Tag: featured

The Little Tokyo Experience

The Little Tokyo Experience

In between the busy streets of Makati, there lies a secret that only few talk about. The orange arch acting as a gateway between this town to something quite different. You can say it’s just like Narnia, the enchanting feeling of being somewhere else totally different than what you thought it would be.

The dimly lit hanging lanterns guard the entrance to this secret place. They plants acting as the guard as you walk through the narrow brick road.
Photo was taken from http://tearfullacrymosa.tumblr.com

You’re here, you’re home. Beneath the wooden fixtures and strange writing on the wall, you’re not quite sure how to act. The scent of the burning coal, the sizzle of the grill, the sound of clay glasses clicking, the strange language, and the different clothing. Yes, you’re in Tokyo. The fare ranges from your typical Sashimi and sushi to Yakinuku and Takoyaki. Each of the different restaurants has their own specialty dishes and I will share them all with you.Note that majority of the restaurants don’t have an English menu so you will need to ask the servers who are more than eager to help you with your choice.

Little Tokyo Map
Little Tokyo Map

In the center of Little Tokyo, there is a courtyard with a small garden surrounded by Christmas lights and lanterns. Restaurants around this area offer Al Fresco dining. This is the best place to sit down if you plan to cross order between different restaurants. You will also notice that most of the servers are wearing traditional Japanese outfits.

1. Hana

Hana is the first restaurant inside the compound when you come in from the Chino Roces side entrance. They have a 15 seater space with an al fresco dining area outside where they cook their famous Takoyaki. If you want to see how they make it try it Alfresco.  Takoyaki is a Japanese snack made of batter with select vegetables and octopus bits cooked in a unique mold that gives its shape. It is then topped with takoyaki sauce. Japanese mayonnaise, seaweeds, and bonito flakes. I like mine with a dash of chili powder for an extra kick.  Be ready to wait 15-20 min, since they make this fresh.
Takoyaki, 160 PHP for 6 pcs. photo  Foodscrapbook
Remember that they’re extremely hot when you bite into it but it’s all part of the Takoyaki experience. It’s hot, chewy, tasty and all the different flavors blend together to produce this delightful snack.
They also have an extensive menu of ramen, sushi and maki’s but I find that this is really their best dish. For dessert try their kakigori, which is the Japanese version of halo-halo.

2. Kagura

Kagura Japanese restaurant prides itself on having the best Okonomiyaki available in Manila. If you want to see how they make their famous Okonomiyaki, get a seat at the bar or if not take a seat in their elevated tables on tatami mats.

Negiyaki Okonomiyaki, 260 PHP

Their Negiyaki Okonomiyaki is filled with onion, pork, and eggs. then it’s topped with the sweet okonomiyaki sauce, Japanese mayo, and nori. You can ask them to add bonito flakes for an extra bite. The whole dish is very well balanced and tasty. If you want something heavier you can ask them to add yakisoba noodles to your Okonomiyaki for only 30 PHP.

They have 2 kinds of Okonomiyaki one with the batter, cabbage, eggs, the other one with the yakisoba noodles. You can customize your Okonomiyaki by adding different variants such as pork,  squid, octopus, or bacon. Then they will drizzle it with their signature Okonomiyaki sauce, Japanese Mayo, and Nori flakes. The taste and ingredients of your Okonomiyaki are up to you, you will just need an add a bit of extra.

3. Dojo Dairy

After having your meal, you should visit Dojo Dairy. This ice cream shop specializes in japan inspired flavors such as wasabi, green tea, miso sake, and black sesame, and even blue cheese. They use Hokkaido milk in all of their creations, you can really taste the richness of the milk in each bite.

Hokkaido Milk on a cup, 100 PHP

Their latest fair is their Hokkaido milk soft serve ice cream topped with cereals, this is very similar to the cereal milk in Momofuku’s milk bar in NYC.

4. Urameshi-ya

You see the smoke coming from the end of the hall and were a lot of patrons are either standing up or seated all the way to the bathroom. That’s Urameshi-ya. This authentic Yakiniku restaurant has had a big following due to their unbeatable EAT ALL YOU CAN fare on Mondays-Fridays. They serve unlimited Wagyu cubes, shrimps, king crabs, scallops, sausages, and other items to grill.

Eat all you can for 1 hour, 500 PHP
One thing that makes Urameshi-ya stand out is that they use charcoal imported from Japan. You can taste the smoky flavor of the meat, that is complemented by their yakiniku sauce. Remember to make your own sauce, add some crushed garlic and chili paste and mix. If you are here on another day you should try the Wagyu Tokutoku Set which comes with prime cuts of wagyu beef, pork, and tongue. You will want to order a cup of rice for this.
Try ordering warm sake to go with your meal. It completes the whole experience.

5.  Oishinbo

Oishinbo is a quaint little corner restaurant has a wide selection of Japanese fare, from Sashimi, Tempura, and yakitori. Don’t be surprised if several restaurants sometimes serve the same things. For the most part, I’ve found all the restaurants that served sashimi and sushi have always been really fresh.
Their salmon and tuna sashimi is served in a bed of ice and shredded horseradish, with a side of lemon and wasabi. The salmon was very fresh and would melt in my mouth.
Remember to order their Ebi Tempura, they serve big tiger prawns covered in a light batter then deep fried. When you bite into their tempura it’s light and crunchy, this is really the star of Oishinbo.

6. Riozen

Riozen is another small restaurant in the Little Tokyo compound, the best thing to try is their Hakata Ramen, sushi, and sashimi.
Photo Taken from Foodspotting.com
This is one of the establishments that is always frequented by local Japanese businessmen.

7. Nodasho

Right beside Riozen, is Nodasho. You will notice that it is one of the biggest restaurants in the compound and it’s always full. Nodasho has a wide variety of dishes from ramen, yakinuku, yakitori, sashimis, and sushi.
Union a /bed of Sushi Rice
The best dish, however, is the US Beef Sukiyaki, it’s served with 3 kinds of mushrooms, tofu, vegetables and a plate of beef slices. Their broth is very fragrant and tasty. Definitely, Nodasho is one of the most popular restaurants here and should not be overlooked.

8. Sekitori

One of the few places that make hand made soba/udon noodles in Manila, they are also the only restaurant in Little Tokyo where their most of their servers are fluent in Nihongo. Being in a more prominent location compared to others in the compound, Sekitori has a lot of diners. The best things to try here is their Curry, Hotpot, and Soba. For those anime fans, they also have an extensive manga collection inside their restaurant, feel free to browse.

9. Chotto Stop

Chotto Stop is a Japanese grocery where you can buy your Japanese snacks, ramen, furikake, and ice cream. They also have a small restaurant at the back where you can get great Bento boxes for a good deal.

10. Izakaya Kikufuji

Where do I start? Like other Little Tokyo restaurants, Kikufuji has a very large menu but best to try their Gyukushi, Gindara, and their Sashimi and Sushi. Locals, foreigners and Japanese expats frequent this place that it can get very crowded.

Special California Maki, 450 PHP

The first thing you should know is that it’s better to go to Kikufuji during lunch since they have lunch meals and no service charge. At night, they give away beer stubs after your meal. It’s a nice treat after a long day of work.

11. Shinjuku Ramen House

As its name suggest, Shinjuku Ramen House is known for their ramen. Although unconventional, try their big bowl of ramen that’s good for 2-3 people. Their noodles and broth really stand out and is perhaps the best in Little Tokyo.

12. Bun Chum

Compared to all these other restaurants in Little Tokyo, Bum Chum is the only one that serves intercontinental comfort food. Expect their menu to include sisig, spaghetti, and hamburgers.

13. Yamazaki

Yamazaki is another grocery with a small restaurant inside. You can find your Japanese ingredients and snacks in the grocery while having a quick bite in their restaurant. They have the most affordable meals in the whole compound, a meal can cost you from 150-350 PHP. After dining, you should grab some ice cream in their grocery for a taste of their classic Japanese ice cream brands.

14. Seryna

In contrast to Yamazaki, Seryna is one of the pricier restaurants here in Little Tokyo, the ambiance is more fine dining traditional Japanese, as compared to all the other restaurants in the compound. The ceiling has a wooden artwork that is very picturesque. You will notice a lot of Japanese patrons dining here.

Photo from Punkednoddle.com

I recommend you try their fresh sashimi and sushi, also knows to be the best in Little Tokyo, as well as, their bento boxes.

Having read, and listen to my friends and family members talk about their trips to Japan, and how the Japanese are very meticulous when being an expert in a certain craft or dish. This rings true in Little Tokyo wherein each restaurant truly exceeds in one dish or another making it their flagship dishes. This small compound truly reflects that Japanese way of thinking, at the same time, conforming to Filipino culture of having many choices. Most of the restaurants have extensive menus to cater to this need.
The Little Tokyo compound transcends your experience in its portrayal of a Japan, being there makes you feel that you are transported to Tokyo, with the architecture, the lights, aroma, costumes, and sounds. The wooden fixtures, lanterns, and garden act as an anchor that brings you to another world. There is nowhere else in Manila that you can have that kind of experience.

Little Tokyo

2277 Chino Roces Ave, Pasong Tamo Corner Amorsolo Street, Makati, Legazpi Village, Makati, Metro Manila
Open from 11 am -2 am

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Caffe Puccini: Standing the test of time 

Caffe Puccini: Standing the test of time 

Caffe Puccini is one of the old pillars of the ever changing Bonifacio Global City. Even surpassing, other establishments in the Fort Strip like Tony Romas, Embassy, and Draft. I’ve noticed it always changes restaurants every few years that now we have new comers such as The Original Thai BBQ, Puzzles, and Ogawa. No matter what the change Caffe Puccini has stood the test of time.

The name Puccini was taken from famous Italian composer Giacomo Puccini, where some of the murals inside the restaurant are taken from his operas Bohème, Turandot, and Madamba Butterfly.

Once inside you can feel this classic Italian vibe from the furniture and light fixtures where they use classic chandeliers and wood to accent the interior.

The moment you are seated, your server will immediately put a bread basket with 3-4 kinds of freshly baked bread, pâté and marinara sauce as your appetizer.

Pizza Al Tartufo Nero, 670 PHP

I really liked this pizza. The assorted mushroom, on the mascarpone cheese with black truffle bits was very balanced and was very good with honey. The crust was light, airy and chewy.

Pizza Puccini, 670 PHP


I have to be honest, I thought the balsamic reduction on top made the pizza a bit too sweet for my taste that it overpowered the prosciutto. However, it was still very good.

Aglio Olio Gamberetti, 450 PHP *disclaimer this photo is only half the order


When ordering pasta anywhere, remember to ask for fresh pasta when they have it available. The fresh pasta was really complimented by the simple olive oil, garlic and tiger prawn. It was tasty, and the noodles were springy. Fresh pasta really makes a difference.

Vongole, 435 PHP

In contrast in the Vongole they used dry pasta. The olive oil, white wine, and clams complement each other but lacks that extra punch that you have when you eat fresh pasta. It’s still a good dish though.

Petto di Pollo Ripieno Arrosto, 670 PHP

The chicken breast was cooked well and complimented the spinach and ricotta cheese in the center. However, the ricotta was lost in terms of flavor. The mash potato was creamy and was very good with the gravy. Not my favorite dish of the night.

Tiramisu, 285 PHP

Tiramisu is actually one of my favorite desserts and I was excited when I found out it was their specialty. Unfortunately, I don’t think we got a fresh batch since the bottom part of the cake was an it frozen and the melted water diluted some of the flavors.

Panacotta Alla Vanilla, 240 PHP

This was very creamy. I really liked the flavor and smooth consistency however it was really heavy. Regardless, we still finished it.

We actually ordered several more dishes like their calzone but I wouldn’t recommend it. The biggest downside is they don’t have their own rest room so you will have to go outside using a restroom ticket you can get from the servers.

You go to this restaurant If you’re on a first date, Sunday lunch with your soon to be in-laws or if you’d want to buy dinner for your parents. The interiors and corner location for their Al Frescò area gives you an honest view of Fort Strip. You can people watch while enjoying their espresso. The place has been here for years and it’s a true testament that fads and out of the box concepts that are popular now won’t be able to show longevity as they have.

Overall, Caffe Puccini offers a casual Dining experience to their customers that highlight their classic Italian dishes, and their excellent hospitality. Their consistency in flavor have kept their patrons coming back for their pasta and pizza. I know I’ll be back, remember to get fresh pasta coz it really makes all the difference.

Caffe Puccini

Unit 12 The Fort Strip, 28th St corner 7th Ave, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig

Contact number: 02 8163055

Salvatore Cuomo & Bar: What is a Neopolitan Pizza?

Salvatore Cuomo & Bar: What is a Neopolitan Pizza?

Uptown Parade, the new area in Bonifacio Global City has been producing more and more anticipated restaurants in the area. One of these is the highly anticipated Salvatore Cuomo. Although this branch is yet to be accredited by the Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana, Chef Salvatore Cuomo already has 3 other accredited restaurants in Asia that served the “True Neopolitan Pizza”.

Once you walk in, you are greeted by the friendly wait staff. The restaurant is spacious, vibrant, modern and cozy. You have these dark brown leather couches, wooden stools, and hanging bulbs to illuminate your dining experience.

Chef at work making the True Neopolitan Pizz

Another thing they have is their open kitchen where you can watch the chef’s at work.

Caprese con Mozarella di Buffula, 750 PHP

The quality of the ingredients is unmatched. The cherry tomatoes are air flown from Japan and they use fresh Mozarella di Buffula from Italy. This dish is a DOC(d`origine controllata) product with the freshest imported ingredients. It’s very balanced and refreshing.

D.O.C Pizza, 820 PHP


So what’s the fuzz with Neopolitan Style Pizza? Basically, the genuine Neapolitan pizza hails from Naples, Italy where they have accreditation through the Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana. The traditional Naples style pizza uses wheat flour, natural Neapolitan yeast, salt and water. Like other dough’s, it must kneaded then made to rise. After rising the dough must be kneaded without the help of rolling pins or machines. A traditional dough may be no more than 3 millimeters (0.12 in) thick. After that the pizza must be baked for 60–90 seconds in a 485 °C (905 °F) stone oven with an oak-wood fire. When cooked, it should be soft, elastic, tender and fragrant. It will also have this leopard pattern on the crust.

Salvatore Cuomo’s DOC Pizza is chewy, light,and has a well balanced flavor. Like the Caprese, the ingredients are flown from Italy and Japan, so you really have prime ingredients here. 

Quattro Formaggi, 770 PHP and DOC Pizza, 850 PHP


The Quattro Formaggi uses Fontina, Gorgonzola, mozarella buffala, and provolone. This is drizzled with honey on top and complements the cheese really well. I really liked the contrast of flavors. 


Risotto Ai Frutti Di Mare, 720 PH

There is a wide selection of seafood in this dish that compliments the tomato risotto base. This was my least favorite dish. 


Spaghetti alla Vongole, 550 PHP

I think fresh pasta has ruined dry pasta for me and I really felt it in this dish. However, there was an abundance of the clams and the sauce had a nice flavor.

Overall, dining in Salvatore Cuomo was a nice experience. They have good food, and excellent service, You should definitely try their authentic Neopolitan Pizzas, and the Caprese. Expect to spend 2500 PHP for two. 


4 extra rice


Salvatore Cuomo & Bar

G/F Uptown Parade, 9th Ave. cor 38th Street, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig

02 946-3072

M-Th, Su: 11AM-11PM; F-Sa: 11AM-2AM


Do you want to collaborate? or recommend other places? Comment on the line below or send us an e-mail over at experience@fatgirlsdayout.com

Make sure to check out our other Where to Eat Series and follow us on our Instagram and Facebook page for real time updates.