I would like to share with you my perspective on my votes for the MBKRS Awards. I based my votes on the personality of the restaurant, the overall awesome experience it provides and the positive buzz it gets from the community.

The voting period ended last November 14, and the winners will be announced on November 26 in the Enderun Colleges at the Fort. Thank you to Ines Cabarrus and Elian Habayeb for including me as one of the judges.

What is the MBKRS Awards?

  • The First Annual Manila’s Best Kept Restaurant Secrets Award promise to be “the Oscars” of Manila’s restaurant industry, and there are approximately 100 judges in total deciding the MBKRS Awards, made up mostly of restaurant owners, top-chefs, educators in the hospitality industry, hotel GMs, columnists and food critics, magazine editors, and other celebrities and reputable foodies.
  • The awards are named after and inspired by the bestselling coffee-table book MANILA’S BEST KEPT RESTAURANT SECRETS, available at all major bookstores nationwide and now available internationally through Amazon.com.
  • As a general rule, we avoid franchises and prefer family-owned restaurants, with few locations (preferably only one), not located in malls (or originating outside of shopping malls, before having moved to a mall location). All restaurants must have authentic quality food, excellent service, and a great ambiance.
  • The MBKRS Awarding Ceremony is an invite only event that will happen on November 26 at Enderun Colleges, Fort Bonifacio Campus

1. Best Italian Restaurant
I voted for Bellini’s because of the Italian personalities behind the restaurant and its warm family ambiance. a) L’Opera

b) Café Caruso
c) Bellini’s
d) Amoroma (I’ve never been to Amoroma and I will review it soon 🙂
e) L’Incontro
f) Other: C Italian Dining (The number 1 Italian Restaurant for me is C Italian Dining in Angeles, Pampanga. But ever since Chef Chris Locher is not anymore connected with C Italian Dining, I cannot vote for it anymore. I’m surprised that the MBKRS Awards did not include him in the nominated list. )

2. Best French Restaurant
Je Suis Gourmand is probably one of the few restaurants that consistently WOW its customers and I’ve never heard any negative reviews about it.

a) Le Soufflé (Fort)
b) Je Suis Gourmand
c) La Cabane
d) La Regalade
e) Cuillère
f) Other: Cicou (Watch out for my review next week)

3. Best Spanish Restaurant
I don’t really have a solid opinion on Spanish restaurant because my standard for good Spanish food is Chef Ed’s Mestizo Spanish cuisine and Market Manila’s Paella. . I voted for my favorite — Terry’s Selection (and it should be in Pasong Tamo Ext.).

a) Alba Restaurante Español (Makati)
b) La Tienda
c) Terry’s Selection (Pasong Tamo Ext.)
d) Amalia’s ( must confess that I’ve never been to Amalia so I will review it soon too 🙂
e) Casa Armas (Malate)
f) Other: Chef Ed’s 21 Restaurant

4. Best Continental Cuisine
Antonio’s is the Best Restaurant in the Philippines and Still the Best after all these years!

a) Chateau 1771
b) Sala
c) Aubergine
d) Lolo Dad’s
e) Katre
f) Lemuria
g) Antonio’s
h) Other: __________

5. Best Steakhouse
My vote goes to Elbert and the buzz is he is the undisputed king of steaks in Manila!

a) Fire Lake Grill
b) Mamou
c) Elbert’s Steak Room
d) Myron’s Place
e) Duo
f) Other: House of Wagyu

6. Best Japanese Restaurant
Seryna is the only Japanese restaurant that is loved by both Filipino Foodies and Japanese in Manila.

a) Sushi Tsumura
b) Tsukiji
c) Kai
d) Sugi (Greenbelt)
e) Seryna
f) Other: __________

7. Best Filipino Restaurant
Cafe Juanita’s ambiance resembles a typical filipino home and serves authentic Filipino cuisine (not fusion).

a) Café Juanita
b) Harbor View
c) Abé
d) Laudico Bistro Filipino
e) La Cocina de Tita Moning
f) Other: Adarna

8. Best Thai Restaurant
I don’t think we have a really good Thai restaurant in Manila. The closest would be People’s Palace.

a) Silk
b) Azuthai
c) People’s Palace
d) Kingdom (I can’t wait to try this in Angeles, Pampanga)
e) Other: __________

9. Best Chinese Restaurant
Choi Garden in Greenhills and Golden Fortune in Binondo are the best Chinese restaurant for me!

a) Zong (Fort)
b) Hai Shin Lou
c) Gloria Maris (Greenhills)
d) The Good Earth (Fort)
e) Cantonese Kitchen
f) Other: Choi Garden

10. Best Central European Restaurant
I love Vieux Chalet because of the fresh ingredients used in the dishes, and spectacular view of Manila (from Antipolo)

a) Schwartzwalder
b) Old Swiss Inn (Makati)
c) Bianca’s
d) Mickey’s Deli (Makati)
e) Vieux Chalet
f) Other: Chateau Hestia

11. Best Specialty Restaurant
Nobody will beat the most authentic Vietnamese restaurant in Manila!

a) Hossein’s Persian Kebab (Makati)
b) Ziggurat
c) Manos Greek Taverna
d) Korean Garden
e) Zapata’s Mexican Restaurant
f) Other: Bawai Vietnamese Kitchen

12. Best Bistro
I voted Sala Bistro because of the quality of its simple dishes and its weekend Champagne Brunch.

a) Apartment 1B
b) Sala Bistro
c) Palato Fino
d) Chelsea
e) Di’ Mark’s (QC)
f) Other: Culliere

13. Best Enoteca
Galileo practically introduced me to the concept of Enoteca. My vote goes to them!

a) Galileo Enoteca (Mandaluyong)
b) La Vigne
c) Barcino Gourmet
d) Terry’s Selection (Pasong Tamo Ext.)
e) Cav
f) Purple Feet (Wine Depot Makati)
g) Other: __________

14. Best Fusion Cuisine
The French Japanese Fusion of In Yo is the best in the Philippines.

a) M Café
b) InYo
c) Portico 1771
d) Other: __________

15. Best Newcomer
Ever since Aubergine opened, I only hear positive reviews about it and you can expect to have a good meal every time.

a) Aubergine
b) Purple Feet
c) Cav
d) La Regalade
e) Other: Lolo Dad’s Brassiree

16. Best Restaurant/Bar
You should go to Handle Bar on weekends and see why this is the best restaurant/bar in Makati.

a) NU-VO
b) Piedra
c) Handle Bar
d) Cuisine
e) Brava
f) Other: __________

17. Best Wine ListI want to be a wine connoisseur someday…
a) Sala
b) Restaurant 101
c) Cav
d) Balducci
e) Lemuria
f) Other: Ralph’s Wine Museum

18. Best Hotel Restaurant: International Buffet
I must admit that I’m biased towards Circles buffet. I’m doing an article on the best buffets in Manila in December (watch out for that!)

a) Spirals (Sofitel)
b) Paseo Uno (Mandarin Oriental)
c) M2M (Renaissance New World)
d) Circles (Makati Shangri-La)
e) Nielsen’s (Manila Peninsula)
f) Café-on-the-ridge (Taal Vista)
g) Other: __________

19. Best Hotel Restaurant: Fine Dining
I’m not really a fan of Hotel Restaurants but if I were to go to one on a date, I would go to Red for its prestige and quality of food.

a) The Fireplace (Hyatt Hotel & Casino)
b) Prince Albert (Intercontinental)
c) Verbena (Discovery Country Suites)
d) Le Bellevue (Manila Diamond)
e) Red (Makati Shangri-La)
f) Tivoli (Mandarin Oriental)
g) Other: __________

20. Best Hotel Restaurant: Specialty
I can still taste the Chinese Dimsum Buffet in Li Li … yummy!

a) Paparazzi (Edsa Shangri-La)
b) Li Li (Hyatt Hotel & Casino)
c) Spices (Manila Peninsula)
d) Benjarong (Dusit)
e) Inagiku (Makati Shangri-La)

21. Best Chef
The Best Restaurant in the Philippines also has the Best Chef.
a) Colin McKay (Sala)
b) Marivic Diaz-Lim (Apartment 1B)
c) Sau Del Rosario (Kingdom)
d) Ariel Manuel (Lolo Dad’s)
e) David Pardo de Ayala (Discovery)
f) Marc Aubrey (Je Suis Gourmand)
g) Other: Chef Tony Boy Escalante

22. Lifetime Achievement Award
My only regret in my blogging life is that I’ve never met Larry Cruz when he was alive.
a) Larry Cruz (posthumous)
b) Margarita Fores
c) Gene Gonzalez
d) Anastacio de Alba
e) Other: _________


Text and Photos by by Anton Diaz. Copyright 2008.

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