If you are looking for a unique date night, why not try resto-hopping and taste these 10 recommended bites from foodies JJ Yulo and Mark Del Rosario? The adventure may just stir something up!

Oyster Sisig from Locavore

The restaurant is known for putting a twist on classic Filipino dishes, and while they are known for their famous Sizzling Sinigang, their Oyster Sisig is an underrated must-try. At Locavore, it comes in two versions: the fried Oyster Sisig (Php370), which is exactly what the name suggests, and the Lechon Oyster Sisig (Php380), which is the same thing, except with crunchy lechon bits.

Locavore.ph

Bibingka & Puto Bumbong from Via Mare

Something sticky and good for sharing like the bibingka of Via Mare, for sure, is a winner to dating couples. Photo by Jocas See

Filipinos love rice so much, they put it in every dish, including desserts. The bibingka and puto bumbong (Php80) are rice cakes that are particularly favored no matter what time of the year. At Via Mare, they are available all year round, and are best eaten as a snack. The bibingka comes in three versions: one with Laguna cheese and salted duck egg (Php130), one with Laguna cheese and edam cheese (Php160), and the last one made out of cassava (Php100).

Viamare.com.ph

Ube dirty ice cream from your friendly neighborhood ice cream man

It’s delicious, it’s cheap, and you can find them everywhere in Manila. Photo by Jocas See

It is not uncommon to see an ice cream vendor wheeling around a colorful ice cream cart on the streets of the metro. If you happen to encounter one, there is your golden opportunity to try the delicious cool purple treat flavored by purple yam and coconut milk. Most days, a scoop or two of ube ice cream is all you’ll need to cool down on a humid day. Don’t worry; it’s not really dirty.

Powerplant Mall in Rockwell, Makati

Halo-halo at Milky Way Cafe

It may still be cold, but you’ll be wishing for one of these soon enough. By Jocas See

Described by food writer JJ Yulo as “Manila in a bowl,” this dish is a hodgepodge of shaved ice, evaporated milk, sweet beans, tapioca pearls, coconut slices, flan—and yes, ube ice cream again. Many restaurants serve this dish, but the one at Milky Way Cafe is considered by many to be the best.

Cafe.milkywayrestaurant.com

Buko pie by Little Flour

The Filipino version of apple pie, Little Flour’s buko or coconut pie (Php220/slice), with its perfectly flaky crust, is a cult favorite.

Wildflour.com.ph/littleflour

Boneless Crispy Pata by Pamana

Sharing stories over ice-cold beer paired with the right food is distinctly Filipino. In most cases, it’s crispy pata–deep-fried pork knuckles served with soy sauce and vinegar. The one served at Pamana (Php650) is a favorite because it’s boneless and oh-so-tender.

Pamanarestaurant.com

Watermelon & beef short rib sinigang by Manam

Manam has managed to find a new way of giving this staple Filipino dish its signature sour flavor. This warm bowl is perfect to be shared by a loved up couple.

If you really want to get a handle on Filipino cuisine, sinigang is a dish you just have to try. To make the experience more memorable, try Manam’s unconventional take on the beloved Pinoy sour soup (Php245/small serving).

Facebook.com/ManamPh

Isaw by Sarsa Kitchen

Yes, those are chicken intestines; and they taste bloody brilliant.

Filipino street food is always intriguing, but very few visitors and even locals are willing to take the plunge and actually try them straight from the streets. That’s where Sarsa’s isaw (grilled intestines) comes in. This version is cleaned out and flavored to perfection. You can try the chicken or spicy chicken isaw (Php185), pork isaw (Php195), or beef isaw (Php210).

Sarsa.ph

Mutton adobo by Abe

Another unbeatable Filipino favorite, adobo, comes in as many versions as there are cooks. This dish from Abe (Php545) is particularly delectable, and unique in its use of mutton as the main meat.

Ljcrestaurants.com.ph/abe

Toyo Eatery’s tasting menu

There’s always something new at Toyo Eatery, but it’s not so new that it’s not familiar.

Toyo Eatery’s food has gotten much praise for its creativity in using local produce. Their food is not no-nonsense fare for people who just want to fill their bellies. Every dish comes with a complex story that is inspired by a facet of Filipino culture. Their tasting menu (Php2,900) includes dishes such as burnt squash soup, Aklan oysters, and garden vegetables served in unique way, and is the best way to sample what this exciting restaurant has to offer.

Facebook.com/toyoeatery

Who are JJ Yolo and Mark Del Rosario?

  • JJ Yulo, a popular food writer, published in the likes of Esquire and Spot.ph, and the founder of the blog Pinoy Eats World.
  • Mark Del Rosario, founder of Let’s Eat Pare, a top online food community.

Words by Amelie Llaga