10 Restaurant Openings That Got Tongues Wagging In 2018

A tasty recap on some of the most memorable introductions the local dining scene had up its sleeve


2018 was one ride of a year. And for the food industry, there was no such exception. There were plenty of highs – innovative fresh-off the-oven restaurant concepts were brought to life, informative and high caliber food-centric shows continue to take the world by storm, and a plethora of genuine culinary talent are making their mark. And then there were the lows, such as mourning the loss of a handful of culinary greats and purveyors of gastronomy. One thing’s for sure though, and it is this: the country’s restaurant scene just keeps on keeping on as a hotbed of the internationally-recognized and of the ingeniously locally bred. Without further ado, in no specific order, here is a look back on 10 of the newly opened diners in the Metro that got everyone buzzing.

1Rico’s Lechon


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Rico’s Lechon has always been a staple eatery in Cebu for its perfectly done lechon – a deadly but beautiful combination of juicy succulence on the inside and fine crispiness on the outside. When it finally announced opening its doors to the public in Manila, the response was more than welcome (so much so that they already have three branches in the Metro, as of writing). Da Best Gyud lechon as come to town and is definitely here to stay.

Rico’s Lechon has branches in BGC, Pasig, and Quezon City

2M Bakery


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From New York with love is this iconic bakery thrust into the spotlight after an appearance at cult hit show Sex And The City. It felt like every woman’s Carrie Bradshaw dreams were coming true upon its arrival on our shores. Dropping the original Magnolia namesake to a stylish M, this bakery even features the desserts they’re most known for, like their Carrie cupcake, the Hummingbird, and that gorgeous banana pudding.

M Bakery is located at Unit 23 Lower Ground, One Bonifacio High Street Mall, 5th Ave. corner 28th st., BGC.



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Inspired from the streets of Shinsekai in Osaka is Osakasu, which sets up its intrigue with its bang-for-your-buck unlimited kushikatsu buffet. Kushikatsu is the Japanese equivalent of meat or vegetable skewers deep-fried to the sound of Panko breadcrumbs. What’s more is that you can even cook your own skewers on your own table. Plus, did we mention that the diner’s aesthetic from across the street has the power to literally draw anyone in?

Osakatsu is located at 2/F ACCM Building, 102 Valero Street, Salcedo Village, Makati

4% Arabica


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Dubbed as Kyoto’s best, %Arabica prides itself of its specialty coffee and beans. Theirs is a philosophy hinged on classic simplicity – no frills, just a pure good caffeine fix. It’s no surprise then that its opening in the country was a much-awaited one and was quick to draw in crowds for their hot cuppa joe, right smack in the bustling BGC district.

%Arabica is located at W City Center, 7th Ave., Fort Bonifacio, Taguig.

5Gallery by Chele


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Gallery by Chele is the reincarnated version of Chef Chele Gonzales’ Gallery Vask (which has been named one of Asia’s Best 50 Restaurants), and that knowledge alone is enough to get gourmands talking. This flavor-forward version 2.0 features the best of our local ingredients fashioned into Spanish techniques, and a bar that puts various of our talented mixologists to the forefront.

Gallery by Chele is located at 5F Clipp Center, BGC

6Shawa Wama


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The ever-clever guys from The Moment Group had always been on the roll with their concepts and this year was no exception – with Shawa Wama nonetheless. Their menu is a straightforward one which showcases delectable interpretations of Mediterranean street food. Quick bites never tasted this good.

Shawa Wama is located at LG/F, Power Plant Mall, Lopez Dr., Rockwell Center, Makati

7Panaderya by Toyo Eatery


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Who doesn’t love spin-offs to awesome concepts? Such is the plight of Panaderya, the day-time sister of Chef Jordy Navarra’s Toyo Eatery, which was recently granted the prestigious Miele One To Watch Award. The bakery is headed by none other than baker extraordinaire and bread geek Richie Manapat (who also heads bread duties at Toyo).We love how this diner is reinventing Pinoy almusal, and we’re all for it.

Panaderya by Toyo Eatery is located at The Alley At Karrivin, 2316 Pasong Tamo Extension, Makati

8Red Lobster


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Seafood lovers rejoiced to the sound of news of Red Lobster sinking its claws in Manila. The diner that’s enjoyed a cult-following in the U.S. is widely known for its fresh Maine lobsters. The experience of choosing your own at the Live Lobster station is replicated here and we couldn’t be more thankful that this restaurant arrived a little before the year comes to a close. Now, this is a plot twist we don’t mind having.

Red Lobster is located at S Maison at the Conrad, SM Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay

9Ebi 10


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At the very onset of the year, this tempura bar gem popped up just in the nick of time, and we were pretty sure this was the answer to our prayers. Yet another solid hole-in-the-wall Poblacion haunt, Ebi 10 takes after intimate Japanese eateries that offer the best meals. Their rendition to the tempura has been dubbed as one of Manila’s best, and for good reason too.

Ebi 10 is located at Tambai Alley, 5779 Felipe Street, Poblacion, Makati

10Agimat Foraging Bar & Kitchen


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Agimat is the kind of diner that’s got everyone talking for all the right reasons. One, the people behind it – we’re talking the Chef Nino Laus and master mixologist Kalel Demetrio. Two, the dreamily inventive fares and spirits heavily inspired by Filipino folklore. And then finally, the ambiance that can easily make one appreciate our nation’s culture all the more.

Agimat is located at 2/F 5972 Alfonso cor. Fermina St., Poblacion, Makati

Which newly opened 2018 restaurant was your favorite? Let us know!