The fort has several dining and shopping options. Our favorite cupcake place, Vanilla Cupcake Bakery, is located there as well. It’s a great place for families and the all important date night. The fort is the high-end, relaxing setting you long for when you need a break.
- The Wholesome Table. Hands down our favorite restaurant. They have a good variety of organic food, good for you smoothies and drinks (including almond milk), and amazing eats. Our favorites include: The grass-fed beef burger (order medium well unless you want it completely raw in the middle) and the Orzo salad. Other great picks include the pulled pork sandwich, the lamb, and the chicken fingers (kids menu).
- My Thai Kitchen. We love the spicy beef salad (Yum Neua) and lemon grass soup (Tom Kha). The kids love the pad thai and spring rolls.
Podium Mall in Ortigas center holds the best mix of our favorite restaurants. The mall it self isn’t all that big, but we love the boutique dining options it offers. In fact, we will often drive the hour and a half it takes to travel round trip just to hit one of these spots for dinner.
- Brasas. Don’t let the size of the menu or restaurant fool you, this place is good eats. It’s also not the “healthiest” option on this list, so hit is sparingly. Our favorites are the beef and chicken wraps. As a matter of fact, we love them so much we have never ordered anything else!
- Greek Café. We love Greek food! The lamb stew and cuscuses is amazing! We also love the appetizer dips and lamb gyros.
- Borough. The Borough is the biggest of the establishments we love in Podium and is located on the main floor in the corner. We love the cobb salad, sandwiches and have friends who swear by the mac and cheese (which is probably two days worth of your caloric intake). It is also one of the only places that offer happy hour drinks (buy one take one is the Philippines term for buy one get one).
- Wildflour Café. This is a great little café that offers unique drinks, entries, and baked goods. Their coconut cupcake was one of the best I have had.
Green Belt Mall
Greenbelt Mall offers a wonderful array of shopping and food. You could spend an entire afternoon there and not have time to explore all this mall offers. (If you haven’t figured it out yet, the Filipino people LOVE their malls.) This mall offers two great Thai restaurants and our favorite burger place (although you will have to look closely for it or ask around to locate it because it’s a bit hidden).
- People’s Palace and Simply Thai are two of our favorite Thai restaurants. You can’t go wrong with the basil chicken, pad thai, spring roles (fried or fresh) and cashew chicken are all fantastic at Simply Thai. The cashew chicken and spring rolls and pad thai are also wonderful at People’s Palace.
- 8 Cuts. This place is amazing. You can order any variety of unique burger combinations including buffalo. Their sweet potato fries are AMAZING, but over priced for the size, if you ask me (but yes, I still order them :0).
Pampanga is small but offers three fantastic options (yeah, I know, that makes 11 great places to eat in the Luzon Philippines, but really, whose counting?).
- LA Bake Shop. We love LA Bake Shops cheese bread. Yes it’s amazing, and if you want to have any semblance of a waistline you will not be able to indulge in this often. (Is it worth it? Oh yeah!) Their beef mami (soup) and pansit (a traditional Philippine dish) is also quite good.
- Fortune Hong Kong restaurant. This is the crown jewel of Pampanga cuisine. They offer delicates such as shark fin soup (although we have never tried that one). We tend to go for the beef with veggie stir-fry, spring rolls, and crab and corn soup. All amazingly good (especially the beef!).
- Last, but not least, Niji. This place has the largest menu I have ever seen. Don’t be overwhelmed though. Focus on the sushi. The crispy California Maki is amazing and unique. You likely won’t taste anything like it anywhere else (at least we haven’t).
So there you have it. Central Luzon and Metro Manila’s top (11) recommendations. We hope you enjoy our favorite finds as much as we do!
Author: K. Reed
(Featured photo: The Wholesome Table)
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