If you’re looking for the epicenter of culture and great food, Poblacion is the place to be. A stones throw away from the infamous Red Light district, Poblacion is littered with unforgettably hip establishments and hosts a vibrant night life. There are dozens of places to check out, each one offering their own unique experience and taste, but we’ve listed five that are a must in Makati’s most vibrant town.
1. El Chupacabra
You can’t start a list a where-to-eat in Poblacion, without El Chupacabra. This iconic establishment prides itself in their authentic Mexican street tacos.
El Chupacabra is everything a Mexican restaurant should be. Located along Felipe street, it’s easy to find, because the entrance is usually packed with expats, office workers, and travelers enjoying their tacos and beer by the street, clouded by a glorious smoke of grilling meat. Barbecues, carne asada, and taco shells, are just a few of the goodies being grilled outside.
My go-to when we eat there is the San Francisco-style Lean Pork Sisig Taco with a glass of Horchata, a rice milk concoction, similar to eggnog; if I’m feeling a cocktail, I’ll order an Amaretto Sour.
El Chupacabra is grilling from 11am till 12 midnight, and have a happy hour promo from 2pm-6pm.
2. Wok by 4900
Wok by 4900 takes the rice-in-the box concept for Asian food, that’s so popular in the United States, and brings it to this quaint spot in Makati; 4900 Durban Street to be exact.
Entering Wok, you’ll notice a surfboard hanging on the wall, and their mantra painted by the bar;“WORK BY DAY, WOK BY NIGHT”.
Upstairs is a lanai that overlooks the street below, and functions as a co-working space by day, and a bar by night.
Their bowls are bomb. A few of my favorites are:
The spicy and salty, Korean bowl that has squid, chicken, and fried rice mixed with kimchi, served with a fried egg on top.
The Hong Kong noodle bowl, that’s made from traditional egg noodles, with bell peppers, mixed in tausi sauce, and sprinkled in sesame, served with a siding of chicken or siomai.
You can also build your own bowl, and stuff it with anything and everything.
Wok by 4900 is open for 6pm till 4pm daily.
Looking for hangout spot over a cup of coffee? Then look no further than Commune. Born from the love of conversation and coffee, Commune Cafe+Bar is this place to be for any time of the day, whether you’re looking for a spot to work, meet with friends, or have a late night coffee cap.
Commune’s charm is being authentically Filipino, emphasizing good food, and good company. The cafe+bar hosts events supporting local artists, and start-up talks.
Commune prides itself in its selection of local single origin coffee beans. Founder, Ros Juan, champions the Filipino coffee industry, and is an active member in the Philippine Coffee Board Incorporated.
My go-to cup is, the Commune blend, a blend of Arabica beans and Robusta, straight black, with no sugar. If you’re feeling gimmicky, like Bianca, they do latte art, and can turn a cappuccino in to a cat-uccino. They also have a great selection of Filipino home-cooked favorites such as, Daing na Bangus, Beef Tapa with egg and garlic rice, and pork longganisa with fried egg.
Commune is brewing from 8am till 12 midnight, at 36 Polaris Street.
4. Bean and Yolk
Eggs go great on everything. That’s the logic behind Bean and Yolk.
Bean and Yolk is on the ground floor of the Bel-Air Soho Suites and gets breakfast lovers eggs-cited for all the right reasons.
The Chorizo Mama is to die for. It’s a burger made with brioche buns, homemade chorizo patty, smothered in barbecue mayo, and topped with a sunny side egg. Best enjoyed with a cup of smooth Brazilian Yellow Bourbon Coffee.
Bianca had the staple, Eggs Benedict, poached eggs served with arugula and chive hollandaise, on top of an English muffin, with a B&Y Latte on the side.
Bean and Yolk is cooking from 8am till 10pm.
5. Cu Chi Bar
The Cu Chi Bar prides itself in being the first Vietnamese themed bar in Makati, and boy, do they set the bar high.
Cu Chi is owned by the Hanoi-born Chef Tung ‘Ryan’ Pham, who spent years mastering Vietnamese cuisine back home, and brought it to Poblacion.
I’m only thinking on Ban Mhi when I go here. Ban Mhi is a Vietnamese sandwich made from a crispy loaf of baguette, with pork lean, sautéed shredded meat, pigs head paste, pork pate, and vegetable greens.
They also have killer barbecue skewers, and fried spring rolls.
Cu Chi’s interiors are Instagram goals. The bar is open aired and rustic, and the walls are covered in posters illustrated in a Che Guevera-esque style, reminiscent of Vietnamese culture during the post-Vietnam War era.
Cu Chi Bar is open from 6pm till 1am from Tuesdays till Saturdays. They also host events, you can find a list or get in contact with via their official website at http://cuchibar.com/contact-us/