We all need alone time once in a while.
Whatever your reason is for dining out alone, you need help picking out the right place. As much as we’d like to recommend a dim sum extravaganza in Greenhills or a Thai feast at People’s Palace, those places are best enjoyed with friends. Certain restaurants are better for solo fliers. Here are our top picks.
One of the original Poblacion hangouts, El Chupacabra, has been around for a decade–ancient in Poblacion years. Have an early dinner of carne asada burritos, chicken skewers, or street tacos. This restaurant has a friendly clientele, most of whom are foreign tourists. So if you’re feeling chatty, buy a margarita for the Portuguese backpacker at the table across from yours. You’re sure to make new friends here.
This plant-based eatery has made a name in Legazpi Village. Their menu has comfort food staples like burgers, burritos, tempeh wings, and mac and “cheese.” Their dishes are creatively assembled, flavorful, and meatless. They also have an extensive wine list because wine is vegan, after all.
This chain has been around since the 90s, and for good reason. CafÃ© Med has an excellent array of tasty and moderately priced meals for one, perfect when you want to date yourself. Get their shish tawouk with biryani rice and sit in their Rockwell branch’s “private” room for complete seclusion. Oh, and the food is healthy(ish), too.
The Grid is a food hall that stands out in a city obsessed with food halls of late. People watch over a lunch of cumin noodles or barbacoa tacos and cold brews. There’s booze available, too, which is always a plus (but maybe not on weekdays; you don’t want to meet your boss drunk).
Wildflour has nailed its formula: excellent comfort food and a homey, rustic ambiance. Try their shakshouka or club sandwich for brunch at their Rada Street location as you scroll through New York Times articles on your phone. Oh, and don’t forget to get some cronuts on your way out.
For over two decades, Chef Colin McKay has been a formidable presence in the Manila dining scene. Sala Bistro essentially recreates the menu of a Parisian bistro with a few Anglo favorites added for good measure. You can’t go wrong with their steaks or lamb dishes, but for lighter fare, their fish and chips is the real deal.
For an affordable, quick, and traditional Italian meal, Cibo is still a top-tier choice. The menu is pretty comprehensive, but we tend to stick to oil-based pasta and antipasti (their famous spinach dip with anchovies is famous for a reason).
There’s nothing wrong with dating yourself. If you’re uncomfortable with the idea, try going to any of the places listed here. Who knows, the ambiance and food may make you feel better about flying solo.
Words Art Vandelay
Art Macky Arquilla