Vogue Philippines editors give their favorite al fresco dining options.
Like many highly urbanized areas, especially in hot weather, most of our commercial spaces tend to keep us confined inside—with controlled low thermostats, no less. However, over the past couple of years, restaurants and diners alike learned to embrace outdoor dining. Whether heading to a fancy date night or catching up with friends, outdoor seating has become prime dining real estate (and the world seems to share the same sentiment). For an idea of some of the chicest and most delectable outdoor dining options, we asked a few Vogue Philippines editors to share their favorites.
If there’s one thing Blackbird will keep you coming back for—besides their grill menu, that is—it’s the ambiance. The structure, which sits on Ayala Triangle across The Peninsula Manila, was once a pre-World War II aviation tower. These are the remnants of Nielson Airport, which pre-dated the Villamor Airbase when Makati was nothing but fields and farmlands. Now, it lends its historical charm to the restaurant, making guests feel like they’re dining in the quaint countryside rather than the central business district.
“Blackbird not only serves amazing food—their slate of Asian dishes are particularly excellent—but it’s also a great place to people watch. Depending on the time of day, you can witness everything from business deals to impromptu birthday celebrations, and even a proposal or two. It’s a place people dress up for and is frequented by interesting individuals who have every intention to share stories and perhaps spill some gossip over their cocktails.” – Trina Epilepsia Boutain, Digital Editor
Owned by Jaderani and Sarada Santos, the two sisters dreamt up the concept of Green Bar in Legazpi Village, Makati, to fulfill their desire for healthy and delicious vegan food. Their ethos has always been that food that’s good for you doesn’t have to look like a salad.
“[Green Bar’s] al fresco area is just a few tables sectioned off on the street, but I enjoy watching people come in, wondering if they’re hardcore vegans, plant-based curious, or just there for the killer donuts. I’ve attended a birthday party there and it surprised me how quickly the place can transform from a casual brunch-y spot to a fun yet safe night out with the right Spotify playlist and a lot of G&Ts.” – Audrey Carpio, Features Editor
Located right at the entrance of The Alley at Karrivin, along Chino Roces, Chef Jordy Navarra’s Toyo has been ranked as one of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants for three consecutive years. Toyo serves traditional Filipino flavors elevated to fine dining. They offer a six-course tasting menu, a three-course option, and a la carte dishes.
“[The] food at Toyo never fails to impress and the outdoor seating area always has the right mood. Chef Jordy presents Filipino food in an inventive and exciting way that you always want to go back for seconds. At Toyo, I love how familiar flavors are reconstructed and offer a sense of rediscovery.” – Pam Quinones, Fashion Director
Mendokoro Ramenba and Marudori
Owned by restaurateur Ryan Cruz, both Mendokoro Ramenba and Marudori, its newly-opened sister establishment, take ramen seriously. Mendokoro’s broth is stirred for 14 hours to achieve the rich, deep flavor it’s known for. And its Salcedo Village branch in Makati is a particular favorite for its location on a quiet street, with outdoor seating. Meanwhile, Marudori serves bowls of chicken-based ramen broth at Eight Rockwell.
“One of our fundamental comfort foods is a steaming bowl of ramen. And our favorite ramen restaurant Mendokoro, opened their sister shop, Marudori in Eight Rockwell during the pandemic—and thankfully offered outdoor dining. The difference between the two is that while Mendokoro’s ramen is tonkotsu (pork-bone) based, Marudori’s is chicken paitan. Our favorites include the Tori Momo and the Yuzu Tsukemen—debased halfway through with vinegar so we end tart and bright as oppose to thick and heavy. Mendokoro in Salcedo followed suit with outside tables and now we shuffle between both. Our favorite? Hands down the Hiyashi Tantanmen: cold noodles in a creamy [and] nutty soup with spicy pork.” – Daryl Chang, Fashion Editor