To P.F. Chang’s or Not to P.F. Chang’s in Manila?

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P.F. Chang’s, the popular American Chinese Restaurant of Philip Fleming and Philip Chiang, finally opened its first branch in Asia. With 200 restaurants across the US, and branches in Mexico, Puerto Rico, Kuwait and UAE, it also now calls Alabang home.

When you eat Chinese food in the US, your friends would probably take you to either P.F. Chang’s or Panda Express. (Check out my P.F. Chang’s experience in California.)

Its appearance in Manila caused quite a stir. A lot of people question whether or not an American Chinese restaurant concept will work here. 

We decided to celebrate Aidan’s 7th birthday there when P.F. Chang’s in Alabang opened its doors to the public recently. Here is a rundown of our P.F. Chang’s experience… 

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P.F. Chang’s Main MenuStarters, Soup, Salad | Chicken, Beef | Pork, Seafood | Noodles & Rice, Vegetarian, Kid’s Menu | Glutten Free Menu | Emperor’s Choice 

Dessert MenuPage 1Page 2Page 3

P.F. Chang’s is a modern Chinese bistro that offers MSG-free and gluten-free, made-to-order, Chinese comfort food. Its ambiance is pretty similar to other modern restos in Manila, except for its signature replica statues of the Chinese terracotta warriors and horses.

The restaurant is also known for its highly-trained staff who can help you navigate through the menu and provide sharp recommendations.

(Tip: The American trainers are still here in Manila; try your best to order from them. The local waiters do not seem to know the menu yet and tend to answer everything is good.)

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Drinks MenuP.F. Chang’s Specialty Cocktails | Red Wines | Sparkling & White Wines | Beverages

The bar is located at the center and enjoys a comfortable, high-ceiling breathing space.
The dining areas, on the other hand, are a bit cramped and seem to exude this “dark bar” ambiance at night (not ideal for kids).

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There’s only one private function room in the corner. Reserve this room for your private events.

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The second floor is better lit than the dining area on the first floor and has a more romantic ambiance — although it can get packed.

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You can also dine in this space overlooking the floor below if you want a relatively more private table.

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It has a nice view of the first floor.

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Our birthday boy, Aidan, was able to meet Philip Chiang, one of the founders of P.F. Chang’s, who flew all the way to Manila to open their first Asian store.

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Wonton Soup (P350). Pork wontons, mushrooms, fresh spinach, water chestnuts, chicken and shrimp in our savory chicken broth. Made to order.

We started with the wonton soup, which is good for sharing and recommended for the kids.

I think you can get better Wonton Soup in Peking Garden.

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Chang’s Chicken Lettuce Wraps (P285). Our signature appetizer. Wok-seared minced chicken, mushrooms, green onions, and water chestnuts served over crispy rice sticks and with cool, crisp lettuce cups.

The waiters highly recommended this as a starter.

It tasted good with the signature sauce, but it’s nothing special in a Manila setting. The duck lettuce wraps in other Chinese restos would beat this anytime.

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One thing I noticed is that the food here in P.F. Chang’s Manila has stronger flavors than in the US.

You don’t even need to add their signature sauce of honey mustard with soy sauce and a bit of chili. Anyway, if you’re already there, you might as well try their sauces when you visit.

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★ Dynamite Shrimp (P295). Crispy shrimp tossed in a zesty sauce and served over lettuce in a martini glass.

I loved these chili shrimps, which had the right amount of sauce. Perfect appetizer or bar chow.

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Crispy Green Beans (P175). Fresh green beans, lightly battered and served crispy with a spicy, tangy dipping sauce.

Our waiter recommended this; he said it was good for kids.

The fried green beans were a letdown and the sauce was spicy, so the kids didn’t like it at all. We don’t recommend it.

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★ Seared Ahi Tuna (P385). Sushi grade ahi tuna, served chilled with spices, mustard vinaigrette and fresh mixed greens.

The ahi tuna was seared perfectly and we loved the sweet mustard vinaigrette that accompanied it. Good to share with 3-4 people.

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Tito Spanx celebrated Aidan’s birthday with us. He was raving about P.F. Chang’s food. 🙂

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★ Shrimp with Candied Walnuts (P795). Tender shrimp tossed in a creamy sauce with candied walnuts and honeydew melon.

I liked these creamy shrimps, but you have to eat it with the sweet walnut and honeydew for a balanced and complete flavor experience. A bit expensive though, but worth it.

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Kung Pao Chicken (P365). Chicken breast stir-fried with peanuts, chili peppers and scallions.

Most of the good food in P.F. Chang’s are spicy and, unfortunately, not recommended for kids. This is one of their signature dishes, but it’s common here in Manila.

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★ Oolong-Marinated Chilean Sea Bass (P1,115). Steeped in Oolong tea, broiled and served with sweet ginger soy and spinach.

We loved this creamy sea bass on a bed of healthy vegetables. Highly recommended for the healthy eaters and those looking for a different take on sea bass.

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★ Wok-Seared Lamb (P950). Marinated lamb with scallions and sesame, served with cilantro over shredded lettuce.

This came highly recommended.

The roasted sesame taste of the lamb was actually quite enjoyable. I couldn’t get enough of it! (You can opt to have rice to go with this dish.)

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My high school friend Demie Torres recommends the Northern Style Spare Ribs. 🙂

What are your favorite dishes in P.F. Chang’s?

and now, on to dessert…

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Great Wall of Chocolate (P395). Six rich layers of frosted chocolate cake topped with semi-sweet chocolate chips, served with fresh strawberry and raspberry sauce.

I’m not impressed with dessert that is all presentation but does not deliver on taste. We have better chocolate and dessert options here in the metro.

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★ Mango Cheese Wontons (P150). Mango and cream cheese in a wonton wrapper. Fried to a golden brown and served with chocolate sauce.

If you are looking for a unique dessert or just want the right sweet ending, try these wontons filled with sweet cheese and mango.

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Ninong Spanx and Raphael enjoyed the night at P.F. Chang’s.

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Overall, most of the spicy (Hunan-inspired) food were really good, and you’ll be safe with ordering the best sellers. However, it has to improve its service to make the P.F. Chang’s Manila experience a memorable one for its diners.

Time will tell if it will be a big success or be seen just as an overpriced American Chinese restaurant.

P.F. Chang’s China Bistro
The Street, Alabang Town Center, Muntinlupa
Operating Hours
Monday – Thursdays: 11.00am to 11.00pm
Friday – Saturdays: 11.00am to 1.00am
Sunday: 11.00am to 11.00pm

Telephone: +632 687 5611 to 16
FacebookP.F. Chang’s Philippines
Twitter:  @PFChangsPH

Live an Awesome Life,

Contact me: a iphone

Full Disclosure: The Ultimate Philippines brothers (with Spanx, Ivan Henares and Ivan Man Dy) were invited to meet Mr. Philip Chiang on the public opening of P.F. Chang’s in Manila. They gave us a birthday treat for Aidan’s 7th birthday. 🙂

P.S. It’s not that kid-friendly — staff is not trained to handle children and the restaurant gets this “dark bar” ambiance at night. If you are dining with kids, it would be better to eat there during lunchtime (or wait for a little while before trying this resto if you don’t want to be frustrated).

One more thing… I’m not a fan of restos that make people wait outside even if they have reservations; the place can accommodate 200 people, so is that just their way of giving the impression that there are a lot of customers waiting?

22 thoughts on “To P.F. Chang’s or Not to P.F. Chang’s in Manila?

  1. I’ve been to one in the Sacramento area. It’s definitely not a restaurant I’d go back to. I’d rather go to to my inexpensive unpretentious San Francisco neighborhood chinese restaurant. Keyword: pretentious.

  2. the whole craze with pf changs in the philippines is like…
    a whole mob of people WANTING and WAITING IN LINE to eat a filipino meal at max’s in the US.
    it just doesn’t make sense.
    the whole concept of a jewish dude creating a chinese restaurant, blows my mind, yet every person who does not know chinese food loves pf changs!
    stop wasting your money!

  3. I realize that i’ve been a fan of your blog for 7 years already, coz the first few blogs i read was when he was born!! haha so much fun =)

  4. I realized that i’ve been a fan of your blog for 7 years already, coz the first few blogs i read was when he was born!! haha so much fun =)

  5. Very steep price. No doubt about it, I like their signature dishes but its just overpriced. From the looks of it, the serving is not that good. I think if panda express will open here (I am hoping) i’ll just go there.

  6. Food are not memorable, considering its prices it’s over hyped. It’s not surprising why such a popular western chinese restaurant finally only having its first asian branch, i’ve tasted far better variant of its dishes in local chinese restaurant at far cheaper prices.

  7. Hmmm.. after giving it some thought, they really might be on an uphill climb to gain a certain market. They are, after all, an American based company serving their version of Asian food in a region that has a greater Asian influence than them.
    Maybe their bistro-like experience will be patronized by a more high-end cosmopolitan clientele 🙂

  8. The food and place is great. Though with plenty of cheaper and local alternatives its got competition. I think people will go back for the service and the location. Not the food. The food is just the afterthought.

  9. Tried this restaurant in Oakland. It’s good if you’re celebrating or if you have money to blow. But overall I’d prefer Panda Express to open here =)

  10. From the looks of it I’d rather go to Binondo for my Chinese food fix. This may work in other countries but it definitely gets clobbered in this part of the world. Anton is Pinoy and he doesn’t like it much based on his descriptions. I’m Chinoy and I’ve been to SG, HK, Taiwan and China and I’m definitely not going to let my mouth near any of the food there.

  11. Superb photos!
    We used to order out from PF Changs when we need a Chinese food fix and we cannot drive for an hour to our favorite Chinese food place. The soup is good, the lettuce wrap is good… the food is not greasy. They have become more expensive though. I’m surprised that PF Changs entered the Philippine scene. I don’t know if it’s worth a night out place for me. I have the PF Changs loyalty reward card but I rarely use it these days.

  12. Hi Anton! I have a gradeschooler too and so I’m on the lookout for kid-friendly restos. Just curious, is the PF Chang in Calif kid-friendly? Because I’m wondering why the local branch offered a birthday treat for your son? Your photos showed the place is geared towards the adult clientele.

  13. I dont think its worth it to try this chinese resto. I dont see any special about there food just a bit of modern twist maybe.
    Like what other people said above, i rather go to some chinese resto that also serve msg free food and reasonable price.
    I suggest you try Golden Leaf in Quezon city.

  14. Place and ambiance is nice in PF Changs but I’d rather eat in Luk Foo next time…Great food, reasonable price. Thanks Anton!

  15. people, pf changs is not an authentic restaurant but rather more of a fusion chinese, so don’t expect it to be 100% chinese or even compare it to authentic chinese food. read again, their dishes are inspired by chinese cuisine but not completely as the cuisine itself. just my two cents

  16. My siblings and I ate at PF Changs in the Philippines. Given that its quite a famous restaurant worldwide, we were looking forward to satisfying our taste buds. I ordered Beef La Sichuan (for 2 persons) for 355 pesos. What I got was a measly dish that could not even satisfy one person. The beef was about 20 or 25 grams so puny, and tasted exactly like beef jerky that you can buy off the shelf in hongkong souvenir shops. The beef jerky was meticulously tangled up in a mix of vegetables and drizzled with sauce in a feeble attempt to mask its inadequateness. It really was more like a starter salad than a grown man’s meal. Only I like my salad fresh, not with processed beef jerky. For that price, well you won’t expect me to come back anytime soon.

  17. Ate in atc and they served us raw dimsum! They forgot to cook it! Customer service is very poor. Staff are very young like teenagers.

  18. this restaurant is overrated. We have this restaurant here in NY and didn’t like it. We came here twice to give it a second chance. Of all 8 dishes,we ordered ,only one dish was good.

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