As one of the busiest cities in the metro, Makati has cultivated quite a rich collection of culinary spots that satisfy the cravings of almost every type of food lover. From five-star restaurants to sidewalk stalls, you can find anything and everything in the city, whatever cravings or budget you have. But it’s not only the hyped culinary legends that deserve a visit here. Unknown to many, the place is also dotted with restaurants that are underrated but are secretly great – places that true blue foodophiles know to be the perfect spots to find some quality grub. Below is a list of the top10 hidden gems you should visit the next time you drop by Makati.
1. Mike Chef’s Persian Restaurant
Address: G-09, Tower 3, Cityland Dela Rosa, Dela Rosa St., Buendia Ave, Makati
Located on the ground floor of a condo complex, this small Mediterranean restaurant has become quite a favorite among residents living near its vicinity. It’s managed by self-trained Chef Mike from Iran and his Filipina wife Veronica so you know the food it offers is authentic. Its menu is as diverse as you could imagine, from shawarmas, kebabs, to samosas and hummus plates. All these in price points that are very friendly to the wallet – shelling out an average of P200 will already leave you bursting with some high-quality dishes.
The restaurant also offers a few meals that are more familiar to the Filipino palate. There’s sisig, chicken, and fries, but if you really want to be treated to some middle eastern goodness, we highly recommend their traditional dishes. Our favorites are their Joojeh (chicken) and Kubideh (beef) kebab which already comes with a hefty serving of rice and grilled tomato. If you’re feeling a little bit more adventurous with your order, you can also go for a sizzling platter of their Ox brain which is paired with two slices of freshly made pita bread.
2. Lao Beijing/Peace and Happiness Dumpling House
Address: Tower 3, Cityland Dela Rosa, Dela Rosa St., Buendia Ave, Makati
Another hidden gem located in the same condo complex as Mike Chef’s is this 24/hour Chinese restaurant serving authentic and affordable oriental food. It’s so popular that there’s almost always a waiting line here, the majority of which are foreigners (a good sign that a place really is serving authentic food).
Lao Beijing has a very diverse menu, a good bulk of which are not often seen from run-of-the-mill Chinese places. There are steamed buns, rice meals, and even milk tea, but the ones really worth trying are its original pork xiao long bao or soup dumplings. For its price of P182 for eight pieces, it is the perfect alternative to the more expensive choices that we see in the malls. They’re also great with their noodles – highly recommended is their special beef noodle bowl which doesn’t skimp in their servings of tender, flavorful beef strips in every bowl.
3. 101 Hawker Food House
Address: 102, Campos Rueda Building, 101 Urban Avenue, Makati
Singaporean food may have always been praised for their originality and taste, but we do admit that not many are as acquainted with them as compared to say Chinese and Japanese cuisines. 101 Hawker Food House is the perfect place to drop by if you’re wanting to be more familiar with it. Owned and managed by Rexmond Chua, a professional chef who once worked in Singapore’s Hyatt Hotel, this restaurant serves authentic Singaporean cuisines that have been adjusted to fit the Filipino palate.
Their dishes are not flavored to be overly spicy (though you can definitely request to make them fierier if you want) and they make their sauces and curry paste fresh every day. Each dish on the menu is very affordable, too. Their Nasi Goreng set meal, which only costs P140, can easily feed two people! Try their Hainanese Chicken if you want something lighter or their Roast Pork Belly rice bowl which is just so wonderful to bite on with its tender meat and crispy skin. Don’t forget to ask for their sauces! If you’re unfamiliar with them (there’s usually three: ginger, scallion, and soy), you can ask their servers to mix them up for you.
4. Kenshin Japanese Izakaya Restaurant
Address: Ground Floor, The Linear Makati, Yakal Corner Mayapis Street, San Antonio, Makati City
One of the best things about Makati’s cluster of condominiums is that there are so many foreigners living there that it has become natural for restaurants that cater to their tastes to crop up within the vicinity. One of these is Kenshin, an Izakaya-inspired restaurant found on the ground floor of The Linear tower. The place offers affordable Japanese dishes that can rival more expensive plates from restaurants of the same kind.
Their meal sets, for example, already come with a main dish, rice, soup, salad, and dessert (try their tonkatsu set meal for only P299) though you can also order separate plates of each if you’re going in with a group. One of our favorites is the Kaisen Don, a dish with various sashimi cuts piled on top of Japanese rice. Their ramen and curries are also great, though if you want something more “personal”, you can try their make-your-own takoyaki meal.
5. 8065 Bagnet
Address: 8065 Estrella Street, San Antonio, Makati City
Though a bit easy to miss because of its location, 8065 Bagnet in San Antonio Village has built quite a reputation for its guilty, but definitely worth the calories food. In fact, many people trek to eat at this hole-in-the-wall despite public transportation being a little bit hard in this part of Makati. From its name, the place offers Ilocos’ infamous bagnet, a double-fried crispy pork dish that’s like an elevated brother of lechon kawali and other dishes falling in the “putok batok” food group. Their most popular dish is the Original Bagnet Budget meal, which, for only P135 already comes with generous servings of tender pork, a cup of rice, green mangoes, and bagoong. The place also offers other dishes that would satisfy local food enthusiasts like the Bagnet Dinuguan, a savory dish with a crispy surprise.
6. Bon Banhmi Vietnamese Sandwich
Address: 8390 Mayapis, Village, Makati
Craving for some good, authentic Vietnamese food? Tucked in a street in Makati is Bon Banhmi Vietnamese Sandwich, an unassuming place that offers traditional Vietnamese sandwiches. There’s nothing fancy about the location nor the set-up of this food spot – similar to the banhmi stands you see in Vietnam, there’s only a food counter there where you can observe your sandwiches being made.
Now for those of you who are not familiar with this snack, banhmis are Viet-style sandwiches made with french baguette and a variety of fillings like cilantro, pork cuts, ham, and pate. What’s so great with Bon Banhmi is that it bakes its bread fresh every day, so you get them crispy and perfect with its fillings. You can choose from a variety of sandwiches like the traditional style, roasted pork, pork barbecue, and grilled beef. Each order is very affordable, too. You can order a medium one for P109 or a larger serving for only P129. We recommend you to also try their Vietnamese coffee if you need an extra kick of energy.
7. Pizza World
Address: 9677 Kamagong, Makati
Pizza is such a popular comfort food that it’s so easy to take it for granted sometimes. Like, what makes a Hawaiian slice of one pizza joint so different from another, right? Enter Pizza World. This three-year-old pizza place offers something different not only with their flavors but in the way they make their pies. Its owners describe it as Persian-style pizza with its variety of overloaded and unique topping combinations so you can expect out of the norm pies that really deviate from the ones you've grown so used to. Even with their unique approach, however, Pizza World still retains a touch of classic into their creations by using brick ovens. \
Try their Mediterranean Pizza which is almost reminiscent of shawarma with tomatoes, feta cheese, olives, and ground beef toppings. Want something a little lighter on the tastebuds? You can order the Spinach Lovers which has a sprinkling of bell peppers, spinach, and mozzarella cheese. Pizza Lover's pies are considerably more affordable than its more marketed brothers so that’s another huge win for you.
8. Pat Pat’s Kansi
Address: Sampaloc cor. Kamagong st., San Antonio, Makati
As much as we always want to go to Tagaytay to have a taste of their infamous bulalo, not all of us have the time (or gas) to afford the visit. Lucky for us citizens of Makati, we can get the best next thing in Pat Pat’s Kansi, a humble, Filipino-style restaurant located in one of the corners of Kamagong Street. There’s nothing really fancy about the place, though its food, we must admit, is the kind that will forever leave a mark on your palate.
Pat Pat’s Kansi specializes on the Iloilo specialty Kansi, a close relative of bulalo but with hints of sourness brought by the local fruit batwan. The hole-in-the-wall’s rendition is of a bowl filled with tender cuts of beef that has the perfect balance between salty, sweet, and tart. Their Kansi Laman comes at a very affordable price of P155 and can already feed two people. If you’re really craving for bulalo though, you can order their Kansi Bulalo for P185. The size of the bone there might surprise you, but you can also expect a pretty good amount of bone marrow from it in return.
Address: 9595 Buma Building, Kamagong Street, San Antonio, Makati City
When it comes to breakfasts, nothing quite beats our favorite tapa. You can get them anywhere, from our friendly carinderias to more high-scale food spots like Tapadera. Though a bit more expensive than the budget rice meals we are used to (the cheapest plate you can get costs P120), this restaurant gives justice to its price point by elevating this humble breakfast into a premium meal.
Tapadera’s tapa comes in different flavors – salt & pepper, sweet & spicy, Japanese, Oriental, and Brazilian – and use soft, succulent beef that is a far cry from the cheaper, but hard to bite pieces other places serve. It helps that their vinegar tastes perfect with their dishes too, so you still get that good old feel of eating a traditional breakfast meal despite the additional glam. Note though that each order of tapa doesn’t come with rice and sides yet so you’ll have to pay a little extra for your eggs and garlic rice.
10. Metro 9 Cafe
Address: Unit 003, The Linear, Malugay Street, The Linear, San Antonio Village, Makati City
While not an actual restaurant, this coffee shop deserves a shoutout on this list. Originally from Taiwan, this coffee shop by award-winning and world-renowned coffee master Lee Kuan Wei has built a loyal following from people living near its Makati home. It is always constantly packed with students studying for their exams and hustling freelancers – all of whom have a cup of coffee or tea on their side and a slice of cake or two.
We love their Assam creations, particularly their Black Tea Latte which is made of Assam Black Tea, fresh milk, and white pearls. Their sandwiches are also pretty great, too, and go perfectly well with their roasts. We dare you to try their Peanut Butter 9 Clubhouse. It’s a bit dubious at first look, but the combination of the sweetness of the peanut butter and the saltiness of the bacon actually works!