Food & Drink
Manila's 16 Essential Steakhouses
Where to go for a premium beef craving
IMAGE Esquire
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Mamou

Some restaurants become synonymous to their bestseller. There's Sentro 1771 for corned beef sinigang. There's Din Tai Fung for soup dumplings. Then, there's Mamou for steak. It's not a steakhouse exactly so there are only four kinds of steak available: prime rib, bone-in rib eye, t-bone, and porterhouse—all USDA, with the last three dry-aged to perfection. You can have it anyway you like, and it'll be perfect and juicy every time. The kitchen thoughtfully tops it off with the drippings from the pan.

Mamou has branches at Serendra, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City; Power Plant Mall, Rockwell, Makati City


Smith Butcher and Grill Room

A bit of a show-off with their meats, Smith has a fancy-looking chiller where they age their beautiful cuts. A high-end homage to your neighborhood butcher, the unassuming warehouse-looking structure hides a cozy, intimate space decked out in what could only be described as a classy beef theme: cow-print couches, faux leather stools, and, of course, a lot of meat. The steak has practically its own menu, a collection of meats from the U.S. (from various farms), Japan, Australia, and France. Depending on mood, preference, and, yes, budget, you can get a filet, entrecote, sirloin, porterhouse, and t-bone. The kitchen refuses any well-done orders because that's really not how you enjoy beef of this quality.

Smith Butcher and Grill Room is at ACI Building, 147 H. V. Dela Costa Street, Salcedo Village, Makati City.


Hai Chix & Steaks

Often overlooked by fancier steak enterprises is this casual nook loaded with some serious beef. Fired only upon order, Hai Chix's steaks are always extra smokey—the quick torch pre-service adds charred edges for an extra oomph texture and flavor. You can easily detect the marbling in each precious piece based on the succulence of the finished product. Fat around the edges are trimmed then cooked to a crisp because you always deserve more. We suspect Hai Chix lets their beef rest on the plate they're served in, but we relish any way we can get more of those salty juices.

Hai Chix & Steaks has branches at Ortigas Home Depot, Doña Julia Vargas Avenue, Pasig City; 2/F 6 Missouri Street, Greenhills, San Juan City; and Signa Designer Residences, Valero Street corner Rufino Street, Salcedo Village, Makati City.


Elbert's Steak Room

Elbert's Steak Room. Hailed as one of the Metro's best of the best, it's one of those situations where you could say so much but there's really nothing more to say. Through time and experience, Elbert's has simply perfected the technique for making the most out of a slice of beef. Theirs are invariably USDA Prime, sourced from Wisconsin, then carefully wet-aged. Once ready, they're blast-frozen and imported. A special butcher cuts them to a specific thickness before they're vacuum-sealed and stored in -20 degrees Celsius. Before being served, the steaks are precariously defrosted for 24 hours then chilled. Each Elbert's meal is perfectly timed, allowing the beef to reach room temperature as the customers get on with their starters.

From the aging to the cooking, every step is kept to the restaurant's specifications. Because the beef is as premium as could be, only a dash of good Sicilian salt is all it needs to bring out the flavors.

Elbert's Steak Room is at Sagittarius Building, 111 H. V. Dela Costa Street, Salcedo Village, Makati City.


Atelier Vivanda Manila

Backed by Michelin-starred chef Akrame Benallal is this minimalist French bistro that serves some intense protein. The duck is perfection, but the beef is stellar, too—from the dry-aged thinly sliced smoked beef (reminiscent of prosciutto, flavor-wise) to the spectacular Holstein beef rib (one to 1.2 kilograms of smokey, nutty goodness). Everything in between is just as satisfactory: tenderloin, porterhouse, a signature rib eye, and tomahawk. An example of how the French do comfort food, best enjoy your meats with their selection of potatoes.

Atelier Vivanda Manila is at Forbes Town Center, Burgos Circle, Taguig City.


Wagyu BGC

Here, steak is an art form, carefully revered before, well, you scarf it down like every other mouthwatering piece of meat you see. Everyone knows that Wagyu BGC is a solid place to get buttery chunks of Japanese steak—that they cook it in front of you is so you can better appreciate the shiny oil that oozes out from each rich little slice of heaven—but new chef Go Okura certainly reinforces this with an amazing Wagyu degustacion that would leave any beef lover feeling like the luckiest person in the world.

Wagyu BGC is at Forbes Town Center, Burgos Circle, Taguig City.

Raging Bull Chophouse & Bar

Chef Nathan Griffin came from the Shangri-La in Sydney so he definitely understands his meats. The highlight of this Shang at the Fort original is the Josper Grill, a premium appliance that puts together all the best capabilities of a grill and an oven. Their beef is sourced from Australia, and from award-winning producers to boot. Think Blackmore, AACo's 1824, Robbins Island, Cape Grim—essentially, the country's best meat companies ganged up to make a super steakhouse. While Raging Bull is unabashedly premium, we appreciate their choice to feature more underrated parts like shortrib and rump, proving that it's not about the cut but what you do with them.

Raging Bull is at Shangri-La at the Fort, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City.


House of Wagyu

Consistency is how you become a classic. With branches strategically scattered across the Metro, House of Wagyu could always be counted on for a reliable steak fix. They source Wagyu primarily from Australia, which makes them meatier, perfect for those who aren't huge fans of the fatty goodness that makes up the Japanese variety. Whichever cut and weight you order comes in a sizzling stone grill, with servers telling you when your meat is ready to enjoy. Salt, pepper—a little sprinkle of either is all you need to spice things up. 

House of Wagyu has branches at The Podium, Mandaluyong City; Eastwood Mall, Libis, Quezon City; Two E-Com Center, Ocean Drive, Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City; and McKinley Arcade, Ortigas Avenue corner Club Filipino Road, Greenhills, San Juan City.



22 Prime

Discovery Suites' signature eatery is the best argument for those who are pro-sauce with their steak. 22 Prime isn't specifically a steak place, but their little selection of USDA-certified prime grade beef has preceded their reputation. Get the 400-gram rib eye and enjoy it with a trio of steak sauce, peppercorn brandy tarragon, and bearnaise.

22 Prime is at Discovery Suites, 22/F 25 ADB Avenue, Ortigas, Pasig City.


Ruby Jack's Steakhouse and Bar

White linens, Cattelan Italia chairs, a cigar room—Ruby Jack's classic setting reminds us that steak is a special, celebratory meal. Actually, in this restaurant, the steak is the celebration. The single-page menu may seem a bit conservative, but choosing from the roster of Japanese A5 Wagyu, Snake River Farms Wagyu, John Dee Angus, and USDA Prime is a tough, tough choice. Thankfully, their steaks, whichever you get, aren't: They're soft, melt-in-your-mouth, but with enough grit to make your carnivorous heart skip a beat. The steaks are char-grilled so you get a layer of smokiness with every briny bite.  

Ruby Jack's is at UG/F City of Dreams, D. Macapagal Boulevard, Entertainment City, Parañaque City.


CRU Steakhouse

Big bad steaks are on the menu at CRU. Marriott's most popular restaurant is certainly a tease—from the intimate setup to the glass kitchen that allows customers to enjoy the fiery steak show. U.S. and Australian beef are available, in both Wagyu and Angus varieties. The chefs like to serve their steak inch-thick and extremely juicy. This place is for romantics so sharing the 900-gram slab with a special someone is encouraged. Eating your steak with wine is recommended, too. That is the whole point of CRU after all.

Manila Marriott Hotel, No. 10 Newport Boulevard, Newport City, Pasay City.


Prime 101

A steak is a dish of showmanship. You fire it up, there's anticipation when you slice into it. Is it pink? Is it moist? More of a showroom than a restaurant, this Jupiter spot is one of the more unassuming steak places in Manila, but it has an incredibly wide selection. Prime 101 puts together Wagyu, Kimberly Red, U.S. Super Prime Rib. Even the pork comes with this level of diversity. Chef Marco Legasto describes his style as "freestyle"; the menu is variable so it's best to leave it up to him. But like any good chef who understands top-shelf stuff, all he does is cook it perfectly and let the quality do the impressing.

Prime 101 is at 2226 Chino Roces Street, San Lorenzo, Makati City.

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Wolfgang's Steakhouse

You can blame the aging room for the delays in Wolfgang's Steakhouse opening early this year. The steaks are aged onsite for 28 days, in a highly controlled walk-in that would make any carnivore weak in the knees. Wolfgang Zwiener worked as a head waiter in Peter Luger's Steakhouse for 40 years and he learned the craft well. Now, his restaurant is one of the go-to places for a beef craving in New York—and the world. 

Wolfgang's Steakhouse is at Resorts World, Newport City, Pasay City.


Melo's Steakhouse

Carmelo Santiago was the person who put Angus beef on everyone's radar. That was in 1987, now Melo's, still a formidable destination for steak, has branched out to include other types of beef from all over the world. This franchise is a steak legacy, so much so that his daughter opened her own steak shop, aptly named Carmelo's, which focuses on Wagyu cuts.

Melo's has branchest at 58 Sgt. Esguerra Street, South Triangle, Quezon City; Forbes Town Center, 29th Street, Burgos Circle, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City, Westgate Center, Filinvest City, Muntinlupa City.


Texas Roadhouse 

This Western-themed restaurant keeps things friendly and light, but they're serious about their proteins. They're all hand-cut by a meat craftsmaster who ensures that each piece has the right ratio of fat. The steaks are aged between 21 and 48 days—chilled and never frozen—with the shipping and delivery times coordinated to ensure perfection no matter what. Texas Roadhouse welcomes their guests to gnaw to the bone, but that doesn't make them less than premium when it comes to coughing up awesome steaks.

Texas Roadhouse is at 4/F Uptown Place Mall, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City.


I'm Angus Steakhouse

Beautiful steaks and a wood-fire grill. That's the simple formula at I'm Angus. It's a no-frills restaurant that puts the focus on the food. Their steak of choice is obviously Angus, giving a nice combination of tenderness and grit with every slice—as well as value for money. I'm Angus is under the Werdenberg International Corp., which also handles Chesa Bianca and Santi's Delicatessen. 

I'm Angus is at 7431 Yakal Street, San Antonio Village, San Antonio, Makati City.


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Sasha Lim Uy
Managing Editor, EsquireMag.ph
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