Two Manila-based dining establishments are in this year’s “Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants,” while one bar made it to “Asia’s 50 Best Bars.”
The Philippines is full of rich culinary traditions and amazing talents who are not only innovating the food and beverage scene, but also putting the country on the map. In 2023 alone, many remarkable Filipinos were lauded for their dedication to all things gustatory.
For example, in June, the James Beard Foundation awarded foodie and content creator Erwan Heussaff, The Quarry’s Chef Manrilou “Lulu” Ranta, Kasama bakery owners Genie Kwon and Tim Flores, and pastry chef Margarita Lorenzana-Manzke for their contributions to cuisine and food-related content.
Recently, the lists of “Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants” and “Asia’s 50 Best Bars” were also released, with Filipino establishments that made it to the rankings. The 50 best bars participated in an awarding ceremony last July 18 in Hong Kong, which gathered 800 of Asia’s finest bartenders and drinks industry experts.
Interestingly enough, all three establishments hail from Manila—more specifically Makati (something to note for those in the general area). So without further ado, let’s recognize these trailblazers who’ve proven they’re among the best in their respective industries:
The Curator stood proudly as the sole Philippine-based winner in this year’s “Asia’s 50 Best Bars” at 34th place. Since 2016, the bar has been serving an array of delectable mixed drinks and even caffeinated beverages.
However, this isn’t the first time the groundbreaking bar has made it to the “Asia’s 50 Best” list. It also won best bar in 2019 and 2021, proof of its consistent dedication to quality.
The Curator has been the venue for regular “takeovers” starring acclaimed, global bartenders. The establishment serves coffee-based beverages using beans from across Asia. It also serves a collection of impressive cocktails and spirits in an intimate back room.
The Curator also has a “beautifully designed cocktail menu” with “fun descriptions, a flavor map and, crucially, a credit for the bartender who invented them,” wrote Asia’s 50 Best Bars on the establishment.
As for “Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants,” Toyo Eatery brought pride to the country by winning, not one, but two awards. The restaurant’s journey to culinary excellence happened very early on. Husband and wife duo, Jordy and May Navarra, first established Toyo Eatery in 2016.
Toyo Eatery plays with Filipino flavors, ingredients, and techniques, offering à la carte and tasting options with bold flavors. This is exemplified by the restaurant’s signature dish, “Bahay Kubo,” which contains a mix of 18 vegetables in a unique salad. Modern interpretations of beloved street food, like a three-way pork barbecue dish and tortang talong, are also notable fixtures in their menu.
“He [Jordy Navarra] developed the concept and menu around his own memories and heritage, as well as that of the Filipino people,” stated the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants feature on the dining establishment.
Toyo Eatery not only ranked 42nd in this year’s best Asian restaurants list, but also won the prestigious Flor de Caña Sustainable Restaurant Award. Jordy and his team were lauded for sourcing local, traceable, and organic ingredients. They’ve also been working with indigenous craftspeople or heritage suppliers through fundraisers and other projects. Adding to this, the establishment vastly minimized its carbon footprint through policies that lessen food waste and implement woven packaging.
Metiz took the culinary world by storm when it opened up in 2019. The fine dining establishment is the brainchild of Chef Stephan Duhesme. The globetrotter returned to his home country to showcase the flavors of its local ingredients.
Now, the newcomer ranks 48th among the Asian continent’s best food spots, and for good reason. Foodies know Metiz for its creative use of different fermentation techniques and unconventional ingredients. These all culminate into an eight-step menu unlike any other.
Aged tanigue [mackerel] is served with fermented rice and mushroom, and banana leaf cake is served with fermented white beans and rice. Chef Stephan and his team have even incorporated fermentation methods in the restaurant’s selection of exciting cocktails.
“With a long, narrow, moodily lit dining room looking onto the open kitchen, Metiz has a cool, convivial feel that makes it perfect for date nights or fun nights out with friends,” wrote Asia 50 Best Restaurants when describing Metiz’s interiors.
Banner photo via Instagram @toyoeatery.