My Votes for Manila’s Best Kept Restaurant Secrets Awards 2010!

Manila’s Best Kept Restaurants Secrets (MBKRS) Awards 2010 Team.

Finally, we have the 2nd Manila’s Best Kept Restaurant Secrets Awards by authors Ines Cabarrus and Elian Habayeb. MBKRS Awards 2010 aims to recognize excellence in Manila’s dining scene.

What’s new in this year’s award?

  • There are a total of 30 categories this year, with the following new categories:
    • Best Indian Restaurant,
    • Best Korean Restaurant, 
    • Best Middle Eastern Restaurant,
    • Best Dessert, Ice Cream and Cake Shop,
    • Best Burger Joint,
    • Best Hotel Bar, and
    • Best Emerging Talent.
  • There are 90 Judges in this year’s awarding, making it truly “the Oscars” for Manila’s dining scene. (see the list of judges below)
  • You can now participate and vote for the People’s Choice Award for the Best Restaurant.
  • They now have a nice official website:

The results will be announced on November 24, 2010 at Enderun Colleges’ Culinary Center.

Relate Blog Posts:
My Votes for the Manila’s Best Kept Restaurant Secrets Award
Manila’s Best Kept Restaurant Secrets Award 2008 Winners

Here are my votes for this year’s award:


There are a few rules about the nominees for this year:
(1) major international brands are not eligible to compete, and
(2) MBKRS Awards 2008 winners are not eligible to compete this year as they will be invited to “hand over” the title to this year’s winners at the awarding ceremony (they will, however, be eligible to compete once again next year).

 Best Italian Restaurant

  • Carpaccio
  • C’ Italian – No Doubt, the Best Italian Restaurant in the Philippines 🙂
  • L’Incontro
  • Cantinetta (Pasong Tamo Ext)
  • Café Caruso

Best French Restaurant

  • L’Entrecote – I love Steak and Frites 🙂
  • Chef Jessie
  • Cuillere
  • La Regalade
  • Enchante

Best Spanish Restaurant

  • La Tienda
  • Casa Armas (Malate)
  • Gaudi (Serendra)
  • Cirkulo
  • Alba’s Restaurante Español

Best Japanese Restaurant

  • Kikufuji
  • Seryna – Best Japanese Restaurant for Sushi or Sashimi Bowls
  • Tsumura
  • Tsukiji
  • Nihonbashitei

Best Chinese Restaurant

  • Tao Yuan – The Best Singaporean Hainanese Chicken in Town!
  • Peking Garden
  • Hai Shin Lu
  • Gloria Maris (Greenhills)
  • Choi’s Garden

Best Continental Cuisine

  • Aubergine
  • Sala
  • Antonio’s – The BEST Romantic Garden Restaurant in Tagaytay!
  • Chateau 1771
  • The Goose Station

Best Thai Restaurant

  • Silk
  • Azuthai
  • Som’s Noodle House
  • Chariya’s Thai Kitchen
  • My Thai (Greenbelt)

Best Filipino Restaurant

  • Sentro 1771
  • Fely J’s
  • Café Juanita – The BEST Filipino Restaurant in Manila!
  • Laudico Bistro Filipino
  • Mesa

Best Middle Eastern Restaurant

  • Mana-ish
  • Arya (Podium)
  • Ziggurat
  • Persia Grill
  • Shawarma Snack Center (Malate)

Best Korean Restaurant

  • Mori Mori
  • Korean Garden
  • Kaya
  • Ye Dang
  • Ara
  • Korean Village

Best Indian Restaurant

  • New Bombay
  • Swagat
  • Queens
  • Bollywood
  • Kashmir – Voted as the Best Indian restaurant by Indians

Best Central European Restaurant

  • Magyar
  • Chesa Bianca
  • Vieux Chalet – All-time favorite romantic restaurant in Antipolo
  • Appenzeller Bar and Restaurant
  • Mickey’s Delicatessen

Best Specialty Cuisine

  • Corner Tree Cafe
  • Ba Noi Vietnamese Restaurant
  • Ristras Mexican Grill
  • Cyma Greek Taverna – Who doesn’t love Cyma?
  • New Orleans

Best Steakhouse

  • Bistecca
  • House of Wagyu
  • Mamou – Best Oily Steak in Manila 🙂
  • I Am Angus
  • Fire Lake Grill
  • Highlands Steakhouse (MOA)

Best Bistro

  • Lolo Dad’s Brasserie – Really good bistro place in 6750
  • Chelsea
  • Cibo (Greenbelt)
  • Apartment 1B
  • Brasserie Boheme by the Gustavian

Best Restaurant-Bar

  • Handlebar
  • Café Havana
  • The Establishment
  • Murphy’s Irish Pub
  • Fiamma

Best Enoteca

  • The Wine Club
  • Galileo Enoteca – our all-time favorite 🙂
  • Cave Werdenberg
  • Purple Feet
  • Bordeaux

Best Fusion Cuisine

  • Ninyo’s – For the Win!
  • Kai
  • LU
  • Felix
  • Katre 

Best Wine List

  • Sala
  • Masseto – Nice Wine and improving menu 🙂
  • Aubergine
  • Lemuria
  • Restaurant 101

Best Burger Joint

  • Charlie’s Grind & Grill – Indeed, One of the Best Burgers in Town 🙂
  • Brother’s Burger (High Street)
  • Mr. Jones
  • Sango Burger Master (Mile Long)
  • Murray & D’Vine

Best Dessert, Ice Cream and Cake Shop

  • Alexandre
  • Conti’s
  • Bizu Patisserie
  • Sonja’s Cupcakes
  • Café Mary Grace (High Street)
  • Chocolate Fire – We LOVE Chocolate Fire!

Best Newcomer

  • Le Bistro Vert
  • Masseto
  • The Goose Station – Great Degustation Concept 🙂
  • Bistecca
  • Ba Noi

Best Hotel Restaurant: International Buffet

  • Circles (Makati Shangri-La)
  • Paseo Uno (Mandarin Oriental)
  • Heat (Edsa Shangri La)
  • Crossover Buffet (The Dusit Thani Manila) – The Best Buffet Concept!
  • Escolta (The Peninsula)

Best Hotel Restaurant: Fine Dining

  • Cicou (Hotel Celeste)
  • The Fireplace (Hyatt Hotel and Casino)
  • Red (Makati Shangri-La)
  • Old Manila (The Peninsula)
  • 22 Prime (Discovery Suites)

Best Hotel Restaurant: Specialty Cuisine

  • Summer Palace (Edsa Shangri-La)
  • Inagiku (Makati Shangri-La) – Best Japanese Buffet!
  • LiLi (Hyatt Hotel & Casino)
  • UMU (Dusit Thani Manila)
  • Shang Palace (Makati Shangri-La)

Best Hotel Bar

  • Cinnabar (New World)
  • Icon (Intercontinental)
  • Martinis (Mandarin Oriental)
  • Conway’s (Makati Shangri-La) – FOREVER!
  • Kipling’s Cigar Bar (Mandarin Oriental)
  • Le Bar (Sofitel)

Best Emerging Talent

  • Luis de Terry (LU)
  • Tippi Tambunting (Masseto)
  • Adrian Cuenca (Elbert’s Steak Room) – serves the Best Burger in Town!
  • Stephanie Zubiri (Modern Epicurean Kitchen)
  • Sunshine and Rob Pengson (The Goose Station)

Best Chef

  • J Gamboa (Cirkulo)
  • Sau del Rosario (Le Bistro Vert)
  • Antonio Escalante (Antonio’s)
  • David Pardo de Ayala (The Discovery Group)
  • Jessie Sinsioco (Chef Jessie)

Lifetime Achievement Award

  • Gene Gonzalez
  • Juan Carlos de Terry
  • Margarita Fores
  • Colin Mackay
  • Glenda Barreto


Finally, you can vote for your top 3 restaurants:


Vote for your Top 3 Restaurants Now!

    The Official MBKRS AWARDS 2010 JUDGES

      Name Position Company
    1 Abby Jimenez CEO & Senior Consultant WOO Consultants
    2 Adolf Aran Founder F & H Events Specialist, Inc.
    3 Alfie Sy President Enjoy Philippines
    4 Anna Sobrepena Editor-in-Chief Lifestyle Asia
    5 Anton Diaz Food Blogger
    6 Archie Rodriguez Restaurateur Global Restaurant Concept Inc.
    7 Arlene Magtira Asst. VP – Citi Dining Privileges Citibank
    8 Audrey Carpio Editor-in-Chief Manila Magazine
    9 Bobby Horrigan General Manager Discovery Suites
    10 Boyet Sison Host Hardball on ANC
    11 Bruce Lim Host/Chef Tablescapes Asian Food Channel
    12 Cacay Moras Events Specialist  
    13 Carlos Celdran Celebrity Foodie  
    14 Cecile Zamora Van Straten Lifestyle Blogger
    15 Cheongyan See Head of Culinary Department Enderun Colleges
    16 Cheryl Arcibal Editor in Chief Entrepreneur Magazine
    17 Chinkee Clemente-Koppe Food Blogger / Proprietor One Big Bite / No. 38
    18 Chiqui Mabanta Restaurateur Corner Tree Café
    19 Christopher Lacson Foodie  
    20 CJ Juntereal Food Writer Manila Bulletin
    21 Claudine Trillo TV Host  
    22 Conrad Alcantara Restaurateur Pasto/Amber Ultra Lounge
    23 Cristina Metelmann Foodie  
    24 David Pardo de Ayala Executive Chef The Discovery Group
    25 Edna Diaz Wine Distributor Best World Beverages
    26 Edward Simon Photographer Mega Publishing
    27 Efren Vasquez Restaurateur/Chef Café Juanita
    28 Ferdi Salvador TV Host F.A.S.H.
    29 Francesca Zimmer Restaurant Consultant  
    30 Gigi Montinola President & CEO Bank of the Philippine Islands
    31 Ginny Garcia-Banaag Restaurateur La Regalade
    32 Gwen Carino President GJC Public Relations
    33 Izzy Warren-Gonzales Food Writer People Magazine
    34 Javier Infante President Enderun Colleges
    35 Jay Labrador Wine Distributor The Wine Steward
    36 Jessie Sinsioco Restaurateur/Chef Enchante, Chef Jessie
    37 JJ Yulo Freelance Food Writer  
    38 JM Rodriguez Channel Head Channel V
    39 John Lu Koa Restaurateur The French Baker
    40 John Suits Director Enderun Colleges
    41 Josh Tiu Restaurateur/Chef Zong
    42 Katrina Holigores former Editor-in-Chief Metro Magazine
    43 Katrina Khun-Alcantara Restaurateur/Chef Cuillere
    44 Kerwin Go Chef People’s Palace
    45 Kimmie Assad-Lamata Restaurateur Di’ Marks
    46 Koby Parcell Restaurateur Chocolate Fire
    47 Krip Yuson Novelist and Poet  
    48 Lara Parpan Editor-in-Chief Women’s Health Magazine
    49 Lexi Schulze TV Host Cityscapes on ANC
    50 Lori Baltazar Food Blogger
    51 Lorraine Timbol Editor-in-Chief Appetite Magazine
    52 Louie Ysmael Restauranteur/Nightlife Mogul Nu Vo
    53 Luis de Terry Restaurateur/Chef LU
    54 Luli Arroyo Celebrity Foodie  
    55 Manny Osmena Wine Distributor Manny O Wines
    56 Marco Rodriguez Freelance Food Writer  
    57 Marivic Diaz-Lim Restaurateur/Chef Apartment 1B
    58 Mark Jentes Director and Foodie PTFJ Ad Consult
    59 Maryanne Meilley Editor-in-Chief Dine Asia Magazine
    60 Menlou Bibonia Sr. VP & Head of Marketing San Miguel Brewery Inc.
    61 Michelle Pantoja Chef Fourth Street Kitchen
    62 Mike Toledo President Weber Shandwick
    63 Nancy Reyes-Lumen Editor-in-Chief Cook Magazine
    64 Nandy Villar Managing Director McCann Erickson Philippines
    65 Norbert Gandler Chef Aubergine
    66 Paco Magsaysay Foodie The Tuesday Dinner Group
    67 Paolo Nesi Restaurateur L’Opera
    68 Pat Montinola Phil. Sales & Marketing Asian Food Channel
    69 Pebbles Reyes Senior Affiliates Sales Manager Asian Food Channel
    70 Pepper Teehankee Lifestyle Columnist The Philippine Star
    71 Raymond Rufino Foodie The Net Group
    72 Roberto Pengson Restaurateur/Chef The Goose Station
    73 Rollie Fabie Restaurateur Mesa
    74 Rosario Lim Restaurateur Sugi
    75 Roxs Cailao Restaurateur/Chef Katre
    76 Ruffa Gutierrez Actress and Foodie  
    77 Sanju Golpadas Food Blogger Table for Three Please
    78 Sau del Rosario Restaurateur/Chef Le Bistro Verte
    79 Sergi Rostoll Restaurateur Barcino Gourmet
    80 Stephanie Zubiri Chef Modern Epicurean Kitchen
    81 Suzette Montinola Restaurateur/Chef La Cocina de Tita Moning
    82 Teddy Montelibano Food Writer  
    83 Tetta Tirona Founder Stram Events
    84 Thomas Wenger Executive Chef Restaurant 101, Enderun
    85 Tina Pamintuan Restaurateur/Chef L’Incontro
    86 Tippi Tambunting Chef Masseto
    87 Tricia Tensuan VP for Marketing Enderun Colleges
    88 Vanessa Conanan Sous Chef Exec Dining Room ADB
    89 Vanessa Fernando Foodie  
    90 Vanessa Vitrano Restaurateur Galileo Enoteca

    It is indeed awesome to be one of the judges for this award. 🙂  

    Live an Awesome Life,

    Call or Text Me: +63917 5683-627 (LOVE-OAP)
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    Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

    P.S. Wala bang best food blogger for next year?

    17 thoughts on “My Votes for Manila’s Best Kept Restaurant Secrets Awards 2010!

    1. I agree, Thai Silk is the best Thai resto for me in the metro. I was able to try the talked about Som’s a few weeks ago (where have I been haha) and I find it overrated. It’s ok and the price is very affordable, but not enough for a nomination for me.

    2. Chariya (along N. Garcia) is closed. Well, at least when I attempted to dine in twice and their establishment had no lights during the night. 🙁

    3. Thank you so much Anton. I feel very flattered.
      I think Benjarong should be one of the nominess for best Thai though. I just had dinner there and it was amazing.

    4. I think Murphy’s should win for best bar.
      You should check it out Anton especially on Tuesdays when the Pub Quiz competition is on going.

    5. I disagree with your choice for the best Thai restaurant. Maybe the ambiance might be better but the food is definitely diluted. If you have eaten real Thai food, this will not be your best choice. I think People’s Palace deserved a nomination. I am sorry but I don’t agree with Silk.
      I also don’t agree with your choice for best French Restaurant. Steak and fries do not represent French cuisine. Like, why…..? Oh well, I guess taste is very relative.
      I am glad that you have finally given Tau Yuan recognition. Miele, Tattler and other publications for the best restaurants have truly ignored this gem of a restaurant. They still serve the best Hainanese chicken in town, much better than Stevie’s that have been raved about in numerous blogs. Their other dishes are also superior.

    6. I think Som’s should not have been even nominated at all in the Thai category. The quality is so poor inspite of its obvious popularity.

    7. Hmmm. There’s something off-putting about the name of this award. Best kept restaurants? Tunog kept women. Did they mean “best kept secrets” or “best run” restaurants? Kasi yung nominees hindi naman best kept secrets eh. Everyone knows these restaurants already.

    8. Kristel, Chariya’s restaurant closed in N. Garcia because her brother who was the chef died unexpectedly of cancer. She still has a restaurant in the food court of 168.
      I agree currystrumpet, the title is a bit strange. I guess it is because it is by the authors of “Manila’s Best Kept Secrets”. None of the restaurants are any secret. The title of the book is extremely misleading. What the authors should have done was feature a recipe of a dish from the featured restaurant. That would have guaranteed sales of this coffee table book flying off the shelves instead of gathering dusty. Its a book of secrets with no secrets.

    9. I do not agree with Silk. Dined there a couple of times and the food just lacks the flavor and intensity that Thai cuisine is all about. Som’s is another joke of a thai restaurant. Ive lived in Ko Chang for a few years and these 2 restaurants does not deserve to be called authentic. If i had to pick, id choose Peoples Palace.

    10. Anton,
      It would be nice that you include Address and Contact info on your choices and also on future reviews. For many of us who enjoy your blog but is quite unfamiliar with Manila and its surroundings, its hard to find some of these places.

    11. @Alex and @currystrumpet Indeed most of the restaurants in the book are not “secrets” per se, in fact we have explained this quite a few times, that the “secrets” we uncovered are really the stories behind the restaurants and their owners, as well as their “secrets” to success. 🙂 We also chose not to place recipes as we didn’t want the book to be a cook book, and as well as intrigue our readers to go out there and discover the dishes the same way we did. 🙂 I hope this helps explain… 🙂
      We have re-checked on Chariya’s- thank you for the update- we’ll remove it from the nominees list.
      Cheers everyone and thank you Anton for your support 🙂

    12. Is there something disturbingly wrong with the categories or is it just me?:
      Best Chinese-Tao Yuan (Isn’t it more a Singaporean restaurant?)
      Best Central European-Mickey’s Deli? (What exactly is Central European cuisine and shouldn’t Mickey’s Deli be under a different category i.e. Best Deli maybe? thus the name Mickey’s Deli?)
      Best French Cuisine-L’Entrecote (Shouldn’t it be under best steakhouse? unless of course you judge your french cuisine by how well they make their steak frites…or is it because they serve french cheese… or maybe because the sauce they use is cafe de paris, in which case maybe it should fall under Swiss food?)
      I can pretty much go on and on about this but I just wish that the people who thought this up would take it more seriously, not just fit the restos into categories where they don’t exactly fit in just to give them token mention without recognizing their actual accomplishments.

    13. Agree with this.
      Where did you find these judges? Seriously.
      Just because it serves, in your opinion, the best Hainanese Chicken in town, coupled with it’s overpriced menu, doesn’t make it the best Chinese resto in town. I’d choose Summer Palace, or a few small restos in Chinatown, over Tao Yuan anyday.
      Already tried Enchante, wasn’t as good as it was during Le Souffle management. And to have 2 of her restos in the top 5, I wonder what were the criteria for judging. Chef fame?
      Of course Cafe Juanita won the best Filipino resto… You have a judge from Cafe Juanita…
      This is so funny: Kashmir – Voted as the Best Indian restaurant by Indians. I thought the judges were the ones judging?
      This is an insult to real foodies, I think it should be the MBKPRS Awards instead, Manila’s Best Kept Pricy Restaurant Secrets Awards

    14. I would just like to say this is worth reading, but not to be taken seriously. I sometimes abhor blogging because some of them give good reviews just because they get to eat free. How often do I witness this in new restaurants. So this award should be noted, but not necessarily believed. I kept a list of the nominated restaurants, and will try those I haven’t.. And for those I don’t like which are on the list (SOM’S, oh no….), I just deleted..

    15. I am bewildered & somewhat appalled by this restaurant competition. For example, why would they place Murphy’s Bar (which is more like a pub which btw has horrible & fake pub food) in the same category as The Establishment??? I think you have to spend a lot of time outside the PI and a lot of time (& money) at a lot of good & even bad restaurants to know good authentic food (from country to country). Having lived in the west & east coasts in the states, I think I have a pretty good idea of food & cultures. I have a library of over 500 cookbooks & consumed a lot of calories from many different eateries. What’s missing in PI is a prolific movement to promote high quality locally produced ingredients. I don’t see a strong & public relationship b/w chefs/cooks & growers, & yet the PI is highly agricultural. The only time I see Philippine cooking & produce shine is in its own cooking. Otherwise, only hotels tend to be consistent in their ingredients & cooking when you’re talking about quality. Having spent more than a month in Malaysia this year, & time in Singapore & Bangkok, I am more impressed with food scene there because of their appreciation for the quality of food they produce locally. What is obvious to me is that Filipinos tend to thrive on food trends than food quality which begins with how & where food is grown. Learning from the Italians, you don’t need to do much if you have great ingredients like a vine-ripened heirloom tomato. In the PI, I find ingredients are overcooked & overtreated or everything’s a stew. P.S. Don’t even try to open a Thai resto unless you can cook like the Thais. I won’t touch pad thai now locally after having the real thing in Bangkok. I can still have my Korean fix especially in Pampanga, Baguio & Cebu because Koreans know good Korean cooking & are very selective with their ingredients. My kids say that Bonchon chicken here is still inferior to Bonchon in NJ. Start with the people growing the food & the quality of food in PI will improve.

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