Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Tuesday, April 04, 2017
QC eats (Photography by Aubrey Gacer)









Quezon City is bigger than Manila, Makati City and Pasig City combined. It's the largest city in Metro Manila and there's no point for you to be there and go hungry. It currently has pockets of commercial enclaves that have sprouted in recent years as a result of the mall bandwagon. However, it's best known among travelers in the '70s and '80s for stand-alone establishments in quaint districts where dining is taken seriously. Both styles of dining can be had today anywhere in this city that covers roughly a fourth of the whole expanse of the metro. If anything, there's always a restaurant here waiting for you.


Having lived all my life in Metro Manila, I've managed to try some of Quezon City's unique restaurants. Some are popular. Some are off-the-radar of most foodies. Some have closed down already due to unforeseen circumstances. Some are still in operation. Those that are still standing and are unique enough to be recommended are listed here for you try. For your convenience, I categorized them as high-end cuisine, family-oriented, and budget-friendly:



High-End Cuisine

Vittorio's Steakhouse
Vittorio's Steakhouse
Vittorio's Steakhouse
Location: Scout Borromeo Street, South Triangle, Tomas Morato
What To Order: USDA CAB Ribeye Steak, Clam Pasta and Good Shepherd Ube-flavored Ice Cream

Vittorio's Steakhouse is known for serving the most memorable steak-oriented dishes in Quezon City. This restaurant in the Tomas Morato dining district is not exactly along the long strip of other restaurants dotting both sides of the busy avenue. Because of its location along the less frenetic Scout Borromeo Street right beside the charming salon of celebrity Fanny Serrano, steak-lovin' patrons are also finding the establishment to be worth reserving for intimate meals and exclusive celebrations. With the presence of two major broadcasting networks and countless hotels in the area, business is lucrative so much so that even Mondays are packed.

Read more about Vittorio's Steakhouse.

Millie's All-Day Dining
Millie's All-Day Dining
Millie's All-Day Dining
Location: Microtel By Wyndham-UP Technohub, Commonwealth Avenue, Diliman
What To Order: Baby Back Ribs, Potato Dumpling and Panna Cotta

Something delicious is always simmering in the stretch of Commonwealth Avenue at a property development called UP-Ayala Land Technohub. With Microtel By Wyndham finally serving hotel guests in the area, its F&B facility has managed to make its tasty presence felt for those with discriminating taste. The venue is called Millie's All-Day Dining and it's just one of its other branches in the Philippines. For a memorable meal of comfort Filipino food with a dash of foreign cuisine, Millie's All-Day Dining is the spot to rendezvous at with a business partner or a loved one in the city. Located at the ground floor of the hotel, it's accessible to hotel guests who need not hie off to distant restaurants for a necessary degustation. Non-hotel guests are also welcome to walk in at the hotel lobby and dine at the restaurant.

Read more about Millie's All-Day Dining.

Annam Noodle Bar (Photography by Aubrey Gacer)
Annam Noodle Bar (Photography by Aubrey Gacer)
Annam Noodle Bar
Location: Eastwood City, Libis
What To Order: Pho Australian Beef Steak Slices, Twice Cooked Australian Beef Brisket and Crispy Imperial Rolls

Foodies on the hunt for Vietnamese cuisine won't be disappointed at Annam Noodle Bar. It's where they can sample authentic street food that's inspired from the S-shaped country without leaving Manila. The Eastwood City branch is easily the best place to have orders of rice flour noodles (Pho), toasted baguettes (Banh Mi), oriental rolls and more in QC. Diners can find comfort in knowing that its advocacy for healthy ingredients is religiously being followed from preparation to cooking. More than 90% -- 95% to be exact -- of its menu does not contain Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) which is something that's commonly used in other establishments to enhance the flavor in food. This means that dishes served at Annam are likely to be enriching rather than damaging to one's system.

Read more about Annam Noodle Bar.

Potts Point Cafe
Potts Point Cafe
Potts Point Cafe
Location: Eastwood City, Libis
What To Order: Organic Roasted Chicken Fillet, Organic Pork Sausage Shakshuka, Butter-scotch Budino and English Sticky Toffee Pudding

Named after an inner-city suburb of Sydney, Potts Point Cafe is an authentic slice of Paris. This is according to Aussie diners who frequent the Eastwood City-based restaurant. One can even feast on inventive and indulgent dishes that touch on Tunisia's favorite Shakshuka or poached egg in tomato sauce dish, the pseudocereal quinoa, and a pasta salad that has the ingredients of a deluxe pizza. What's more, most of the ingredients being used here are organic and are, therefore, healthy.

Read more about Potts Point Cafe.

Gaucho
Gaucho
Location: Robinsons Magnolia Mall, Aurora Boulevard, New Manila
What To Order: Cordero Entero ala Cruz (Australian-raised young lamb) and the flavourful Cochino ala Cruz (a native free-range suckling pig)

Gaucho
A restaurant that serves authentic South American-inspired dishes at Robinsons Magnolia Mall is Gaucho. Its kitchen is known to use the Argentinean style of cooking called "a la Cruz." The two-level dining place offers slow-roasted El Pozo de Fuego-style (roasting pit) meat with options for lamb, beef, and pork. Apart from the "a la Cruz" roasts, the restaurant also offers US prime and choice steaks from the grill. You'll be amazed to know that the dining area transforms into a festive tango dance floor on party nights so better get your dancing shoes ready when you're scheduled to dine in.

Read more about Gaucho.





Pino Restaurant
Pino Restaurant
Pino Restaurant
Location: Malingap Street, UP Teacher's Village
What To Order: Kare-kareng Bagnet, Coffee-crusted Beef Belly and Tablea Cheesecake

Maginhawa and its neighboring streets is where Quezon City dining is subdued in a hole-in-the-wall style but sensational for capturing the local fare. And one such restaurant that has been captivating diners for a few years now is Pino Restaurant (also known as Pino Resto Bar). Its signature dish? The best-selling Kare-kareng Bagnet! No words are enough to express how delicious it is.


Family-Oriented

Ombu Kusina
Ombu Kusina
Ombu Kusina
Location: Sequioa Hotel, Mother Ignacia Street
What To Order: Crispy Pata, Sisig Pizza, Herb-Crusted Mahi-mahi

Quezon City's Timog Avenue is actually where a lot of restaurants have thrived for years regardless of the menu. At one of its corners, particularly at the ground floor of Sequoia Hotel along Mother Ignacia Avenue, is where such one restaurant started as a cafe and exists to this day with a redefined menu. Now on its fourth year, Ombu Kusina is reinventing itself not just for the sake of reinvention, but basically because it's time to do so. Originally known only as Ombu, the modern Filipino cuisine restaurant has now outlived its culinary limits given the gastronomic trends that have come and gone in this side of the metro.

Read more about Ombu Kusina.

Blue Posts Boiling Crabs and Shrimps
Blue Posts Boiling Crabs and Shrimps
Blue Posts Boiling Crabs and Shrimps
Location: The Block of SM City North EDSA
What To Order: Fried Garlic Crabs, Sinuglaw and Pomelo Cream with Corn

Seldom does the fresh catch travel to distant locations in the Philippines, but when it does it's for a good reason. The seafood restaurant called Blue Posts Boiling Crabs and Shrimps is a perfect example of bringing the goodness of Davao City's bounty to Quezon City via its new branch at SM North EDSA's The Block. Operating for three years now, it's a dining institution down south that prides itself in having its featured crabs and shrimps feasted on in the messiest possible way but for a delicious culmination, bib and all. The QC branch may just have opened late last year but it's starting to be a favorite among residents of nearby condos. Traditionally enjoyed on laid-out wax paper, orders of crabs, shrimps, and other specialties are at the center of the communal dining space at the restaurant. Past the fancy fishing nets that adorn parts of the establishment, the dining table where it's messiest is the most festive. Regardless if it's regular, mild or spicy hot, a basic order of the mains is usually great for three or four people which makes the shared experience endearing. With bare hands, pliers, and a mallet, dining just becomes more memorable and fun.

Read more about Blue Posts Boiling Crabs and Shrimps.

Asya
Asya
Asya
Location: Centris Walk, Eton Centris, EDSA corner Quezon Avenue
What To Order: Grilled Squid, Binakol Na Manok (chicken dish) and Coffee Panna Cotta

Asya Filipino-Asian Restaurant has been a gustatory spot for some of the city’s discriminating dwellers and those in transit to Manila or Makati City since 2010. Its charming dining area flaunts everything in a startling way from prominent face-chairs (seats with painted-on faces for backrests) to elaborate lighting fixtures. However, what really makes it endearing to those who are familiar with its caliber is its best-seller of Grilled Squid that’s expertly served as a whole treat and not in morsels. The dish is beloved for being stuffed with tomato and onion a la minute and cooked to taste as tender as possible without losing its meat’s firm texture. What’s more, it's served with a potent-tasting Visayan sauce (vinegar, soy sauce, and onions).

Read more about Asya.


Budget-Friendly

Sisig Society
Sisig Society
Sisig Society
Locations: SM City North EDSA and Eastwood City, Libis
What To Order: Bacon & Cheese Sisig, Street Tacos and Bottomless Mojito

Sisig Society
If you're so into the beloved Kapampangan dish called sisig, being in Metro Manila won't be that bad anymore. Even if the dish can be had anywhere outside of Angeles City where it first became quite popular among tourists, it's something that's now available at Sisig Society. The restaurant has a branch in Eastwood City in Libis and another in SM City North EDSA apart from its other locations in the country. What started as a sisig movement in 2015 is now a cluster of branches that makes the dish available in inventive ways to a lot of urban dwellers. Worth trying apart from its stellar sisig sizzlers are the Street Tacos and Bottomless Mojito.






Pepe's Meat
Pepe's Meat
Pepe's Meat
Location: Kamuning Road corner J. Erestain Street, Kamuning
What To Order: Burga, Borta and NKKLK

Pepe's Meat is where meat-lovers can find the most affordable gourmet burger in Kamuning. Its menu has a street cred that reflects hardcore sensibilities. With burger flavors like Burga, NKKLK (another way of stating "nakakaloka" in Tagalog or crazed in English), and Borta, the joint is clearly posturing itself in the corner of Quezon City's busy Kamuning Road as a unique stall for street-oriented burger flavors. The business name itself is enough to make you take a second look as it's a play on the name of Pinoy rock icon, Pepe Smith.

Read more about Pepe's Meat.


Where to stay in Quezon City?
Check out my list of recommended hotels in Quezon City here.

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