These international restaurants in Manila will transport you,
whether you’re ordering delivery meals during lockdown
or dining in on your next trip to the Philippine capital.

International travel still seems a far reach for most people in the Philippines and while Manila is slowly opening up, the city remains under restricted quarantine with no real end in sight.  There is, however, an easy way to armchair travel, and that’s by bringing the flavors of the world into your home.  Writer Stephanie Zubiri and I show you how to trade that boarding pass for a delivery menu and dial-in your orders from some of Manila’s tastiest restos for a fun and escapist dining experience.  Friends abroad: bookmark this page for your next visit.

T+L Manila Takeout

Destination: Japan
Via: Tsukiji

Probably hands-down Manila’s most authentic Japanese restaurant with top notch ingredients flown in weekly from Japan, Tsukiji offers an incredible takeout experience that will transport you straight to the tiny alleys of its famous namesake market.  Most of their specialties, such as the grilled hamachi collar are available for takeout, but those wanting a little taste of everything should try their nifty bento boxes.

The Premium Sushi Bento has it all: hontoro, chutoro, hamachi, kanpachi, salmon, amaebi, hotate and uni or ikura nigiri served with a tender Japanese cod — gindara — teriyaki, nimono veggies, soup and appetizers.  If you’re more of a carnivore, the Premium Ohmi Wagyu Bento hits the spot.  Ohmi Wagyu Yakiniku served with unagi kabayaki, gindara, tamago yaki and all the other little trimmings.

We made it a party of it with their showstopping special sushi boats.  The small is good for six to eight people, with 30 pieces of premium nigiri and nine pieces of negitoro maki.  The stunning display of shockingly fresh sushi will make you bust out that sake and shout domo oishi!

SCOTT A WOODWARD - DSC_9878 (Tsukiji)
SCOTT A WOODWARD - DSC_9901 (Tsukiji)

Destination: Thailand
Via: Benjarong

Whether it’s in the bustling streets of Bangkok, the quaint markets of Chiang Rai or the white-sand beaches of Koh Phi Phi, one thing is certain: the food will be outstanding.  Streetside or royal cuisine, Thailand has a unique and varied culinary heritage.

From his kitchen in the five-star Dusit Thani, Thailand’s original home-grown luxury hotel group, Benjarong’s Chef Watcharaphon “Ja” Yongbanthom brings to life traditional Thai flavors with modern cooking techniques.  Layer upon layer of bright fresh ingredients like grassy coriander and zesty kaffir with spicy fresh green peppercorns and umami-filled fish sauce are expertly fused together to create delicious Thai favorites.

Hot-and-heady green curry chicken, easy-peasy pad Thai and kid-friendly pandan chicken.  For an impressive family feast, try the pla sam rod — a deliriously crispy whole fried sea bass with spicy sweet-and-sour sauce.  Looking for a more refined indulgence?  The nuea yang is a juicy grilled U.S. ribeye steak with a tangy tamarind dressing.  Don’t miss out on a sweet ending with the coconut and corn kanom tako treats.  The whole experience is truly aroy mak!

SCOTT A WOODWARD - DSC_0064 (Benjarong)
SCOTT A WOODWARD - DSC_0052 (Benjarong)

Destination: Spain
Via: Hola Bombon!

What could be more iconic than indulging in some tapas and a cold caña on the sun-soaked terraces off the Iberian coasts?  Bring home that summer-in-Spain vibe with Hola Bombon!  Catanlunya-born chef Ruben Beltran Castellnou offers a fresh take on Spanish classics and has created a delicious array of tapas and dishes designed for delivery.

The Fiesta de Mariscos set is good for four, with pan con tomate, pintxos de Mejillones —  toasted baguettes topped with fried mussels, grilled octopus, bacalao con pisto or cod — with stewed eggplant, zucchini and peppers, and paella negra.  It comes with a dessert of either churros or burnt Basque cheesecake.

T+L Tip: Bring all the heady scents of Spain to your kitchen with their ready-to-cook kits.  Serve a perfect paella in 20 minutes with zero fuss and all that sought after soccarat.  The crisped-up rice stuck to the bottom of the pan can only be truly enjoyed when served immediately after cooking.  With all their different a la carte and set-menu options, Hola Bombon! will take you from homebound siesta to fiesta in no time!

SCOTT A WOODWARD - DSC_0856 (Hola Bombon)
SCOTT A WOODWARD - DSC_0814 (Hola Bombon)

Destination: India
Via: Mantra Indian Kitchen & Bar

Travel first to the magical, bejeweled and colorful cities of northern India, from where the impressive Mughal emperors once reigned.  Then through to Mumbai for a little Bollywood glam before heading to the hot southern tropics…  The heady spices of Mantra will enchant you and whisk you away into a dream of complex flavors and slow-cooked goodness across India.

Rich spicy curries, bountiful biryanis, chewy naan and charred tandoor delicacies are cooked with love and are the perfect hearty indoor meal.  Tear off a piece of that garlic naan or butter roti and dip it into their prawn curry, palak paneer and dal makhani.  Their classic tandoori offerings like chicken and salmon tikka are enjoyable — but do try the more vibrant veg options like green pea and paneer tikka. Dive into that enormous bowl of fluffy vegetable biryani and swim in the heavenly layers of saffron and spice.

Crowd favorite? Chicken 65.  Think a fun South Asian take on hot wings — tandoori spiced fried chicken with crispy curry leaves — which is absolutely perfect with a cold Kingfisher beer.  Is it happy hour yet yaar?

SCOTT A WOODWARD - DSC_1458 (Mantra)
SCOTT A WOODWARD - DSC_1442 (Mantra)

Destination: Greece
Via: Souv! By Cyma

Don’t you wish your four white walls overlooked glittering turquoise waters and deliriously blue skies?  Maybe add a trellis full of Technicolor fuchsia flowering bougainvillea just to complete the escape to the Aegean Sea.  Take a quick trip to Greece with the bright Mediterranean flavors of Souv! By Cyma, chef Robbie Goco’s brainchild of healthy, modern Greek cuisine.

Start with a clam and spinach fonduta served with horiatiko bread and a fresh quinoa salata — lettuce and arugula topped with pine nuts, sultana, walnuts, quinoa and shaved kefalograviera cheese.  Follow with their Seafood Yiouvetsi, a lovely crustacean dish similar to a paella but made with orzo.  Then go nuts with Meatopia, a generous platter of grilled lamb chops, lamb keftedes, crispy fries, tzatziki, pita and horiatiko bread.

Finish with their delicious Greek frozen yogurt topped with honey.  Serve everything with a slightly chilled grenache or spicy GSM blend for a true feast fit for the gods.  You might even maintain your Herculean figure afterwards. To that we say, Opa!