Where to Eat, Sleep, and Drink in Kapitolyo
This article is for all the non-foodies out there.
I, for one, do not consider myself a foodie. I like food. A lot. But I don’t “seek new food experiences as a hobby” [Wikipedia] as self-professed foodies do. I don’t hunt restaurants down the moment they open. And with roughly 2,000 restaurants opening up (and almost half closing) in the past year [RJ Ledesma, www.entrepreneur.com], I think sitting out and waiting for initial reviews is certainly practical!
FACT: The average period of exploitation for a restaurant is anywhere from 3 to 5 years. In a dense market (as Metro Manila), expect the numbers to be even shorter.
Kapitolyo is, without a doubt, a foodie paradise. The residential/industrial district continues to witness new restaurants sprouting like wild mushrooms to this very day! There are a lot of great food places there, and I would like to begin with a caveat that ultimately this article does not do justice to the entire food-verse that is the Kapitolyo food scene.
With that said, here’s a list of places to go to if you want to be absolutely sure that you’ll have a grand time When In Kapitolyo. For those who live far from Kapitolyo, the good news is most of the featured restaurants have branches in other areas of the metro you can visit.
LOCAVORE Kitchen & Drinks
(Also available in Forbes Town Center, BGC)
Enjoying a fantastic 4.6-star rating in their Facebook page, this modern Filipino restaurant continues to blow people’s minds! One of the first restaurants to establish itself in the industrial side of Kapitolyo, Locavore gained instant acclaim for their twisty sizzling sinigang and lechon oyster sisig. “People would line up until the next corner; that’s how long the line was,” recounts Locavore co-owner Tin Magsaysay-Matic on realizing that the humble restaurant they envisioned was turning gargantuan.
PHOTO: Sizzling Sinigang and Lechon Oyster Sisig (courtesy of Locavore Facebook page)
For a restaurant that’s hands down in the shortlist of the best restaurants in the whole of Metro Manila, who would have thought that the idea of Locavore was initially discussed over gym between co-owners Tin Magsaysay-Matic and Alta Redor-Lyttle? In fact, most of the items in the menu started out as family recipes.
Transforming the idea into reality, the owners handpicked Chef Mikel Zaguirre among the aspirants who auditioned for the position of the restaurant’s head chef. “The sinigang was a short ribs broth recipe from our family; Chef Mikel was the one who suggested that we serve it with gravy instead,” shares Tin on the typical creative process they go through in creating their revolutionary dishes.
PHOTO: Oyster, Mangga, Bagoong (PHP 240)
PHOTO: Pares Mami (PHP 350)
“Honestly, we were too busy to notice [how big Locavore was becoming]. We were understaffed; we constantly ran out of food,” Tin confides. “Because of that, I had to run a 24/7 kitchen to prepare the food. I was taking orders. My sister was taking orders. Alta was manning the cash registry.”
Having spawned a second branch in BGC in just two years of operations, Locavore is not done just yet in its mission to reintroduce Filipino cuisine in new and exciting ways. “We have to keep people excited. We have to maintain the quality of the food and our service. We’re always working on new offerings. [Our current success] keeps us on our toes.” And I think that’s a lovely problem to have!
PHOTO: Chori Burger (PHP 300)
CHARLIE’S Grind and Grill
(Also available in RONAC Art Center, Greenhills and Greenbelt Radissons, Makati)
Touted by some as the food joint that sparked the Kapitolyo scene, Charlie’s Grind and Grill is known for their premium burgers, wings, and fries. Opening eight years ago beside the carwash station of one of its partners, Charlie’s has opened two more stores in Greenhills and Makati to cater to the burger faithful in other areas of Metro Manila.
Why Charlie’s? “We named it after Charlie Nagreen who is credited as the inventor of the hamburger,” explains Koichi Togezaki, managing partner of Charlie’s Grind and Grill. The burger menu at Charlie’s revolves around their iconic wagyu and black angus patties, credited to Chef Robby Goco of Cyma fame. Charlie’s sources its organic Kitayama wagyu from Bukidnon, while the black angus patties are imported from the US.
PHOTO (L-R): Double Wagyu Cheeseburger, Dirty Fries, Black Angus Bacon Cheeseburger
Personally, I prefer the wagyu patty over the black angus. I love how each and every time I gobble a wagyu cheeseburger at Charlie’s, there’s absolutely no tough portion in the patty. I ordered a double wagyu cheeseburger, and the smell and taste of the beef was sublime! Others like Koichi swear by the black angus burger. The best thing to do is to try both and see which you prefer.
Charlie’s hand-cut fries are a steal when you order them as an add-on to your burger. It was my first time to try their dirty fries, dressed with bleu cheese and topped with liver bits, and MAN was I impressed! With so many burger joints cropping up across the metro, Charlie’s continues to lead the way in crafting artisinal burgers and comfort food.
Read on for more!