This shortlist of new restaurants that just opened or are scheduled to open in Manila this year features an exciting and eclectic mix of well-known international brands plus novel homegrown concepts—with Italian cuisine poised to dominate.
OPENING IN JANUARY
Ministry of Crab
Shangri-La The Fort, Bonifacio Global City (opening January 16, 2019)
Opening this week at Shangri-La The Fort (beside The Back Room bar) is one of Sri Lanka’s most popular restaurants, Ministry of Crab. Currently ranked No. 25 on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2018 list, the restaurant was established in 2011 by Dharshan Munidasa with Sri Lankan cricketing legends Mahela Jayawaedane and Kumar Sangakkara as partners. Like its mother restaurant, MoC Manila specializes in crab dishes featuring a variety of crab sizes, including a whopping 20-kilo heavyweight crab aptly called the Crabzilla.
S Kitchen at Sheraton Manila Hotel
80 Andrews Avenue, Pasay City (opening January 14, 2019)
Just opened across Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 is the new Sheraton Manila Hotel, located within the Resorts World Manila complex in Pasay City. This stylish new hotel with 393 flexible guest rooms has a total of three dining outlets: S Kitchen for global and local flavors; Oori for sophisticated Korean BBQ; and a pub called The Lounge. Only S Kitchen and The Lounge are opening by January 14.
Single Origin Osteria
G/F Frabelle Corporate Plaza, Tordesillas corner Bautista Street, Salcedo Village, Makati City (opening January 20, 2019)
Single Origin’s 4th branch has been reconceived as an osteria featuring an all-Italian menu inspired by the Italian grandmother of its executive chef, Juan Barcos, a third-generation cook whose family migrated to South America from Italy. The opening menu will include traditional home-style Italian comfort food like lasagna and other pastas, along with the chef’s signature pizzas and Bistecca a la Fiorentina (Florentine steak).
Power Plant Mall, Rockwell Center, Makati City (opening January 20, 2019)
Taking over the spot of Kuratake in Power Plant Mall is a new full-service Japanese restaurant that features the cooking of Grand Chef Akihiro Okochi from Osaka, Japan. This expert teppan chef made the best okonomiyaki in town at the first Teppan Okochi in Bonifacio Global City, now closed in favor of the new Rockwell location. Chef Okochi will be joined by a Japanese executive chef specializing in sushi and other Japanese dishes at this bigger and better new location.
Asador, small plates, and tapas y mas concepts by the Bar Pintxos Group
The Bar Pintxos Group is looking to open three new concepts this year, starting with a Basque-style asador, then a Spanish small plates concept, and a more casual tapas y mas concept to be opened outside Manila, probably starting in Davao. Details for all three concepts are still being ironed out but one thing is for sure: these newer concepts will not be serving the pintxos made famous at Bar Pintxos.
The Steak Room Concepts group of Elbert Cuenca and Chef Adrian Cuenca took over the old Hooch Bar space in V Corporate Center in Salcedo Village, Makati to open a Napoli-style pizzeria, with pizza made with imported ingredients from Italy. The pizza will be served with other Italian staples and drinks like Passalacqua espresso and Menabrea beer.
Targeting to reopen at the old Sarsa spot in Rockwell’s Joya Lofts and Towers this February, Made Nice will be completely different from its original Legaspi Village branch. It will now feature a bigger menu focusing on more Asian-inspired dishes good for sharing, plus bar chow to complement a full-service bar.
Elbert Cuenca is opening another restaurant called Metronome with former Makati Shangri-La General Manager Alain Borgers and Joel Robuchon-trained Chef Miko Calo. Located at the old Hibana spot at the Grand Midori Building in Legaspi Village, Metronome will be a modern French restaurant featuring Chef Miko Calo’s cooking.
After opening its first Italian concept, the casual Bar Centrale in Salcedo Village, the Bistronomia Group of Las Flores, Rambla, and BCN fame is now gearing up to take Italian cuisine more seriously with an osteria concept opening in BGC hopefully by March.
Ricksha Streetside Tandoor
Getting ready to spice up the Kapitolyo Pasig dining scene this February is this modern Indian fast-casual concept created by the husband-and-wife team of Cyril and Pierre Addison. The restaurant will feature traditional tandoor dishes together with street-side snacks from Cyril’s hometown in India. Expect tandoori platters with biryani rice, raita, and fryums (a cereal snack)! The owners also promise parathas rolled into Kathi Rolls and made-to-order Dosas, along with fun snacks like Bonda and Bhelpuri, plus Indian food classics like Butter Chicken, Aloo Ghobi, and Kofta Masala. The small eatery will feature weekend specials like pani-puri stalls, buffet brunches, and daily specials.
The Philippines’ first-ever Shake Shack burger stand (and first in Southeast Asia) is set to open soon. The Shack will be located at Central Square on the corner of C1 Park and 5th Avenue in Bonifacio Global City. In partnership with the SSI Group, Shake Shack is working with local purveyors, producers, and artists to create a unique experience for Filipinos.
This world famous Japanese concept known for its Wagyu cutlet sandwiches or katsu sando is set to open in late February to early March at the ground floor of the new World Finance Center in Bonifacio Global City. This open-for-all yakiniku restaurant will also feature a strictly-for-members-only table with a tasting menu offering Japanese fish products aside from Wagyu.
Opening in March, also at the ground floor of the new World Finance Center, is the Wildflour group’s first Italian restaurant. It will feature a wood-fired pizza oven imported from Italy, along with a wood-burning hearth for cooking grilled meats and seafood. The menu will also have a selection of freshly made pastas using high quality local and imported ingredients for the best results.
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