Sandy-beach resorts, haute tables and one of our favorite bar neighborhoods in Asia: add these new openings to your Philippines must list.
Back with a vengeance is the overall palpable energy in this beautiful archipelago. The year 2022 was characterized by a flurry of new openings ranging from the grandiose to the quaint. From opulent casino complexes to rustic chic resorts, fine-dining omakase tables to sizzling smash burger griddles, there’s something for everyone. Here are our picks of the best new openings in the Philippines for 2022.
BEST NEW HOTELS IN THE PHILIPPINES 2022
Nustar Resort and Casino Cebu
Opened mid-2022 is Cebu’s first ever integrated luxury resort and casino. Nustar is a grandiose complex of entertainment, dining and escape. Although Nustar resort itself is still due to open in 2023, their homegrown hospitality brand, Fili, is ready to welcome you with plush interiors inspired by emblematic Filipino elements such as local weaves and installations by contemporary artists.
Hotel Okura Manila
What can be best described as Zen-glamour, Hotel Okura’s sleek and glossy interiors are an excellent setting for an indulgent retreat in the heart of Metro Manila. Each of the spacious room categories showcase stunning marble clad bathrooms, however, the Hinoki-yu and Palace Suites each feature custom, aromatic Japanese cypress bathtubs. Combining the spirit of omotenashi and Filipino warmth, Hotel Okura offers an exceptional service experience.
Siago Beach Resort Siargao
Rustic and chic, live out your barefoot bohemian beach fantasies at Siago Beach Resort in Siargao. Located in the heart of General Luna, Siago boasts of direct beachfront access and an elevated swimming pool and deck that overlooks the crashing crystalline waves. From beach villas to sea view suites, each accommodation is well appointed and decorated tastefully with an earthy mix of adobe, natural wood, and textured weaves. Their namesake F&B outlet offers up craft coffee, bespoke cocktails, and a zesty and zingy Latin-inspired menu for perfect pairings from sunrise to sunset.
Dusit Thani Lubi Plantation Resort
Contemporary seaside luxury is what the latest Dusit Thani opening in the Philippines offers. Nestled into an impressive cove of indigo waters and golden sands in Davao de Oro, the Dusit Thani Lubi Plantation Resort promises endless sunny skies and delightful seaside escape. The Two-Bedroom Seafront Villa with Pool is perfect for a family getaway. Kids can splash poolside while grownups unwind with sundowners on the deck.
BEST NEW RESTAURANTS IN THE PHILIPPINES 2022
It seems like Josh Boutwood never rests; the chef behind Savage, The Test Kitchen and Helm just opened another winning concept. His latest establishment, Ember, takes inspiration from different cultures with a menu that is all about highlighting the purity of meticulously sourced ingredients. The result is a refined yet hearty dining experience. Think: a tender yet delightfully charred octopus, a plate of smoked prawns or a perfectly cooked halibut with crisp skin. Simple, straightforward, delicious.
This 12-seater private dining space helmed by chef Jorge Mendez has been topping foodie lists in the metro. Mentored by former Asia’s Best Female Chef Margarita Fores and inspired by his mother’s time as a band singer in Japan, the young chef dubs his menu “progressive Japanese” as he embraces the flavors and ingredients of Nippon cuisine while giving it his own personal spin. Although still quite fresh in the scene, we are definitely excited about his bright future.
Located in a 5,000-square-meter property south of Manila, Mrs. Saldo’s is the epitome of destination dining. A charming, colorful home ensconced in lush and verdant gardens offers diners a unique experience while savoring chef Rhea Rizzo’s global cuisine. She serves honest yet bold gourmet comfort food with a distinct South-East Asian flair. Having worked at top tables abroad, including the famed Gaggan, Rizzo finally fulfills her childhood dreams of having her own restaurant. Run together with her husband, Mrs. Saldo’s offers bespoke private dining, a bakery-café concept and a soon-to-open cooking school.
After years of experimenting, research and travels, chef Aaron Isip comes back to the hearth with his first build-out concept since his days in Michelin-starred Parisian kitchens. Housed in a nondescript home in the quiet streets of Poblacion, Balai Palma is a unique private dining experience. Earthy interiors inspired by the rustic, bohemian aesthetic of Tulum welcome guests for a 12-course seasonal tasting menu. Although the cuisine and produce skews Filipino, Isip’s rigorous French training shines through in his expert cooking techniques, while his love for travel is translated through the vibrant flavors of his stellar sauces and complex layering of textures.
Brainchild of style influencers Miggy Cruz and Laureen Uy, this burger joint started as a pandemic lockdown passion project. Entirely run as a cloud kitchen with regular social media drops, and efficient delivery logistics, their incredibly seductive and juicy smash burgers became such a hit that they finally opened their first brick and mortar in Makati.
With its glossy and gilded Art-Deco interiors and heady and indulgent dishes, Indus is a true temple of contemporary Indian cuisine. Located in the ultra-cosmopolitan Bonifacio Global City, this establishment has made its name not by simply dressing up tandoori and curry classics, but by lending all dishes a sophisticated spin. While they offer a la carte service, we highly recommend you try their tasting menus, where small, individual portions of their star dishes are beautifully served thali style in silver platters.
Tiraditos, anticuchos, ceviches, and a bevvy of inventive pisco based cocktails make Japonesa a really great place for a fun night out. Set in a 70s mod atmosphere with statement chevron flooring, this Japanese Peruvian restaurant serves delicious, well-priced Asian-Latin fare bursting with bright flavor. Bonus points for having some surprisingly tasty vegetarian dishes such as their fried cauliflower, whole shimeiji mushroom, and blistered padron peppers.
BEST NEW PLACES TO DRINK IN THE PHILIPPINES 2022
Our favorite hipster neighborhood, Poblacion, has been making a post-pandemic comeback but this time with a glitzier spin thanks to the influx of tech startup hubs. This bougie makeover is characterized by cozy wine bars, chef-driven tasting concepts, and craft coffee spaces. However, don’t worry, that gritty night scene we all love is still thriving with its electro beats and curated cocktail menus that attract all the cool kids. Here are some of our favorites:
Hero Image Credit: Courtesy of Siago Beach Resort Siargao.