Four underrated restaurants

Four underrated restaurants

So this hot new restaurant brand opens. All the major bloggers are raving about it, and the Who’s Who of your Instagram feed have posted the requisite food porn shot along with their cute “I wuz here” selfies. lol.

You brave the lines and manage to get a table and order their bestseller. Surprise! It’s just…meh.

They say we’re now living in a post-factual society – social media has effectively relaxed the standards of what it means to be a reporter/food critic/influencer and it’s gotten harder to trust what you read out there – be it something as serious as politics or as seemingly trivial as restaurant reviews.

While there’s nothing wrong with wanting to try out the newest and most popular places in town, I’ve found that some of the most gratifying meals I’ve had are in quieter places that haven’t been featured in splashy newspaper spreads or food blogs. In a way, discovering them makes the experience even sweeter!

As a self-proclaimed foodie, I consider it my duty to share the wisdom I’ve gained from my wanderings and encourage you step off the beaten dining path every now and then. Here are a few underrated and underhyped places to eat:


  • Johnny Kahuku’s Hawaiian Shrimp House

Take your taste buds on a trip to Hawaii with a beach-themed feast of fresh seafood and other goodies.

Their poke bowls are surprisingly light on the belly, but very rich in flavor. I came out feeling satisfied, but not stuffed. They also have a special cuchinillo(which really isn’t my thing but something that may interest you) – fire-roasted 4-week old suckling pig that has incredibly thin, crisp skin and tender, juicy meat.

Must try:


2F Newport Mall, Resorts World Manila, Pasay City

GF, Eastwood Mall, Libis, Quezon City


  • Parmigiano Ristorante Pizzeria

Named for the ‘King of Cheeses,” the chefs at this cozy Italian Restaurant have found creative and tasty ways to give a dash of Parmiggiano Reggiano’s distinct, sharp, and rich flavor in most of its dishes.


Metro Manila has no shortage of great, authentic Italian restaurants, but I appreciate Parmigiano’s welcoming vibe and friendlier prices. Interestingly enough, I had hosted the launch of their sister resto Tony & Sergio last year! It was a sweet surprise when I told our kind server at the Alabang branch about it and he remembered me, brought out the chef and even served me a pannacotta on the house!


Must try: Bistecca Mare e Terra, Spaghetti al Granchio, Spaghetti Carbonara, and their classic Tiramisu or Pannacotta for dessert.



2F Newport Mall, Resorts World Manila, Pasay City

Unit 10 Molito Commercial Complex, Alabang, Muntinlupa City


  • Tao Yuan Restaurant

I know most people think of hawker food stalls or Hainanese chicken restaurants when asked about “Singaporean Cuisine,” and there have been quite a lot of those popping up in Metro Manila lately.


What most don’t know is that we’ve had an authentic Singaporean restaurant – complete with Singaporean executive chefs manning the kitchens – since 2010. The low-key team behind Tao Yuan puts its focus on delivering explosively delicious dishes made with authentic ingredients and the freshest seafood you can get.

Must try: Singapore Chili Crabs, Beef Tenderloin with Special Sauce, Singapore Sambal Prawns, anything off the dimsum cart



2F Newport Mall, Resorts World Manila, Pasay City

2F Lucky Chinatown Mall, Binondo, Manila

Gen. Malvar, cor. A. Mabini St., Malate, Manila


  • Apartment 1B

There was a time when this was the hip place to see and be seen. It’s fallen a bit off the radar in recent years, but the food is still as good as it’s ever been.

While you may no longer see a line of well-heeled people waiting to be seated on a Friday night, Apartment 1B still has quite a loyal following – and deservedly so. I still think they make the some of best gourmet comfort food in town and their ambiance is always so relaxing – chic, but unpretentious.


Must try: Steak Frites, Poached Salmon, Eggs Benedict, Gateau de Crepe



One Lafayette Square, LP Leviste cor. Sedeno Street, Salcedo Village, Makati City

GF, One Rockwell Center, East Tower, Rockwell, Makati City

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