It’s a brand new year, and as always, we look back at the 12 months that had passed (and X number of pounds gained). Kicking off 2014, now would also be a great time to give props to the awesome foodie year that was, with looloo reviewers’ picks for the best restaurants of 2013!
Based on your reviews on the looloo app, we put together a list of food joints that had us drooling, craving, falling in line for hours, and succumbing to food comas. Without further ado, the very first looloo Awards!
Best Restaurants of 2013: Burger Joint
“Their Black Angus Burgers definitely hit the spot”
This was an extremely difficult decision. Competition was tough this year for Charlie’s, with well-loved places like Burger Bar and Zark’s (even new-contender B&B: Burgers and Brewskies) making it to the shortlist. At least for this year, the tried and tested carwash/restaurant took the top spot, with loyal reviewers standing by the Kapitolyo-based burger joint. Their Wagyu and Black Angus burgers, philly cheese steaks, and fries were clear reviewer favorites. Both branches received a total of 317 reviews, with each sporting a 4.4 average rating.
Best Restaurants of 2013: Mexican/Fil-Mex
“Muy delicioso tacos de la calle!”
looloo reviewers this year seemed to put as much emphasis on price and ambience when it came to reviewing places, and El Chupacabra is testament to that fact. Not only were their budget-friendly street style tacos (and cheap beer) a big hit, but so was their no-frills (read: no AC!) hole-in-the-wall type ambience. 84 reviews giving it a 4.39 average rating? It just goes to show that you don’t need to be fancy to be the best.
Best Restaurants of 2013: Steak
“Everything we ordered was GLORIOUS.”
Not often mentioned alongside the likes of Elbert’s Steak Room, or Mamou, Hai Chix was a dark horse for this category. It seems to have worked in its favor though — people who did get to try the unassuming place at the Ortigas Home Depot were pleasantly surprised by the quality and cook of their steaks, minus the through-the-roof prices that usually come with them. If steak is your thing and you don’t mind ditching the fancy silverware to save some dough, Hai Chix is a must!
Best Restaurants of 2013: Pizza
“Definitely my new favorite pizza place in Manila”
A relatively new contender in the local restaurant scene, Project Pie made quite the splash when it finally dove in. Just barely overtaking early looloo reviewers’ favorite Nolita, its DIY pizza concept was a huge hit among reviewers and the place accumulated over 200 reviews in less than 6 months after opening. With a second branch now open by SM MOA, expect many more to come!
Best Restaurants of 2013: Sweets/Desserts
“What better way to start a day than with a good double scoop of awesomeness?”
Gelaterias have been around for a while now, but few did gelato the way BONO did. They took classic Italian technique and put their own spin on things by introducing creative flavors like Taho, Cereal & Milk, Glazed Donuts, heck, even a variant named after Dessert Comes First’s Lori Baltazar! looloo reviewers ate it up (literally!) as 5-star ratings started pouring in like crazy.
Best Restaurants of 2013: Filipino
“Patok na patok!”
With Chef Sandy Daza at the helm, this place’s popularity on the app was no surprise. When the first branch opened (and despite the complaints about parking), reviewers loved the balance of old-school and new-school Filipino flavors in their dishes. Among the offerings that left people wanting more were the Stuffed Pechay, Wansoy Shrimp Nuggets, and Crab Pancit. If Katipunan was a hard-sell for some, fret not, their Rockwell branch is now open!
Best Restaurants of 2013: Breakfast
“This restaurant easily became my favorite brunch place in the metro”
Marikina may not be the biggest foodie hub out there but few restaurants stand out the way Rustic Mornings does. Amidst the concrete and asphalt of the city, the place is quite literally a hole in the wall (you have to drive through an eskinita to reach it… luckily you can get directions via the looloo app!). For the people that have made the trip though, it seems to have been worthwhile. The place has a bit of a secret as well — at night, it literally transforms into a whole new restaurant!
Best Restaurants of 2013: Katsu
“This is, by far, the best katsu in town”
This was pretty much a no-brainer. Before competition from big names like Saboten and Ginza Bairin came in, Yabu had already set the bar pretty high for katsu-lovers out there. Great food and consistently good service have become synonymous with the place based on reviews — something they’ve got a lot of, by the way. Over 1,100 and counting!
Best Restaurants of 2013: Ramen
“This tantanmen is SUPERB. Period.”
Ramen was one of 2013’s biggest trends and it’s likely that this place set the standard for all ramen restaurants that tried to follow. With a chef that goes by the nickname “The Ramen Nazi”, you just KNOW that the food’s going to be top-notch. Their signature tantanmen, of which they serve only 20 bowls a day, is probably the most sought-after dish for any Japanese noodle fan out there.
Best Restaurants of 2013: Chinese
“There is no way but the 3-way!”
With its Greenbelt branch probably being one of the top-rated restaurants of all-time on looloo (a 4.88 average!), it’s no wonder this place is one of the go-to places for special occasions like birthdays, big meetings, etc. Their 3-way peking duck is probably the best you’ll find anywhere in the country, perfectly prepared, even described by one reviewer as “sinfully amazing.”
Best New Restaurant of 2013
Ha! The only place to take 2 spots on this list, Project Pie takes the top spot for best new restaurant of 2013. The DIY Food thing they’ve got going on could be considered a trend in itself, and this place capitalized on it by really toying and teasing with Filipinos’ love for pizza. Touche, Project Pie! Well-played indeed.