December 16, 2015
Here is the year-end round up of our favorite franchised restaurants that opened in Manila in 2015!
I decided to separate The Most Awesome Restaurant list into two lists: "homegrown" vs. "franchised" restaurants and Manila is very happy to welcome the much-anticipated franchises to open in the country!
Related Blog Post: 10 Most Awesome New (Homegrown) Restaurants in Manila 2015!
1. DIN TAI FUNG
DIN TAI FUNG, the best Xiao Long Bao dimsum place from Taiwan, is now finally in Manila--thanks to the Moment Group!
It's a 5-time Michelin star awarded restaurant and recognized as one of the best in class in Restaurant Operations in the world.
Overall, I'm happy that Din Tai Fung is elevating the standards of efficiency and restaurant service here in Manila! From the efficient queueing system to the time it takes to serve the food and providing service with a smile.
Start off by ordering your choice dimsum appetizers. I recommend the Crab Roe and Pork Xiao Long Bao, Truffle and Pork Xiao Long Bao, Shrimp and Pork Pot Stickers, and the Steamed Shrimp and Pork Shao Mai.
Next go for the really good Taiwanese food that Ding Tai Fung is know for, like the Taiwanese Pork Chop and the Dan Dan Noodles. I just feel that they've toned down the flavors somehow for the Filipino market.
I also recommend the Salted Egg Yolk Prawns, Black Pepper Beef, and Organic Kale.
Finally, reserve for your dessert as soon as you order because often it goes out of stock. Go for the Chocolate Lava Xiao Long Bao, Golden Lava Salted Egg Yolk Bun, and the Steamed Red Bean Xiao Long Bao.
Congratulations to Din Tai Fung and the Moment Group for successfully opening in Manila!
DIN TAI FUNG PHILIPPINES
A venture by The Moment Group of Restaurants, the five-time Michelin star awardee Din Tai Fung brings Filipinos a unique combination of OCness with a smile.
G/F Mega Fashion Hall, SM Megamall, Ortigas, Mandaluyong City
Telephone: +632 997-1935
Facebook: Din Tai Fung Philippines
2. RUBY JACK'S
RUBY JACK'S is a popular classic steakhouse in Tokyo with a fine contemporary setting, founded by Chef Matthew Crabbe, Edward Baffoe, and Nathan Smith.
They recently opened their first franchise outside of Tokyo at City of Dreams in Manila through Epicurean Partners Exchange, the company behind the Kenny Rogers franchise in Manila.
We love their dry aged John Dee Black Angus Steaks and Baked (to Order) Cheesecake for dessert!
Overall, this is one of the best classic steakhouses in Manila!
I would recommend the following three-course menu:
Starters: Ruby's Caesar Salad, Boutique Tomatoes, and Sizzling Scallops
Oysters: Natural, Kilpatrick (Grilled Bacon), or Rockerfeller (Spinach - Cheese)
Steak: John Dee Super Gold 160 Day Grain Fed Black Angus (Old-Australia) T-Bone or
John Dee Platinum Black Wagyu Marble Sirloin
Side Dish: Creamed Spinach or Torched Asparagus & Lemon
Wine Pairing: Beringer Founders' Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
Dessert: Baked (To Order) Cheesecake and Mango Cajeta Pavlova
Budget about P5,000/head.
The dishes are good to share for two people but it would be great to dine with a bigger group to try more dishes.
Thank you to Ruby Jack's for opening in Manila! :)
RUBY JACK'S STEAKHOUSE & BAR MANILA
A classic Steakhouse & Bar set in contemporary yet comfortable surroundings.
Upper Ground, City of Dreams Aseana cor. Roxas Boulevard, Parañaque
Monday - Thursday: 10:00 am - 12:00 am
Fri and Sat: 10:00 am - 2:00 am
Sunday: 10:00 am - 12:00 am
Telephone: +632 801-8888, +632 886-9646
Facebook: Ruby Jack's Steakhouse & Bar Manila
The NOBU Restaurant is a Japanese & Peruvian-inspired restaurant by Celebrity Chef Nobu Matsuhisa in City of Dreams Manila. It's the signature restaurant of the Nobu Hotel and the 2nd Celebrity Chef Restaurant to open in the metro.
The NOBU Restaurant Manila is a great place to celebrate your special milestones with your loved ones, or for going on a foodie date with your family and friends. The restaurant is ideal for foodies looking for better quality of food in the metro.
Make sure to order the signature dishes--Sushi Roll House Special, Rock Shrimp Creamy Spicy, and the Black Cod Miso. Don't forget the Nobu-exclusive sake and wine.
You can really taste the flavors of the ingredients without overpowering sauces--light, balanced, and elegant.
The a la carte dishes are small portions but can be shared with 2-3 persons. And you can assemble your own 8-course degustation so you can try more dishes.
Make sure to save some space for dessert. I recommend the trio of their best desserts--Chocolate Bento Box, Guru-berii, and Miso Cappucino.
Budget P2,000-P3,000/head, or P4,000 - P6,000/head if you're going with the Omakase.
The portions on their own aren't very filling, and some people may find the dishes outrageously expensive for the size. But we love the attentive service staff, who go as far as wiping the table clean without you noticing it.
Congratulations to the successful opening of Nobu Manila in City of Dreams!
Level 1 Tower 3 Nobu Hotel
Telephone: +632 691-2882, 691-2885
4. TASTING ROOM
Glad to be back in Manila just in time to celebrate Thanksgiving with the U.S. Embassy team at Tasting Room, with wine pairing from Happy Living Wines. After a hectic APEC week with President Obama in attendance, we are thankful that everything went smoothly with no security incidents in Manila.
It was my first time at Tasting Room, and we were pleasantly surprised by how good it is amidst the mixed reviews when it first opened.
G/F Crown Towers, City of Dreams Manila, Roxas Boulevard, Parañaque City.
Open for dinner daily: 6:00 to 11:00 p.m.
Telephone: +632 691-7789
MAISEN is one of the finest Tonkatsu restaurants in Tokyo founded by a Japanese housewife, Mrs. Koide, in 1965 and later on bought by Suntory Holdings Limited of Yamazaki and Hibiki whisky fame. Its name is a coined word, which means "go for it".
Check out our feature of the Maisen Aoyoma flagship store in Omotesando, Tokyo early this year:
The MAISEN Tonkatsu Difference: Different Shades of Pork (Soon in Manila!) @BenchTM
Ben Chan's Group (Suyen Corporation) will finally open the beloved Maisen franchise in Manila!
I'm happy that MAISEN decided to expand in Manila aside from Bangkok. :)
I recommend ordering the Kurobuta Tenderloin Katsu set with Suntory Highball, and the special Katsumabushi set. Order the Prawn Katsu and Cheese Minced Pork Katsu for the kids. Budget about P700/head.
All the sauces are so good, but my favorites are the Kurobuta sauce, mustard, and the fresh wasabi. I wish they bottled the sauces so we could take them home.
The restaurant is quite small, with a capacity of just 28 in the air-conditioned area and total of 50 seats including the al fresco seats. Make sure to go early or avoid the peak lunch and dinner times.
Congratulations to Maisen and the Bench group!
MAISEN TONKATSU PHILIPPINES
G/f Greenbelt 5 (in the middle of Lorenzo's Way and Torch)
6. GENKI SUSHI
One of our favorite places to eat in Tokyo with the kids is HamaZushi, where the sushi is served on a conveyor belt and the entire ordering process is automated. Our boys love how interactive ordering is, plus you can make your own green tea, and the quality of sushi is OK.
I'm happy that Genki Sushi opened in the metro with a similar automated concept, with the sushi served via cute trains straight from the kitchen.
Overall, a fun experience to eat with the kids. The quality of sushi and sashimi is just OK, but the automated ordering process makes this Japanese fast food a worthwhile destination.
Start off with the Chuka Wakame, Steamed Egg Custard, and Green Tea. We recommend following with the Salmon Sashimi, Spicy Salmon Sushi, and the River Eel Sushi. Stay away from the fried stuff as much as possible.
End with Chicken Teriyaki Don, Black Pepper Chicken Don, and Chirashi Sushi. Budget about P500/head.
For dessert, I suggest going to Family Mart on the ground floor for some soft ice cream. :)
GENKI SUSHI PHILIPPINES
The Original and Authentic Kaiten Sushi from Japan
2nd level of the Bonifacio Stopover Pavilion, 31st cor. Rizal Drive, Bonifacio Global City.
Telephone: +632 624-2867
Facebook: Genki Sushi Philippines
Sunday to Thursday: 11:00 am-10:00 pm,
Friday and Saturday: 11:00 am-11:00 pm
7. CASA ITALIA
CASA ITALIA is a modern day Italian Bar serving micro-roasted Coffee OTTO, handcrafted premium Gelato, and freshly made Italian comfort food favorites, set in an Italian casual chic café. It's the "Starbucks" of Italian coffee and gelato!
The recently opened branch in Manila is a franchise of the popular gelato shop in Singapore. From the outside, it looks like a normal gelato and coffee place, but you've got to check out their pasta, pizza, and panini cooked the Italian way.
Overall, we love the gelato, coffee Otto, freshly baked bread, the pasta (Beef Lasagna, Chicken Cannelloni) and the Italian main dishes (Meatballs with Pomodoro Sauce, 1/2 Roast Chicken with Potatoes).
I recommend the classic flavors of Pistachio and Vanilla Gelato, Belgian Waffle with Gelato, and their signature Durian Gelato.
Budget about P500/head for a meal.
The place is like a neighborhood coffee shop where you can hang out with friends over good food or as a dessert place to enjoy gelato.
Congratulations to Jay and Sheryl Tan for a great execution of the Casa Italia concept in Manila!
Megaworld Shop 5, Burgos Park Bldg. Forbestown Center
Fort Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City
Telephone: +632 753-6263 or 813-8138
Sun. – Thurs. 6:30am to 12:00mn
Fri. and Sat. 6:30am to 1:00am
Facebook: Casa Italia PH
New York's very own and World Famous The Halal Guys food cart is now in Manila!
Founded in 1990 by Muhammad Abouelenein, Ahmed Elsaka, and Abdelbaset Elsayed from Egypt, the trio wanted to bring an authentic Halal street food concept to New York City.
From a single food cart to what is now considered one of the most successful food chains in the Big Apple, The Halal Guys have establishments across the US and are now expanding into the international market--with the Philippines being the first location.
We love The Halal Guys in Manila! It gives you a taste of the street food flavors of New York City.
For people who have tried the original, they say it is as good as the one at New York's 53rd and 6th. It's exactly the same recipe and ingredients except for the rice and pita bread.
Order the Gyro & Chicken Combo with extra white sauce and hot sauce. It's more expensive than New York prices if you convert it but relatively cheaper if you order it with a drink. Budget about P300/head.
(Tip: For dessert, order ice cream from Dojo Dairy or drinks from Sweetea's by da.u.de.)
The location in the SM Mega Food Hall is a bit off, but I heard they will soon open a take out counter in Fully Booked in Bonifacio High Street, BGC.
Congratulations to Jaime and Chris Daez of Fully Booked for bringing The Halal Guys to the Philippines!
9. COCO ICHIBANYA
Curry House CoCo Ichibanya holds the Guinness World Record for the largest curry restaurant chain in the world--with over 1,400 stores.
The first store in Manila finally opened at Basement 1 of Estancia Mall, franchised by Hubert Young of UCC Philippines and Mitsuyado Sei-men fame.
Overall, I love the curry sauce, where you can taste the flavors of all the different spices--star anise, cumin, garlic, and cinnamon. Because it's not heavy, it's the type of curry that you can eat every day. Order the Crazy Hot Level 5 if you like your curry spicy, but I do hope they also consider bringing in Level 10.
The rice is also good--the grains are not too fat and still have a good bite even when soaked in the curry sauce. Eat with the pickled plum to complete the experience. Also, make sure to order the eggplant or spinach topping to balance out the curry sauce flavor and make it a healthier meal.
For family sharing, order the 600g rice with enough curry sauce. You can just order the toppings separately to enjoy different meat flavors. Order coffee jelly for dessert and a nice brewed coffee to end your meal.
Budget about P500/head.
Thank you to Hubert Young for bringing Coco Ichibanya to Manila!
COCO ICHIBANYA PHILIPPINES
B-006, Estancia Mall, Capitol Commons, Meralco Ave. Cor. Shaw Blvd, Pasig City
Facebook: CoCo Icibanyan PH
Telephone: +632 696-1649
10. BUFFALO WILD WINGS
BUFFALO WILD WINGS is the first Asian franchise of the popular Buffalo chicken wing restaurant and sports bar concept by Jim Disbrow and Scott Lowery. Founded in Ohio, USA 30 years ago, BWW promises the best Wings, Beer, and Sports experience in Manila.
The Bistro Group's timing in opening BWW couldn't be more perfect, capitalizing on the two biggest trends in Manila--passionate sports fans + a booming restaurant scene.
BUFFALO WILD WINGS is a great place to watch a big game while enjoying draft beer and wings. For the chili heads out there looking for a challenge, their Blazin' wings are waiting for you.
Start your meal with the Jalapeño Pepper Bites and the Tennent's Original Irish Cider.
Then make sure you order snack sizes of the different chicken wing flavors for variety. We recommend the Parmesan Garlic for the non-spicy options, and the Mango Habanero for the spicy. Also order the Juicy Steak Burger if you want something filling and meaty.
Take the Blazin' challenge to get a free T-shirt and bragging rights!
Budget about P500-P700/head. The place is best enjoyed in the company of sports-loving friends!
Buffalo Wild Wings. Wings. Beer. Sports
Ground Floor Estancia Mall, Capitol Commons, Pasig City
General Manager: Clint Brian Peck
Mobile: +63 917 604-5998
Related Blog Posts:
- 10 Most Awesome NEW (Homegrown) Restaurants in Manila 2015!
- 10 Most Awesome NEW (Franchised) Restaurants in Manila 2015!
- BEST OF MANILA: 40 Most Awesome NEW Restaurants in Manila 2014! (Top 1-10)
- Foodie Guide: 10 Most Awesome New Restaurants in Manila 2013! #AwesomeRestos!
Live an Awesome Life,
Disclosure: I wrote this article with my biases, opinions, and insights. Read Our Awesome Planet Complete Disclosure Policy here.
P.S. Let me know if there is a franchised restaurant that you feel should have been included in this list for 2015.
Check out this list --> 10 Most Awesome NEW (Homegrown) Restaurants in Manila 2015!