7 Restaurants in Manila With Stellar Wine Lists
Two decades ago, most of drinking Manila thought a Riedel glass belonged in a laboratory while a Gewurztraminer was some high-powered machine gun from World War II. But these days, most local wine lovers have gotten acquainted with the finer points of their favorite drink (like that a Gewurztraminer is a white grape type commonly grown in Alsace, France and Germany) thanks to knowledge gained from travels and (a lot of) Internet reading, as well as the thousands of wine brands and varieties now readily available in the country.
From Old World to New World, supermarket safe picks to cult classics, white, red, pink, and bubbly, we have most of them on offer already and ready to be paired with some of the finest dishes in the buzzing restaurant scene. Restaurateurs and chefs are becoming more conscious of their wine lists these days, fully aware that the clientele is becoming more and more discerning not just with the wine but with how it's paired.
To take the guesswork out of the equation (for those who aren't as well-versed), here are some restaurants with pretty impressive wine lists. Like a vintage car or a lovely woman, it's never just about the bells and whistles or the pedigree. There are many intangible variables which make these wine lists stand out: variety, character, approachability.
M Dining + Bar
Standards are rightfully high when the folks behind this Pasong Tamo restaurant are the same as the good people of Premium Wine Exchange. The wine catalogue includes a collection of Super Tuscans, North American stars, and champagne (lots of it!) known only to serious wine lovers who tend to go for the lavish yet low-key. Sommelier Gigi Varua has joined the team recently and made her adjustments, but mostly she's there to give smart wine advice while keeping the atmosphere fun and relaxed. This obscure restaurant is a hidden gem and you'll probably find more of those in the wine list.
3/F Alegria Alta Building, Chino Roces Extension, Makati City
Sage Bespoke Grill
While the menu seems straightforward enough, diners can surely choose their own adventure with the mind-boggling wine selection at this Shangri-La Makati steakhouse. Curated by award-winning sommelier Patrick Tabhan, the list opens with his Sommelier's Corner featuring some exciting choices you might overlook otherwise. It also features one of the most extensive selections of wines by the glass locally, showing Sage's dedication in creating a "bespoke" dining experience.
Mezzanine, Shangri-La Hotel Makati, Ayala Center, Makati City
Chef Juan Carlo de Terry is not only a concert pianist and an accomplished chef, but he also holds a degree in Oenology (that's the study of wines, savages). With that kind of background, it's not surprising that he offers only the finest wines per price category. His heritage naturally has him inclined towards Spanish wines and he carries some really good cheap ones as well as from the revered Vega Sicilia. His love for the refined lines of Bordeaux has him carrying some of the best first growths, plus a smattering of New World wines to cover all bases. At Terry's, you'll always find a well-rounded wine list that will surely have something for everybody.
2297 BCS Prime Building, Pasong Tamo Extension, Makati City; The Podium, Mandaluyong City; One Lafayette Square, 132 L.P. Leviste corner Sedeno Streets, Makati City; OPVI Center, 2295 Pasong Tamo Extension, Makati City
Lusso has the smallest selection in this bunch, but it compensates with quality. The restaurant's posh comfort food is paired with only the best champagne (and prosecco which is an economical yet worthy alternative) for those that understand how the foie gras-stuffed burger can only be washed down by glasses of cold, effervescent Krug. The wine list reads like the personal cellar of a well-traveled socialite, something that shouldn't come as a surprise to those who are fans of Lusso owner, Asia's Best Female Chef 2016 Margarita Fores.
G/F Greenbelt 5, Ayala Center, Makati City
Sagana Epicerie & Bistro
Marc Aubry, the good Frenchman, considerately offers some supermarket brands for newbies in search of something familiar, as well as some boutique French labels and benchmark New World wines for those who know that a Provençal rosé would be lovely with the Algerian couscous or that a fragrant Pinot Gris from New Zealand is pure bliss paired with the foie gras terrine. While the bistro menu remains traditional French, Chef Marc allows you to explore the whole spectrum of flavors the terroir of the world has to offer through wine.
G/F Net One Center, 3rd Avenue corner 24th Street, BGC, Taguig City
Serious meats require some serious wine. This New York-based franchise has put together a wine list worthy Wolfgang's revered dry-aged porterhouses. For the high rollers, they have first growth Bordeaux (such as Chateaux Petrus and Margaux) or Napa Valley bombshells like Mondavi's Opus One. However, while the big boys are well-represented, wine lovers know you need not spend a king's ransom to indulge. To pair with their decadent steaks, the wine list features earthy Malbecs and peppery Syrahs which are destined to satisfy.
2/F Newport Mall, Resorts World Manila, Pasay City
At Mireio, it's about France versus the rest of the world. The Provençal restaurant rightfully puts French wine on the forefront as the fitting match to their tartares and ethereal seafood dishes. Their wine list features boutique labels from the famous region, curated so that rosés take center stage. We suggest diners follow their lead and opt for the pink stuff or one of their bubbly choices as they go perfectly with the light and rustic Provençal food offerings.
9/F Raffles Makati, Ayala Center, Makati City