Private dining restaurants to try now that lockdown restrictions have eased up in Metro Manila

Published October 29, 2021, 11:00 PM

by Jules Vivas

Every dish is an astounding story

CHELE ALA CARTE Grilled Octopus, Sweet Potato, Chimichurri, Fermented Green Mango

With the significant drop in COVID-19 cases in the Philippines, the alert status of the National Capital Region (NCR) has been downgraded to level 3 in mid-October. The lowering of restrictions was great news for business owners and consumers alike since we are somewhat given a semblance of normalcy in time for the festive season.

This transition means that we are once again allowed to dine out and enjoy visits to leisure areas, including malls, parks, and restaurants. Going out is beneficial to the economy, and with the crisis we are facing today, restaurateurs need all the help and support they could get.

LOCALITY AND TEXTURES Uni Arroz Caldo of Hapag

Of course, we must remind ourselves that while we are given more freedom now, we should be more responsible for each other’s safety. We must respect our health workers, our family and friends, and ourselves by following stringent anti-COVID measures so as to prevent the further spread of the disease.

Given that we do strictly abide by the rules of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), and that we have completed our vaccination shots, eating out shouldn’t be a problem.

DAWN OF DON Chef Don Baldosano of Linamnam

Dining is best experienced as a package, with interactions with the chef, ambience of the restaurant, aroma of food being cooked in the open kitchen, as well as the setting. There is also the fact that some cuisiniers prepare certain dishes to be consumed in a special manner, some in one bite, others in a particular order, which further elevates the dining experience.

Food is experiential. Beyond nourishment, food has been reinvented these days, as it contains stories, ideals, philosophies, and cultures that make life more meaningful. Enjoying a meal in a restaurant has become, more than a sensorial delight, also an exploration, a discovery, an enchantment.

Since we’ve been caged indoors for so long, paying a visit to some of these food establishments might do us good.


PREPARE TO DINE Chef Don’s Linutik at Bagoong

Private dining at Linamnam is a total adventure, from booking the place to the trip going to the restaurant, and the meal itself. The restaurant is always booked for months, so you have to contact Chef Patrick “Don” Baldosano way in advance to get a slot. Once you have secured your reservation, traveling to his place adds to the culinary journey as well, since you need to go deep inside residential Parañaque just to reach the quaint restaurant nestled at 31 Greenvale 2, Marcelo Green Village. Here, you can feast on Filipino food that is given playful and modern twists while staying faithful to what is distinctly Filipino in terms of taste. Don makes it a point to forage and grow most of his ingredients.

The come-as-you-are ambience, the exclusivity of the restaurant, meeting the young culinary genius, and indulging in the all-local and delicious tasting menu is worth every effort.

COVID-SAFE RESTO Linamnam is entirely al fresco

More than Linamnam’s experiential gastronomy, the food is grounded in culture and relevant to any diner open to discoveries and surprises.

Linamnam does not accommodate walk-ins. The tasting menu changes depending on the season and availability of ingredients.

Contact 09175730246 or visit their Instagram account @linamnam_mnl



KITCHEN STACHE Chef Josh Boutwood in Helm

Chef Josh Boutwood, a “Young Talent of the Year” awardee by La Liste, a restaurant finder and gastronomic ranking system based in France, has reopened his brainchild and the most personal iteration of his culinary ventures, Helm. This dining attraction, located at the Arya Residences Tower 2, ground floor of McKinley Parkway in Taguig, boasts of being a “dining theater,” where the award-winning chef showcases his talent and serves the customers one-on-one in a dim 10-seater room.

Helm is included in the “50 Best Discovery” a prestigious library of restaurants and bars acknowledged as among the top food establishments in the world.

ALL [A]BOUTWOOD Mussels, potato, and dill

Because of the pandemic this minimalist restaurant only accommodates four guests per reservation.

Some of the new items on the tasting menu are the Cumberland Sausage Tart, Fish and Chips, Jerusalem Artichoke, and the Doughnut filled with Rhubarb and Carabao Milk Ice Cream, all of which are inspired by his culinary journey and personal experiences and pursuits.

Contact 09062341900 or schedule a visit via [email protected] | Instagram @helmmnl

THEATER OF FOOD Helm interior


Gallery by Chele


Yet another restaurant included in the “50 Best Discovery” is Gallery by Chele. Spanish Chef Chele Gonzalez with his business partner Chef Carlo Villaflor revamped Gallery VASK into a less intimidating, and bistro-like restaurant that does away with pretensions. Everything is locally sourced, while the philosophy centers on the exploration of the Philippines and Southeast Asia. The food spot found on the fifth floor of Clipp Center, 11th Avenue corner 39th Street, Taguig, is where Chef Chele translates and preserves heritage flavors, techniques, and traditions into delectable and anthropological cuisines.

EVOLUTION OF VASK The interior of Gallery by Chele

Unlike the first two restaurants, Gallery by Chele offers a la carte, and vegetarian tasting menus apart from his regular tasting menu. Offered are five and nine courses for the tasting menu selection. Reservations are also required.

Contact 09175461673 | [email protected] |

Food is experiential. Beyond nourishment, food has been reinvented these days, as it contains stories, ideals, philosophies, and cultures that make life more meaningful.



After two months of hiatus, Hapag is back. The progressive Filipino private dining restaurant by Millennial chefs and co-owners Thirdy Dolatre, Kevin Villarica, and Kevin Navoa is a 24-seater concrete box, hidden in plain sight at Quezon City’s busier avenues.

Named after the Filipino term for dining table where families bond and eat, Hapag was known for their eight-course tasting menu. The three lead chefs would take from their family recipe and use local and lesser-known ingredients, to whip up innovative renditions of Filipino cuisine.

MESANG PINOY Table setup at Hapag

Some of their noteworthy dishes are the Banana Heart Granola, Laing Leaves, Litson Binagoonan, and Bistek Tagalog.

The restaurant now serves 10 courses, which include new dishes like Uni Arroz Caldo, a rice porridge that combines their homemade smoked tinapa, crispy rice puffs, and their house-cured bihod bottarga.

Contact 09475601853 | Instagram @hapag.mnl