2012 draws to a close, and I’m stuffed. Still hungry? Let me hark back on the food / restaurants I have tried but did not manage to post a review of because of my busy schedule. You might want to stop by them this holiday season or sometime next year. 😛

In no particular order, here are short reviews of the 10 other highly recommended restaurants I have been to this year:

1. Buffet 101 International Cuisine

Date of Visit: November 30, 2012
Event: Celebratory dinner with wushu and lion dance teams
Location: Bldg K, Seaside Blvd. (near Microtel) San Miguel by the Bay, SM Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay

If you’re looking for a place to catch up with your friends for hours and you’re okay to ruin your diet, Buffet 101 International Cuisine is THE ONE!

Buffet 101 can be put in comparison with Sofitel’s Spiral, with elegant food and top notched service to match. And oh, their ambiance is a delight. They have HUGE glass chandeliers all beautifully set up high above the long tables and comfortable chairs. There’s plenty of cuisines to choose from, from appetizers, main courses, drinks to desserts. Not breaking news, but Buffet 101 at the SM Mall of Asia compound wins over Vikings, if you ask me.

Budget-wise, prepare around PHp 1000 per head. See snapshot of their buffet rates:

Another must-have preparation is to have light meals throughout the day before dining here and don’t be guilty to overindulge as this posh experience would only come once in a while. Wear loose clothing as well. Remember, you are warned. 🙂

Because I took so many pictures (all the food, yes!), I won’t post them here; you can visit my Facebook photo album instead. Feel free to give me your two cents on what you’ll be seeing. And bon appétit!

2. Uncle Cheffy

Date of Visit: March 25, 2012
Event: Coincidentally met Auntie Irene and family inside Lucky Chinatown Mall
Location: 3/F Lucky Chinatown Mall, Reina Regente St cor Dela Reina Binondo, Manila

Uncle Cheffy’s brick-oven pizza surely is not just for nephews and nieces. Or, if the restaurant calls itself “uncle,” will you call yourself a relative? *Wink*

Uncle Cheffy presents tender and juicy roasted chicken maurino, superb steaks, and of course great panizzas which are thin-crust pizzas rolled with arugula leaves and bean sprouts. Staff are courteous and assisting. The price won’t break the bank but is considered more on the costly end. Prepare PHp 300 to PHp 500 for each dish.

3. Chef d’ Angelo

Date of Visit: April 9, 2012
Event: Araw ng Kagitingan
Location: G/F SM Mall of Asia, Main Mall, Seaside Blvd Manila Bay Reclamation Area, Pasay

We were just taking a stroll down SM Mall of Asia and it was not even dinnertime yet. Mom saw Chef d’ Angelo’s tarpaulin featuring their eat-all-you-can promotion. Immediately, we took a table and waited for a few minutes before the waiters started preparing the buffet table for dinner. The deal is only available from Mondays to Thursdays. Lunch is from 11AM to 2PM, while dinner starts from 5PM and ends at 8PM.

What to catch? For only PHp 150 per head, we had pasta (tomato, pesto and white sauces), potato salad, mushroom soup, three types of pizzas, sensationally crispy chicken, rice, beef brisket, salad with dressings, jelly and potatoes. One disappointment though was that while eating, we also had to be busy waving our hands to shoo away the flies. Tsk.

4. New Bombay

Date of Visit: April 10, 2012
Event: Mon’s birthday
Location: G/F Glorietta 3, North Drive Ayala Center, Makati

Have you tried something different like Indian cuisine lately? Exactly. We don’t see a lot of Indian restaurants in the Philippines. And great Indian eateries here are even harder to hit. So if you ever come by Glorietta, encourage yourself and your friends to place a reservation at New Bombay as its courses would be worth your every penny.

New Bombay offers authentic Indian food that can be a cure for a bit of ethnic flavor. We had ajawani tikka (fish fillet marinated in yogurt with ajawani seeds and Indian spices), chicken tandoori, vegetarian tandoori (dip fried mixed and chopped vegetables with Indian spices rolled in sesame seeds), a couple of masalas, rice and rotis. Everything was succulent.

Expect to spend an average of PHp 150 to PHp 300 for each dish.

5. Kitchen

Date of Visit: April 21, 2012
Event: Hangout with G and H
Location: G/F Greenbelt 3, Paseo de Roxas Ayala Center, Makati

Just beside Seattle’s Best Coffee is Kitchen spelled with an inverted “K,” where you get a romantic setup candle-lit meal, food with unique names and overall supreme satisfaction without spending much. Ambiance is astoundingly cozy and classy. My girl friends and I had: hot tomato pasta, tuna alfafa sandwich roll (a. k. a. “Roll Up Your Sleeves”) and “Jack of All Trades” (pandan rice, catfish deep fried to a crisp, jackfruit cooked in coconut milk). With plenty of vegetarian-friendly choices on the menu, this place is a steal! We’ll definitely visit again next time.

6. Omakase

Date of Visit: May 1, 2012
Event: Third-year anniversary with Louie ♥
Location: Greenhills Shopping Center, Connecticut Arcade, Ortigas Ave Greenhills, San Juan

As we entered, I thought this was going to be just another Japanese restaurant serving typical Japanese food our taste buds are all familiar with. But no, Omakase’s dishes are extra special. Their menu boasts of a wide range of sushi, sashimi, soups, chicken, seafood and pork dishes, tempura, makimono — freshly prepared so that even the most discerning palates are satisfied.

As Louie is a frequent diner here, he ordered really the must-try pitch-perfect dishes for us: spicy tuna salad (PHp 215), softshell crab tempura (PHp 325) and salmon teppan (PHp 255). Other great finds are: the California crunch maki, Mt. Fuji roll, Tofu Steak, Oyster Butteryaki, Beef Teppan, SAR platter (Salmon skin roll, American dream, Rock n’ Roll maki), and Sukiyaki. Every nibble was a heavenly experience.

7. Torch Restaurant

Date of Visit: June 2, 2012
Event: Jhoana’s despedida
Location: Home Studio Bldg, 63 Connecticut St Greenhills, San Juan

Looking for a place that serves feel-good food? Don’t sweat. You can go to Torch, a fusion restaurant by Peppermill Caterers. Atmosphere feels like a cross between Omakase and Amici. Torch Restaurant has “knowledgeable” service, as waiters know what to recommend best for a delightful gastronomic experience.

We had: the twice-baked potato (PHp 70), crispy chicken pesto pasta which is a classic pesto pasta in fettuccini topped with small pieces of golden fry crispy chicken (PHp 325), seafood panizza that is anchovy alfredo-based panizza with mozzarella topped with shrimps (PHp 330), delectable steak panizza with U.S. angus beef strips opped with mozzarella and cream cheese (PHp 330), and other pastas I can’t remember now (haha, sorry).

8. ibayo by Barrio Fiesta

Date of Visit: June 13, 2012
Event: My birthday! 🙂
Location: Bldg G Unit 7-8, Seaside Blvd, SM Mall of Asia, Pasay, Metro Manila

Ibayo, which literally means “the next town,” is a new bistro style Filipino restaurant housing the famous Crispy Pata, the mouth-watering Sinalab Special, and the crave satisfying Mama Chit’s Special. If you’re not into much of those meat, then you can order the seafood paella, Ibayo crispy catfish, grilled tuna belly, fried chicken, sizzling mushrooms and sizzling corn (just as we did) to satisfy your short cravings for traditional Filipino food.

Ambiance was relaxing as lights were dim. Ibayo has no problems in delivering the ultimate delight for hungry taste buds and gourmands alike. If you have foreigner friends who want to sample Filipino food, you might want to bring them here to enjoy a remarkable place full of tradition together with a twist of modernity. Then go shopping in the Mall of Asia afterwards!

9. North Park Noodle House

Date of Visit: October 28, 2012
Event: [Advanced] All Saints Day — after visiting Thousand Buddha Temple with family
Location: 689 Banawe Street, St. Peter, Quezon City

Sorry, Chowking, but North Park to me is the real “chow king” when it comes to Chinese fast food restaurants. North Park serves Cantonese food concocted to Pinoy tastes with generous servings and at very reasonable prices. Its yellow trademark sign can be your assurance of quality, value and consistent great taste. This is a restaurant for family gatherings or friends without much frills.

10. Racks

Date of Visit: April 25, 2012
Event: Casual; Dinner after watching The Avengers
Location: 2/F SM City North EDSA, Main Bldg., North Ave. Sto. Cristo, Quezon City

With several branches within the metro, Racks is one restaurant that will keep you on coming back. They say that “If you love chewing off the bone, then you will at first get disappointed, but once you taste the ribs, you will forget the bones completely.”

For years now, Racks is praised for having the most tender baby ribs which I have not tried and don’t have any intentions of trying. Attesting to this is Louie, who favors Rack’s menu for all times. I have tried Racks’ seafood specials though: blackened salmon steak, pan-fried dory with lemon garlic butter, fish and chips, clam chowder soup and their house-made pasta, the garlic scampi pasta — and they are all good. Food prices are heavy on the wallet though; expect to spend about PHp 500 to PHp 800 for each dish.


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

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22 Responses

  1. Aldous

    It has been 4 years since I last ate at Kitchen. I think I will go back. Buffet 101 is one of the best buffets in the country if not THE best.

    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Wahaha seriously? Then this is a good list for you to start considering to wander around Manila a bit more. There are lots of new places here to eat with unique dishes and gluttonous appetizers (to desserts) than thrice your fingers plus your toes can count! 😛

  2. Tess

    I have never been to any of the restaurants you mentioned. i hope one day, i will be able to eat there.

    • Rochkirstin Santos

      There are so many more restaurants to try this year! I’m still in the lookout for eccentric finds and those not highly commercialized which serve good food nevertheless. 😀

  3. Jonas Labagala

    I have been to Manila for 4 times already and I never went to these restos that you’ve been! waaah!
    But I would love to try Chef D’Angelo. 😀

  4. melandria romero

    looks like a lot of eating , this year I plan to take on a more healthy living and get rid of my bad habits of eating too much. But would love to try that new Bombay, looks really promising since i love shawarma and other indian foods.

  5. Janese Halabaso

    I kind of like that you included in your list- Buffet 101, I liked their Buffet. This year I’m planning ti visit other Buffet-style restaurants to compare

    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Yup, Buffet 101 offers food that are all beyond good.

      Oh wow. Hopefully you get to visit all of them as planned. 🙂 But be careful not to ruin your figure; exercise as much as you can!

  6. jane

    nice to know those resturants and some quick reviews is very helpful already! love the barrio fiesta tried one long time ago

    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Yeah, when you enter Buffet 101, it’s always like “Where to begin, where to begin … ” because there’s really a lot of great-looking dishes to choose from! Also, if it’s your first time there, it would make you wonder “Where have you been all my life, Buffet 101???” At the end of the meal, all you can say is thank you. 🙂

  7. Pal Raine

    You have great food/restaurant timeline here. It’s a summary of all restaurants you’ve visited. Thanks so much. Love to visit IBAYO.

  8. Alwin

    i’ve been to 5 of the restaurants that you reviewed. 50% is not bad, haha. i’ve been to Ibayo once and it’s one of the most enjoyable dining experience i had. first, the foods are delicious. second, i dined with good friends. suddenly i miss that place


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