Discover these tasty gems south of Manila

As a loyal northerner, Alabang to me is uncharted territory; the tedious drive south rarely accomplished. That is, until I realised how much there is to look forward to in the city. 

Alabang residents have long known about these southern gems, so it’s probably time we learned about it too. Take your taste buds on a (road) trip with six of these local favourites. 

Caviar

Caviar, the restaurant, is luxurious as its name suggests. Innovative through and through, it serves French and Mediterranean fare that comes with a Filipino twist. Its flavours are bold and surprising, but doesn’t take away from the heartiness of its ingredients. A must-try is their delicately-prepared foie gras macarons, which are a treat to the senses. Their catch of the day (cod with tamarind sauce) is a flavourful fish, prepared Japanese-style, and served with tangy tamarind sauce. Those looking to load up on carbs can enjoy a wholesome meal with their potato gnocchi, which is also a perfect alternative for vegetarians to try. 

Bungalow Cafe & Bakery

Bungalow Cafe & Bakery is a cute little breakfast spot south of Manila. They offer comfort food like cookies and cake, but also serve healthy meals for those looking for alternatives. Their breakfast bowls are a guilt-free treat to start your day right, but those looking for something more filling can order their hummus toast or their adlai and chicken bowl.

Neil’s Kitchen

Neil’s Kitchen is a relaxed cafe-restaurant located in Westgate, Alabang. Homey yet modern, but also a little bit quirky, it’s the perfect restaurant to go to for Sunday brunch with family. Filipino classics such as boneless chicken barbecue with java rice and adobo are listed alongside exciting new concepts on their menu such as crab fat palabok and tokwa't seafood. However, their claim to fame lies in their reinventive takes on paella. They serve sinigang paella with grilled pork belly and bagoong paella with kare-kare alongside other recipes such as T-bone tapa with truffle tutong rice and salmon sinigang

Un Cuenca

Spanish food has always been a favourite, but at Un Cuenca, people begin to understand why. Their unli-sangria aside, this restaurant has become a mainstay for yuppies and titas alike. With delicious pintxos, flambe cocktails, and appetisers, Un Cuenca has brought a little piece of Spain to south of Manila. Other must-trys include their Chilean sea bass, lamb kaldereta with dried mangoes, and duck adobo — all of which are masterfully prepared and overseen by Chef Ariel Manuel. 

Da Gianni Cucina Italiana

Authentic Italian home cooking lies at the very heart of Da Gianni Cucina Italiana. The second restaurant of the Guidicelli family, Da Gianni Cucina Italiana focuses its menu on the rich, hearty flavours that are reminiscent of traditional family gatherings. Pizza is one of the cornerstones of this Italian eatery and their bestsellers include the quattro formaggi and the prosciutto and arugula variants. Their marrow pasta is another must-try, with its slab of indulgent bone marrow resting on a bed of hearty noodles. Slow-cooked short ribs are perfect to share with friends or family, with meat that falls off the bone after having been oven-baked for eight hours. 

The Black Pig

One of Alabang’s most beloved, The Black Pig is every carnivore’s dream. With house-made sausages and indulgent charcuterie boards, this restaurant offers indulgent favourites that aren’t too pretentious. We recommend their farfalle with king oyster mushroom and foie, which combines the rich tastes of two premium ingredients — creating a depth of flavour that excites even the most experienced of diners. Their beef shank lasagna has the texture and complexity that few others can compete with, while their grilled octopus is a beautifully plated piece of seafood that’s both tender and exciting. 

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