Manila’s Best Kept Restaurant Secrets Award Winners


Congratulations to Ines Cabarrus and Elian Habayeb for the very first Manila’s Best Kept Restaurant Secrets Awards!

The two big winners during the awards are Lolo Dad’s for the Best Intercontinental Cuisine and Best Chef Ariel Manuel; and Colin Mackay for People’s Palace – Best Thai Restaurant and Sala Bistro for the Best Bistro!

Most of my favorites won like Je Suis Gourmand for the Best French Restaurant; Elbert’s Steak House for the Best Steak House; Terry’s Selection for the Best Spanish Restaurant; Abe for the Best Filipino Restaurant (I like both Abe and Cafe Juanita); Old Swiss Inn for the Best Central European Cuisine; and Aubergine as the Best New Comer. MBKRS honored Larry Cruz with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Related Posts:
My Votes for the Manila’s Best Kept Restaurant Secrets Award
The 2008 MBKRS Awards. And the winners are...

While I agree with 80% of the winners, I noticed that there are some “bias” despite the fact that it was voted by 75 judges who loves food:

1. Antonio’s did not win any awards. One of the Top 10 restaurants in Asia according to Miele Guide did not win surprisingly.
2. All of the winners are located in Makati with exception of Spiral and Lolo Dad’s which are located in Manila. The restaurants outside Manila did not stand any chance.
3. Zong the Fort won as the Best Chinese Restaurant? huh?
4. Sugi, which is owned by Ines’ Father won the Best Japanese Restaurant. BTW, Ines and Elian are not part of the judging committee.
5. Although in the ballot, MKBRS put an option of Others, it did not matter because they were not even recognized during the awards night.

There were some bias because both the nominees and the academy of judges were decided by Ines and Elian. It would be helpful though if the names of the 75 judges will be published just to be transparent.

Update! Here are the list of the Judges who decided the winners below:
2008 MBKRS Awards Judges

Abba Napa – L’Opera
Amanda Griffin Jacob – Lifestyle TV personality
Anastacio de Alba – Alba’s Restaurante Español
Annie Nisce – Appetite Magazine
Anton Diaz – Food Blogger
Arnie del Rosario – Chaine des Rotisseurs
Audrey Carpio – Metro Magazine
Bel Castro – Manila Bulletin; Enderun Colleges
Boyet Sison – TV Personality
Cacay Moras – Lifestyle and Entertainment Specialist
Carrie Lagdameo – Je Suis Gourmand
Cecile Zamora Van Straten – Chuvaness.com Lifestyle and Fashion Blog
Chad Davis – Enderun Colleges
Chris Lacson – Habitat
Christine Nunag – F&B World
CJ Juntereal – Manila Bulletin
Coco Anne & Baby Imperial – B+C Design
Colin McKay – Sala and People’s Palace
Cristina Metelmann – Palato Fino
Cyril Ermita – Enderun Colleges
David Pardo de Ayala – Discovery Group
Dr Efren Vasquez – Café Juanita
Ed Quimson – Chef
Edward Simon – Photographer, Manila’s Best Kept Restaurant Secrets
Eri Neeman – WAVE 89.1 FM
Eric Kahn – Future Trade International
Ferdi Salvador – Discovery Group
Gabby Licauco – Powerbooks
Gene Gonzalez – Café Ysabel
Gwen Cariño – GJC Public Relations
Hossein Sohrabi – Hossein’s Persian Kebabs
James Aspinall – Call Search
Javi Berenger-Testa – Renaissance Makati City Hotel
Lexi Schulze-Testa – Media Personality
Javier Infante – Enderun Colleges
Jermaine Brown – Manila’s Best Kept Restaurant Secrets
Johnny Litton – Inquirer, Lifestyle Columnist and Host
Jenny Serrano-Silverio – ABS-CBN
Jose Mari Ugarte – ROGUE Magazine
Joshua Tiu – Zong
Katrina Tuason Cruz – ROGUE Magazine
Kimmie Assad-Lamata – Di’ Mark’s
Kitt Schroeder – Lemuria
Koby Parcell – Chocolate Fire
Lori Baltazar – Food Blogger
Lorraine Belmonte – Appetite Magazine
Louie Ysmael – Manila nightlife mogul (NUVO, Members Only, Silk)
Luis de Terry – Specialty Foods Expert
Mari Ressa – ABS-CBN
Marivic Diaz-Lim – Apartment 1B
Mark Jentes – PTFJ Ad Consult
Martin Wisniewski – Discovery Group
Mila Tan – International Food and Wine Society (Women’s Chapter)
Nino Laus – In Yo
Paco Magsaysay – Tuesday Dinner Group
Paul Huang – Fire Lake Grill
Pazzy Navarro – Pazzy Manila
Peter Jentes – Schwarzwalder
Pilar Barrenechea – Catholic Women’s Club
Rachelle Ismael – Appetite Magazine
Raymond Rufino – The Net Group
Rene Baltazar – Harbor View
Robert Spakowski – Restaurant Consultant
Rosanna Escudero – Cancer Research Advocate
Roxs Cailao – Katre
Santi Picornell – Entrepreneur
Sau Del Rosario – Kingdom
Sec. Joseph Durano – Department of Tourism
Sergi Rostoll – Barcino Gourmet
Sergio Menendez – CEMEX
Teddy Montelibano – Food and Travel Columnist
Thomas Wenger – Enderun Colleges
Tina Pamintuan – Celebrity Chef
Tita Trillo – Titania Wine Cellars, La Vigne
Tricia Tensuan – Enderun Colleges
U-Sec Oscar Palabyab – Department of Tourism
Vanessa Conanan – Enderun Colleges
Vanessa Fernando – Zafra Motors
Vanessa Vitrano – Galileo Enoteca
Werner Berger – Werdenberg Group


The MKBRS Awards Night Venue in Enderun Colleges

1. Best Italian Restaurant – L’Opera

2. Best French Restaurant – Je Suis Gourmand

3. Best Spanish Restaurant – Terry’s Selection

4. Best Continental Cuisine – Lolo Dad’s

5. Best Steakhouse – Elbert’s Steak Room


The pioneers behind my favorite magazine, Rogue 🙂

6. Best Japanese Restaurant – Sugi

7. Best Filipino Restaurant – Abe

8. Best Thai Restaurant – People’s Palace

9. Best Chinese Restaurant – Zong (fort)

10. Best Central European Restaurant – Old Swiss Inn


I can’t wait to go to Thai Kingdom by Chef Sau!

11. Best Specialty Restaurant – Hossein’s Persian Kebab (Makati)

12. Best Bistro – Sala Bistro

13. Best Enoteca – Barcino Gourmet

14. Best Fusion Cuisine – M Cafe

15. Best Newcomer – Aubergine


The lovely Vanessa of Galileo Enoteca (leftmost).

16. Best Restaurant/Bar – NU-VO

17. Best Wine List – CAV

18. Best Hotel Restaurant: International Buffet – Spiral (Sofitel)

19. Best Hotel Restaurant: Fine Dining – Tivoli (Mandarin Oriental) and Prince Albert (Intercontinental)

20. Best Hotel Restaurant: Specialty – Benjarong (Dusit)

21. Best Chef – Chef Ariel Manuel (Lolo Dad’s)

22. Lifetime Achievement Award – Larry Cruz

Anton

Text and Photos by by Anton Diaz. Copyright 2008.

Blog: www.OurAwesomePlanet.com
Mobile: +63917-LOVEOAP (5683627)
Email: anton@diaz.ph

63 thoughts on “Manila’s Best Kept Restaurant Secrets Award Winners

  1. Ok no offense to the owners of Zong, but… seriously. At least they got it right with the Best French Restaurant category, and pretty much everything else. But, yes, quite shocking that Antonio’s was not recognized…

  2. Zong is just a couple of notches above Chinese fastfood level. To be named best is a travesty. Absolutely ridiculous. Sugi best Japanese? Maybe 15-20 years ago (but, then, Tsukiji and Furusato were also around), but certainly not now. Nowhere near the best. No recognition for Tonyboy? Come on.

  3. I’m quite surprised with the results of this awards. I can’t believe that Gaudi was not even nominated in the Spanish restaurant category when the chef/owner Xandra Cacho is from San Sebastian, the place with the most number of Michelin restaurants in the world.
    Also, I have lived in Central Europe and even georgraphically speaking, it does not mean Germany, not even Switzerland! As much as I enjoy the food of Old Swiss Inn and it does bring me back to my visits in Zurich, it is not Central Europeam food.
    Whoever sorted out the nominees must at least do more reading if they can’t actually travel to the categories the restaurants claim to represent.

  4. Zong? Are you kidding me?? That’s bull! Its not even authentic! Tsk.. Tsk.. Tsk..
    I browsed through the book before and found it silly that they claimed Som’s as having authentic Thai food. Have they ever been to Thailand? The taste and quality is so faaaaaar from being authentic! Tsk.. Tsk..

  5. siguro kung ung ZONG 2-3 years ago pwede pa, but now? try eating there again and for sure you’ll be really disappointed!! just ate there again last sunday argh!

  6. Thanks Anton for posting and thanks for coming! I know in the end not everyone’s gonna agree with the winners (I felt terrible when Gwyneth Paltrow won for best actress back in 99! ha ha!)
    Next year we hope to expand our panel of judges to hopefully more than 200 hundred foodies, resto owners, media personalities, and hotel staff, and get more input on the nominees! The more people we get involved, the better this event will be for years to come 🙂 It’s opinions from the people that help us build up our credibility and list of awardees.
    Till next year!
    🙂

  7. regard to the comment of mr. noel, where do you think the central of Europe?! if you really lived in Europe as what you have said…Spain???!!!…just respect you should see the map of europe first…Swiss inn is the best…i even had my wedding reception there!
    thanks!!!!!

  8. The whole thing should not be taken seriously. To start with, what makes the authors food authorities? One is a DJ, the other an instructor at Enderun College who claims to be a ‘sommelier’ (really now!).
    What people have failed to realize is that the book’s entire premise is wrong. The title states ‘best kept secrets’, but the restaurants listed are hardly hardly that, especially the ones in malls and hotels. Some of them are not even in Manila.
    Who were the judges? I heard from one of those who voted that even the nominees themselves were asked to vote, which to me is so wrong.
    More importantly, who came up with this short list? If only there was an online selection, just like with the recent Miele Guide, then maybe they could’ve come up with a list that would not include Zong.
    Lastly, Sugi Greenbelt is partly owned by one of the book’s author’s father. Restaurant 101 is owned by Enderun, where the same author works.
    I really wish blogs like this would stop giving them any more importance and attention. It’s making a couple of heads really swell and the rest of us food fans in Manila look really bad.
    BTW, I was there last night and I just want to rant that it was just way too hot, everyone was sweating!
    tintin, Central Europe consists of Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Liechtenstein, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and Switzerland. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_Europe

  9. Zong?!! tried eating in trinoma, service is so bad, unlike the fort.. but the food is like your typical “fusion” chinese fast food like north park…

  10. To Ms. (I assume) Cherry,
    A somewhat careful reading of the comments will show that I am not the one who mentioned Central Europe.
    In any event, if you think Old Suisse Inn is the best, good for you. You are certainly entitled to your opinion.
    As am I.
    I happen to think it couldn’t be best in anything.
    N

  11. I never trusted this book. I don’t even think the restos noted there are “best kept”…that’s why I never bought a copy of this. It never stay true to its title.
    – Zong??! Huh?!?
    – Abe??!??! Huh again.
    – considering the # of nice Japanese restos around, I would have expected some ties or even multiple winners. Judging Sugi is the best is ????
    – Btw, what does Enoteca category mean?

  12. I can’t comment on the restaurants because I’m here in the States but they should use either the Food and Wine system or the Zagat way. The judges should be food writers who know what they’re talking about like Mark Bittman of the NY Times (so the equivalent of a major Filipino newspaper) and epicurean veterans who know the difference between Tuscan pollo Rosso and your regular roast chicken or whether a restaurant is really using foie gras (goose liver not duck). What standards or criteria did they use? It sounds like a conspiracy if they did not post from the beginning who will be judging.
    Anton, start your own Zagat or Yelp and let the people decide. Then have an awards night based on customer response. Yelp!

  13. Yes maybe we can do our own voting and see what come sout. Doesnt have to be best keot secrets but just best restaurants. maybe we can also do it by price range?? Just some ideas..

  14. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enoteca
    The word enoteca literally means wine library or wine repository. It is an Italian word and is used locally (in Italy) to refer to little shops that allow the tasting of wines before bulk purchases. Obviously, the word has been used very loosely by the book authors to refer to a retail wine shop cum wine bar that serves food as well. I have not heard of anyone use the word enoteca for anything other than Galileo, and the rest aren’t really like Galileo at all.
    Here’s what’s wrong with the category:
    – Barcino is a Spanish wine shop cum wine bar which serves food
    – Cav is a wine bar cum restaurant
    -.La Vigne is hard to explain, but it’s essentially a restaurant cum Tita Trillo’s wine cellar
    – Terry’s Selection Pasong Tamo Extension is a gourmet food and wine shop which has a restaurant called Segundo Piso restaurant upstairs
    – Purple Feet is just a small cafe/bistro located inside a branch of Wine Depot, a wine supermarket
    Just a few of the many things wrong with the MBKRS.
    Let’s not make this whole MBKRS a big deal, please. It’s not and should not be minded even.
    Anton, you can start with creating a set of objectives. Then allow your readers to be the one so suggest categories. After that, allow them to nominate establishments. Then come up with a short list per category for people to actually vote. Allow only one vote per person. Use an independent auditor like an accounting firm to ensure that everything was tabulated properly and fairly. Then reveal the results online. Call it Our Awesome Planet Reader’s Choice Awards. Don’t limit to just restaurants, include travel destinations and resorts, etc.
    I suspect that MBKRS just jumped into it with their own categories and nominees and then mass e-mailed the ballots to everyone in their address book. That’s why the results are so questionable. Most of them were Ines’ and Elian’s friends, naturally the will vote with their friendships considered.

  15. I agree with Zorayda’s suggestion that the members of the voting panel should be selected for their firm grasp on particular regional cuisines. Otherwise, if just anyone can vote, results such as Zong may very well recur.

  16. I just want to react to one of the comments above that duck foie gras is not “real” foie gras. It is. Foie gras can come from either ducks or geese. If somebody says a restaurant is not using real foie gras because it is duck liver and not goose liver, that person should never be allowed to judge.

  17. i havent tried all of the restos that garnered awards but…
    have to disagree with zong, hosseins and sugi. 50-50 with lolo dads and nuvo.. cant really decide if it deserves the award
    which deserved the award (aka wont garner criticism from me)- spiral, aubergrine, peoples palace, abe,je suis gourmand

  18. i LOVE zhong’s food.. but gads, that OVER tin hau and li li – hahahaha! and i heard tonyboy escalante wasn’t even nominated for best chef?????????? whatta joke, hahahahahahahaha!

  19. but the biggest laugh of all is sugi winning japanese. boy, that really made me roll on the floor man… hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! don’t get me wrong.. i likewise love sugi – ordinery gindara and tempura, no problem.. but that over tsukiji, inagiku, seryna and THE real best kept secret where japanese restaurants are concerned in manila – that restaurant reviewed by jc bernardo for rogue a few issues back somewhere in amorsolo – which wasn’t even mentioned – well, gads, i don’t know, REALLY befuddling, boys and girls…

  20. Sugi is portly owned by Ines’ dad and hosted one of the MBKRS Book Tour events.
    Barchino, Zong and InYo sponsored an MBKRS book launch event each. Barcino won best Enoteca, Zong won best Chinese, and InYo lost to M Cafe, in which Elian plays DJ.
    Restaurant 101 (nominated best wine list) is an Enderun establishment, where Ines works. She supposedly designed the wine list of restaurant 101.
    Tivoli is in the Mandarin, just like Martini’s. That’s where Elian plays every Saturday for his and Ines’ Music and Wine event.
    I’m sure there may be more connections, but the above is what I know for now.
    So, isn’t it obvious what this whole thing was really about?

  21. Halos lahat sa mga restaurants na nanalo e matagal ng established at marami din kilalalang kilala na so I think the line up is kinda strange to fall under “best kept secret restos”. Sugi ? Masarap but hindi madami ang ponjap kumakain dito na at naku ha, 1990s ( or 1980s ?? ) pa yan sa Greenbelt 1 ha. Maganda sana yung idea. Sayang.
    M Cafe ? Best Fusion ?? hmmmm … not for me. Was there a few weeks ago.
    Antonio’s is a very good restaurant but their service the other weekend sucks according to a party of 5 that had lunch there. Nawalan sila ng gana daw.
    Prince Albert ? Tivoli ? Great restos….Best kept secret pa ba mga ito ? eh 1970s/80s pa mga yan ah …. hehehe.
    Anton, I admire your honesty sa mga reactions mo. For posting them. Tama yan. True to yourself ka lang lagi. Dapat lang. Pag pangit, pangit.
    Sasali na lang ako sa web-voting ninyo ha … : )

  22. Zong and Sugi??? Come on…
    Best Kept Secrets aren’t supposed to be commercialized restaurants right? Should’ve changed the name to something else if they included mainstream/hotel based restaurants as well..

  23. the service in antonio’s sucked? boy, really?? unbelievable.. baka this is in reference to antonio’s pasig, or antonio’s in caloocan or antonio’s in lanao del norte, haha! are you sure you are referring to antonio’s in bo. neogan, interior tagaytay? how exactly did it sucked, i am sooo curious to know. i’ve been going there for five years, in groups small and big and i/we have yet to be disappointed with the FLAWLESS service. if you could detail out how the service slipped, would be good to know how exactly (gads, im repeating myself, haha!) it slipped – or sucked (major term ha, haha!)

  24. Bakit ganyan ang reaction mo, Teddy ? Para bang upset na upset ka sa post ko. That you
    resort to insulting me pa. At pinaabot mo pa sa Lanao del Norte – Caloocan – Pasig.
    Isinalaysay ko lang yung sinabi sa akin.
    Yes … the ANTONIO’s in Tagaytay mismo. I don’t know what barrio it is located in exactly.
    The one rated by Miele recently. Gets mo na ba ??

  25. that is what’s difficult kung “isinalaysay ko lang yung sinabi sa akin.” its not first hand experience… walang value. its just chismis.. if you are going to state whats in your mind titoking make sure you knew it and experienced it…
    gets mo na ba? is so jologs!

  26. to reader teddy (posted nov. 28), where is that japanese restaurant in amorsolo? i’m really curious…my hubby and i love japanese food and we are always on the look out for good japanese restaurants.
    i don’t think i can ever afford tsukiji so i’ll never know if it’s the best. 🙂 so far, i like Tsumura.

  27. sorry mr. teddy, i meant what is the name of that japanese resto in amorsolo. do hope someone can say or i’ll have to look for that back issue of Rogue magazine 🙂

  28. I agree that Zong should not be named the best Chinese restaurant. Ate there this year and we’re determined never to go back.
    But maybe the didn’t include Antonio’s as it’s outside Manila? As the book is called “Manila’s Best Kept Secrets” so they concentrated on what’s in Manila.
    Though, in my opinion, a lot of the restaurants listed in the book aren’t exactly “secrets” as a lot of them are either in hotels or in major malls. My idea of “secret restaurants” are those that do not advertise and are only known through word of mouth.

  29. Sushi Kappo Kobiki-cho is located in Legaspi Street, on the left side, about three buildings before the corner of Herrera when coming from Dela Rosa.
    I’ve spent up to P12,000 for a dinner for two there (the most sumptuous omakase dinner with some really rare sake), but I’ve also been able to keep it below P700 (donburi lunch). It’s probably the best Japanese restaurant in town.

  30. And by the way, Sushi Kappo is one of those little restaurants that truly is a ‘best kept secret’, but it’s not in the book. Go figure.

  31. tsk tsk, i think they should really look at the meaning of Best kept Secret. Zong as best chinese? Does the Judges have cow hide as tongue(ala Gordon Ramsay talking) The place is not a secret.. and its not the best….

  32. Sorry Anton, but I really didn’t put much stock in these awards after seeing your first post and realizing that, contrary to how it was the described, the restaurants weren’t much in the way of secrets. A lot of them were, to the contrary, the very definition of a commercialized restaurant.
    Zongs as the best Chinese Restaurant? Good lord…

  33. Looks like a list of winners voted by connections or worse, bidding. This group, like that book, has erased all its credibility. What an embarassment.

  34. Napaka-**** namang ang gumawa ng librong yan! Premise palang, mali na. “Best kept secrets?” Nakakaintindi ba kayo ng salitang “secret”? Kumuha nga kayo ng dictionary! Most of those restaurants have been around for the longest time! Even foreigners know them!
    When you say “secret”, then you’re looking for really out of the way places which have rarely been written about by so-called food critics who don’t know how to actually review food other than naming the ingredients of each dish. They just rave about the restaurants because they were treated to free food by the owners. Frigging freeloaders! So if you notice, the nominees, except for a few, are commercial restaurants w/ their own PR machinery who keep inviting these so-called food writers.
    But Chinoys, for example, will tell you that one of Manila’s best kept secrets is Lai Lai Hotel/Restaurant in Ongpin for authentic Chinese cuisine. Do these so-called food reviewers and MBKS writers/award organizers know this? No. Because Lai Lai has never used a publicist and treated media so they can tell people that their food is good. Zong at The Fort? Pagtatawanan lang kayo ng Chinese community!
    Back to the MBKS awards, its organizers should have automatically disqualified restaurants they are even remotely affiliated with. Ines, ang kapal mo naman ipa-nominate ang Sugi. Que horror! Question: sommelier ka ba talaga?
    What’s really the point of these awards? To make sure that the nominees and winners employ Enderun graduates?

  35. Hi Anton! Regarding the awards thing… count me in. I honestly think we should get the opinion of people who really KNOW food, and not those who just hangout at an establishment because that’s where the glitterati go to be seen.
    Regarding the Japanese resto in Amorsolo St., I think they might be talking about Izakaya Nihonbashitei. Pretty good and budget-friendly… the quality of their sushi seems to be suffering though.

  36. All – Let us please respect the organizers. The Winners were decided by these judges: (see: http://bestkeptsecrets.multiply.com/journal/item/4/2008_MBKRS_Awards_Judges)
    2008 MBKRS Awards Judges
    Abba Napa – L’Opera
    Amanda Griffin Jacob – Lifestyle TV personality
    Anastacio de Alba – Alba’s Restaurante Español
    Annie Nisce – Appetite Magazine
    Anton Diaz – Food Blogger
    Arnie del Rosario – Chaine des Rotisseurs
    Audrey Carpio – Metro Magazine
    Bel Castro – Manila Bulletin; Enderun Colleges
    Boyet Sison – TV Personality
    Cacay Moras – Lifestyle and Entertainment Specialist
    Carrie Lagdameo – Je Suis Gourmand
    Cecile Zamora Van Straten – Chuvaness.com Lifestyle and Fashion Blog
    Chad Davis – Enderun Colleges
    Chris Lacson – Habitat
    Christine Nunag – F&B World
    CJ Juntereal – Manila Bulletin
    Coco Anne & Baby Imperial – B+C Design
    Colin McKay – Sala and People’s Palace
    Cristina Metelmann – Palato Fino
    Cyril Ermita – Enderun Colleges
    David Pardo de Ayala – Discovery Group
    Dr Efren Vasquez – Café Juanita
    Ed Quimson – Chef
    Edward Simon – Photographer, Manila’s Best Kept Restaurant Secrets
    Eri Neeman – WAVE 89.1 FM
    Eric Kahn – Future Trade International
    Ferdi Salvador – Discovery Group
    Gabby Licauco – Powerbooks
    Gene Gonzalez – Café Ysabel
    Gwen Cariño – GJC Public Relations
    Hossein Sohrabi – Hossein’s Persian Kebabs
    James Aspinall – Call Search
    Javi Berenger-Testa – Renaissance Makati City Hotel
    Lexi Schulze-Testa – Media Personality
    Javier Infante – Enderun Colleges
    Jermaine Brown – Manila’s Best Kept Restaurant Secrets
    Johnny Litton – Inquirer, Lifestyle Columnist and Host
    Jenny Serrano-Silverio – ABS-CBN
    Jose Mari Ugarte – ROGUE Magazine
    Joshua Tiu – Zong
    Katrina Tuason Cruz – ROGUE Magazine
    Kimmie Assad-Lamata – Di’ Mark’s
    Kitt Schroeder – Lemuria
    Koby Parcell – Chocolate Fire
    Lori Baltazar – Food Blogger
    Lorraine Belmonte – Appetite Magazine
    Louie Ysmael – Manila nightlife mogul (NUVO, Members Only, Silk)
    Luis de Terry – Specialty Foods Expert
    Mari Ressa – ABS-CBN
    Marivic Diaz-Lim – Apartment 1B
    Mark Jentes – PTFJ Ad Consult
    Martin Wisniewski – Discovery Group
    Mila Tan – International Food and Wine Society (Women’s Chapter)
    Nino Laus – In Yo
    Paco Magsaysay – Tuesday Dinner Group
    Paul Huang – Fire Lake Grill
    Pazzy Navarro – Pazzy Manila
    Peter Jentes – Schwarzwalder
    Pilar Barrenechea – Catholic Women’s Club
    Rachelle Ismael – Appetite Magazine
    Raymond Rufino – The Net Group
    Rene Baltazar – Harbor View
    Robert Spakowski – Restaurant Consultant
    Rosanna Escudero – Cancer Research Advocate
    Roxs Cailao – Katre
    Santi Picornell – Entrepreneur
    Sau Del Rosario – Kingdom
    Sec. Joseph Durano – Department of Tourism
    Sergi Rostoll – Barcino Gourmet
    Sergio Menendez – CEMEX
    Teddy Montelibano – Food and Travel Columnist
    Thomas Wenger – Enderun Colleges
    Tina Pamintuan – Celebrity Chef
    Tita Trillo – Titania Wine Cellars, La Vigne
    Tricia Tensuan – Enderun Colleges
    U-Sec Oscar Palabyab – Department of Tourism
    Vanessa Conanan – Enderun Colleges
    Vanessa Fernando – Zafra Motors
    Vanessa Vitrano – Galileo Enoteca
    Werner Berger – Werdenberg Group

  37. I have respect for the judges and it is quite a diverse group. I also understand now why there is a bias towards Manila based resto because majority of the judges are restaurant owners. Maybe if the judges are expanded to 200, we would have a more even voting.
    I still can’t accept Zong won as best chinese restaurant 🙁 huhu…

  38. The best Chinese Restaurant , from a Chinoy’s perspective, is Gloria Maris.
    Look at a particular restuarant.
    TIP : If majority of people eating there are NOT Chinese, its not a good Chinese resto.

  39. I don’t think any of those judges knew what they were getting into. I know of at least a couple of restaurant owners who declined to cast a vote and I know of a few who voted but whose names aren’t in the list.
    One of the judges told me that she was emailed the ballot by the organizers on the 16th of November, asking her to cast her votes asap as the deadline was the 14th (two days before they emailed), and that email said that votes cast after the deadline would not be counted.
    But it’s not the judges that is an issue here though, it’s the nomination process. Elian and Ines came up with their own list of nominees, obviously keeping in mind all those establishments owned by friends or who have supported them in the past, perhaps as a form of gratitude. The judges had no hand in the nominations. Proof of this is in the ballots, they included an ‘other’ in the list, but no other restaurant was added to the nominees when the awardees were revealed.
    A more credible recognition is the Miele Guide, which Anton also blogged about.

  40. Hi Anton! Have you started the brainstorming on the OAP version of the awards? I’m really not good in website building/development so you can count me out on that part. Pero I’ve visited a few restos that I think can be nominated in the different categories.
    Merry Christmas and a Happy New year to all!

  41. There’s this japanese restaurant here in subic, I think it’s the best, coz some of their sushi’s are even freshed from japan via fedex. Sakura.

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