The Jelly List: Top Metro Manila Restaurants for your Valentine’s Day Date

What? It’s Valentine’s Day tomorrow you haven’t decided on where to take your beloved yet?!?

Oh, honey

Let your Tita Jellybeans share with you my top picks among the metro’s restaurants to serve as the romantic setting for your intimate get-together for two.

How did I come by this list? Well, to narrow down the choices, here are the criteria I used:

  • The resto should be away from the madding crowd so it can sustain an intimate and romantic mood. I recommend establishments situated away from the crowded malls frenetic with the Valentine’s Day (and payday) rush.
  • The resto should have well-appointed interiors, because special moments deserve special settings.
  • Most importantly, the resto should offer great food. I’m sure you know that food is oftentimes used as the language of love (it is one of mine!). Nourishing our beloveds with something that pleases their senses makes for a memorable time together. (And if the resto has a special Valentine’s Day offer, all the better.

Valentine’s Day is the time to go all-out on romance and spoil that special someone with good food and a good time. Check out the restos that made it to this month’s Jelly List for your date on Valentine’s Day.

Bistro Manuel, Poblacion

Bistro Manuel was opened in 2016 by Chefs Ariel and Mia Manuel of Lolo Dad’s. It is a quiet establishment, almost hidden being situated away from Poblacion’s more casual (and noisier) bars and restaurants.

Bistro Manuel, Poblacion

Here, diners can look forward to a fine-dining experience featuring award-winning culinary masterpieces.

A real treat to the taste buds is the Lolo Dad’s Baked Oysters in which each oyster is accompanied by delicate angel hair pasta under a layer of melted cheese, and accompanied with a cube of foie gras.

Bistro Manuel, Poblacion

This week, diners can enjoy a special five-course Valentine’s menu featuring the resto’s signature takes on European cuisine for just Php1,980 per person (+10% service charge).

Bistro Manuel is located at Second Floor, Six Axis Center, 4347 B. Valdez Street, Poblacion, Makati City, open daily from 11am to 2pm and from 6pm to 11pm. For inquiries and reservations, call +63 2 88718566, +63 926 7341067 or +63 998 3423566.

Read more about Bistro Manuel here.

Sammy’s, Cainta

Sammy’s is a rustic restaurant tucked away in one of the inner subdivisions in Valley Golf, Cainta.

Its decor is a cross between rustic and industrial with polished pine wood tables and woven hemp place mats complementing the black and white ceramic ware and clear glassware. Other tastefully quirky elements such as clocks made of bike parts and a light fixture made of pipes are DIY’ed by Chef Sammy Isidro.

Sammy’s, Cainta

Sammy’s serves a carefully thought-out curation of Asian cuisine influenced, no doubt, by the seventeen years that Chef Sammy and his wife Dorothy spent in Jakarta.

This is where I had my first taste of the Indonesian dessert Martabak Manis, a thick pancake filled chocolate sprinkle, crushed peanuts, cheese and condensed milk. It has since become one of my absolute favorites.

Sammy’s, Cainta

On February 14 and 15, enjoy Sammy’s Valentine’s Menu which includes Balsamic Pork Salad, Chicken Fricasee and Creme Brulee plus special Valentine’s Day perks such as photo souvenir and romantic renditions of popular love songs from The Singing Chef and his wife.

Sammy’s is located at 14 Raspberry Bend Street, Valley View Executive Subdivision Phase 3, San Juan, Cainta. The restaurant is open Tuesdays to Saturdays for breakfast from 7am to 11.30am and for dinner from 7pm to 10.30pm, and on Sundays for breakfast from 7am to 11.30am.

Seating is strictly by reservation so call +63 939 1483960 to book your table.

Read more about Sammy’s here.

Tahanan Bistro, Antipolo

Awesome interiors, breathtaking view and creative takes on native dishes. With all these going for it, Tahanan Bistro is your home away from the city, a welcome and delicious respite from the hustle and bustle.

Tahanan Bistro, Antipolo

Tahanan Bistro offers set meals at Php1,350 (+10% service charge) per person. Each set consists of five courses with dishes hinged on the produce and flavors found in country.

One such dish is the Bistek Tagalog, made with braised beef shank, adlai, onion puree, charred white onions, parsley oil and fried enoki, a definite upgrade from the home-cooked beefsteak.

Tahanan Bistro, Antipolo

On February 14 to 16, you and your special someone can dine on two of Tahanan five-course meals and two glasses of wine plus get the romance going with a bouquet of flowers, all for just Php3,695 (+10% service charge).

Tahanan Bistro is located at 22 Loresville Drive, Lores Farm Subdivision, San Roque, Upper Antipolo, Rizal, open Saturdays to Sundays from 11am to 4pm and 6pm to 10pm. For inquiries and reservations, call +63 925 8801487.

Read more about Tahanan Bistro here.

Nanka Japanese Steakhouse, Paligsahan

Located at the nook of Mother Ignacia and Chino Roces Avenues in Quezon City, the place has an elegant yet homey vibe, a welcome respite from my workday’s stresses. It is a perfect place for intimate date nights, chill barkada get-togethers or quiet family dinners.

Nanka, Paligsahan

Nanka’s executive chef Michael Santos takes pride in the work his team (which includes executive sous chef Rogel Rogel Pagtalunan, executive pastry chef Joel Gonzales and chef de cuisine Kenneth Afable) does in accentuating the natural flavors of food, made with the finest locally and internationally sourced ingredients.

I’ve waxed poetic about Nanka’s steaks several times in previous posts so this time, I will sing the praises of its Garlic Crabs. Fresh and simply sauteed in garlic and butter, its succulent meat is best eaten by hand.

Nanka, Paligsahan

Nanka offers a special five-course Valentine’s Day menu that you and your loved one can enjoy, along with a live romantic musical performance by Anja & John Acoustic Duo for Php2,650+ per person.

Nanka is located at 1810 Mother Ignacia corner Chino Roces Avenue, Paligsahan, Quezon City, open Mondays to Saturdays from 11am to 2pm and 5pm to 11pm. For inquiries and reservations, call +63 2 85179677, +63 977 6218472, or +63 917 6734917.

Read more about Nanka here.

Alta by Relik, Santolan Town Plaza

At ALTA by Relik at Santolan Town Plaza, you and your beloved can enjoy the flavorful comfort food amidst vibrant and colorful surroundings.

ALTA by Relik, San Juan

The restaurant is an offshoot of the popular BGC restaurant Relik. Restaurant owner Gen Mortel and Chef Jam Laboriente collaborated on a Filipino-Spanish menu to provide an elevated dining experience to its diners.

I just love ALTA’s Seafood Paella, made of saffron-infused medium-grain rice with white shrimp, squid, Chilean mussels and roasted bell peppers served in a special paellera pan that helps it develop a nice toasty crust at the bottom. This is more than enough for two so you can bring some home and reheat to extend your Valentine’s date to the next day.

ALTA by Relik, San Juan

You can also just opt for ALTA’s Special Valentine menu which consists of five delectable courses plus your choice of drinks among soda, iced tea, red or white wine.

ALTA by Relik is located at Santolan Town Plaza, Col. Bonny Serrano Avenue, Little Baguio, San Juan City, open Sundays to Thursdays from 8am to 12 midnight and Fridays to Saturdays from 8am to 2am. For reservations and inquiries, call +63 917 3172582.

Read more about ALTA here.

390 Degrees, Entertainment City

Newly-opened 390 Degrees brings hearty servings and imaginative takes on comfort food in an elegantly well-appointed setting.

390 Degrees, Entertainment City

Its charcoal brick oven (maintained at a temperature of 390 degrees) takes center stage in the kitchen, influencing all of its dishes.

You absolutely have to try its Pepper Crusted Steak, a juicy steak seasoned with pepper and charcoal- grilled to medium doneness. Every bite is a bit of beefy goodness on the tongue.

390 Degrees, Entertainment City

Until February 29, enjoy a special meal for two which includes the Pepper Crusted Steak together with Tomato Soup with Ravioli, Chicken Ceasar Salad, Mini Salted Caramel Puffs and Shiraz Wine, all for just Php2,000 (+10% service charge).

390 Degrees is located at Ground Floor, Sequioa Hotel Manila, Aseana City Business Park, Entertainment City, Paranaque, open daily from 6.30am to 10pm. For inquiries and reservations, call +63 921 2446502 or +63 945 639 0724.

Read more on 390 Degrees here.

Well, what are you waiting for, dearie? Book your Valentine date now!

Photo Credit: Header image by Jasmine Waheed on Unsplash

Check out my other adventures compiled into Jelly Lists:

The Jelly List: The best of my foodie adventures in 2019

As we enter into the new year, it’s nice to look back on what made it so special.

I was lucky enough to take part in foodie meetups and special events that opened my eyes to new ways of enjoying good food.

Here are ten that are especially memorable:

1. Teavana TEA-volution Seminar at Starbucks, SM East

TEAvolution, Starbucks SM East

Starbucks is always associated with coffee but I learned that it also has a lot to offer when it comes to teas.

Last February, I joined the Teavana TEA-volution Tea Tasting Seminar, a Tea 101 if you will, where Starbucks Tea Master Jonas Velgado took my fellow foodies and I on guided tour through the history of teas, the tea-growing regions of the world and three flights of tea tasting which included full-leaf brewed teas and tea lattes.

Read more about it here.

Starbucks branches may be found all over Metro Manila.

2. Summer Menu Launch at Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

Ombu Kusina, Tomas Morato

Ombu Kusina has a modern take on Filipino cuisine: infusing classic Pinoy dishes with new and exciting cooking styles and influences. These help to make Pinoy cuisine fresher and more relevant to a growing number of foodies, who are looking for their next food adventure.

Last March, it launched its summer menu which included new takes on the Pinoy classic halo-halo, which made use of the use of flavored ice: the flavors are infused into the ice, resulting to a more intense taste and creamier mouthfeel. I’m glad that my favorite among the three halo-halo flavors – the Tres Leches – have been included in the regular menu.

Read more about it here.

Ombu Kusina is located at the Ground Floor, Sequioa Hotel, Mother Ignacia corner Timog Avenue, South Triangle, Quezon City, open daily from 6.30am to 10.30am. For inquiries and reservations, call +63 2 84411789.

3. Sunset Dining at Padi’s Point, Antipolo Sumulong

Padi’s Point, Sumulong Highway

The original Padi’s Point along Sumulong Highway in Antipolo is known for its magnificent sunset views. It has long been considered a landmark in the area, with families, barkadas or even couples, making the trek up from all over the city to this restaurant to enjoy the chill ambiance, the homegrown food served here and, of course, the amazing scenery.

Padi’s Point offers a wide array of homegrown dishes that are best enjoyed family style.

Read more about it here.

This Padi’s Point branch is located at Alpha D Compound, Sumulong Highway, Santa Cruz, Lower Antipolo, Rizal, open daily for 24 hours. For inquiries and reservations, call +63 2 83443028.

4. Breakfast at Sammy’s Restaurant, Cainta

Sammy’s Cainta

Sammy’s serves a carefully thought-out curation of Asian cuisine influenced, no doubt, by the seventeen years the couple spent in Jakarta where the chef obtained his diploma at the Jakarta Culinary Center in between gigs as singers in the Hotel Mulia Senayan Jakarta.

Sammy the Singing Chef and his wife Dorothy even serenede diners during dessert!

Read more about it here.

Sammy’s is located at 14 Raspberry Bend Street, Valley View Executive Subdivision Phase 3, San Juan, Cainta. The restaurant is open Tuesdays to Saturdays for breakfast from 7am to 11.30am and for dinner from 7pm to 10.30pm, and on Sundays for breakfast from 7am to 11.30am. Seating is strictly by reservation so call +63 939 1483960 to book your table.

5. First taste of isaw at Mang Ding’s, Marikina

Mang Ding’s, Marikina

The Filipino street food scene is quite storied and vibrant, a showcase of the Pinoy’s creativity and resourcefulness.

At Mang Ding’s Pinoy BBQ, diners can rediscover Pinoy street food, touted as MASARAP, MALINIS and MURA, in a pleasant al fresco setting.

Here is where I had my first taste of isaw (grilled pork and chicken intestines looped in skewers).

Read more about it here.

Mang Ding’s Pinoy BBQ is located at Block 3, Lot 13, C. Buenviaje Street, Santo Nino, Marikina City, open Mondays to Wednesdays from 4pm to 11pm and Thursdays to Sundays from 4pm to 12 midnight. For inquiries and reservations, call +63 917 1659872.

6. Brunchin’ at the Beach at Saltitude, Anilao

Saltitude Brunchin’ at the Beach

Anilao in Batangas is home to all sorts of fun beach activities: swimming, diving, snorkeling and windsurfing, just to name a few.

Aside from their proximity to the clear sparkling sea, those activities have another thing in common: they do work up quite an appetite.

Fortunately, Saltitude Dive & Beach Resort recently launched “Brunchin’ at the Beach,” a brunch buffet experience that takes place every Saturday, from 6am to 12.30pm at its Mingle restaurant.

Read more about it here.

Saltitude Dive & Beach Resort is located along Manini Road in Mabini, Batangas. To book your stay or reserve a table at the restaurant, call +63 43 4101857, +63 927 4220428 or +63 939 9088843, or email info@saltitude-anilao.com.

7. #ZomatoXListerine Foodie Meetup at Kusina Moderne, Poblacion

Kusina Moderne, Poblacion

Kusina Moderne offers classic dishes we grew up with but prepared using French cooking techniques and presented in a deconstructed manner, adding a veneer of sophistication and excitement to familiar viands while still remaining affordable for families and friends to enjoy.

During a foodie meetup hosted by Zomato and Listerine where my fellow foodies, I tasted Kusina Moderne’s unique take on Filipino food and I also learned the importance of mouthwash, especially among foodies.

Read more about it here.

Kusina Moderne is located along Caceres Street, Poblacion, Makati, open Sundays and Tuesdays to Thursdays from 11am to 10pm and Fridays to Saturdays from 11am to 12 midnight. For inquiries and reservations, call +63 927 0830688.

8. Foodie Meetup at ICHO Japanese Restaurant, Greenhills

ICHO Japanese Restaurant, Greenhills

ICHO is named after the gingko trees in Japan. Known to be highly resilient as they can withstand pollution and salt in their native environment, they also beautify their surroundings and as well as provide nourishment and medicinal benefits.

ICHO brings the metro’s diners a piece of the serenity that gingko trees have come to symbolize through its calm and peaceful premises with which to enjoy the restaurant’s flavorful food creations.

Read more about it here.

ICHO Japanese Restaurant is located at 6 Annapolis Street corner Purdue Street, Greenhills, San Juan City, open daily from 11am to 2.30pm and 5.30pm to 11pm. For inquiries and reservations, call +63 2 85350020 or +63 917 1346027.

9. Night out at Tiyo Craft Kitchen & Bar, Tomas Morato

Tiyo, Tomas Morato

Tiyo serves a thoughtfully curated menu of local fare which takes the best representations of Philippine regional cuisine and painstakingly uses traditional ingredients and cooking methods, and yet has reinvented and served these dishes with a modern flair.

And the craftsmanship does not stop with the food. Tiyo’s bartenders also whip up exciting craft cocktails for the thirsty but exacting diner. These concoctions are designed around local spirits, highlighting their unique flavors while demonstrating their versatility.

Read more about it here.

Tiyo Craft Kitchen & Bar is located at Second Floor, CKB Centre, Tomas Morato Avenue Corner Scout Rallos Street, Laging Handa, Quezon City, open Sundays to Mondays from 4pm to 1am, Tuesdays to Thursdays from 4pm to 2am and Fridays to Saturdays from 4pm to 3 am.  For inquiries or reservations, call +63 932 8642593.

10. Foodie Meetup at Bistro Charlemagne, Ayala Malls Manila Bay

Bistro Charlemagne, Ayala Malls Manila Bay

I introduced my immediate and extended fam to the joys of dining at Bistro Charlemagne in Ayala Malls Feliz and the in-laws at its branch in Solenad, Nuvali early last year. Since then, we have enjoyed its Asian fusion cuisine time and time again, making this resto our go-to place for intimate family celebrations or get-togethers.

And now, with the opening of its third branch in Ayala Malls Manila Bay, it just got easier and more enjoyable to meet up with family and friends in the South for great food and great times.

Read more about it here.

This Bistro Charlemagne branch is located at Lot 2, Third Floor, Cinemas Building, Ayala Malls Manila Bay, Entertainment City Paranaque, open Mondays to Thursdays from 10am to 10pm and Fridays to Sundays from 10am to 11pm. For inquiries and reservations, call +63 2 79149082.

Many thanks to all the restaurants that hosted foodie meetups and my fellow foodies who extended their invitations!

Looking forward to more exciting foodie adventures in 2020!

What’s your “best of 2019”?

Check out my other Jelly Lists: