If there’s one meme we can all relate to daily, it must be the belly-rubbing photo answering this particular question: Where does all your money go?
For many of us, dining out is a savior of all sorts. And we know exactly how taxing it is to say no to that bowl of ramen or bucket of chicken wings. But there are ways to dine smarter while eating on a budget. On top of the list is planning ahead where you’re actually gonna get some grub. Second is downloading a mobile app to help you do just that—BigDish.
Why? Less time is spent on making food decisions and waiting for free tables with the app. Like most reliable booking services, it also makes you check out some hidden gems that offer huge discounts. It lets you save a few hundred pesos—money you can spend on your next meal out.
Restaurant reservation services aren’t a new concept, but it’s only last year when websites have transformed into apps and really found a space on more mobile phones during the now social media-driven culinary scene. BigDish is a relatively new player in the game, but it’s a great way to discover restaurants tucked in the corners of the metro.
We love that the app is 100-percent free for users and the only time you bring out cash is when you’re already asking for your restaurant The over 200 restaurants it features aren’t all found inside the comforts of a mall, making way for rookie restos, third-wave cafés and hole-in-the-walls. And if you ever find yourself flying to the cities of Hong Kong, Jakarta and, very soon—London, this app will be the best friend of wandering foodies.
The epicenter of BigDish-listed restaurants is in Makati, a gastronomic city we thought we already knew well. The Super Squad’s favorites Beni’s Falafel and El Chupacabra are among BigDish’s partners and now, thanks to the app, we have new Poblacion discoveries:
This Asian bistro likes to play around with bestsellers, fusing dishes that make the ultimate sense. For example: crispy lechon liempo with savory lugaw, and sweet and soft mantou stuffed with sisig. But it’s also the place to get your refined classics like Chinese steamed dumplings and Vietnamese spring rolls. There’s no perfect time to visit this diner, they got you covered from coffee to cocktail hour.
Super picks: Tamarind Chicken Wings, Panda Sisig Bun, Lechon Lugaw and Dark Chocolate Buchi and Mais con Leche for dessert
Crying Tiger Street Kitchen
If you’ve ever traveled to Thailand, then you would know that the most memorable meals are often on roadside eateries. Nothing beats a loaded table—with each dish bursting with a surprisingly rich and refreshing flavor—without burning a hole in your pocket. That’s exactly how Thai food is, and exactly how you’ll find it at Crying Tiger.
Super Picks: Thai Fried Chicken (that must be dipped in their addicting chili, lime and cilantro concoction) paired with sweet Thai Iced Tea, Chicken Satay and no-brainer choices Mee Goreng and Pad Thai
Indulgent—that is the precise word to describe this lounge along Kalayaan Avenue. It definitely has that fine-dining ambience, but their menu isn’t all that intimidating. Sure, they focus on modern Asian cuisine, but their classic recipe upgrades make up for a delightful banquet.
Super picks: Crème Brûlée (which is not good for sharing only because you probably wouldn’t want anyone biting off this unforgettable destructed dessert), Pork Sisig with Foie Gras, Asian Wonton Nachos, and, our cocktail of choice—the Bubble Wap
Kite Kebab Bar
Kite’s kebabs come a bit underrated especially when customers are easily magnetized by Señor Pollo’s Latin cuisine just a few blocks across this Mediterranean hub. If you’re with a few friends, it’s a great place to talk with a bottle of beer in hand.
Super picks: Ox tongue skewer and Duo Chicken and Beef Shawarma Rice
Bucky’s is our favorite Poblacion discovery. This small café has a crave-worthy rich and robust coffee blend, with an aroma tamed by the sweetness of milky soft-serve and baked treats. Our curiosity was pinned, of course, on the thick and moist slabs of “buckies,” a crossover of fudgy brownies and dense flourless cakes. They have interesting flavors for their signature Bucky, and we gotta admit we want to try all the cookies displayed on their counter, too!
Super pick: A fusion of their best creations—the Buckyggato!
In Costa Rica, “Pura Vida” is a way of life—a simple one, in fact. And that’s ultimately the mission of this reggae bar, to bring the comforts of a relaxed and simple lifestyle back in the late nights in the bustling city of Makati. Pura Vida sets the mood with good food with Latin roots, interesting cocktails and shots, and the boundless energetic hymns of reggae.
Super pick: Dados de Queso (because who would turn down deep-fried cheese?), Chicharonnes con Yuca and Guaro Sour