But, as with the stock market, it doesn't have to be an "either-or" situation. Just as you can find high-return investments for low risk, so too can you find dining places that fill you up and keep your stash of cash healthy at the same time. To save you the trouble of plowing through millions of Google results, we've rounded up four Philippine-based restaurants where you can get a complete meal between Php150 to Php500. Without further ado, we have:
Type: Filipino Casual Dining
Makati City Address(es): Convergy's Building, Glorietta 2, Glorietta 3, Greenbelt 1, Jupiter Street, Magallanes, Park Square, SM Makati, Valero, Waltermart Makati
Delivery Hotline: (02) 7-9000
If you're in a large mall in Metro Manila, chances are you'll see a Max's Restaurant branch or two. Also known as "Max's of Manila" or simply "Max's," the restaurant has satisfied hungry customers since post-World War II. Their chicken — a secret recipe crafted by the founder's niece — is a type of crispy unlike anything you've tasted before. You have to taste it to believe it!
Other Max's meals you may like include Tapsilog (cured beef with egg and pickled unripe papaya), Oriental Beef with Mushrooms and Lechon Kawali (crispy pork belly dish). Try any one of these, and taste some of the best of homemade Filipino cooking. Currently, Max's has three branches in the U.S. (California, Hawaii and New Jersey) and Canada (Toronto and Vancouver), so you can take the Max's experience with you no matter where you go.
The Aristocrat Restaurant
Type: Filipino Casual Dining
Makati City Address(es): 146 Jupiter St. corner Saturn St., Makati City
Delivery Hotline (02) 894-0000
Another place bursting with homemade Filipino goodness, this restaurant was founded by Engracia Cruz-Reyes. Initially, the Aristocrat started off in 1936 as a "rolling store," peddling traditional Filipino dishes through a Studebaker van. After two years, Cruz-Reyes opened a branch along Dewey Boulevard — which remains to this day — and eventually expanded both the menu and the number of branches. Needless to say, the rest is history.
Their specialty is grilled, marinated dishes like the Boneless Chicken Barbecue, which comes with atchara (pickled unripe papaya), Java rice and Java sauce. You can pair this with other classics like the Sizzling Pusit (sizzling squid), Camaron Rebosado (deep-fried battered shrimp) and Aristocrat Pancit Canton (fried noodles with assorted meat and vegetables). Lastly, their Aristocrat Iced Tea has just the right amount of sweetness to complement the sweet-and-salty Filipino dishes!
Type: Filipino/Chinese Casual Dining
Makati Address: Cash and Carry, Glorietta 4, Landmark Makati, The Link (Ayala Center), Waltermart Makati
Delivery Hotline: 411-3326 (The Link), 819-3927 (Glorietta 4), 856-0044 (Cash and Carry)
The Philippines has always been a melting pot of culture. For example, the ubiquitous pancit canton was brought to the country by Chinese traders from centuries past. So it's not surprising that a Filipino-Chinese restaurant like Classic Savory is common in the country.
By the way, we don't mean "common" as an insult. Classic Savory offers the best of both cultures, ranging from Long Life Pancit Canton to Braised Pata Tim Supreme. (Trivia: It's believed that if you eat pancit canton on special occasions, you will have a long, healthy life. Health enthusiasts who abstain from the dish may beg to differ, though.) We also recommend the Savory Fried Rice, the Camaron Rebosado and the Beef Stir Fry with Broccoli to complete everything.
Type: Chinese Casual Dining
Makati Address: Cash and Carry Mall, Glorietta 2
Delivery Hotline: Log on to https://www.foodpanda.ph/restaurant/cl2fq/luk-yuen
If Classic Savory is "Chinese," then Luk Yuen is even more so. Aside from the dead-giveaway name, the restaurant aims to "…translate to Filipinos the genuine experience of Cantonese dining." And true to its tagline "There's more to hot noodles!", it offers much, much more than the stereotypical Chinese food.
For example, you have the Boneless Buttered Chicken, which goes nicely with their Yang Chow Fried Rice. The same goes for their Stir-Fried Beef with Broccoli, Beef with Ampalaya in Taosi Sauce and Peppercorn Spareribs. Top these off with their Iced Tea (House blend) and Almond Jelly Fruit Floats, and you can weather (no pun intended) the El Niño season in no time.
As we say time and again, this is by no means a complete list. We're sure there are plenty of awesome Filipino restaurants that have a potential to make their mark on the country, if not the world. In the meantime, thank you for reading this far, and we hope this list was able to help you widen your food choices!