18 Nov2012

Eat Out Now! :)

by Marketman

A great little guide to some good places to eat in Metro Manila! Written by Alicia Colby-Sy (a long-time suki and commenter on marketmanila.com, I might add) with the help of some friends, this light, interesting guide to restaurants in the city is a TERRIFIC thing to have handy. I can’t always think of a place to eat at on short notice and this list of 115 places is a very good guide. I haven’t eaten at all the restaurants on the list, but I did participate in some of the identification and inclusion of several places. Not all of my picks made it in, and as I have said many times before, I don’t actually eat out that often, but I think it’s a very nicely put together guide. At PHP250, it’s less than the price of a bad meal… And a perfect gift for the holidays!

Full disclosure though — Marketman is one of several contributors to the book, but I do NOT receive any revenue whatsoever from its sale. And the small honorarium offered for writing a few lines was donated to charity so I have not gained anything from participating in this project. :) And if you’re wondering, they inadvertently misspelled my name in a few places in the first 1,000 copies in print, but I am assured they will correct that in all future runs… :)

Eat Out Now! should be available at National Bookstores in the days ahead, but be quick, I suspect these will sell out quickly. If you happen to drop by Zubuchon Escario and Mango Avenue stores in Cebu in the weeks ahead, we should have a few copies for sale until limited supplies run out. Any net revenue from the sale of books in our restaurants will be donated to the marketmanila.com feeding program in Cebu.

Most of my personal favorites did make it onto the list, but one that seems to have been passed over is Cyma, which I think should be amongst the others mentioned. I have had several terrific salads, some great lamb and other dishes at Cyma, and I would have had that as one of my 115… :)



  1. RoBStaR says:

    Thanks for the tip. I can always use a guide to great places to eat in Manila.

    Nov 18, 2012 | 12:38 pm


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  3. Natie says:

    a great Christmas present indeed!!

    Nov 18, 2012 | 1:57 pm

  4. TheDrunkenPig says:

    I’m really curious about the restaurants that made the cut. I Can’t wait to grab one. :)

    Nov 18, 2012 | 3:22 pm

  5. Roderick says:

    Thanks… This will be a great guide on where to go for great eats…

    Nov 18, 2012 | 10:54 pm

  6. KUMAGCOW says:

    I wonder if your restaurants made it on the list too hehe

    Nov 18, 2012 | 10:57 pm

  7. wendy darling says:

    Hi MM,

    Agree – Cyma is a must (the running family joke is that my sister’s overtime motto is “Will work overtime for dinner at Cyma”).

    First print runs tend to be collector’s items, but those misprints should make it even more valuable (!). So we get a useful compilation, a collector’s item in more ways than one, and all at a very reasonable price – I’m very tempted to yell “Bingo!” when I pick-up my copy from NBS

    Nov 18, 2012 | 11:28 pm

  8. Marketman says:

    Kumagcow, did you mean the lechon restaurants? They are only in Cebu for now… so not on the list. :)

    Nov 19, 2012 | 12:35 am

  9. PITS, MANILA says:

    Very excited to see the list! Wondering if the roster includes some or most of my favorite spots …

    Nov 19, 2012 | 7:47 am

  10. britelite says:

    hmm that I have to get…interesting read I hope.

    Nov 19, 2012 | 11:52 am

  11. pixienixie says:

    Had second thoughts about getting this guide which I read about at spot.ph. However, now that I know you’re a contributor, I’ll definitely buy a copy before the year ends! :D

    And I agree, too, that Cyma should’ve made the list.

    Nov 19, 2012 | 3:11 pm

  12. ka_fredo says:

    I see people trying to complete this list until the next one comes out. They should put a tick box on the left side of the restaurant name. ;)

    Nov 19, 2012 | 4:44 pm

  13. Monique says:

    Hi MM,
    I purchased 20 copies from National Bookstore today. A perfect gift indeed.

    Nov 19, 2012 | 10:03 pm

  14. Marketman says:

    Monique, wow!, that’s crossing off a lot of folks on your xmas list in one fell swoop! :)

    Nov 19, 2012 | 10:05 pm

  15. max says:

    interesting, i like to have a copy…

    Nov 19, 2012 | 10:26 pm

  16. marissewalangkaparis says:

    I hope there are a lot of copies for the season….am so curious to see the 115 restos and see how many I’ve been to…hmmm…

    Nov 20, 2012 | 7:55 am

  17. boopsie says:

    i noticed the picture featuring Aracama as a recommended place to eat.
    i ate there before and was quite disappointed with the food & service. The place was half empty on a sunday and the snooty staff made us wait 10 mins for a table and more than an hour for food. Their food wasnt something I would come back for. It felt like an successful accomplishment in brilliant PR work than the Chefs Work.

    Nov 21, 2012 | 12:18 am

  18. Ed says:

    I agree 100% with the Aracama comment above. This was also the comment made by writer Clinton Palanca in his article that got Aracama’s foodie friends all riled up in the social networking world a few months back. The food is the epitome of disappointment encased in glittering reviews and expensive ambiance, the staff are as deserving to be in this job as a kleptomaniac would be as a bank cashier, and the cocktails are as watered down as a sewer in Jersey after Hurricane Sandy. Fernando Aracama has great PR people behind him, granted- but his accomplishment as a chef is as grand as a bag of Lay’s Potato Chips- nice packaging but when you open it what you get is a bag thats full of fluff and air and maybe half a potato- for the price of a sack of spuds.

    Nov 21, 2012 | 10:05 am

  19. Marketman says:

    boopsie and Ed, wow, that’s not a good sign… I had never eaten at Aracama, and didn’t know much about it, but I did eat there a few days ago at a fund raiser where visiting cooks Romy Dorotan and Amy Besa were in the kitchens/dining room… Hmmm, I am wondering now why the restaurant made the list…

    Actually, Clinton Palanca’s review several months ago wasn’t scathingly bad… in fact, it seemed rather balanced, and I like Mr. Palanca’s take on almost all of his restaurant reviews… Not having actually tasted the food on the regular menu at Aracama, I guess I can’t say much other than its disappointing to hear there were a couple of readers that had highly disappointing meals.

    Nov 21, 2012 | 12:44 pm

  20. alicia says:

    Thanks Joel! Just saw this now. Its been a busy, busy week. Happy Thanksgiving!

    Nov 21, 2012 | 3:37 pm

  21. alicia says:

    Just a comment about Aracama and its inclusion on the list. I am very sorry to hear that your readers experiences at Aracama have not been good. I have eaten there about six times already and my own experiences have all been been more than pleasant . A few misses on some dishes in the first weeks of its opening, but then I would never base a review on a single visit or in the first month of a restaurant’s existence.

    What I would like to make clear,however, is that I am quite confident that my opinions and that of the panelists were not not influenced by PR efforts by Aracama, or any restaurant for that matter.

    Nov 21, 2012 | 3:49 pm

  22. Boopsie says:

    I guess this brings out the issue of PR in the food industry.
    I have eaten in a lot of new restaurants with a lot of rave reviews yet came out so disappointed especially if I went out of my way to just try it. I come back to my usual restaurant haunts with great food but no glittering reviews.
    These PR writers/bloggers who seem to have the most forgiving tastebuds in the world. Since I already have noted who are these writers/bloggers who do PAID food advertisements in the guise of blogging. I rarely read them or use them in my “To Avoid” list.

    My favorite blog is of course marketmanila.com. The most honest blog in the Philippines.

    Don’t let your pristine reputation get tainted marketman.

    Nov 21, 2012 | 4:03 pm

  23. Boopsie says:

    In the real world, restaurants only get one chance to make an impression with the paying customers.
    Ate in Aracama several months after it opened after the crowds have dwindled. It was a Sunday 1pmI tried 4 dishes based on the waiters recommendations. I didnt like it and my dining companion was not impressed either.

    I would not return even if the food was given away for free.

    My complaints are

    Snooty service
    Slow staff
    Forgetful waiters
    Under seasoned food.

    Did I mention the 10 minute wait to get a table on a half full restaurant.

    I didn’t get to try the drinks at the bar though.

    To be nice to Aracama, it had really nice classy interiors. Furniture was nice too. Good seats. Nice wooden tables. No expense spared. I believe it was Ivy Almario who did it. It was a nice place to sit and have lunch. Their food prices reflect it too.

    Nov 21, 2012 | 4:15 pm

  24. Marketman says:

    Boopsie, I think what allows a restaurant to last for say more than 2-3 years, ultimately, is the majority of dining experiences and whether enough folks come back to dine and continue to patronize a restaurant.

    If you go to Zubuchon’s trip advisor page, we are still rated quite highly in Cebu, even though we have had some APPALLING and WICKEDLY BAD experiences outlined by some customers. We try to learn from those mistakes, and keep say 90-93% of guests happy (there will always be a percentage who aren’t pleased) and if we keep trying our damndest to do that, we hope to stick around for many years to come. Customer experience can vary dramatically, and you are right that those who get a bum rap aren’t inclined to come back.

    Having said that, I wasn’t impressed the first time I went to Antonio’s in Tagaytay, a battle with veins left in my foie gras, but after a couple of years I went back and thoroughly enjoyed it, and it has since been cemented as my favorite restaurant in the Philippines for several years now. So I would have to agree with Alicia that several visits are usually required before a fair review of a place can take place…

    But thanks for the discussion on this topic, it’s something I think a lot of readers should think about…

    Nov 23, 2012 | 1:18 am

  25. JB says:

    Awesome! Can’t wait to pick this up.

    Nov 24, 2012 | 7:43 pm

  26. Ed says:


    I’m glad that your experiences at Aracama was positive. And I do hope its not because the people there know you as the lifestyle editor of T&C and as a food blogger that is why they made sure you were a happy puppy. My experiences at Aracama, as well as several of my friends, are the same as Boopsy’s.

    Funny how people like Margaux Salcedo and her friends were, uhm, lamenting on Mr. Palanca’s review of Aracama (which I agree was not scathing at all) with the “I would never base a review on a single visit” excuse, spliced with the “its unfair to review a restaurant that’s under ‘soft opening’ mode.” Well tell you what, if a restaurant is charging FULL PRICE for their food, then it would be hypocritical for them to put up a “soft opening” sign on the door.

    Also, with regards to your other book contributors: yes there are certain biases and “more forgiving tastebuds” with regards to establishments that they are gushing over in their blogs, articles and fb posts. You could smell that from a mile away.

    I wish you success on your book. At a certain level, we do need to let people know that there are more options in dining out than having fried chicken and spaghetti at , but the fact that a place like Aracama is included in the list makes annoying small-time belly-achers like me question the compilation’s validity.

    I also see that Masseto made the list, too. I rest my case.


    Nov 26, 2012 | 3:22 pm

  27. Ed says:

    BTW, lest I’m mistaken for some angst-ridden dweeb, I am quite passionate about L’affaire Aracama because the whole experience- from the ill-trained staff, the mediocre food, the weak weak cocktails, and the unjustifiable prices- several times at that, not only were complete wastes of my time, but also shows how vapid and superficial these establishments can be if we allow it to happen. I also am embarrassed to say that several people I know tried this out after reading the praises and such online and pointing the place out to them.

    We diners deserve better.

    Nov 26, 2012 | 5:06 pm

  28. Chris says:

    I’ve eaten at Aracama a couple of times and although it is a little pricey, I think it deserves to be on the list. Seeing from your comments, you also don’t like Masseto. I think at this point, we should just agree to disagree as I think that any list of good restaurants in Manila without Masseto wouldn’t be worth much. I guess iba lang talaga ang pang lasa natin, di ba?

    Dec 3, 2012 | 7:23 pm

  29. Ed says:


    Let’s just agree to disagree then.

    Dec 5, 2012 | 8:48 am


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