Makati: World tastes in the Old Part of Town

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For the most part, there are three kinds of people attracted to modern Makati. First are the businessmen, whose entrepreneurial outlook is highlighted in meeting rooms across the city. Second are the job-seekers, whose feet are led by shining résumés to the marble floors of the financial district’s offices. And third are the tourists, whose wanderlust engages them on a challenging discovery of the metropolis’ wonders. But if it’s any indication, the rise of daring new restaurants signals the invasion of a fourth kind of demographic – the foodies, converging before Makati’s tables for weeknight hangouts or weekend brunches.

At the forefront of this transformation is the old part of town known as Poblacion de Makati. Roughly translated as “town” or “population” from the original Spanish, the Poblacion of Makati used to be the downtown district of the then-rural riverside village as well as its center of culture and government, following the template of the peninsulares-inhabited Intramuros in Manila. Like the fortified city, the town also boasted a magnificent church, the Jesuit-run San Pedro Church, built in 1620 as the center of faith for locals. Around this church, wealthy Spaniards built rest homes for the recreation of their families away from the highly civic and scholastic way of life in the capital, while merchants of all industries set up shop for the benefit of the faithful. To this day, the descendants of these pioneers still live in the stately homes of Poblacion’s villages, mindful of the rapid evolution going on in their beloved city.

Long after the Spaniards first set foot on the blessed lands of Poblacion came the invasion of new trends, not just in business and architecture, but in food as well. In the past decade, an assortment of foreign eateries and joints has been put up by a clever mix of locals and expatriates who have chosen to reside in the city, giving rise to complexes offering everything from Asian to Middle Eastern cuisine. Today, the district has become a nest for budding entrepreneurs in dining and entertainment, providing opportunities for them to make it big in the food circle by starting small. Now, let asianTraveler guide you to just some of these xtant treasures, each one hidden between high-rise concrete buildings and humble whitewashed homes, which are proverbial “holes in the wall” which will take your palate to a tour beyond borders and your eyes to an elegant feast of the past, present, and future.


1. Tambai Yakitori

Tambai’s yakitori selections, while cured in Japanese marinades, are essentially Filipino-inspired


2. A’Toda Madre Tequila Bar

A’Toda Madre’s bartenders concoct their deadly creations, ranging from the subtly tangy to the insanely powerful.

3. Tacos Chingones

From the same mind that brought us tequila-infused A’Toda Madre comes what I call a revolution in the Mexican street food culture in the metro – Tacos Chingones by Aljor Perreras.

4. El Chupacabra

El Chupacabra rose from what used to be a company commissary, transformed almost three years ago into a Mexican-style cantina offering authentic but reasonable New World street fare with the occasional Filipino twist.

5. Señor Pollo

Señor Pollo Makati has now made a name for itself due to its affordability, a unique street-inspired ambience, and a flawless Latin American menu headlined by its roasted and fried chicken dishes.

6. Handlebar Manila

Handlebar has among its patrons company executives, businessmen, and valued economic investors who share a common passion for sports, good food, and biking.

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