For two consecutive Sundays, Louie and I had dined in Banana Leaf Asian Café for dinner at Robinson’s Place Manila (Ermita). From its outside appeal, I thought it was a restaurant only serving Filipino dishes (which I don’t like, sorry). But actually, it’s one that has modern Malaysian, Singaporean, Thai, Indian, Vietnamese, and Indonesian (not men) cuisine housed under one roof. On the table lies a small poster promoting Banana Leaf’s several awards year after year.

While I don’t get the difference between the two outlets Banana Leaf and Banana Leaf Asian Café (aside from the two additional words there), I can attest to the fact that both of them offer really good food. If you’re craving for a mix of Southeast Asian cuisine delights, this is the place for you.

In this review, I will combine both our dining experiences yesterday and one Sunday past that.

Review of Banana Leaf Asian Café (Robinsons Place, Manila)

Ambiance: ★★★★☆

The interiors–the chairs, tables and wall ornaments–made us feel somewhere like in Malaysia, Singapore or Indonesia. Everything was nice except for the smell of the air in the restaurant (maybe because of the mix of cuisines). You may get used to it, though, and ignore the weird smell after a few minutes. We called out to the waiters to get us plates.

We laughed as they pointed that the leaves already on our table were the plates. Oh, so this is the part where Banana Leaf stands by its name! The literal leaf plates contribute more to the authenticity of eating Asian. :> You can eat with your hands if you’re comfortable doing it so. The place is spacious and it can be accommodated by large groups.

Service: ★★★★★

We were able to snag a table at once. Upon ordering, the food were delivered to our tables even before the promised time. Their menu has diverse entrees cooked in Indian, Singaporean, Thai, Malaysian, Vietnamese and Indonesian Style. You can be rest assured that there is something you will like. Given this, you may be have a hard time choosing for your order (like we had) from the 8-10 categories. Don’t rush and don’t fret. Waiters can patiently wait for you and/or advise food recommendations with their own stamp of approval. After two visits, I can say with confidence that their service is above satisfactory.

Food: ★★★★★

It’s a guarantee at every restaurant that there will be at least one dish standing out among all on the food menu. For Banana Leaf, it was the certainly the case of the Malayan Fish Curry. (You can order this Malayan Curry with choice of chicken, beef, seafood, pork chop or fish fillet.) The curry taste made me remember that of authentic Malaysian curry and made me especially miss the curry rice with fish I order every week after church service in Singapore. Banana Leaf Asian Café’s version was just so epic you just have to also try yourself.

Another noteworthy among all the food options was the Banana Leaf Spring Rolls, which I describe as small, bite-sized lightly fried Shanghai wrapped rolls with a twist–inside got more noodles instead of the usual pork and other tiny ingredients. It came with sweet and sour sauce which fit the rolls succinctly.

Next, we had Roti Canai Supreme Chili and Spring Onions, one of the staples on almost every customer’s list. This is an Indian-inspired dish, recommended for those looking for a bit of spice with their meal. I used to cook roti (without the chili) at home by heating only the bread with minimal oil on a pan. Banana Leaf’s rendition of the spicy roti canai is a fair appetizer for your palates.

Also taking the limelight was our main dish in the evening: Thai-style Coconut Gravy with rice. Our choice for the topping was fish fillet; other available options were chicken, beef, pork chop and seafood. The creamy coconut milk/sauce tasted heavenly and fresh. The texture of the fish fillets’ edges was crisp but was soft and tender in its inner core. It wasn’t anything haute cuisine but indeed really was great food.

Maybe the only entree that I did not like was the Spicy Korean Barbecue Chicken Steak. I only had one bite with its pinkish sauce and I already know it was not for me.

Last but not least in this review: The waitress introduced to us the Prawn Toast Singaporean Style, which we thought was literally toasted bread with prawn. What came out was like thin toasted kaya bread filled with sesame seeds. Plum sauce was served as dip. The overall unique presentation looked as appetizing as the real thing.

Price for Value: ★★★★☆

Banana Leaf Asian Café has become one of my favorite go-to restaurants whenever I’m in Robinson’s Place. Food is affordable. Prices of most individual dishes don’t go beyond PHp 200, and one dish has ample portions good for two people’s sharing.

When you don’t have a clue on where to eat and you know your stomach is grumbling for delicious food, try eating here and enjoy varieties of Southeast Asian cuisine.

Banana Leaf
G/F, Midtown at Robinson’s Place Manila, Ermita, Manila
Contact (02) 567-8188
Other locations


Health and technology freak. Food and lifestyle blogger with a large appetite for food and travel.

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20 Responses

  1. Noks Sosa

    I think this is a perfect place for me. I so love Asian foods especially Indian, Malaysian and Singaporean because the taste of curry is something that I am craving always. I think we dined at this place once but I cant remember exactly what we had. The banana leaf plate is very creative and environment friendly.

  2. Tess

    I am a big fan of international food, spicy , hot or whatever it is. I will surely wanna try this restaurant.

  3. jane

    wow i have read a lot of posts about banan leaf and I guess this is must try next time when I go back in philippines nice photos dear! xx

  4. RonLeyba

    Hmm the place looks nice. But, can you further explain this words of yours:

    “a restaurant only serving Filipino dishes (which I don’t like, sorry)”

    Do you mean, you don’t like Filipino dishes? Or you don’t like RESTOS that serves ONLY (Without any more choices) Filipino foods?

    Just asking ! 🙂

  5. Joy Felizardo

    What I liked and got intrigued is how you eat your order, on a banana leaf, for it’s namesake. Yeah, I couldn’t agree more, the food is authentic Asian, Malaysian or Indonesian perhaps, and the food is really good there!

  6. Jonas Labagala

    Our family dined once in their Powerplant Mall branch. It was so busy and chaotic perhaps. 😀

    I was also in shock too when I found out that their plate is actually a banana leaf! It was kinda funny but very unique. It’s like a boodle fight! hehe!

    But their food was delicious! Got to love their service too! Hmmm.. If I have a chance, I would try to visit Banana Leaf here in Davao. 😀

    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Is there a branch of Banana Leaf in Davao? I have not seen it in their website. Hope they make their restaurant more accessible for everyone. 😀

  7. Sumi Go

    It’s been a while since I’ve last been to Banana Leaf. My family and I used to dine here back when I was in high school. Food and service are really good! 🙂 Wish I can bring the boyf here though. He’s not a big fan of Singaporean, Malayasian, Indian, Thai dishes.. Pretty much most of what Banana Leaf offers. Hope I can convince him to at least try it though 🙂

  8. Carmelo Kallenbach

    Asian food is every bit as diverse as it is delicious. I used to think that I knew Asian foods growing up. You see, we used to go out to Chinese and practically every weekend. They were a couple Chinese restaurants in the neighborhood, and they were perfect for us kids. They were greasy, flavorful, and we got a cookie at the end of every meal. What more could a child ask for?

    • Rochkirstin Santos

      The enduring popularity of Chinese food has a lot to do with the creative variety of fresh ingredients that are used. Cookie at the end of the meal is just perfect! 🙂

  9. Mariella Pieffer

    Asian cuisine styles can be broken down into several tiny regional styles that have rooted the peoples and cultures of those regions. The major types can be roughly defined as East Asian with its origins in Imperial China and now encompassing modern Japan and the Korean peninsula; Southeast Asian which encompasses Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Viet Nam, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and the Philippines; South Asian states that are made up of India, Burma, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan as well as several other countries in this region of the continent.


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