Top 10 Restaurants in the Philippines

The Philippines is an archipelago of 7,107 islands wedged between the South China Sea and the Pacific Ocean, drawing millions of visitors each year, particularly during the warm period between March and May. The Southeast Asian nation is well known for its white sands and clear water, upscale inner city shopping and Spanish colonial-style architecture dating back to the 16th century. However, the Philippines is also home to several high-quality restaurants, with the 10 best offering indigenous haute cuisines, highly attentive personal service, a distinctive well-manicured ambiance and recommendations from local experts in the know.Antonio's (antoniosrestaurant.ph) is a three-story colonial building known for its romantic ambiance, with ingredients grown on its own organic farm. The tables in the main hall sit between hardwood floors and blue chandeliers, while al fresco dining is available in the immaculately tended garden area. Popular entrees include arugula salad with pan-seared foie gras, Chateaubriand steak and boneless stuffed pig served with sauerkraut. The restaurant is open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner.Charley's (no website; Gov. Leviste Hwy., Marawoy, Lipa City, Batangas; 011-63-043-756-5876) is located on a farm surrounded by pastures where horses roam freely about. The dining hall is suitable for large groups thanks to a wooden banquet table that can easily fit 12. Fresh herbs and vegetables are grown on the premises and used in menu items like tomato basil soup, steamed seafood custard, lemon grass iced tea and Batangas rosemary beef. The owner will occasionally give guests a tour of the farm.Claude Tayag's Bale Dutung (baledutung.com) is highly regarded for its Kapampangan cuisine, which draws influences from Spain, Malaysia and Macau. Lunches are slow-cooked, and dining may take guests several hours, with frozen cologne-scented towels, steamed peanuts and cool buko juice provided at the outset. Entrees like seafood paella and mustasa leaves with fried catfish are presented in a stylish, artistic fashion. Plus, the owner regales diners with stories of the restaurant's seven-year construction.Entalula Island (no website; El Nido, Palawan) is a tropical paradise where lush green limestone cliffs and white sand beaches meet the warm waters of Bacuit Bay. Visitors can enjoy a picnic lunch served under shady coconut palms, with a variety of grilled seafood, vegetables and meats placed on low-sitting tables. Also, fruity alcoholic beverages are available to wash it all down. After sleeping off the meal, visitors can go swimming or snorkeling off the coral-rich coast.The Isla Naburot Resort (facebook.com/IslaNaburot), which in a private, unspoiled setting, is most famous for its gourmet cuisines, with a low-sounding bell announcing lunch or dinner. Outdoor nighttime dining is lit by hanging kerosene lamps. Local women in malongs serve traditional Filipino delicacies such as coconut soup with Malunggay leaves and deep-sea prawns with sauteed vegetables. Homemade sinamak vinegar comes with every meal, while Guimaras mangoes are a natural dessert.The Kinabuhayan Café (kubli.multiply.com) is about 2.5 hours from Makati, nestled in a thick forest near a freshwater spring. Guests are seated outside on rocks and makeshift benches. Entrees like grilled steak and breaded eggplant are typically in the low- to mid-price ranges, with cooking styles that range from Greek, Italian and Mediterranean to Chinese, Japanese and Asian fusion. Roast barako coffee and lambanog (aka coconut wine) wrap up the meal. This establishment takes cash only.Kusina Salud (kusinasalud.multiply.com) is a garden-style eatery along the Maharlika Highway in San Pablo Laguna. The restaurant is a mish-mash of cultures, from the Spanish-style exterior to the Chinese ornaments adorning the inside walls, to the indigenous Filipino furniture. Popular breakfast entrees include milkfish belly and adobo flakes, while lumpiang ubod (Philippine egg roll) and carabao meat are favorites for dinner. Buffets are offered occasionally. Also, massage services can be requested.La Cocina de Tita Moning (lacocinadetitamoning.com) is housed in a mansion in the San Miguel District of Manila and furnished with early 20th century antiques symbolic of old wealth. This family owned-and-operated establishment is known for its Spanish cuisines, with recipes handed down through several generations. Fashionable entrees include beef tongue, osso buco and slow-roast pork accompanied by appetizers like vichyssoise and gazpacho. Guests can choose a pre-fixe multi-course menu when making a reservation.Ugu's Pottery Garden Restaurant (no website; Tiaong, Quezon; 011-63-42-545-9144) is a red clay house owned by celebrated local pottery artist Augusto "Ugo" Bigyan. Guests are seated in any one of several open-air terraces, all with thatched roofs, and eat off Ugu's original dinnerware sets. Halaan soup with fresh Pacific calms and a fern salad are typical starters, while dinner items like barbecued spare ribs, squid rings and lapu-lapu with mango relish are chef specialties. Cold coconut juice is an ideal complement.The Swiss-style Vieux Chalet (vieuxchaletphilippines.blogspot.com), established in 1984, is a house-turned-restaurant perched on a forested hill in Antipolo, sporting uninhibited views of Manila. Gourmet entrees like homemade roesti, raclette, pate de foie and fettucine alfredo are paired with European wines, and the lamb shoulder in Cafe de Paris sauce is from sheep raised on site. The property also offers spa services, with a sauna, pool, on-call beautician and a spacious loft for yoga and tai chi.Mark Heidelberger has been writing for more than 22 years, from articles and short stories to novels and screenplays. He is a consummate foodie, loves to travel and has run several businesses, all of which influence his work. He also holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from UCLA.

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Hopeful Is Taken by Banquet Table
SARATOGA SPRINGS. N.Y., Aug. 28-C. V. Whitney's favored Banquet Table and his jockey, Jean Cruguet, had a profitable reunion today at the closing session of Saratoga's 24‐day meeting when they combined to capture the 72d running of the Hopeful Stakes.Under the able guidance of the French rider, Banquet Table turned in an impressive performance in heating Willian 0. Hicks's Turn of Coin in the $85,575, 6½‐furlong contest by a length. Elberon Farm's P.R. Man was an outdistanced third, six lengths behind Turn of Coin.A burhper crop of 13 juvenile colts turned out for the fixture, which this year in particular was considered a barometer for those 2‐yearolds who may he considered as the best in their division. Until today, it was felt no outstanding candidate for the juvenile championship had emerged.This afternoon, however, with 23,595 fans on hand despite heavy skies, the $7.40‐for‐$2 Banquet Table established himself as the leader in his division. To reach this niche, however, the Whitney color‐bearer had to outlast Turn of Coin in a tense stretch duel that had the crowd roaring.The choice, one of six colts in the event‐ wearing mud caulks, was clocked in 1:16 1/5 over the wet, but fast, strip. He was a top contender throughout, racing in the second spot behind Llangollen's First Pretense during the early going and then taking the lead (and holding it) the far turn.For Cruguet, the winning ride was particularly gratifying because ailing Jacinto Vasquez had become the colt's regular rider, winning with him in the Great American at Belmont, last fune and in the Saratoga Special earlier at the local meeting.With Vasquez sidelined, the Frenchman became the replacement.It was Cruguet, who first brought Banquet Table to the winners' circle in the colt's debut in a maiden event last May. In that race and in the next one-also under Cruguet's guidance-Banquet Table had not shown gateleaving speed.Today, however, the Whitney performer left barrier as if jet propelled. The speedy departure was a surprise to Cruguet."He really surprised me the way he broke and ran early," the jockey said. "When I first got to know him he was slow to get under way, lazy maybe. But today he wanted to run from the start, and I wasn't about to throw him down."All Cruguet did once he found himself alone in the stretch with Turn of Coin running on the inside of him was to "shake my mount up."Angel Cordero, who had the leg up on Turn of Coin-he Vras sent to the post as the second choice-made a valiant effort to try to pass his rival in the straightaway."My colt tried hard," said Cordero, who had three winners on the card. "In fact, he got his head in front at the quarter pole. But Banquet Table wasn't giving up."The victory, worth $51,345, increased Banquet Table's lifetime earnings to $110,319. It enabled Cruguet to round out a successful meeting with a big triumph that was worth about $5,100 to him.With all entries carrying similar weights of 122 pounds, the contest catapulted Banquet Table and Turn of Coin to the top of the juvenile division-at least for the time being. First Pretense, who had shown such great early speed, finished last. As for the rest of the field, it provided no challenge for the first two finishers.New York's major racing scene now shifts to Belmont Park, where a 48‐day meeting starts on Monday. The big items on the opening program will be two divisions of the Fall Highweight Handicap.El Rosillo VictorMIAMI, Aug. 28 (AP) - El Rosillo rolled to victory today in the $29,500 Meadowland Handicap at Calder, 3½ lengths ahead of the favored Lightning Thrust, with Latin Leader third, four lengths off the pace.Ridden by Mike Rivera, El Rosillo ran 1 1‐16 miles on the grass in 1:42 2‐5 and paid $9.20, $3.60 and $3.
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