6 restaurant ideas for that casual first date!
With Valentine’s Day slowly creeping up on us, we’re starting to get asked for suggestions on where to have that first date. First dates, you see, are different from ordinary dates. For those who prefer the traditional dinner approach versus a quirky or fun activity, there are three important factors to keep in mind:
a) You’re not together yet, so you can’t go overboard on the ambience or romance level (like a scenic view or partially hidden, cuddle-worthy table options). A casual, relaxed neighborhood joint is your best bet.
b) You’ll be getting to know each other, so you need to hear the other person talk. Noise level should be at a minimum.
c) You’ll want to calm those nerves, so a good drinks list is key. And if you want to continue the conversation after dinner, for the sake of logistics it needs to be in a convenient area with bar options nearby (or where your friends can be on standby, just in case it doesn’t work out).
We’ve already heard of a few success stories that began at these places. And though there are other “qualified” restos in the metro (like 12/10, Hey Handsome and Toyo), this first date dining guide sums up our current hotspot favorites.
Chef Ariel Manuel of Lolo Dad’s fame is back to cooking our favorites, as well as new creations, in his new restaurant Bistro Manuel. If you were a fan of Lolo Dad’s Baked Oysters with Foie Gras, you’ll be pleased to know that he’s serving them here (and don’t they say oysters are an aphrodisiac?). And since the place is in the Poblacion area, there are plenty of drinking options nearby to cap off the night!
Bistro Manuel, Six Axis Center, 4347 B. Valdez St. corner Makati Ave., Poblacion, Makati, Metro Manila, 02 871 8566
The Girl + The Bull
From a spot on Aguirre Street to a new and beautifully designed home in Makati, Girl + the Bull is still one of our top spots for date night. Specializing in Western-Asian flavors, make sure to try the Prawn Rolls and the Buttermilk Fried Chicken. There’s also a small bar upstairs if you prefer a less brightly lit space if you don’t want to end the night with dessert.
The Girl + The Bull, G/F Grand Midori Building, Bolano St., Legazpi Village, Makati, Metro Manila, 0926 038 0965, www.facebook.com/thegirlandthebull
In case you’re looking for something casual but armed with delectable comfort food dishes, the newly revamped 2nd’s is the place to be. Their Sukiyaki Tapa and coffee are a must for brunch dates, but if dinner dates are more your thing, the Hainanese Chicken is always a winner. For post-dinner drinks, head to Bitters on the second floor!
2nd’s, Forbes Town Center, Forbes Town Road, Burgos Circle, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig, Metro Manila, 02 942 9750, www.facebook.com/backfor2nds
After going on a 10-month hiatus, M Dining and Bar M have finally reopened in their new location along Pasong Tamo. With most of our favorites still on the menu, they also boast of new items like the Anchodina Tagliolini made with anchovies, garlic, and breadcrumbs. And with over 400 types of wine and 36 types of gin, dinner won’t be complete without your choice of tipple.
M Dining and Bar M, 3/F Alegria Alta Building, 2294 Pasong Tamo Extension, Makati, Metro Manila, 02 810 3565
Bar Pintxos Y Mas
If your idea of a first date is tapas and cocktails, then Bar Pintxos should be on top of your list. Pick from their wide selection of finger food and pair it with a customizable glass of gin and tonic. And if driving to Alabang is too far, they recently opened a branch in BGC. (Check out our full review here!)
Bar Pintxos Y Mas, G/F Gesu Building, Don Jesus Boulevard, Alabang Hills, Muntinlupa, 02 831 0065 | Fairways Tower Building, 5th Ave. corner McKinley Road, Fort Bonifacio Taguig, Metro Manila, 02 810 1307, www.facebook.com/Barpintxos
Cuore Bistro & Social Lounge
Located along Jupiter Street, this intimate yet casual Italian restaurant—with its dark walls, dimly lit space, and well-stocked bar—is the ideal place for dinner and drinks with that special someone. Start with When Our Eyes Met (baby squid calamari with marinara and aioli) then opt for My Kind of Man (creamy carbonara) as your main course. With aptly name menu items and really good sangria on the menu, how can you go wrong?
Cuore, 1-C Valdelcon Building, 20 Jupiter St., Bel-Air, Makati, Metro Manila, 02 546 5789, www.facebook.com/cuoremnl