After months of quarantine and restaurant deliveries, we were able to eat out finally at Friday’s BGC for our first dine-in experience after the Manila lockdown. We had second thoughts about going out and dining in because we were always wondering: is it finally safe to dine out in Manila’s restaurants after the community quarantine? First Things First Bonifacio High Street in BGC is probably the best place to go because of its open air mall setup and the safety protocols they adopted including the one-way flow of foot traffic. We missed Friday’s of The Bistro Group! I’m glad that the safety protocols are in place, ready for guests on June 15 from 11.00 am to 8.00 pm following the 30% capacity mandate.
Pass the Safety Protocols Make sure you don’t have a cough or high fever for the safety of all diners. Do clean your shoes with the foot bath as you enter the resto. You have to fill up a dine-in customer health checklist online or their survey sheet.
Choose the Safe Spots The best place to dine in—the combination of al fresco setup with social distancing. Choose a corner away from the aircon airflow and a table with proper acrylic barriers. Friday’s BGC has a high ceiling equipped with proper ventilation and exhaust. Notice the alternate seating and you can only seat in the green zone with no person in front of you. If you are dining as a group for a celebration, get a cluster of tables near each other. If you are on a date, the booth tables are perfect for two!
Order Contactless Order contactless by scanning the QR code or request for a single-use paper menu. Remember your table number, the number of people dining and, of course, your budget. There’s an option to avail of disposable plates and bottled water, but I suggest you bring your own utensils and water bottle for your safety and peace of mind.
Eat Properly with the Mask On/Off The kitchen team and service team are all geared up to ensure a safe dining experience. You’ll have a new appreciation for the quality of the food, the presentation which you can’t recreate at home and how they take extra steps to prepare it safely for consumption. So once the food is ready to be eaten, you can safely remove your mask to take a bite. Pro tip: Bring a container for your mask. Make sure to talk less while eating with your mask off. Dining in was a wonderful privilege that we won’t take for granted ever again. Note: Be kind to the restaurant specially when the food does not taste the way you remember it because usually the kitchen does not taste it because of safety protocols. It was an emotional experience dining in for the first time and eating the food you craved for during the quarantine like Friday’s Baby Back ribs paired with an ice-cold beer. Make sure: When ordering bottled drinks like beer, make sure they open it in front of you. Take your time to enjoy the experience and end it with coffee and desserts. Pro-tip: Don’t eat too much because it is harder to breath under the mask after.
Final Thoughts YES, it is safe to dine-in but choose the restaurants that follow the strict safety protocols mandated by DTI and those that go above and beyond the requirements. It is much safer than going to a botica or doing your grocery in the supermarket. I loved that there was no crowd, a booth table for your date and a more intimate private restaurant experience. Make sure that you are healthy and don’t even dare to cough (or else). To minimize risk of exposure, go during the first hour they open when the entire place is properly sanitized or go on a Sunday when there are less crowds. Finally, still stay at home don’t go out intentionally for leisure dining — only when necessary. Thank you to all the restaurateurs, service teams and suppliers for making safe dining experiences happen. You deserve all our support. Good luck to the whole restaurant industry. Stay Healthy; Stay strong and be safe! Live an Awesome Life, Founder, Our Awesome Planet Disclosure: We attended the mock service run at Friday’s BGC. I wrote this article with my biases, opinions and insights. P.S. The most critical part of the dine-in experience is the restroom visit. Make sure the restaurant follows the one guest in the restroom policy. Make sure to go on a restroom break before going to the resto.