Taste Manila: The Food You Have to Try When You Visit the Philippines Lauren Saccone May 9, 2019 Food & Drink, Philippines This blog post was updated on April 16, 2020. Throughout the Philippines — and indeed, the world — Manila is famous for being a city of amazing culture, art, and of course, food. There are seemingly countless places to sample the local cuisines and get a true taste of the culture of Manila, so how do you choose the best places to sink your teeth into? We’ve rounded up the must-visit spots throughout Manila where you can go to experience the most fantastic flavors and popular dishes. From fine dining to local favorites, whatever place you pick off this list is sure to satisfy your craving for a true taste of what Manila has to offer. And thanks to cheap international flights, your next great meal is closer than you ever imagined! Toyo Eatery This popular restaurant takes local products from the Philippines and elevates them with fine dining techniques and unique culinary twists that will leave you hungry for seconds. Even the garden salad served with your meal at Toyo Eatery is a testament to the singular flavor profiles you can find in Manila: it comes with 18 different local fresh vegetables and a savory peanut and sesame dressing that takes the taste to the next level. As you eat, your waiter will explain the history of each meal, from how it was created to the ingredients that make it so delicious. You’ll even be treated to classic folk songs and local legends, adding a fascinating educational twist and creating an unforgettable dining experience. Spiral Located in the picturesque Sofitel Philippines Plaza, Spiral takes traditional Asian and French food stalls and turns them into five-star dining. The elegant dining room is set up with 21 distinct stalls, allowing you to peruse the menu and pick and choose whatever strikes your fancy. If you’re feeling adventurous, the stall that focuses on Filipino cuisine features balut, which is a fertilized egg (and considered a local delicacy), or crocodile adobo, a rich and tangy dish stewed in vinegar and flavored with a wealth of wonderful spices. It’s a taste experience that’s not for the timid, but well worth trying. Want to go to Manila? Grab cheap international flights to get you there! Ilustrado For sumptuous, fresh food in a relaxed setting that’s perfect for people-watching, you’re going to love Ilustrado. The chef takes classic Filipino-Spanish cuisine and adds Asian inspiration for a truly one-of-a-kind dining experience. It’s the perfect spot to try out the Philippine National Dish, Adobong Bagnet. It features crispy pork belly cooked three times with crab fat, and served in a silky soy-vinegar sauce. If you’re looking for a taste of the seafood of Manila, there’s also Bononan Bangus Relleno. The chefs take milkfish, which is the Philippine national fish, stuff it, and fry it to perfection. It’s served with teriyaki sauce and pickled papaya, perfectly combining the many flavors of the Philippines in one sumptuous dish. Gallery by Chele Want to eat your way through the Philippines, but don’t have the time or money? For a comprehensive menu that exhaustively covers Philippines food, Gallery by Chele provides an amazing dining experience. The extensive tasting menu features different flavors and meals from different regions, providing you with a gastronomical tour of the country, and a unique opportunity to explore Filipino food. The locally sourced food is wonderfully fresh and includes popular meals like sea urchin and the succulent sour ribs that will leave you craving seconds. Be sure to save room for dessert, as the calamansi tart provides a refreshing citrus tang that perfectly rounds out a truly unique meal. Harbor View Restaurant For the freshest seafood set against a jaw-dropping background, head over to the Harbor View Restaurant. This low-key and reasonably priced seafood spot is ideal for experiencing Filipino cuisine against a waterfront setting. You can watch the sun set over the harbor while sampling a rich variety of different seafood, caught fresh and served with distinct local flair. Visitors rave about the garlic prawns, which is a local favorite. Don’t forget to try the sweet and sour fish, which adds a fun Asian flair to a classic dish. Whatever you choose, you’ll be able to savor it set against a breathtaking waterfront view that truly displays the beauty that Manila has to offer travelers. Have you hopped on cheap international flights to the Philippines? Tell us your favorite dishes and where to go to try them in the comments below.