Take Your Taste Buds Around the World in Poblacion, Makati
With Maginhawa in the North, Kapitolyo in the East, and Aguirre reppin’ the far South, Makati in the West is not left behind with its own little nook of good, cheap eats. Wittingly christened “Williams-burgos” by some of its residents, Barangay Poblacion may be widely known as Makati’s Red Light District, yet it has also been gaining recognition as the new home to a hefty sprinkling of cultures and cuisines in the past three years.
This Guide to Poblacion is an invitation to take your tastebuds on a whirl:
We’ve divided Brgy. Poblacion into three parts, based on the fact that Kalayaan Avenue, P. Burgos St., and Makati Avenue seem to be the three main arteries that feed the area with its lifeblood (people and vehicles). Thus, North of Kalayaan (NoKal), South of Kalayaan (SoKal), and Around Makati Avenue (AroMA), are officially born, with Kalayaan Avenue being the dividing border that separates NoKal from SoKal, and Makati Avenue and being a vein that runs perpendicular to this border.
North of Kalayaan (NoKal)
NoKal, for the purposes of this piece, is defined as the area north of the lane of Kalayaan headed toward Makati Avenue out of Rockwell.
1. Yalla Yalla Express
5652 Don Pedro Street
A Lebanese joint that is still enjoying its soft opening, you can treat your vegetarian friends to some Falafel, Hummus, and Mountabal… and perhaps share a Za’atar Pizza between yourselves, should you find your stomachs wanting more.
Open 5pm – 3am
2. The Wild Poppy + Bucky’s + The Smokeyard + Alamat Filipino Pub & Deli
5666 Don Pedro Street
This is the little compound that could feed all sorts of hungry mouths and thirsty stomachs.
Need more proof? Take a look at the Chicken Ren Damn, and its Lenten cousin, the Tuna Tataco, both of which can be found at The Wild Poppy:
Open 5pm-12am (SMWTH); 5pm-2am (Fri&Sat)
Follow up your taco/bun fix with a Vanilla/Chocolate or Cinnamon soft-serve (blessed with a heavy dusting of their signature Brown Butter Polvoron topping):
Open 11am-10pm (TTHSun); 11am-11pm (Fri&Sat)
Or, a glass of one of Alamat’s locally-brewn brewskies:
Open 4pm-1am (Tue-Thu, Sun); 5pm-2am (Fri&Sat)
The fourth and final stop in this tiny compound is The Smokeyard, and if you’re one for American-style BBQ, then make this your first stop.
3. Crying Tiger Street Kitchen
4986 Guanzon Street
Closer to Makati Avenue but still less than 10 minutes by foot from Kalayaan, Crying Tiger serves cheap, Southeast Asian nosh that will definitely hit close to home. They even have a vegetarian menu!
I mean, just how cute are these fried quail eggs??
Pair these with a Moo Ping (beef BBQ on a stick) or in our case, a ‘healthier’ option, like the Fried Tofu with Peanut Sauce… and down a Rum Coke while you’re at it.
San Lucas cor. P. Burgos Streets
While a recent visit proved unproductive due to Empingao! temporary closure (for renovation), this colorful outpost on one corner of P. Burgos Street is still arguably Empingao’s, and we are definitely keeping an ear to the ground for when they open again!
Here’s some of their Latin American fare to tide you over:
Currently closed for renovation
5. Tilde Hand Craft Cafe
5417 Matilde Street
The brainchild of Ginny Roces de Guzman, Neil Oshima, and Chiqui Lara, Tilde is tucked away in the ground floor of a residential/office building at the very end of Matilde Street, so make sure you don’t blink or you’ll miss it!
Serving quality sourdough bread and a bunch of other goodies, like: Ratatouille with Quinoa & Harissa, Red Lentil Soup w/ Chistorra & Chorizo, alongside sweet somethings, like the ones pictured above. Roces de Guzman shares that the Champorado cookies are great when paired with certain red wines!
6. Holy Smokes BBQ
5834 Matilde cor. Jacobo Streets
Open 5pm-12mn (MTWH); 5pm-1am (Fri&Sat); 5pm-10pm (Sun)
South of Kalayaan (SoKal)
The area just around Polaris Street is where things originally got started, and we have a few originals in this list who can probably take the credit for getting things started in Poblacion. Check them out below:
1. Tambai Snackhouse
5779 Felipe Street
A carinderia-type setup serving yakitori and elevated beer chow (think: fried soft shell crab) definitely lives up to its name.
2. El Chupacabra
5782 Felipe Street
The place that most would argue started it all. Trust Mexicali’s owners to come up with a Tex-Mex joint that would sell its street tacos like hotcakes to the inebriated hordes of Poblacion. (Not that you’d need a drop of alcohol to enjoy these babies.)
By the way, they sell hotdogs now, too. You’re welcome.
3. Senor Pollo + Cu Chi + Wicked Dogs
5767 Ebro Street
Roasted chicken, Vietnamese food, and American hotdogs. Where else do you find a more diverse selection than under Lokal Hostel’s very nose?
Open 1130am-12mn (M-TH, Sun); 1130am-2am (Fri&Sat)
4. Kite Kebab Bar
5772 Ebro Street
A personal favorite because of comfortable outdoor seating and constant Ox Brain cravings, Kite Kebab Bar’s value-for-money does not disappoint. Their Baba Ganoush, Shirazi & Tabouli Salad, and Vegetarian Samosas ensure that even vegetarians will not leave with an empty stomach.
Open 11am-3am (Sun-Thu); 11am-4am (Fri-Sun)
5. Wokby 4900 + LOBO Filipino Tavern
4900-4898 Durban Street
Wokby 4900 is the plane ticket to a bowl full of goodness, because aside from having the freedom to make your own Mongolian rice bowl, they’ve pre-selected some bowls for you and named it after a locale from which a certain bowl was inspired, while the pretty (witty) interiors and a second-floor balcony will definitely convince you to stay for a signature cocktail (or two).
LOBO (“wolf” in Filipino), on the other hand, is owner Kian Kazemi’s take on his Filipino (more specifically, Ilonggo) roots. Kazemi, owner of Kite (and Persia Grill) Kebab Grill just down the road, gives typical pulutan a twist. How can you resist an invitation to drink?
Lamb Adobo, House special. Slow cooked until it falls off the bone w/ pop garlic, herbs, olive oil & a dash of coconut milk. Served with burong Mangga & atcharra (pickled mangoes + bamboo shoots) Best paired with garlic rice. #lamb #adobo #lambadobo #Lobofilipinotavern #filipinoFood #foodporn #ProgressiveFilipino
Open 11am-3am (Mon-Thu); 6pm-4am (Fri&Sat); 6pm-3am (Sun)
Open 5pm-3am (MTWHSun); 5pm-4am (Fri&Sat)
6. Kismet Cafe & Wellness Market
5022 P. Burgos Street cor. Kalayaan Ave.
Poblacion is so diverse that even vegan English breakfasts and Kombucha have found their niche in it!
(02) 8967720 / (0927) 1523332
Around Makati Avenue (AroMA)
Stepping out onto the crazy that is Makati Avenue doesn’t just mean limited food options. Gone are the days when the only dining spots you could head to were limited to the fingers on one hand. Come see below!
1. Royal Indian Curry House
5345 General Luna Street
Hard to pick favorites in a 17-page menu, but you’re more than welcome to try!
(02) 8014435 / (0917) 7249978
2. Hummus Elijah
2/F, 7850 Makati Avenue
Never have hummus dips & a vegan menu been so appetizing.
(02) 8021885 / (0905) 3134602
3. Bistro Manuel + Taperia + The Sippery
Six Axis Center, 4347 B. Valdez cor. Makati Ave.
Soft opening by reservation only at 02 8718566 ☎ Bistro Manuel is the perfect answer to your celebration needs 😋 🍴🍷 We hope to see you soon! @miaayuyao #BistroMANUEL #wheninmanila #loolooapp #DiscoverMNL #spotph #spotmyfoodph #PepperPH #pinoyfoodie #bookymanila #gourmanila #instafood #manilaeatup #makatifood #zomatoph #foodieph #foodgrammerph #makati #whatstoloveph #appetiteph #igersph #thekaintuloggang #yummyph #trylocalph #forkspoonmanila #lunch #dinner #food
Chef Ariel Manuel of Lolo Dad’s fame opens up a triplet base in Makati Avenue. Book your table for an intimate dinner/lunch out!
Black Angus Ribeye steak with Spanish spices, fried onions and potatoes 😋🍴🍷 Our set menu is available until Feb 15! #TaperiaPoblacion #happyvalentinesday #love #steak #myfab5 #wheninmanila #loolooapp #DiscoverMNL #spotph #spotmyfood #PepperPH #pinoyfoodie #instafood #manilaeatup #makatifood #zomatoph #foodieph #foodgrammerph #makati #whatstoloveph #appetiteph #igersph #thekaintuloggang #yummyph #trylocalph #forkspoonmanila #foodph #TravelByTaste #EATSplorations #whattoeatph
The perfect spot to have a weekend cup of coffee or some drinks with your friends. ☕🍷Food and drinks by Chef Ariel Manuel; dishes from @bistro_manuel and @taperia_poblacion can be ordered! #TheSippery #Poblacion #whattoeatph #gourmanila #myfab5 #wheninmanila #loolooapp #DiscoverMNL #spotph #spotmyfood #PepperPH #manilaeatup #zomatoph #makati #whatstoloveph #igersph #thekaintuloggang #yummyph #trylocalph #EATSplorations #FRTakeover #thefoodiestation #manilasfinest #manilanightlife #angsarap #coffee #wine #gomanila #bookymanila #makatibars
Open 11am-2pm, 6pm-11pm
4. Il Fiore Earth Café Gelato Lab
4740 Salamanca cor. Eduque Streets
This hot and humid country can never have enough ice desserts, or in Il Fiore’s case: gelato. Hungry for something other than a frozen treat? Give their Portobello Mozza Burger or salad boxes a try!
With most (if not all) of Poblacion’s dining spots listed in one page, how hard a task could it be to tick them off one by one?
Got a spot we failed to list down? Comment below!