As we settle into the new year, the time has come to celebrate the vibrant local restaurant scene once again with T.Dining Best Restaurants Guide. This particular list recognises the top 20 of the 173 entries that make up the entire 2019 roster. The Top 20 Restaurants represent a wide range of cuisines, covering a varied array of tastes. Scroll through to see Top 20 Restaurants of 2019 (arranged alphabetically):

1. Bar Pintxos

This popular watering hole is a go-to for many reasons. The food, first and foremost, is spectacular. Take your pick from the traditional mouth-watering Basque pintxos, as well as those with a modern twist—from the foie gras with apple compote to the salmon and truffle honey combo. Quality stands strong at the restaurant’s core as they do not cut any corners, ensuring its dishes are made of the freshest ingredients. The libations on offer are also noteworthy such as the lengthy list of gins to pick from along with top-notch cocktails to complement your Basque experience. This no-frills, laid-back restaurant is ideal for a get-together with friends or for unwinding after a long day at work.

2. Benjarong Royal Thai

The beautifully revamped restaurant in Dusit Thani Manila reclaims its place as a Thai culinary haven. Appetisers like fresh spring rolls and cooling salads take first timers on a crash course of the bold flavours and unexpected textures Thai food is known for. Ideal for sharing are a selection of curries, stir-fries, and other authentic Thai specialities. Laced in a medley of spices, the dishes are packed with familiar Southeast Asian ingredients like coconut, lemongrass, basil, and coriander. Diners will take pleasure in the daring cocktails like the tequila-based One Night in Bangkok and the Tom Kha Gai—a vodka coconut concoction that pays homage to the renowned soup—from the bar. While Benjarong progressively rethinks what Thai culture has to offer to a global audience, its kitchen still celebrates Thailand’s rich culinary heritage.

3. Blackbird

Situated on pre-war aviation headquarters, the Nielson Tower has been converted into a coveted dining space and experience in the heart of Makati City. Visitors are greeted with an art deco bar offering signature cocktails, one of which owing to its history, the Blackbird Aviation, an aeronautical take on the classic martini. Inside, the dining area features a sleek, black-and-white motif. Outside, there is the option to dine in the garden, where one can find a hushed peace in the busy metro. From European classics like Italian pizzas to Asian specialities such as lamb rendang, each dish on the East meets West menu was geniously curated by the acclaimed chef and owner Colin Mackay. This beautiful balance is a nod to Blackbird’s understanding of contemporary fine dining.

4. Bondi & Bourke

Combining the best of what Australian cuisine has to offer, Bondi & Bourke in Davao captivates guests from all over the country with its no-fuss interpretation of sophisticated comfort food. Located in a cool and edgy boutique hotel the scene is set for every show-stopping meal co-created by the chefs Wade Watson and Patrick McCarthy. From hefty meats like grilled kebabs to cuts of steak cooked to each customer’s preference, the menu also offers fresh ways to enjoy seafood and twists on beloved tipples. On top of that, Bondi & Bourke simply does a surf and turf like no other. Taking its cues from the culinary culture from down under, this restaurant is all about straightforward gratification and excellent food done right, every single time.

5. Canton Road

Shangri-La at The Fort’s fine dining Chinese restaurant boasts renditions of traditional Cantonese food, while paying homage to the rich regional cuisine of Huaiyang. Elegantly and carefully plated, each dish is layered and infused with delicate flavours that are authentic to its heritage. The knowledge behind as well as the refined elements of each menu item is a nod to each of the resident regional chefs’ talents. Adding to the experience is the spacious dining area, which is decorated with warm tones and features plush seating, floor-to-ceiling windows, and mirrored walls—all of which evoke a modern, oriental feel.

6. China Blue by Jereme Leung

As you step into the high-ceilinged dining room of China Blue, you will notice the gorgeous, intricate details of the walls, cushions, and tablescapes in dark brown, gold, and blue tones. Innovative interpretations of classic Chinese cooking is meticulously crafted and artfully prepared by a team of skilled chefs under the guidance of the famed chef, Jereme Leung. Here, diners feast upon non-traditional dishes that are rooted in classic Chinese cuisines and infused with a refreshing, contemporary twist. Masterful cookery served within a stunning space and its impeccable service is what sets this fine dining gem apart.

7. Cru Steakhouse

An oldie but a goodie, this venerated steakhouse takes pride in preparing and grilling their world-class selection of steaks; the dry-aged meats are meticulously monitored and quality is of utmost importance here. Like a well-oiled machine, Cru ensures that every single diner is treated to an unforgettable dining experience, from perfected start to finish. Elegant and sophisticated, the modern interiors bathed in sultry red hues complement the state-of-the-art open kitchen where one can watch the well-trained staff dance through lunch and dinner service. The cellar also houses some of the world’s finest pours so be ready to splurge on a bottle and indulge!

8. Donosti

Here, in the inviting and soothing space of Donosti, accented with warm-toned wood panelling and ambient lighting, one’s senses are certainly in for a treat. Its name rooted in the noun, Donostia, the Basque word for the foodie paradise that is San Sebastián, the restaurant has crafted an authentic menu of beloved dishes featuring ingredients native to Spain. Whether you are sitting at the bar beneath the chalk boards covered with specials and all-time favourites, or at one of the tables in the well-appointed main dining area, the warm hospitality and the intimate ambience beg you to return. From housemade sausages to classic fideua, Josper-grilled chuleton and an impressive range of wines and spirits—one will never run out of reasons to come back.

9. Finestra

A high-ceilinged space with natural light streaming in from the floor-to-ceiling windows, its gold decal, marble detailing and kitchen countertop as well as plush seating set the elegant tone. With a deep passion for the cuisine and Italian-style family dining, Finestra’s chef Alan Marchetti, proudly puts forth a menu that is both daring and classic. Diners are spoilt for choice with steaks and seafood prepared with fresh ingredients that are frequently flown in to ensure the quality of the dishes served. Add to that their flavourful pizzas, classic pastas, and fine cheeses. Beyond the gorgeous aesthetics, there are many delicious reasons why patrons keep coming back to this Italian restaurant, Solaire Resort & Casino truly has something to be proud of.

10. FOO’D by Davide Oldani

Acclaimed chef, Davide Oldani, has always had the desire to make top-shelf, quality food more available to diners worldwide. Here in Manila, he achieved just that through FOO’D by Davide Oldani, which highlights luxurious Italian-inspired cuisine in an ambient, dimly-lit black and white space with well-spaced tables draped in starched linens. Every single item on the menu can be customised to your liking thus rendering a dining experience that is uniquely yours. Treat yourself to either of the restaurant’s three- or four-course set menus, all of which showcase Oldani’s stellar talent and flair in the kitchen.

11. Gallery by Chele

Innovative to say the least, chef Chele González, together with chef Carlos Villaflor, have outdone themselves with Gallery by Chele, the revamped version of what was formerly Gallery VASK. The essentialist menu highlights the beauty, power, and spirit of the Philippines, featuring creations influenced by a variety of cultures and cuisines all tied together through the use of locally-sourced ingredients. Chele’s passion for this country shines through such interpretations and he proves to loyal punters and critics alike that world-class dishes can be developed with what we have here at home. The restaurant’s interiors by Kenneth Cobonpue feature contemporary wooden designs all throughout from the the walls to tables, and even the bar. The warm tones are soothing and welcoming—a good complement to the non-stop action from the open kitchen where its young talents shine bright as well.

12. Kyo-To

Understated, subtle, clean, and with excellent execution-- Kyo-To's classic kaiseki experience is definitely a memorable one. The culinary powerhouse that is chef Ryohei Kawamoto takes pride in sophisticated simplicity and perfection. At Kyo-To, diners are treated to a minimum of five delightful courses showcasing prime seasonal ingredients prepared by chef Kawamoto himself. Serene, minimalist interiors designed by Shoji Mizonkami allow diners to focus on the exquisite meal, wherein each dish is treated like a work of art, be it for the impressive cookery or presentation. This culinary journey is one that you are sure to relish and return for, time and again.

13. M Dining + Bar

Cosy, intimate, dimly-lit, and with a delicious bill of fare to boot—what more can you ask for? Sit back and unwind with a glass of wine from the extensive list and savour favourites such as the bottarga pasta, chorizo puffs or cheese crisps, or any of the latest and exciting additions to the menu like the cotichino (crispy jamón and onion crisps with a fluffy mashed polenta), the vongole or the grilled fish in lemon oil. The chef Tom Bascon’s sophisticated palate resonates in every dish, and the scrumptious continental cuisine is only further elevated by M Dining’s charming ambience. Comprising the private dining room, main dining area, and Bar M, diners will find an inviting space for every dining need or mood, with its homey interiors accentuated by red and woody tones. With such a winning formula, M Dining is and will remain a staple in the Manila F&B scene.

14. Man Ho

Classic Cantonese fare can be found at Marriott Hotel Manila’s signature restaurant where its chefs take pride in creating the finest traditional specialities. If you are craving for those distinct flavours and textures from your last trip to China, then make your way to this fine dining establishment. Sautéed lobster with supreme sauce or steamed pink grouper in light soy sauce are just a couple of the noteworthy chef recommendations here. High-ceilinged and with playful texture combinations and Chinese influences, the eyes are continuously moving. The muted earthy colour palette, meanwhile, evokes a calmness within a contemporary perspective.

15. Mirèio

Commanding a panoramic view of the Makati skyline is Raffles Makati’s charmingly arresting restaurant, Mirèio. From fresh flowers to velvet art deco furniture, the striking brasserie paints a picture of idyllic visits to sunny southern France. The vibrantly designed open kitchen focuses on hearty Provençal-style heirloom recipes passed on through the generations and passionately prepared by chef Anne-Cecile Degenne using top-tier ingredients. An elegant twist on the catch-of-the-day is the Palawan red mullet stuffed with fragrant rice and citrus spices. Poultry and beef are minimally seasoned and served next to simple sides to bring out the meats’ intrinsic flavours. Indulge in their curated desserts topped with winter berries or summer peaches, offset by dark chocolate and a helping of liquored creams.

16. The Pig and Palm

Jason Atherton, a British chef who has garnered much attention by earning Michelin stars for his restaurants in London, is the man behind the conceptualisation and crafting of the menu of one of Cebu’s culinary gems, The Pig and Palm. Savour unique takes on porcinecentric tapas and dishes from around the globe prepared with superb local ingredients. The draw here is that The Pig and Palm introduces diners to unforgettable ceations by one of the more famous chefs out there in a nonintimidating, approachable manner. The establishment’s stunning interiors designed by the notable Neri & Hu have a wooden and warmly lit oriental aesthetic, that is both inviting and sophisticated at the same time.

17. Raging Bull Chophouse & Bar

This Manhattan-inspired steakhouse features art deco interiors edited with a modern eye, keeping the energy current and aesthetically sultry. Sleek, ultra-chic with a trendy, upscale ambience, Raging Bull is certainly Instagrammable. In fact, you couldn’t go wrong dining here, whether on a romantic date with that special someone or wining and dining your top client to close that big deal. Order your choice cuts from sustainable farms in Australia and the US and wait for them to return from the Josper grill, cooked to divine perfection. Add to that the bar’s funky out-of-the-box cocktails that pack a punch and you’re all set for a stellar meal.

18. Sirena

When in Boracay, a visit to Sirena is an absolute must. Take pleasure in its splendid, unparalleled views, fiery sunsets, and mouth-watering seafood. Indulge in the freshest shellfish or your preferred catch of the day as well as other Asian delicacies while atop Shangri-La Boracay’s picturesque clifftop restaurant overlooking one of the resort’s private beaches. Carnivores aren’t left out as red meats are executed well and to one’s desired order. Diners can choose to sit inside or at an idyllic al fresco cabana and listen to the house DJ as they unwind and let the experience sweep them off their feet.

19. The Tasting Room

With the seasoned chef Frederic Thevenet at the helm combined with its elaborate gilded and marble accented interiors, The Tasting Room is certain to impress. Frederic’s artful skills and culinary prowess interprets French cuisine with an Asian flair, which translates into a luxurious, decadent dining experience served amidst a gold-toned room. Raise your glass to a sophisticated bar stocked with all your favourite tipples and a list that boasts innovative signature cocktails. This modern European restaurant in the City of Dreams Manila will have you back in no time for more exquisite “tasting.”

20. Wildflour Restaurant

A mainstay of the Metro Manila brunch scene, Wildflour caters to an unrivalled following with its menu that comprises experimental dishes and perfected comfort favourites. Devour henerously heaped and nourishing bowls of speciality salads or recharde with a vibrant selection of smoothies, rich milkshakes, and coffee-based concoctions. Within its cosy industrial interiors a plethora of pasties and desserts tempt the senses from the counter. In each of its branches, chef-owner Ana de Ocampo has crafted and executed this signature experience that's been reeling in the regulars since her first in 2012.

For a more updated version of this list, check out Top 20 Best Restaurants In The Philippines This 2020.

If you're looking for the best bars in the country, check out The Philippines Best Bars of 2020.

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