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Exploring Malate: Top Culinary Gems You Must Try

Malate 말라떼 맛집, a vibrant district in Manila, Philippines, is renowned not only for its historical sites and lively nightlife but also for its eclectic culinary scene. From street food stalls to upscale dining, Malate offers a gastronomic adventure that promises to tantalize your taste buds. Here's a curated list of must-try culinary gems that capture the essence of this bustling neighborhood.

1. Café Adriatico

A Taste of Heritage

Established in 1979, Café Adriatico is a cornerstone of Malate's dining scene. Located at the corner of Adriatico Street and Remedios Circle, this café is a homage to Old Manila, offering a cozy ambiance with its antique furniture and nostalgic décor. The menu is a blend of Spanish and Filipino cuisine, with signature dishes like Lola Ising’s Adobo, a tender and flavorful pork belly simmered in a rich soy-vinegar sauce, and Salpicao de Solomillo, succulent beef tenderloin cubes sautéed in garlic and olive oil.

2. The Aristocrat

Iconic Filipino Comfort Food

No visit to Malate is complete without dining at The Aristocrat. Open since 1936, this institution on Roxas Boulevard is famous for its Chicken Barbecue, served with java rice and a side of their legendary peanut sauce. The Aristocrat is also known for its extensive selection of traditional Filipino dishes such as Kare-Kare, a savory oxtail stew with a rich peanut sauce, and Pancit Canton, stir-fried noodles with vegetables, pork, and shrimp.

3. Hobing Korean Dessert Café

Sweet Escape to Korea

For those with a sweet tooth, Hobing Korean Dessert Café on Adriatico Street is a must-visit. Specializing in Bingsu, a Korean shaved ice dessert, Hobing offers a variety of flavors from classic Patbingsu with sweet red beans to exotic Mango Cheese Bingsu. Each bowl is a delightful concoction of finely shaved ice topped with fresh fruits, syrup, and delectable toppings, perfect for a refreshing treat in the tropical heat.

4. Casa Armas Tapas Bar y Restaurante

Spanish Flair in Manila

Casa Armas, located on Nakpil Street, brings a slice of Spain to Malate. This tapas bar is beloved for its authentic Spanish dishes and lively atmosphere. Must-try items include Gambas al Ajillo, succulent shrimp sautéed in garlic and olive oil, and Paella Valenciana, a fragrant and hearty rice dish loaded with seafood, chicken, and chorizo. The restaurant’s warm, rustic interior adds to the authentic Spanish dining experience.

5. Ilustrado

Elegant Filipino-Spanish Fusion

Nestled within the historic district, Ilustrado offers a sophisticated dining experience with its Filipino-Spanish fusion cuisine. The restaurant’s elegant setting, adorned with colonial-era décor, complements its menu. Highlights include the Callos, a Spanish-inspired tripe stew with chickpeas, chorizo, and tomatoes, and the Adobo del Diablo, a fiery take on the classic adobo with tender chunks of pork braised in a spicy sauce.

6. Masuki

Legendary Chinese Noodles

For over 80 years, Masuki has been a haven for noodle lovers. Located on Benavidez Street, this Chinese eatery is famous for its Mami, a hearty noodle soup with tender meat slices and a rich, flavorful broth. Pair it with their Siopao, a fluffy steamed bun filled with savory pork, for a comforting meal that’s stood the test of time.

7. La Scala Café

A Bohemian Retreat

Hidden away on Adriatico Street, La Scala Café is a quirky, bohemian retreat known for its eclectic décor and laid-back vibe. The café serves an array of Filipino and international dishes, but the highlight is its Tsokolate Eh, a rich and creamy Filipino hot chocolate made from tablea, traditional cocoa tablets. Perfect for a cozy afternoon, La Scala’s unique ambiance and delicious offerings make it a must-visit spot.

8. Tap Station

Craft Beer Haven

Beer enthusiasts will find their paradise at Tap Station, located along Remedios Circle. This craft beer bar offers a rotating selection of local and international brews on tap. Pair your beer with their gourmet Tapas menu, featuring delights like Chorizo Frito and Patatas Bravas. The relaxed, pub-like atmosphere makes it an ideal spot for unwinding after a day of exploring.

9. Bistro Remedios

Authentic Filipino Flavors

Bistro Remedios, situated at Remedios Circle, is dedicated to preserving and showcasing traditional Filipino cuisine. The restaurant’s rustic interiors set the stage for dishes like Binukadkad na Pla-Pla, crispy fried tilapia served with a tangy vinegar dipping sauce, and Sinuteng Baby Pusit, baby squid sautéed in garlic and olive oil. Bistro Remedios is perfect for those seeking an authentic Filipino dining experience.

10. Soi

A Taste of Thailand

Soi, located in Robinsons Place Manila, offers an exquisite taste of Thai cuisine. The restaurant's vibrant, contemporary setting complements its menu of flavorful Thai dishes. Highlights include Tom Yum Goong, a spicy and sour shrimp soup, and Pad Thai, stir-fried noodles with shrimp, tofu, and peanuts. Soi’s dedication to authentic flavors and fresh ingredients makes it a standout in Malate’s culinary landscape.

Malate's culinary scene is a tapestry of flavors, blending traditional and modern influences to create a dining experience like no other. Whether you're a fan of hearty Filipino classics, crave the zest of international cuisines, or seek the comfort of sweet desserts, Malate's diverse array of eateries promises a memorable gastronomic journey. Make sure to bring your appetite and an adventurous spirit as you explore these top culinary gems in the heart of Manila.

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