Filipinos are certified food junkies. They love eating out at their favorite joint and discovering new places to hang out with family and friends.
But unlike before when dining out was really pricey, these days, you could treat yourself or the whole gang to a gastronomical feast anytime, anywhere. In fact, you could easily find at least one hole-in-the-wall within any local neighborhood in Manila—thanks to the emergence of food parks and Instagram-worthy places that will satisfy the food lover in you without costing you a fortune.
We scouted around for budget restaurants in the metro and here’s who made it to our top 9:
Korean Buffet Restaurant
This Korean barbecue joint has got you covered if you want to load up on meat even in unholy hours. Specifically, you could head on to HwaRoRo’s Kalayaan Avenue branch in Quezon City and still catch it open until 4 a.m., ready to grill all the meat you want for just P399.
Residents of Pasig City and office workers in the Ortigas central business district alike keep coming back to this Korean grill restaurant. Their bottomless Samgyupsal (grilled pork belly) and Chadolbagi (paper thin beef brisket) are only for P399 and P499, respectively.
Fair warning, though, the place is often jam-packed, but the meals would do justice to your Korean cravings.
Sodam Korean Restaurant
Get an authentic taste of Korean grilled pork and beef strips from this small casual dining resto situated in San Juan City’s Little Baguio area. All-you-can-eat pork and beef promos are priced at P325 during weekday lunches and P365 for daily dinner meals.
If you’re not quite suited up for a barbecue buffet, Sodam also offers bulgogi, Korean style chicken, and other non-barbecue delights.
Snacks and Family Meals
8 Street Bites
An all-American diner, this is your go-to place if you fancy burgers, chicken fingers with fries, bacon and cheese mac, steak, and sandwiches.
Its tasty meals, which start at P250, are perfect for those who have a big appetite and modest budget. Check out 8 Street Bites in SM City, Manila or in SM City North EDSA.
Bagnet is Ilocos’ quintessential pork belly fried to a delightful crisp, and in this quaintly decorated hole-in-the-wall joint, bagnet-laced dishes such as bagnet sisig and bagnet binagoongan are the stars of the show.
Bagnet meals with rice and soup in 8065 Bagnet in San Antonio, Makati City and Malate, Manila will only set you back by P200 tops—saving you loads of money and a trip up north.
Pan de Amerikana
Everything in this restaurant comes with a twist—from the topsy-turvy design arrangement of the place to the fusion of Bicolano and Ilocano dishes, as well as the continental flavors added into them.
Its breakfast menu is priced under P100 and is served with either rice or bread roll. Must-try house specialties include Bicol Express and Callos, both for under P100, too.
Not to be outdone, Mang Raul’s BBQ in Almazan, Las Pinas City serves up barbecue street food – Pinoy style. It’s quite easy to spot (and smell the grilled pork wafting out) this restaurant with its long queues of customers all eager to sample the barbecue joint’s skewered meat marinated in some magic secret sauce.
Red Onion Café
Ramen noodles are a staple in this café found at UP Town Center in Katipunan Avenue, Quezon City. Its signature Gourmet Beef Noodles is a comfort food of sort with unlimited noodles and broth priced at P228.
You also can’t go wrong with the more affordable options including Noodle with Lu Rou (P148), Sichuan Mala Noodle (P178), and Green Onion Chicken (P198).
Tamagoya Noodle House
It’s one of those underrated ramen joints that could actually give other restaurants a run for their money. Its chef and owner hails from the Land of the Rising Sun, so nothing goes out of the kitchen that won’t satisfy your Japanese palate.
Ramen bowls of generous servings start at roughly P160. Visit Tamagoya in Mayamot bordering Marikina and Antipolo, except on Mondays when the store is closed.
Coffee and Dessert
The Lost Bread
Maginhawa Street in Teacher’s Village, Quezon City is home to this café that whips up milkshakes, pastries, coffee, and French toast. The milkshakes usually cost P150, look great in pictures, and come complete with ingenious names that make a trip to this food park more fun and playful.
But before ordering, double check your chosen flavor, as some milkshakes are spiked with alcohol.
Eating out has never been such a wonderful adventure, as these budget restaurants are out to show. No matter what type of foodie you are, there’s something out there that will cater to your dining needs at a price that doesn’t burn a hole in the pocket.
Head on to online pawning if your payday is still days or weeks ahead and you have to indulge yourself in great, affordable food that you rightfully deserve.
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