hh, the south: to be specific, the perpendicular roads where degustation intersects. It used to be that in the early ’80s, the two roads of Presidents Avenue and Aguirre Avenue were home to a number of mom-and-pop-type stores that would evolve to keep up with the times. And yes, there were restaurants. Lots of them. BF Homes has had a long history with food, its biggest success being a little patisserie called Dates and Nuts that served some of the best Chocolate Mousse and Mango Bravo cakes in the city. Today, that little number is what everyone knows as Conti’s.
Restaurants come and go. Fortunately, the south has the recipe for amazing new food finds because of its thriving community and laid back atmosphere. Here are 8 that should blow your mind. (And here’s another 8 in Part 2 of this 8List.)
268 Aguirre Street, BF Homes, Parañaque
0917 515 7018
Walk in, and if you’re alone, scuttle straight to the bar. Chef Bruce Ricketts will most likely be there and you just have to try his rolls. He’s definitely no Jiro by far, but a lot of love goes to what he does behind the counter. You can see it when he builds his little maki tower of spicy tuna and serves it to you with a smile. Sensei Sushi Bar doesn’t pretend to be an authentic Japanese restaurant—it’s more like comfort food with a Japanese theme. That’s why they don’t have corkage for alcohol. Bring it all in.
And yes you can probably ask him about his family. He’s a part of THAT Ricketts clan.
142 Aguirre Avenue corner N. Jacinto, BF Homes, Parañaque
(02) 478 5420
The south is home to not one, but two branches of Mandarin Palace, the newest by-the-book Chinese restaurant in the south. The main branch along Aguirre serves some of the most affordable dimsum and duck done in many ways. The Presidents Avenue branch (located right in front of Tahanan Village) is the smaller, leaner 24-7 dining experience where you can sit on a bar stool in the open air—there’s nothing like a hot bowl of congee at two in the morning.
61 Aguirre Avenue, BF Homes, Parañaque
(02) 899 8124
Oh wow. Mulligan’s. Where do we start? Just looking at their enormous menu can leave you stunned for the next 10-15 minutes as they offer everything from local palabok to gourmet brick oven pizzas to European fares such as salads and sausages. You can spend a week exclusively eating at this pub and you still won’t have tried everything.
This Irish pub is perhaps the nexus where all expatriates from the south converge. Being at least always half-full on most days, there’s something to be said about being able to find your little nook of privacy whether you’re at the bar or in some dimly lit corner. Their main clincher: beer from tap served in frosted mugs.
197 Aguirre Avenue, BF Homes, Parañaque
(02) 820 4435
If you’re a fan of the big city’s Rue Bourbon, a lot of its spirit has origins here. Tav has the healthy combination of serving good Asian food (mostly a combination of Chinese and Filipino) together with some of the more creative drinks that the Manila nightlife has grown to love, such as the “Harry Potter drink” which is essentially their caramel flavored beer.
Aguirre Avenue Corner Vinzon Street, BF Homes, Parañaque
(02) 514 0036
This hole in the wall has been around for quite some time. If you love steaks and you’re down south, look no further. Because they’re a meat supplier (yes you can buy uncooked steaks from them), they have built a rather interesting menu and reputation for charging a mere P1.00 per gram of steak that you order. A huge T-Bone steak for P350.00? Why not!
178 Aguirre Street, BF Homes, Parañaque
(02) 478 2849
Yes this rather colorful establishment is owned by a bubbly lady named Larcy. Step in and you’re immediately transported into her little world. Larcy’s has had mixed reviews for her cupcakes and coffee and chocolate-based drinks but on most days we drive by, cars are double parked outside her establishment.
There is no other cupcake place that is as flamboyant and grand, pulling a second floor with two function rooms and an outdoor lounge for smokers. Do yourself a favor: if you have a baby girl and you’re looking for a place to celebrate a special occasion, this is the place to land it.
2 Presidents Avenue, Sucat, Parañaque
(02) 842 5577
Rooted in Presidents Avenue (and opening soon in Libis), Tito Chef comes off as one of the staples for family reunion meals. The interiors have been maximized to provide a small bakery, two function rooms and a small seminar-room-cum-kitchen-appliance-store in such a small area. Kudos to the architects.
Food is basically hit or miss but it has also become apparent in many online reviews that Tito Chef has some of the most creatively plated dishes. So here’s a tip: definitely try the Tomato Fondue Soup, Pork Belly Salad, Grilled Chicken Masala, and Spanish Chorizo Pasta. You can’t go wrong.
For dessert, you can be even more liberal as all their cakes are full of win but if it is your first time, you absolutely need to start with a slice of their Nutella Sansrival.
115 Aguirre Avenue, BF Homes, Parañaque
0939 920 0701
The south has its own third wave coffee place and it’s called Magnum Opus. We’ve previously featured Jonathan and his greatest work with coffee here at 8list so go ahead and check out that coffee session.
7 sugargospice.blogspot.com and extrariceplease.wordpress.com
6 Vicky Conanan (Instagram) and foodspotting.com
4 annalyn.net and circuitmag.net