11 Hip Spots in Manila
Manila's Burgos district sheds its gritty reputation and sprouts funky restaurants and bars, drumming up an artsy vibe that recalls, Stephanie Zubiri dares to say, Brooklyn. Photographed by Francisco Guerrero.
Published on May 27, 2015
1. MNL Boutique Hostel
This centrally located hostel offers clean rooms, happy colors, bright murals, free Wi-Fi, book exchanges and a "cool-cierge" service for the best insider tips and tourist information. 4688 B. Valdez St. corner Santiago Street; mnlboutiquehostel.com.
MNL Boutique Hostel
2. Beni's Falafel
At this three-table hole-inthe-wall is the best falafel and baba ghanoush in town. That is if you can find it! Seasoned clients call in advance, get their food to go—and know to ask for extra fried eggplant in their sandwiches. 4364 B. Valdez St.; +63 906 349 1300.
3. Pink Panda
This Southeast Asian diner with quirky décor and great cocktails serves cheeky versions of regional faves such as "Thai Beef and Daughter-in-Law's Eggs" or the deep-fried tilapia dish called "We Fried Nemo." GF Y2 Residence Hotel, 4687 Santiago St.; +63 917 839 3790.
4. Two Chic Manila
This clothing line has the kind of breezy bohemian looks every woman wants. Think graphic tunics and evening rompers with hand-beaded detailing. 6239 Mañalac St., Poblacion, Makati; +63 2 899 2435; twochic.com.ph.
5. Café Curieux
Run and overrun by Gallic expats, it's your typical bar du coin: Pastis, Edith Piaf and the scruffy Frenchie barman serving you free shots of their house rhum arrangé while a cigarette dangles oh-so-precariously from his mouth. Bel-Air Soho Bldg., Polaris Street corner Badajos Street, Bel-Air; lecafecurieux.com.
A haven for the beautiful and luxe, curated by globally acclaimed designer Ito Kish. There's furniture including the award-winning Gregoria chair of his own design, modern Kiwi sky planters, and brass table accessories from India. 233 Nicanor Garcia St., Bel-Air; kish.ph.
Kish's Gregoria chair. Courtesy of Kish.
This "Live happy, beyond ordinary" lifestyle and design store embraces all things cheery. LRI Design Plaza, 210 Nicanor Garcia, Bel-Air II; heimastore.com.
A Latino sub-culture—first started by the Tex-Mex and margarita joint (8) Chihuahua (chihuahuamexgrill.com)—is spicing up the town with lively additions. Head to (9) El Chupacabra (5782 Felipe St., Bel-Air; +63 2 895 1919; facebook.com/Elchupacabraph) for some street tacos and cheap beer. Pop over to (10) Señor Pollo (5767 Ebro St., Poblacion; +63 2 831 6945) to wipe out a plate of roast chicken with chimichurri, spicy rice and Latin American slaw. End your night with tequila shots from (11) A'Toda Madre's (+63 998 999 1521; atodamadre.com.ph) vast collection of añejos and reposados before zigzagging your way to Chihuahua, where it all began, for their famous chihuaritas and Salsa Project Saturday party.