12 Spots to Celebrate Graduation Day
It’s toga season and pretty soon fresh grads will be entering a new chapter of their lives. Give the hard-working graduates in your life a treat, or, if you’re graduating yourself, here are a few picks for where you can eat, drink, and be merry after receiving that well-earned diploma.
Cirkulo’s red, round doors have been open since 1995, making it an institution even before the recent onslaught of tapas bars around the Metro, thanks to Executive Chef J Gamboa’s creativity.
Order: Sangria (red wine & chopped fruit beverage), Hojaldre (spinach & blue chees phyllo triangles), Cabeza de Cerdo (Spicy Sisig from Suckling Pig), Roasted Bone Marrow, Cochinillo Asado (Roasted Suckling Pig), Paella Montaña (Rice dish with Portobello mushrooms, whole roasted Garlic, Asparagus, Truffle Oil)
Tip: Order some Halo-Halo (or Chocolate Truffle Cake) from Milky Way without having to leave your seat!
Dining Hours: Lunch (M-F 11:30am-2:30 pm) / Dinner (M-Sat 5:30pm-10pm)
Average cost per head: P800-1500
Where: G/F Milky Way Building, 900 A. Arnaiz Ave. cor. Paseo de Roxas, Makati
(02) 8102763 / (02) 8108735
A lovely array of hand-picked fruits and complimentary elements to accompany fresh cuts of Tanigue slowly cooked in vinegar. The Kilawin Tanigue Salad is part of the 7-course Anniversary Degustacion Menu available Mondays to Saturdays 11:30am to 2:00pm, 6:00pm to 9:30pm only at Ilustrado Restaurant, 744 Gen. Luna St. Intramuros, Manila. And at Solstice by Ilustrado at GF 8 Rockwell, Rockwell Drive, Makati Mondays to Sundays 11:30am to 2:00pm, 6:00pm to 10:00pm. Follow our sumptuous updates at: FB/IG/Twitter @solsticebyilustrado. Call us for inquiries and reservations. #IlustradoAt27 #dineatSolsticebyIlustrado #Solstice #ilustradorestaurant #RockwellDining #Intramurosdining #eatmanila #lovelocal #maniladining #eatRockwell #Eats
We’ve already written about how much we loved eating at Solstice (here), and we still believe it’s a great place to celebrate any momentous occasion.
Order: Baked Eggplant in Filo, Roast Long Island Duck, Callos Madrileña, Aligue Pomodoro Pasta, Sampaguita Ice Cream
Tip: Ask to be seated near the pianist, or the floor-to-ceiling windows for a great experience!
Average cost per head: P800-1000
Dining Hours: Daily, 11am-11pm
Where: G/F, 8 Rockwell, Rockwell Drive, Makati
(02) 8021891 / (0977) 7488861
3. Genki Sushi
Sushi train, anyone? Kaiten Sushi, or conveyor belt sushi, is a fun way to introduce your newly-graduated tots to the fun and colorful world of Japanese sushi. A touchpad makes things extra easy, so make sure all your orders are final!
Order: Edamame, Chuka Wakame, Fried Tofu Skin, Salmon Sashimi, Spicy Salmon, Tempura Shrimp, Chirashi Don
Tip: Stack your small plates and check them against what’s written on your bill.
Average Cost per head: P300-500
Dining Hours: Daily, 11am-10pm
Where: 2/F, Bonifacio Stopover, 31st St cor. Rizal Drive, BGC, Taguig
(02) 6242867 / (0949) 8862624
4. Hatsu Hana Tei
Already a fan of sushi (and all things Japanese) and want to take things to the next level? Try dining kaiseki-style. Hatsu Hana Tei is a hidden gem in Makati’s Little Tokyo district, and their menu is filled with different lunch sets. You’ll definitely take your time ordering!
Order: For lunch, any of the Higawari sets. They all come with hot/cold soba, a cup of egg custard, appetizers (like tofu and pickled radish), and miso soup.
Tip: Get a room! Hatsu Hana Tei has private tatami rooms that can seat up to eight people.
Average cost per head: P400-500
Dining Hours: Lunch (M-Sun 11am-2pm) , Dinner (M-F 6pm-10:30pm, Sun&Sat 5:30pm-10pm)
Where: 2/F, Herald Suites, 2168 Don Chino Roces Ave., Makati
(02) 7596388 / (02) 7593814
Manam is a Filipino restaurant that serves up innovative dishes with an interesting idea: they provide diners with different serving sizes for each under the Classics or Twists, leaving no room for over or under-ordering.
Order: Sinigang na Beef Short rib & Watermelon, Gising-gising, Crispy Pancit Palabok, Lamb Adobo, Turon of Mango & Kesong Puti with Ice Cream
Tip: Don’t ignore their beverages, especially their eight featured Shakes + Floats! For more insight, check our review here.
Average cost per head: P400-500 per head
Where: Manam has four locations around the Metro: Fort, Makati, Manila, and Quezon City. Check website for dining hours and addresses.
6. Chef Laudico’s Feast
Filipino food and buffet-style dining are made better thanks to its namesake, Chef Laudico (of Guevarra’s fame) and his wife, Chef Jackie. Aside from quality food (that boasts of being MSG-free), the service is quality Kapampangan, just like the food.
Fill your plate with: Bellychon, Steamed Seafood, and many more. That’s what a buffet is for!
Tip: Find the Angus Beef before everyone does! For more insight, check our review here.
Dining Hours: Lunch (11am-3pm), Dinner (5pm-10pm)
Average cost per head: P500-700 (adults), P250-350 (kids, 3-4.5 ft)
Where: G/L, BPO 1, SM City Clark, Angeles City, Pampanga
(0949) 32483832 / (0906) 3512688
When you think of steak, Mamou – A Home Kitchen’s is hard to beat, it being the extension to Malou Fores’ (Cibo’s Gaita Fores’ SIL) own kitchen.
Order: Palm Spring Rolls, Angus Ribeye USDA Prime Grade Steak, Key Lime Pie, Crispy Milk
Tip: They say Lorenzo’s Truffle Cream Pasta is for sharing, but it really isn’t. So have one for yourself. Also, Mamou’s steak is so good you won’t even need steak sauce for it, so skip that and just sprinkle the sea salt.
Dining Hours: Lunch (M-F 12nn-3pm / Sat 11am-3pm / Sun 10am-3pm), Dinner (6pm-10:30pm)
Average cost per head: P750-1000
Where: Mamou – A Home Kitchen (G/F Serendra Piazza, McKinley Parkway, BGC, Taguig, (02) 8563569 / (0917) 8162668) | Mamou Too! (L R1 148A, Rockwell Powerplant Mall, Makati, (02) 8226218 / (0917) 8062668)
8. Raging Bull
Beef in different cuts, feeds, and aging processes: Raging Bull takes their meat seriously so discerning meat munchers can enjoy their meal thoroughly, all thanks to Master Butcher Nathan Griffin.
Order: The 1.1K Tomahawk can be shared by up to 6 pax (or 3!). You’ll be spoiled for choice just looking at their menu. Adults, don’t forget to pair their exquisite meat with a cocktail (or two!).
Tip: Book their semi private dining room (for 8 pax) for more intimacy!
Dining Hours: Lunch (M-F 11:30am-2:30pm, Sat&Sun 12nn-3pm), Dinner (M-Sun 6pm-10:30pm), Bar Section (Sun-Wed 6pm-10:30pm, Thurs-Sat 6pm-12am)
Average cost per head: P1800-2500
Where: L3 Shangri-La at the Fort, 30th St. cor. 5th Ave., BGC, Taguig
Click here for reservations, or call (02) 8200888
9. Din Tai Fung
This Taiwanese franchise has traveled the world over, giving citizens of the world bite after bite of these steamed, soupy pockets. And now, they reside in the Philippines as well. Time to bring your graduate over for a tasty celebration.
Order: Aside from the Pork Xiao Long Bao (and its other incarnations), order the House Special, Cold Chicken with Scallions, Sautéed String Beans, Salted Egg Yolk Squid, Fried Pork Chop, Hot Prawn Salad with Mango & Pineapple, Shrimp & Spicy Pork (or Vegetarian Mushroom) Wontons with House Special Spicy Sauce
Tip: Don’t skip the Chocolate Xiao Long Bao! Come with a complete party during peak dining hours (lunch and dinner) to be seated quickly.
Dining Hours: Megamall (Daily, 10am-10pm), BGC (Sun-Thurs 11am-10pm, Fri-Sat 11am-11pm)
Average cost per head: P500-1000
Where: Megamall (G/F Mega Fashion Hall, (02) 9971935 / (02) 9971936 / (02) 9970931)), BGC (C1 Bonifacio High Street Central, (02) 8091865)
10. Paradise Dynasty
Elevate your XLB dining experience with a visit to Paradise Dynasty. Originally from Singapore, Paradise Dynasty is known for their rainbow-colored Xiao Long Bao, which comes in eight varied flavors as well!
Order: The eight-flavored XLB basket is comprised of Original (White), Ginseng (Green), Foie Gras (Brown), Black Truffle (Black), Cheese (Yellow), Crab Roe (Orange), Garlic (Grey), and lastly, Szechuan (Red). Once you’ve tasted them all, you may order your preferred flavor in a basket of 10’s as well!
Also order: Pork Dumpling in Hot Chili Vinaigrette, Poached Beef in Szechuan Oil, Stir-Fried River Shrimp with Garden Greens, Silken Tofu with Century Egg, and Lettuce Roll with Homemade Sesame Sauce.
Tip: Make sure to pay attention to which dumpling to have first, there’s a cycle to it!
Dining Hours: Daily, 10am-10pm
Average cost per head: P500-800
Where: 2/L S Maison at the Conrad, Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City
(02) 8288333 / (02) 8388333
11. Korea Garden
This restaurant has the ambiance of a proper sit-down restaurant, which means the table-top grills you find in some Korean restaurants won’t be present here. Owner Fideliza Flores is a baptized Filipino, but is Korean from tip-to-toe.
Order: Bibimbap (Rice mixed with egg, vegetables, and meat), Jap chae (Noodles & Vegetables in Soy Sauce), Kalbi chim (Beef stew), Beef & Chicken bulgogi (grilled marinated meat)
Tip: Order some rice with the Beef Stew!
Dining Hours: Daily, 11:30am-2:30pm / 5pm-10pm
Average cost per head: P500-600
Where: 128 Jupiter St., Makati
(02) 8955443 / (02) 8905776 / (02) 8964361
12. Jang Ga Nae
Looking for the table-top grill? You’ve come to the right place. You’ll be served your desired cuts of meat (beef, or pork) and you get to cook them yourself over a hot charcoal grill, and pop them into your mouth faster than you can say “bon appetit” in Korean: Jal Meokkesseumnida!
Order: Galbi Jim (Beef Short Ribs), Woo Sam Gyup (Beef Belly), Cha Dol (Beef Sirloin strips), Sam Gyup Sal (Pork Belly), Jap Che (Noodles & Vegetables in Soy Sauce), Gal Bi Jim (Beef Rib Stew), Tuk Bok Ki (Rice cake in Gochujang sauce)
Tip: Have some Bingsu (Korean shaved ice dessert) in Ja Dabang next door!
Dining Hours: Mon-Sun 10:30am-10pm
Average cost per head: P300-400
Where: G/F 8137 Plaza, Josemaria Escriva Drive, San Antonio, Pasig
Now, go show this to your beloved graduate and give them an experience worthy of their life achievement!