21 Aug2005

Milky Way Cafe

by Marketman

A couple of weeks ago we were meeting up with an old friend and “balikbayan” for lunch. amilk2Wracking our brains for a nice place to eat a midday meal, another friend suggested Milky Way Café on the corner of Pasay Road and Paseo de Roxas. It’s funny how old restaurant favorites fall to the wayside when you get caught up in new cuisines, visit new restaurants, move out of town for a while, or when a massive and protracted labor strike closes down the original… The original Milky Way is just about as old as I am and I remember the old Milky Way mostly for its ice cream. The updated version is a professional upgrade that applies all of the best of modern culinary knowledge to some old Filipino and international favorites. The Gamboa family behind this familiar brand name know their food. The chef behind Milky Way Café is the same one behind the superb El Cirkulo Restaurant in the same building.

I was pleasantly surprised by the Filipino food on offer. The variety, quality and value were all terrific. amilk3By the time we got to lunch, one of our friends had already ordered and we just went along with the selection… let’s just say it hit the spot. Old favorites such as this dish of lechon kawali with atchara were executed well using fresh ingredients, culinary skills and some attention to presentation details. We were very satisfied with lunch and the pairing of fried hito (catfish) with a mustasa salad was an eye opener – delicious. We had a laing that was a bit confused, a little too fancy on something so basically good. Also, we finished off with an ube cake that I thought was a bit too sweet and artificially purple. But nevertheless I will be returning to Milky Way Café soon. Here are some photos of the other dishes we enjoyed…

Tokwa’t Baboy…


Pancit Palabok…


Crispy Fried Hito (Catfish)…


Mustasa Salad (Mustard Greens with shrimp paste and calamondin)…




  1. Ivan M says:

    The original Milky Way Restaurant used to stand in Manila’s San Miguel District (close to Malacañang Palace). Aside from the Pasay road branch, they also carry their items at a stall in the Podium Mall. There embutido is particularly memorable. ;o)

    Aug 21, 2005 | 8:26 am


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  3. hchie says:

    I remember seeing a Milky Way take-away stand down at the Rockwell foodcourt. Btw, would you please feature a really good Pancit Palabok, a lot of the ones being served now ( aside from Via Mare) are made with a gelatinous adulterated sauce. Thanks.

    Aug 21, 2005 | 10:14 am

  4. rose aka sofia says:

    Pictures pa lang ulam na. One of the reasons I keep going back to your site, MM, is I discover a lot of new things which I could share with my friends and family. But my mom is diabetic, do they accept certain requests for modifications in the food prep?

    hchie> Hey, have youi tried Aling Tonang’s store in Boni Avenue in Mandaluyong? It’s just a small store. We buy our Pancit Palabaok there, and their Dinuguan is a killer ;)

    Aug 21, 2005 | 10:59 am

  5. joey says:

    Milky Way can always be relied on for good food that hits the spot…the cafe has a pretty good pancit molo soup as well…yummy!

    Aug 21, 2005 | 11:03 pm

  6. carlos celdran says:

    I heard that one can find a magical pancit Palabok somewhere in the heart of Divisoria lost in its nooks and crannies. I dont know the name of the place. I have only heard stories. Like a unicorn, Im not sure if it’s really a myth or fact. Would anyone out there know this Palabok?

    Aug 22, 2005 | 1:04 am

  7. Carlo says:

    I used to work in that area of Makati and my co-workers and I would sometimes go to Milky Way for lunch. We would also order basically the same things that you ordered and it was all good. Aside from Milky Way, the other restaurants in that building — Tsukiji, El Cirkulo, Azuma-ya — are all worth going to.

    Aug 22, 2005 | 3:52 am

  8. Gigi says:

    Thank God for Milky Way in Power Plant! It’s my soul food place — as it reminds me of my grandmother’s cooking. My dynamite combo meal of choice is Sinigang na tilapia sa miso (ayayayayay) and the barbecue spareribs and washed down with buco juice! Champion!

    Aug 22, 2005 | 9:49 am

  9. Alex Bernardo says:

    The Milky Way branch I knew from way back when was the one in Malate, maybe just a a couple of blocks from Malate Church. I just stumbled on this Milky Way location on Paseo de Roxas recently myself. I was lunching late at Cirkulo (as you say “superb” and I can’t agree more)and didn’t finish before the kitchen closed. I was desperate for coffee. The staff suggested Milky Way upstairs. After a long moment it dawned on me that this was the Milky Way of old, reincarnated into a modern, somewhat upscale joint. In keeping with the Spanish theme, I ordered a leche flan with my americano. Delish! I need to return and check out some of the dishes you ordered.

    BTW, belated Happy Birthday! Ah, Haagen-Dasz vanilla ice cream, my favorite, too!

    Aug 22, 2005 | 4:05 pm

  10. teddy montelibano says:

    Milky Way is THE BEST Pinoy restaurant in the metropolis. The chef-patron, Jay Gamboa’s El Cirkulo downstairs is a veritable haven for gourmets (and gourmands). Other places worth spending good money on is Humphrey Navarro’s new fabulous restaurant, P45, along Samat St., Mandaluyong; Paul Yang’s Firelake Grill with a terrific view of Taal along the ridge in Tagaytay; Tonyboy Escalante’s new Antonio’s Grill likewise in Tagaytay and the diwal (and other seafoods galore from Roxas City, Capiz) festival going on at Gaita Fores’ Pepato in Greenbelt 3. Kinda pricey but for those with a passion for good food lavished with all the best ingredients, worth every centavo! I salute you, Market Man. Yours is the BEST food site in the internet, non-pareil, in the country!

    Aug 24, 2005 | 7:26 pm

  11. Marketman says:

    Teddy, thanks for all those restaurant recommendations. I do like El Cirkulo and Pepato. Will have to check out some of the others you mention. Glad you continue to enjoy the site…hadn’t heard from you in months!

    Alex, Milky Way Pasay Road is a good find. Gigi, didn’t realize their Rockwell outlet would also get great reviews…their display there struck me as being a bit bland but I guess I have to try the dishes… Carlo, I do love Tsukiji as well – pricey but delicious.

    Anyone know which palabok vendor Carlos Celdran is asking about? I love palabok, too and if you know of a good authentic palabok please leave a comment for hchie and me!

    Aug 25, 2005 | 5:31 am

  12. Edward says:

    I don’t know about the palabok place in Divisoria, but Aling Tonang’s on Boni is amazing!!! They recently changed their noodle, but just the same, it’s terrific!

    Aug 31, 2005 | 5:05 pm

  13. juliet says:

    i need a recepe palabok recepe pls reply this thank you

    Jul 3, 2006 | 3:27 pm

  14. Marketman says:

    juliet, sorry, I have never made palabok from scratch…

    Jul 3, 2006 | 3:57 pm

  15. Fernando Afable says:

    I remember the old Milkyway near Malacanang. They have the best ihaw-ihaw and fiesta rice during the 80’s.

    Apr 14, 2007 | 10:29 pm

  16. 22 says:

    palabok or luglog po?

    Aug 22, 2008 | 2:18 am

  17. 22loy says:

    Aug 22, 2008 | 2:20 am

  18. mariz says:

    have they ever tried serving for a wedding banquet? if so, please email me at murallosml@yahoo.com.

    Oct 6, 2008 | 1:50 pm

  19. mmb2008 says:

    Hi! May I know the Map going there from MRT-Buendia Station or let’s say from EDSA as a commuter, I need it ASAP. Thanks!

    Nov 5, 2008 | 7:15 pm

  20. Pong says:

    For me Tonang’s Palabok is the best!!!

    Sep 16, 2009 | 2:13 pm


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