Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and you’re probably already thinking about where to celebrate love with your special someone. If you want to move away from the traditional romantic but pricy restaurants, then you’ll appreciate this list of 10 great (and quirky) alternatives for sure fun that won’t be too heavy on your wallet.
Say "Parcheesi~!" Snacks and Ladders' take on a grilled cheese sandwich will let you experience soft, fluffly and melting cheesy goodness in a golden-crusted sandwich.
Located at the famous foodie strip of Maginhawa Street, Snacks and Ladders is the place to be if you’re up for board games while having snacks or even rice bowls and pasta. The food on the menu, which mostly serve more than two people, have witty names such as Battle Chips (potato chips with dip, Php59), Bluffalo Wings (six buffalo wings, Php159), Jenga Cheesticks (arranged just like Jenga, Php129), Pine-chilli Chickmate (pineapple chili chicken with rice, Php139) and But wait! There’s Smores (six turon, chilli choco sauce, whipped cream, ice cream, Php159). They also have a private room for karaoke, as well as a large chess set that can entertain people outside. If you want an unlimited time of playing all of their games, just pay a gaming fee of Php50.
Schedule: Tuesday to Thursday, 3–11 PM; Friday to Sunday, 3 PM–12 MN
Contact number: +632 710-3128
Caution Hot! excites spicy-food enthusiasts with a number of warnings at their shop such as the 'Hot noodles zone' written on a board outside the restaurant. (Photo from zomato.com/mmsalonga)
With its name alone, consider yourself warned. This Chinese noodle house at the corner of Magiting and Maginhawa Streets is not kidding when it comes to the spiciness of their noodles. Good news though, because this noodle joint lets you customize your noodles. From Php175 to Php275 per bowl (which are big enough to share), you can choose your toppings, broth, type of noodles, and degree of “burn” ranging from first degree to “ultimate burn.” You can also opt to make your drinks such as soya or iced tea unlimited for Php70 and Php60, respectively.
Schedule: Sunday to Thursday, 11 AM–11 PM; Friday and Saturday, 11 AM–12 MN
Contact number: +632 514-7235
Bengal Brew Cafe located in Quezon City is divided into two: the play area, where you can interact with the bengal cats while you dine; the cafe area, where you can dine while enjoying the cats from afar. (Photo from Benga Brew FB page)
The world’s first-ever cat café to feature Bengal cats can be found in Manhattan Garden City, Araneta Center, Quezon City. There are over 10 Bengal cats that you can play and interact with while you dine inside the play area resembling a tropical rainforest. For only Php350 per person, not only can you play with and feed the exotic breed of cats, but you can also enjoy a drink and meal of your choice from the menu. If you prefer to just watch the cats, you can simply pay for your food and sit outside the play area. Food choices are pasta, pizza, cakes, and pastries, which are served on a plate with a dome cover. Drinks served on a Bengal-themed personalized tumbler range from Php50 to Php150.
Schedule: Monday to Thursday, 3–10 PM; Friday and Saturday, 2–11 PM; Sunday, 2–10 PM
Contact number: +632 246-9069 local 182
Pan de Amerikana's facade that features an upside-down house that always catch the interest of those travelling along Katipunan, Quezon City. (Photo from Pan de Amerikana FB page)
Have you always wondered what that upside-down house is whenever you pass through Katipunan, Quezon City? Named Pan de Amerikana, it’s a bakery-cum-restaurant that’s considered the first and only upside-down restaurant in Southeast Asia. Its eye-catching façade obscures a funky interior that’s upside-down, too. The bakery proudly offers pandesal that’s made just as they were in the 1950s. Not only that, their restaurant boasts of signature Filipino dishes, dessert, pasta, and snacks at an affordable price. For no more than Php700, you can each enjoy your choice of appetizers, meats and rice, vegetables, desserts, and drinks in an artsy and cozy ambiance.
Schedule: Monday to Sunday, 7 AM–9 PM
Contact number: +632 442-5601
Only a few of Sodam's wide array of Korean buffet dishes that can be enjoyed by families and groups of friends who are up for something Asian. (Photo from Sodam FB page)
If you want eat-all-you-can Korean dishes and unlimited meat for grilling, try Sodam Korean Restaurant located at P. Guevarra, San Juan City. For only Php299 (weekday lunch) or Php329 (weekday dinner and weekend meals) per person, you can eat and cook to your heart’s content. Grill your meat and refill your plate with food from the rows of delectable Korean dishes as many times as you want. The owner herself usually takes care of the customers and replenishes the dishes. As the place is usually packed, it’s better to call in to reserve a table.
Schedule: Everyday; Lunch, 11:30 AM–2:30 PM; Dinner 6–10 PM
Contact number: +632 246-9069 local 264
LeMiel Café's pink-themed deco that goes perfect with their delicious pastries and drinks. (Photo from LeMiel FB page)
A café with pretty pastel-colored interiors, delightful desserts, and tasty drinks can be found in Greenfield District, Mandaluyong City. Owned by a couple who sometimes mans the counter, LeMiel Café lets you delight in your sweet dessert in peace; it has a relaxing atmosphere where you and your special someone can enjoy a chat. Try their Gateau Fudge Chocolat cake: it’s 100% pure Belgian chocolate, gluten-free and 100% flourless for only Php150 a slice. They also offer Bingsu, Korea’s version of halo-halo, which you and your date can share.
Schedule: Monday to Thursday, 11 AM–12 MN; Friday, 11–2 AM; Saturday, 2 PM–2 AM; Sunday, 2 PM–12 MN
Contact numbers: +632 941-7833 and +63 927-543-8863
Blake's Wings and Steaks will definitely satisfy your cravings for savoury and deep-fried chicken wings and steaks. (Photo from Blake's Wings and Steaks FB page)
For your fix of battered, deep-fried, and flavored chicken wings with dip, try Blake’s Wings & Steaks located along Gil Fernando Avenue, Marikina City. For only Php195, you get half a kilo of your chosen flavor—that’s 10 to 12 pieces of wings. For a kilo of flavored wings, it’s Php375 for 20 to 24 wings. Their steaks are also a hit; ranging from Php190 to Php270, you can choose the flavor of your steak, as well as its gravy. Steaks are served with mashed potato and buttered mixed veggies. The place is air-conditioned but you can dine at the third floor to experience al fresco dining.
Schedule: Sunday to Thursday, 11 AM–10 PM; Friday and Saturday, 11 AM–11 PM
Contact numbers: +632 632-7190 and +63 906-904-4919
Get your breakfast fix any time of the day at Brinner, where morning meals can be for dinner. (Photo from Brinner FB page)
Are you both breakfast meal enthusiasts? Then head over to Brinner, where you can eat breakfast for dinner. Located at at the corner of Piy Margal and M. Dela Fuente in Sampaloc, Manila, you can choose among their selection of breakfast items. There are Filipino and Western breakfast choices such as tapa, longganisa, daing na bangus, French toast, waffle, Spam, nuggets, and champorado. You can customize your breakfast meal or you can choose from their combos (Php95) that are already served with two eggs, garlic rice, pesto salsa, and a glass of their house blend iced tea. For a more unique experience, try their breakfast-in-a-jar for only Php65. Desserts and sandwiches are also on their menu.
Schedule: Monday to Saturday, 11 AM–12 MN
Contact number: +632 246-9069 local 159
Pomodoro Pizza has recently expanded their space to accomodate more people wanting to get a taste of Italy worth their every cent. (Photo from Pomodoro Pizza FB page)
Feel like going Italian? Pomodoro Pizza at San Rafael corner Sta. Rosa Streets, Kapitolyo, Pasig City, has you covered. They serve gourmet pizza and pasta at an affordable price. You may have your pasta with red sauce such as their take on Seafood Marinara (Php132); oil-based like Aglio Olio with shrimp (Php99); or white sauce like Fusilli Al Tonno (Tuna Fusilli, Php129). Their gourmet pizza cooked in a brick oven can be bought in two sizes: 10 inches (Php139–199) and 12 inches (Php 169–249) and has flavors such as Margherita, Il Cacio, Napoletana, Gamberetto, and Il Pollo.
Schedule: Monday to Sunday, 12 NN–12 MN
Contact number: +63 916-697-4992
A haven for those who have a sweet tooth, where they can choose any sweet treat among the huge variety of desserts for as many times as they want. (Photo from Love Desserts FB page)
Do you and your date both have a sweet tooth? Then Love Desserts in Banawe, Quezon City, is perfect for you! For only Php199, you get to eat as many desserts as you can from their wide array of cakes, ice cream, and pastries prepared for a limited time. If you’re not up for the buffet, you can just buy samplers of their desserts. To break away from the sweetness, you can buy sandwiches and even rice meals. And this coming Valentine’s Day, you can avail of their dessert buffet for only Php143.
Schedule: Monday to Sunday, 11 AM–11 PM
Contact number: +632 246-9069 local 178
If the both of you are up for a food crawl to celebrate Valentines, here are five foodie streets in Metro Manila that you can visit.