Few years ago, Manila hangout culture would be defined by business district restaurants, high-rise buildings and shopping malls. Today, food crawls and creative streets have been gaining prominence as places that make our bustling city, one of which is the neighborhood of Poblacion, a few blocks away from the infamous red district which makes it even more interesting. Every now and then, a new restaurant, bar, or hotel is sprouting in this area, making it hard for tourists and locals alike to decide where to go. Luckily for us, Discover MNL took us to their top picks for staycation, coffee, lunch, or party in this buzz-worthy street!
For the coffee connoisseur: Commune Cafe + Bar (36 Polaris cor Durban Sts., Poblacion, Makati City)
What to order: Flat White- Php 130, Iced Toddy- Php 145/165
As their name suggests, this cafe was borne out of love for coffee and and the connections it fuels, which is why more than a cafe, it’s a venue for startup events and community meet-ups, making it the favorite of creatives and freelancers in Metro Manila. They pride in only using single origin beans from Mount Matutum, Mount Kitanglad, Sagada and other Arabica growing regions in the Philippines.
For the Riverdale fan: Filling Station Bar and Cafe (5012 P. Burgos Ave, Makati City, 1210 Metro Manila)
What to order: Strawberry Milkshake- Php 295, Cookies and Cream Premium Milkshake- Php 325, Old Timer Burger- Php 528, John Wayne’s Rib Eye Steak – Php 1,595
In the feed of the Filipino Instagrammer, this restaurant is characterized by its aesthetic: red booths, neon lights, 50’s memorabilia (Manilyn Monroe photos, life-size wax images of Elvis Presley, James Dean and Superman), and a 1959 Cadillac Eldorado, among others. It has been in Poblacion since 1991, built by a former US navy cook. What we loved most about the place, though, is its humongous servings and excellent milkshakes!
For the love of Latin Chicken: Senor Pollo (5767 Ebro, Makati, 1210 Metro Manila)
What to order: Quarter Roast Chicken (Php 155) with 2 sides (Php 245)
You’ve probably heard of this place, aside from being the holy grail of Latin American food and cheap beer, it’s also one of the first restaurants in Poblacion. More than the authentically Southern food, what makes it lovable is its humorous sayings plastered on the walls and bathroom stalls, and festive interiors including colorful banderitas present all through the year.
For the proudly Pinoy: Lobo Filipino Tavern, 4898 Durban, Makati, 1209 Metro Manila
What to order: Lechon Kawali Kare Kare- Php 245, Kinilaw Banana Heart- Php 150, Kesong Puti Taco Wrap- Php 165, Lengua Sisig – Php 150
Owned by half-Ilonggo half-Persian Pinoy Big Brother alumnus Kian Kazemi, Lobo is his passion project that pays tributes to his Mom’s roots. A drinking place that takes its food seriously, this so-called tavern serves what Kazemi dubs as “progressive Filipino cuisine” as he adds his own elements to local dishes. Entering the rustic walls of Lobo feels like going to your grandmother’s grand home in the province: you know you’ll expect good food with great company!
Where Asian meets Al Fresco: Wild Poppy, 2/F 5666 Don Pedro Street, Poblacion, Makati, 1210 Metro Manila
What to order: Wabi Cha Cha Cocktail- Php 280; Pom Yum Salad- Php 220
The Wild Poppy is a rooftop bar and restaurant serving Modern Southeast Asian fare and handcrafted cocktails. At first look, you’ll think of it as a good venue for a ‘titahan’ night: it has pillows, properly dimmed lights, floral accents, breezy air, and pastel-colored drinks. But with its filling plates and more than satisfactory concoctions, even tito’s, dads, and big barkadas frequent this place just to have a taste of the best that Southeast Asia has to offer!
For the serious craft beer drinker: Polilya, 5658 Jacobo Street, Corner Don Pedro, Makati, 1210 Metro Manila
What to order: Goldfinger- Php 360; Four O’clock Flight- Php 280
With its distinctly eclectic furniture and ambient lighting, Polilya feels like a private club sans expensive membership fee. The owner Ian Paradies started brewing his own line of craft beers under the Engkanto brand back in November 2016 and decided to give them a cozy and classy home with Polilya where he serves his signature craft designed to cater to the Filipino palate (sweet and sour) while being affordable and Instagrammable. 😉
A piece of Costa Rica in Pobla: Pura Vida, Don Pedro Street cor Jacobo Street, Makati, Metro Manila
What to order: Basil Jam Cocktail- Php 270, Healthy Rasta Cocktail- Php 270, Chicharrones Con Yuca- Php 220, Enyucados- Php 230, Patacones- Php 230
Meaning “pure life” in Spanish and used as a positive greeting in Costa Rica, Pura Vida imbibes nothing but fun and good vibes! Expect finger-lickin good Costa Rican food, affordably good drinks, and reggae music. It’s a good alternative to the highly-westernized bars in BGC. If you don’t feel like partying hard on a Friday night but still want to have a chill time with some decent booze and good friends, Pura Vida is the place for you!
The perfect staycation buddy: ZEN Rooms!
You can find ZEN Rooms in every corner in Poblacion. We provide everything you need for a comfortable stay (free fast Wi-Fi, comfortable double bed, working AC, a hot shower and 24/7 customer support). Check out all our properties in this vibrant neighborhood!