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Food Hunting: Cheap Eats Around the Metro For Your December Dates Under Php 500


There’s nothing more like having to go around and eat your feelings with your dates. Gaining weight has always been an obvious sign of a healthy relationship. With December fast approaching, you are sure to get those extra days off at school or off at work and spend the time to hang out with whomever you’re planning to invite.
Of course, it would be nice to dine around giant malls with their fine restaurants and their list of leisure activities that’s enough to grab your attention, but sometimes dating can turn out to be really costly. Who says relationships are cheap, right? Well, if you are after a back-to-basics approach in dating; deciding to just stroll, talk and go on a food trip instead, then we round up a list of hot food spots to get that student-rate food prices for your December dates below:

The University Belt: España To Morayta To Mendiola

The University belt is sprawling with budget-friendly cuisines that perfectly fits to the student life. From popular restaurant branches to concept stalls down to favorite street foods, you are sure to have an exciting thrifty date to remember.
With most universities along U-belt drawing to a long Christmas break, you can spare the thought of a crowded place, because this is the best time to take your date on a food trip adventure.

    • España

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Aside from the annual “Paskuhan” of the Pontifical and Royal University of Santo Tomas, the tiger’s lair is surrounded by tons of popular cheap eats. Along Dapitan Street, you can dig in with your siomai cravings at Dimsum Treats or add that extra weight from the popular Sisig Express. Then stroll down to P. Noval street which boasts with healthy stands of fruit shakes and cheese sticks alongside American breakfast meals such as spam and bacon. Here also lies go-to grubs such as Mang Tootz Food House and University Scoop to name a few. Plus, you can take a sip and hang out with the number of coffee shops that stands around the university. Bet your budget on Cafe UK, a London-themed coffee shop that’s a hit in the area.

  • Morayta

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From España, walk through the underpass or the overpass to reach to another popular cheap eat spot, Morayta. Take it from the Tamaraws, they had it best when it comes to pocket-friendly food trips. Along Nicanor Reyes street, you will find big fast food chains such as Zark’s Burger, SeouliaJollibee, KFC, Greenwich and Yellow Cab among others. But what you should not miss is the infamous Hepa Lanewhere you can get an array of street foods to your tummy’s satisfaction. Along Lerma Street, visit the lines of eateries that’s offering really burp-worthy and money-friendly menus. Also, get to Paquita Street for dinner, there are tons of grilled dishes that’s sure to fill your plates.

  • Mendiola

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Not only does Mendiola offer a solace to wander away from the hustle and bustle of the city streets, it also offers great finds for budget-friendly treats. Stroll pass through the arch and feel that suburban peace while you check on must-try food hubs such as Yoroshiku , Cerealicious, Potato Giant, Barcelo Cafe, Mashitta Korean and Japanese Food, Juana’s Budbod and Coffee, and a whole lot more! You can also get blessed by dropping by at the famed St. Jude Shrine then continue sharing stories around the stretch of the Malacañang Palace vicinity.

The busy avenue: Taft

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Taft may be a busy avenue, but this place is also a fun hunt for your food crawling escapade thanks to the number of universities in the area. If you happen to end up at Taft as your dating place, go and try the playful and quirky Korean inspired cafe, Cafe Noriter. Include on your food discovery the chicken recipes from Tori Box and Flaming Wings, the home-cooked feels of Exile On Main St. and Bagnet 8065, the silog meals from Ate Rica’s Bacsilogan, the grilled servings of Noel’s BBQ and Rap’s Steaks and Cakes, the hot plates of Siningag Express and the Dumaguete dish of Bai.

The Big Road: Katipunan to Diliman

As wide as the roads, nearby universities such as Ateneo, University of The Philippines and Miriam College to name a few influenced this wide stretch of avenue to be a budget-friendly foodie hub to explore.

  • Katipunan

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Katips as it is sometimes called, offers a lot to the taste buds and to the pockets. Chow your hearts down at B. Wings which is located along Esteban Abada, behind the Regis Building along Katipunan.  If you can’t have enough of fried wings, you can visit Chubby Chicken and Hot Star Large Fried Chicken for their huge servings of chicken. You can also take a break from poultry dishes and go with  Roku Sushi + Ramen to experience their specialty: Sushi and Ramen! Or go Italian with Gino’s Brick Oven Pizza. But if you want to stick to the Filipino culture, then by all means, try Wooden Spoon which serves good old Filipino home-made cuisines. For a more perfect date place like wooden spoon, check out Wok Dis Way for their signature dishes like their sisig or the adobo rice and Ninyo Fusion Cuisine and wine Lounge for their fine-dining, homey look, wine bar and pocket price menu. Finally, to get a sweeter conclusion to your food dating game, add a little more sweetness from Starr’s Famous Shakes (Don’t worry with all the sugar, you can even get a diet-friendly order anyway).

  • Diliman

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Ah Yes! There’s nowhere to go but UP! The premier state university of the Philippines is not one to back out from the affordable food sites to try. In front of the UP College of Law stands Mang Larry’s Isawan. Having been around for more than 50 years, the Tapsilog (Beef Tapa with egg) is arguably its most popular dish! So, that’s the dish you shouldn’t miss for the world! Plus, don’t just stumble upon Area 2 while in UP, instead make Area 2 a go-to spot because the whole road is a stretch of kiosks and garages-turned-restaurants where you could find siomai, shawarma, fruit shakes, coffee shakes, bulalo, milk tea, bagnet, and a whole lot more! Tho Snack Shack is a must-try, there are still a number of  food spots to choose along Area 2.
 Also, don’t leave the campus without having to ever try the Restaurant of Choice (R.O.C.) for their great selection of pizza, pasta, rice dishes, desserts, and drinks and the Chocolate Kiss Cafe which has been serving great food  for almost two decades, both of which are located in Bahay ng Alumni. Aside from long-standing popular food spots in U.P., try the younger restaurant, Phily’s Diner and include in your food hunt experience with something new from Te Vickie’s Siomai and Pantea at UP ARKI, they have the must-try  siomai with “itlog pugo” (quail egg) inside it- a very popular bite of the Iskolars ng Bayan.

The Eat Street: Maginhawa Street

Another food haven for the budget-conscious date is the ever-trendy Maginhawa Street! This 3-kilometer residential village has become a popular restaurant-laden stretch that’s a must-try.

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On your way there, it is best to plan which of the dozens of food stores to try. To get your hearts and tummies tugged, we name a few of the dozens such as All About Pasta for all your pasta cravings, Cafe MITHI for their artistic workshops and coffee made from local Sagada, Kalinga, Benguet, and Barako beans, Caffera for their photography-themed ambiance, Cat Cafe Manila for their feline friends, Spicy Noodle House for their hot bowls, Fat Cousin’s Diner for their Beef Burger, Hungarian Sausage, Home Style Roast Beef, or Australian T-Bone Steak, Griddle for their Honey Bagoong Wing and Grilled Lime Pork Belly, Casa Quesadilla  for their burritos, nachos , Icecreamist for their liquid nitrogen twist on their desserts and a whole lot more creative and original food houses that can overwhelm your itinerary.
Of course, aside from tons of individual hip and cool food houses, there’s the popular Maginhawa “Streat” (Street + eat) food park which opens from 5 in the afternoon until midnight, real perfect for that up to late night conversations. Here, you can check out The Lost Bread for their incredible French Toasts and Milkshakes with a twist, the G.R.EAT Burger Truck for their quick-service burgers and various flavored fries, Mexicombi for their Mexican street food served from their vintage-van inspired food stall, The Soul Food Truck for their  corn dogs, deep fried cheese and country steak and many more!
Located near UP Diliman campus in Quezon City, Maginhawa Street is a haven for refreshments and relaxation and truly deserves to be referred to as the “melting pot” street of cuisines.

The Food Park: The Yard

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Food parks seem to become the rage for the food enthusiasts these days. Along Xavierville Avenue near Katipunan is  a popular eating hub that’s uber instagrammable! The Yard offers  a taste for the sight, sound and most importantly smell!
The place is not the typical food park, as container vans are stacked one on top of another, forming 3 floors. With 34 stalls serving up a variety of cuisines, the yard is sure to impress. Among them are stalls like Prawn Star where you get seafood choices such as prawns, shrimps, clams, black mussels, green mussels, crab claws, crabs (per 100g), then there’s  Smoke and Barrel, Bagneto, Black Plate, and Waff to give you a tease. You may also get drinks, craft beers and specialty cocktails offered at Epicure and craft coffee at Fratello. Plus, get a fun DIY Korean barbecue taste at Little Wondang’s and so much more!
Aside from food, you get a stage for bands and DJs to perform and most of the times cool music blasts from the speakers. Since The Yard is teaming with great food finds, the place is more often than not jam-packed! This is open 4 pm everyday and closes usually at 12 am from Mondays to Saturdays, while it closes at 11 pm on Sundays.
As they say, a way to someone’s heart is through his/her stomach. So, you don’t have to worry gaining weight and getting a bit heavy over the holidays because love and food always go together.

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