I have been into gazillion gastronomic indulgences lately that I can almost claim to be well-versed on many cuisine terms. Yes, those were the terms that my neural cells have been shying away to digest. And I don't just hop from restuarant to restaurant but places far from the prying eyes of a food critic.
I have probably swept almost all nooks and corners of the metropolis, from business districts to the far alleys of the old Manila, from malls spanning the entire landscape of the metro Luzon, from Serendra to Sta.Lucia, Greenbelt to Glorietta, from Tutuban to Trinoma.
Among the restaurants I've been into, the following might just be in my list of come-backs, becaise of their service and well-worth menu.
The decision factors would be: excellent display of customer service, the coziness of ambiance, reasonability of food (meaning it should be priced right), food presentation, and cleanliness of facility and utensils.
So here are my top picks:
1) Outback, Glorietta : The theme is "Down Under," with boomerangs, kangaroos and koalas as the pervading motif. Steaks are the main fare, complemented by chicken and some seafood. Do not, however, expect any kangaroo steak--it is all beef (Australian, naturally). The atmosphere is casual with a touch of contemporary sophistication (not exactly one's usual image of the Australian outback). Hearty meat eaters and beer drinkers will feel very much at home here. The bar also stocks wines and spirits.The Outback restaurants I have been to have a rustic feel to them. I would compare their look as similar to a lodge pole pine structure of the American west. Inside the feel continues. The floors, tables, booths, and bar are all dark woods. Scattered about on all walls are reminders that you are in an Australian atmosphere. Pictures of exotic animals from the island, nation continent are on the walls. Aborginine tools and artifacts are screwed into the walls too. Boomerangs abound! Maps of Australia are also a given in their restaurants. The steaks at Outback Steakhouse come with a price as most of this food variety does. But as you will feel satisfied with your every meal, you’d feel that every penny is worth it, really. That’s why in spite of the luxuriously-priced menu, I still adore Outback Steakhouse. Definitely world-class, Australian-prepped steaks and prime rib. The service is excellent. After trying to coax the server that I like one of her pins, she finally gave it, not holding back that they have to sell to earn those pins.
2) Cravings, Festival Mall: The Center for Culinary Arts (CCA) Manila, a pioneer in changing the culinary landscape in the country, finds its roots with the opening of the Cravings Bakeshop. It has since been enterprising a commitment to quality and excellence. With the creative inputs of their resident chefs, culinary instructors, and lengthy years of experience in the industry, they can put up an overwhelming potential in their team of resourceful and creative Filipino chefs and bakers. It was apparent in the Cravings restaurant as they have been liberating breakthroughs in the discriminating palatte of the Filipino diners. Although their lamb taste just an average, what struck me the most is the smorgasbord salad and bevy of toppings in their salad bar.
One can concoct his own salad in so many different ways. And since I am more of a salad than a main-course person, I was able to churn out three salad classes. Macaroni, Waldorf, and American potatao. I just had a small portion of fruit salad since their fruits are just limited.
I went home really bloated and satisfied.
3) Almon Marina, SM Megamall: With superb presentation and price not bludgeoning my already barren pocket, Almon Marina has been, by far, the best deli place in Metro Manila. They serve good portioned sandwiches for reasonable prices. The quality of their ingredients isn't compromised by their affordable price. I've been eating here since God-knows-when, and I still come back to it even with all the new pasta and sandwich places that have sprouted in more cosmopolitan malls and restaurant strips. The service of the staff at Almon Marina is commendable. Efficient, fast, and relatively comparable to fine-dining. The restaurant is well-maintained and clean. The newer, more stylish pasta and sandwich places have smaller servings for a higher price
Seen in the pic is Chef Liezl who knows the culinary trade, a fellow food critic who has an impeccable taste bud, a nurse who knows how to say NO whenever my sugar intake is over the board, and a queen who has remained to be a darling whenever we think of going out for a cuisine quest.
What restaurants I am inclined to take my first bite:
1) Gulliver's Steak of San Francisco, Great Eastern Hotel, Makati Avenue
2) Spiral Restaurant, Sofitel Hotel (it's a buffet here)
3) Elbert's Steak Room, Sagittarius Building, Dela Costa Street, Salcedo Village
4) Mamou (A Homne Kitchen), Serendra
5) Cheesesteak Sandwiches, Rockwell Powerplant Mall
6) Steak MD, Creekside Square, Tomas Morato
7) Peanut Butter & Co, SM North
8) PepperLunch, ShangriLa Mall
9) Wagyu Stone Grill, Eastwood Mall
10) New Orleans Bourbon Street Steaks & Oysters, Serendra
See you in any of these restaurants.