When Hunger Strikes Past 12AM
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I recommend you try their fresh sashimi and sushi, also knows to be the best in Little Tokyo, as well as, their bento boxes.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Unit 12 The Fort Strip, 28th St corner 7th Ave, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
Contact number: 02 8163055
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.
Another thing they have is their open kitchen where you can watch the chef’s at work.
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.
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.
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.
There is a wide selection of seafood in this dish that compliments the tomato risotto base. This was my least favorite dish.
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.
G/F Uptown Parade, 9th Ave. cor 38th Street, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig
M-Th, Su: 11AM-11PM; F-Sa: 11AM-2AM
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