Carmelo's Steakhouse Moves Its Fine Dining Legacy Forward

Chef Cristina Santiago’s Carmelo’s Steakhouse continues to offer a symphony of heritage and modernity in its newly-opened store in Makati. 

Since its establishment, Carmelo’s Steakhouse—Chef Cristina Santiago’s standalone restaurant concept—has been honoring a legacy of fine dining excellence through its selection of sophisticated dishes, including premium meats. Now, the cherished restaurant finds a new home in The Proscenium Retail Row at Rockwell, Makati, with welcoming interiors that exemplify the restaurant’s commitment of not only serving sumptuous meals, but also providing superb service for a memorable dining experience. 

Inside the newly re-launched Carmelo’s Steakhouse at The Proscenium Retail Row, Rockwell, Makati
Inside the newly re-launched Carmelo’s Steakhouse at The Proscenium Retail Row, Rockwell, Makati

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A History of Great Food

Carmelo’s Steakhouse is Cristina’s homage to her father, Carmelo (or “Melo” as many liked to call him) Santiago. He was a prominent figure in Manila’s restaurant scene, and was quite the pioneer, having opened the eponymous Melo’s in 1987—the very first steakhouse that offered Certified Angus Beef in the country. Even today, his trailblazing restaurant has left an indelible mark on the local food scene as one of the oldest leading names in fine steak dining. 

Cristina carries on her father’s enduring legacy, aware that she is one of the privileged few who gained exposure to the food business early on, learning as much as she could from the late Carmelo Santiago. She upholds his original vision and rules, which includes providing the finest quality food and maintaining a consistency in taste. At the heart of everything is her father’s approach of always giving guests the best personalized service possible. 

“He was very passionate in teaching that the key to being different is doing your assignment: remembering what the guests liked the last time they ate; surprising guests when they return by simply knowing their names; and, at the very least, remembering their favorite drink,” she shared in a press statement. 

Honoring Tradition and Innovation

Melo’s daughter uses her father’s lessons and vision as her constant guides, yet she also brings fresh twists and upgrades to Carmelo’s Steakhouse that make it stand out. The changes include a new home in The Proscenium Retail Row, a spot that the chef had long been eyeing to house the restaurant. In fact, she already had a vision of how she wanted Carmelo’s to look from the moment she saw the spot. 

“Everything you see here is my vision,” she shared about the restaurant’s new look, explaining how she ensured that everything from design to execution had her stamp of approval. “There’s this allure when you enter that’s very different from what has already been seen in Manila. I wanted to have this warm and inviting glow while dining, with the gold mesh curtains reflecting the warm lights. To me, it’s pure magic!”

Cristina has also upgraded the menu, keeping old favorites while creating thrilling new dishes inspired by her trips abroad. “Let’s just say I have a little black book from all my travels where I take note of what I and my family love, because I know one day I’ll create those dishes,” she explained. 

An Enticing Selection


Among the menu items is the chef’s own recipe for Moules Marinieres, which brings back fond memories of travels with her dad and their shared love for the mussels in Paris. Her other notable starters are the Tuna Tataki [succulent, delicately seared ahi tuna slices accompanied by homemade white miso] and the Octopus Ala Plancha [tender, grilled octopus resting atop a velvety bed of cauliflower puree and vibrant gremolata]. 


The menu offerings also include some of Cristina’s favorite pasta dishes. Not to be missed is the Spinach Spaghetti Alle Vongole, a vibrant spinach spaghetti with Manila clams in a butter sauce with crisp white wine. Another signature pasta dish is the Truffle Burrata Pasta with its freshly-made noodles and earthy truffle sauce on a bed burrata for a velvety finish. 

One can’t forget the main highlight of the restaurant, which is its steak selection. As her late father had done when he opened his first steakhouse 37 years ago, Chef Cristina meticulously checks the quality of her meats, ensuring they possess top-tier texture and taste. 


As part of the restaurant’s customizable guest experience, the chef also welcomes different steak appetites. She assures her diners that they have options for a solo business lunch or bigger servings that are ideal to share. Carmelo’s different Certified Angus Beef and Australian Wagyu cuts can be served on a more personal plate, while the Tomahawk, Steak Frites Ribeye, and Steak Diane Ribeye are best for family and friends dining together.


As a sweet ending to a hearty meal, Cristina offers her award-winning dessert line, Sweet Bella. The Pearl is a signature creation with its exquisite combination of guava mousse and layers of fresh mango coulis. Angelina, on the other hand, has luxurious layers of hazelnut mousse on a delicate hazelnut praline almond crust with vibrant raspberry coulis and edible red magnolia flowers.

Carmelo’s Steakhouse presents the best of both worlds: steeped in family tradition, it distinguishes itself from similar establishments, with a daughter’s personal touches carrying it into a new and exciting future. 

Carmelo’s Steakhouse is located at the 2nd Floor, The Proscenium Retail Row, Rockwell, Makati. Follow @carmelossteakhouse on Instagram for updates on the restaurant. For reservations, you may contact 0915-9038005.

Photos courtesy of Carmelo’s Steakhouse.

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