover major cities in Metro Manila including Makati, Quezon City, Manila, Mandaluyong, Paranaque, Pasay, Pasig, Pateros, San Juan, Taguig and Muntinlupa. They have recently reached 10,000 listings for restaurants and nightlife places in the Manila section of their website. The best part about it is that they are available both on the web (http://zomato.com/manila) and on their free mobile app (iOS, Android, Windows and Blackberry).
Zomato currently has a presence in 21 cities across 7 countries including UK, Sri Lanka, UAE, Qatar, South Africa, the Philippines and India, where it all began. Zomato receives ~12 million users every month who use the platform to discover the places to eat around them. They currently have ~10,000 user visits a day on the Manila section alone. In just a little over a month since their launch in Manila, they've already received ~100 reviews a day, and the numbers are growing.
Zomato launched their site for Metro Manila on March 21 of this year. They continue to update and collect data, making sure they have every restaurant and nightlife spot listed. The USP of the website is their rich content through which they provide in-depth information on over 10,000 restaurants in Metro Manila, making it the most extensive restaurant discovery platform in the region for anyone looking to dine out, get food delivered or order take-away. Zomato's strength is the information it provides on the restaurants, such as scanned menus, photos, mapped coordinates, and user reviews. On mobile, Zomato's location-aware applications suggest the best restaurants around the user's location. All of Zomato's web features are available and fully supported on the mobile app.
#3 SPOT.PH's EAT+DRINK
SPOT.PH EAT+Drink is Summit Media's online lifestyle website for spotting the cool new places and trends in Manila. They are leading the space for the first to share new discoveries in the metro with their new restaurant alerts and new food trends. They also have good Top 10 lists and a categorized directory list.
They don't have a mobile platform equivalent and, as with other sites, some of the reviews and lists are debatable.
Munchpunch started out as a search-engine-optimized restaurant directory that eventually became a comprehensive menu site for Manila. It is now focused on providing not only restaurant info, but also specific menu items per resto.
You can search the site for specific food you are craving for in the metro like Kare-Kare, and it will give you the restaurants that carry that yummy dish based on recommendations.
TRIP ADVISOR is the #1 site for traveler reviews, not only for hotels but also for restaurants. They have the most extensive list of restaurants throughout the Philippines because the list is crowdsourced from travelers.
The restaurant ranking in Manila is very biased to backpackers, expat travelers, or people using Trip Advisor for traveling abroad. Because of this bias, you'll get weird rankings like the number 1 resto in Baguio, for example, is a vegetarian restaurant.
I like it because the reviews are very frank and you can get really good recommendations and tips from fellow travelers for any restaurant in the Philippines.
Of course, don't forget to subscribe to OAP for our family's latest restaurant discoveries:
That's it! Let me know in the Comments section your own tips for discovering new restaurants and your favorite site/s for finding out about new restos in Manila. :)
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If you have tips on awesome food and travel destinations, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Full Disclosure: I wrote this blog post myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I have no business relationship with any company mentioned in this post or any organization promoting it. As a policy, I don't receive compensation from food and travel places we feature in the blog.
P.S. Also, make sure to read Clinton Palanca's restaurant reviews in Inquirer Lifestyle. :)