Dine and celebrate Valentine’s Day inside this glass garden

Published February 2, 2021, 9:17 PM

by Philip Cu Unjieng

These days, nothing could be more romantic than a socially-distanced botanical set-up

If there’s one industry that was hard hit by 2020 and had to diversify, “pivot,” and even transition into an online, delivery service, it was our restaurant industry and the dine-in businesses community. To this day, they’re experiencing difficulties; and that has had an impact on the employment of staff, their suppliers, and ancillary services. These local eateries need our support; and we should know that the malls and the restos have done all they can to make a return to their premises one that is relatively safe.

SM Megamall is smack in the center of EDSA, a crossroads for most of the metro’s populace; so this was my first pick for checking out what dining options are now open, how safe the health protocols are, and what I could recommend with so many February occasions—Chinese New Year and Valentine’s Day—right around the corner. And I am happy to confirm that Megamall is still a foodie haven, one that ticks all the right boxes for any diner. Whether you’re a family out for lunch, a couple on a date, a caboodle of friends out after work, there’s something to choose at Megamall—and as long as you follow the protocols in place, it should be one that you can feel confidently safe about.

For ever-popular Chinese cuisine, it’s still hard to beat Lugang Cafe. Beyond the xiao long bao they helped introduce here to Manila, you’ve got to try their birthday noodles, a souped-up, wet version of your traditional pancit canton. You will love this one.

There’s Mesa if you’re looking for Filipino favorites. I highly recommend their fried tinapa lumpia, which you can pair with their laing. It’s got that kick that let’s you know you’ve found the right kitchen!

Mesa’s fried tinapa lumpia and laing

For Japanese food, I’m sure the family will super enjoy their time at Genki Sushi. A shinkansen (speed train) delivers the orders to your table, and the children will marvel at this, wanting to order time and time again.

Genki Sushi, and their train-powered Japanese food delivery system

Mos Burger just opened in Megamall last December. From the same outfit that handles UCC here in the Philippines, it’s a Japanese fast food concept, that I found interesting, especially their yakiniku garlic rice burger. Instead of a bun, it’s rice that envelopes the slices of beef.

While the following all have great dine-in options, if you have to run and head home, don’t forget to treat your loved ones with menu items from Goldilocks, French Baker, Ramen Nagi, and Brownies. We all know what goodies we can order from Goldilocks and The French Baker, but did you know that one can enjoy the ramen goodness of Ramen Nagi with their home kits? Brownies are an ever-dependable source of sweet treats as well.

The Glass Garden on the ground level of SM Megamall Atrium should be very popular around Valentine’s Day. One can reserve any of the four “love” tables and have food from any of the eating establishments nearby brought to you. It’s all part of SM Megamall’s enhanced the dining experience, and making one feel that one is outdoors or dining under the stars.

The Glass Garden beckons during these month of Hearts

If you’re looking for something with keener price points, the SM Megamall Food Hall, on the same level as the Skating Rink and IMAX Theater, is a great option to explore. It’s a safe sanitized zone that holds a bevy of delicious food stalls; from sushi and barbecued chicken to burrito bakes, burgers, and hotdogs.

It’s always safety first at the SM Food Hall at Megamall

I know there are some out there still reluctant to leave the safety of their homes, but it shouldn’t stop us from patronizing these establishments via their curbside delivery system or home delivery options. There’s a world of culinary treats out there. Pre-pandemic, these food outlets would strive to offer us the very best. As they try and keep their heads above water, we should go all out in showing them our support. We all had our favorite eateries pre-pandemic, isn’t it time to check up on them? Or find new favorites!