Quezon City is easily one of the most vibrant cities in Metro Manila. It is, after all, home to the country’s two biggest TV networks, the country’s top two universities, some of our most important cultural (and pop cultural) destinations and the best restaurants.
There’s no place quite like QC and no adventure like living there. Hiding out in one of the city’s most interesting restaurants is an adventure in itself. Here’s a list of 8—consider it your summer (secret) date guide.

123 V Luna Ext., Sikatuna Village, Quezon City
(02) 441 4872
Open from: 10:00 am to 12:00 am Monday to Saturday, 10:00 am to 10:00 pm Sunday
Price range: P300-500
Gayuma ni Maria is a homey restaurant tucked in the quiet corner of V. Luna. This Gayuma is a reincarnation of the Gayuma in Katipunan during the early to mid-2000s. Remember that place with floor pillows for chairs and tarot card readers?
People go to Gayuma for the whimsical bohemian feel, the desserts and the menu itself (their items have names like Two Become One and Holding Hands While Walking Pa-Swing Swing Pa). A spoonful of Beats Sex Any Day will take your head off long, drawn-out meetings and demanding clients.

45 Matimtiman St., Quezon City
(02) 929 7490
Open from: 10:00 am to 10:00 pm Monday to Saturday
Price range: P300-500
If you’re craving pizza, beer, peace and quiet, head on over to Leona Art Restaurant. It’s just (almost literally) two cartwheels off Maginhawa.
Leona, like Gayuma, is a charming old house converted into a restaurant. The quaint interiors create a conducive environment for catching up with old friends (without straining to hear each other).

154 Maginhawa St., Sikatuna Village, Quezon City
(02) 394 0188 / 0922 824 3051
Open from: 6:00 pm to 11:00 pm Wednesday to Sunday (reservation only)
Price range: P1,000-2,000
Van Gogh is Bipolar is hidden in the courtyard of an apartment complex along Maginhawa street. It’s a flat/apartment where only a dozen diners can experience each night.
The concept of the restaurant revolves around eating for happiness, thus the happy hormones-inducing menu. The owner Jetro Rafael, who like Van Gogh was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, calls this the bipolar diet.

120 Sct. Dr. Lazcano St., Laging Handa, Quezon City
(02) 352 4926 / 0917 808 0718 
Open from: 11:00 am to 3:00 pm, 6:00 pm to 11:00 pm Monday to Sunday
Price range: P1,000-2,000
QC’s Scout area houses more than a handful of interesting restaurants off the regular food touring path. Thaipan is a modern Thai bistro with Phuket-meets-modern-minimalist interiors. They have all the Thai comfort food you love—tom yum, shrimp cakes, pad thai (only theirs is pleasantly wrapped in a delicate egg mesh). This beautiful place is great for when you want to hide out during the day.

99 Sct Lozano St., South Triangle, Quezon City
(02) 501 2620 
Open from: 11:00 am to 11:00 pm Tuesday to Thursday, 11:00 am to 1:00 am Friday to Saturday, 11:00 am to 10:00 pm Sunday
Price range: P500-800
Lola Cafe + Bar is the closest you’ll get to home. The converted ancestral house vibe completes the comforting combo of home-cooked food and homemade cocktails. It’s like being a kid again in your lola’s house.
Try these: Tapa Benedicts (eggs ben with—yes!—tapa), the Spicy Tinapa Pasta and the Pistachio Pavlova.

5 Julieta Circle, Horseshoe, Quezon City
(02) 724 6306 
Open from: 6:00 pm to 10:30 pm Tuesday to Sunday
Price range: P1,000-2,000
Feeling fancy? Lemuria offers French-Mediterranean cuisine, fine dining style. Dining at Lemuria will make you feel as secluded and exclusive as the place. It’s a gustatory sanctuary in the city, and it’s also a perfect place for impressing your date.

12 Sct Borromeo St., South Triangle, Quezon City
(02) 414 8272 / 0922 830 7983
Open from: 11:00 am to 2:00 pm Monday to Sunday
Price range: P500-800
This list should very well be about 8 Houses Converted into Restaurants because Napa is another one. They are, after all, all hidden restaurants in Quezon City’s formerly purely residential areas. Napa offers fine wines with their huge selection of comfort food—brick oven pizza, pork skewers, pasta, soups. And yes, they have cake!
(They also rent out a private function room that seats up to 30 guests for special occasions.)

195-C Sct Fuentebella, Laging Handa, Quezon City
(02) 374-0774
Open from: 11:00 am to 9:30 pm Monday to Saturday
Price range: P500-800
The best part about Uno is that what you see is what you get. The building and the interiors say it all—their food is as delicious and comforting as they are elegant. You see the chic nondescript concrete, wood and wrought iron building and you expect to sit down, enjoy your meal (please read this blog entry about it because it’s the truth) and the conversation. That’s exactly what happens.
P.S. If you want to be away from the maddening crowds, visit these restos where you can be an introvert.
What are your favorite obscure QC restaurants? Share your secrets in the Comments Section.

Jozza Alegre Palaganas

Jozza has two life pegs: Martha Stewart and Jonah Peretti. She dreams of one day owning a juicer and the Internet. In the meantime, she's 8List's managing editor.

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