Food

Low-Key Places Where You Can Still Have an Intimate Valentine's Date

Avoid the stressful crowds and find the intimacy you're looking for.
IMAGE Conrad Manila
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Valentine’s Day in the Philippines, with its increased traffic, special promos and heightened décor, feels very much like an actual holiday, even though you still have to go to work. We love romance, and celebrating it on the most romantic day of the year is pretty much a requirement.

However, it can get pretty stressful to enter a packed restaurant and hear the din brought about by excited couples and harangued staff. Thankfully, there are still some somewhat-secret, only-a-little out-of-the-way places that can still host a quiet dinner on Valentine's day where you can still get personal with your date. 

Café Rizal


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Barely a year old, Rizal Park Hotel’s beautiful restoration of what was once the Army and Navy Club has yet to reach the mainstream. Enjoy its colonial-era design, which takes you back to a time when people’s casual wear is merely toned-down business formal—meaning, people dressed to the nines all the time. The hotel’s Rizal Café evokes a similarly elegant past, using clean, elegant lines that are both classy and refreshing. It boasts of a state of the art open-theatre show kitchen that serves international cuisine ranging from Western, Chinese and Japanese selections both via buffet and a la carte. This Valentine’s day, Café Rizal is offering an 8-course dinner starting at P2018++ per person.

Café Rizal is located at Rizal Park Hotel, South Road Drive, T.M. Kalaw Ext, Manila, Philippines. 

 

Lemuria Fine Dining, Horseshoe


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Hidden in the depths of Horseshoe Village, Quezon City, Lemuria evokes a “lost land” vibe, perhaps emulating its namesake. It is a massive venue, featuring four different concepts within – the main dining area, the Garden, the Lavender room and the Papillon—each one with its own personality. Specializing in French-Mediterranean fare, Lemuria is offering a special Valentines Day Menu from February 13 to 15.

Lemuria Fine Dining is located in #5 Julieta Circle, Horseshoe Village, Quezon City. Lemuria also has a branch in BGC, Taguig.

 

Raffaele Woodfired Pizza


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Located at the third floor of Intramuros’ Bayleaf Hotel, Raffaele offers an up-close look at the historic wall—the area is encased in glass, from the ceiling to the windows. A former veranda turned dining area, it gives off a casual vibe with its pops of purple, green, and yellow, letting you enjoy the view without worrying about the finery. Known for its delicious Italian fare, Raffaele is offering a special Tasting Menu this Valentine’s week.

Raffaele Woodfired Pizza is located at 3F The Bayleaf Intramuros, Muralla cor. Victoria Sts. Intramuros, Manila.

 

Trattoria Altrove


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Slovenian-owned Italian restaurant Altrove became so famous in Palawan (it has branches in El Nido and Coron) that it ventured into NCR by way of the South. Its BF International branch looks very much like any other home in the subdivision, a wide bungalow fronted by a spacious garden. Walking along the stone path makes you feel like you’re merely visiting a neighbor’s house, instead of entering a family restaurant. Guests are even asked to remove their footwear upon entering, perhaps as a nod to both the old Filipino tradition, and to the resto’s beachside roots. This VDay, Altrove created a six-course set menu boasting of its best-selling Italian classics.

Trattoria Altrove is located in 858 Tropical Avenue BF International, Las Piñas. 

 

Ninyo Fusion Cuisine & Wine Lounge


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Ninyo is yet another deceptive neighborhood restaurant—what looks like a mere residence from the outside looks like a spectacle on the inside. This Katipunan-adjacent joint gives off a Tagaytay vibe, where nature is a major part of the whole décor. Imagine a large garden with a koi pond, surrounded by plants, lights and vines all over. While there is an indoor dining area, most couples would probably opt for the gazebos, each enclosed by white curtains for an illusion of intimacy. Enjoy Ninyo’s “Love Story” Valentine’s Degustacion menu from February 13-18, a 7-course meal named after relationship stages, starting with romance and ending in bliss.

Ninyo Fusion is located in 66 Esteban Abada Street, Loyola Heights Quezon City, Philippines 1108. 

 

Samba


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Thanks to its Chef Carlo Huerta Echegaray, Samba at Shangri-La offers one of the most authentic Peruvian fare in the country. Through colorful presentation and vivid flavors, dinner at Samba will definitely spice up your Valentine’s date. Drop by on the nights of February 14-16 and get to experience award-winning “Tiki Maestro” Daniele Dalla Pola’s masterpieces at the bar. The view is great, too – Samba is on the same floor as the hotel pool, giving you a beautiful city skyline amidst the clear blue water.

Samba is located at 8F, Shangri-la at the Fort 30th Street cor. 5th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Bonifacio Global City 1634.

 

C Lounge


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If your idea of a date involves drinks and a view, C Lounge at Conrad offers a spectacular one of Manila Bay. As day turns to night, guests are treated to a panoramic view of the sunset from any part of the lounge. For Valentine’s, CLounge offers “Lovestruck,” a spread of sparkling wine, chocolate fondue, pralines and fresh fruits.

C Lounge is located at Conrad Hotel, Seaside Boulevard corner Coral Way Mall of Asia Complex,Pasay City, 1300, Philippines. 

Tree Top Lounge


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Acacia Hotel calls Tree Top its secret al fresco lounge, located at the topmost floor. Dine with music in your ears, the breeze in your hair and the Alabang skyline in your sights. Open from 6pm until midnight, Tree Top offers a variety of grilled dishes ranging from pork, beef, seafood and chicken.

Tree Top Lounge is at the 16th floor, Acacia Hotel 5400 East Asia Drive corner Commerce Avenue, Filinvest Corporate City, Alabang, Muntinlupa. You can visit Acacia Hotels’ Facebook page here: 

 

Buona Vita


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Sometimes, all a great date needs is good food and good ambiance. Buona Vita, a cozy restaurant in Alabang, has captivated many a guest with its Tuscan-inspired interiors and mouth-watering Italian menu. The friendly waitstaff is ready with a “Buongiorno!” once you enter the room, making you instantly feel at home. No frills, just an all around great experience. “Buona Vita,” after all, means “good life” in Italian. What more do you need?

Buona Vita is located in Molito Lifestyle Mall, Madrigal Ave, Alabang, Muntinlupa. 

 

Relish


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What’s interesting about Relish is that all its branches operate relatively under the radar. Most blogs who have written about any of the locations—Makati, Tomas Morato, Ortigas and Alabang—seem to have found the place by accident. It is the notable exteriors that captivate the curious at first, thanks to designs created by Ivy and Cynthia Almario, the duo behind V Bar, Romulo Café and Cerchio. Their menu ranges from salads, pastas, roasts and even sisig. You can try Relish’s dishes through their Valentine’s special as every branch is serving a five-course dinner starting at P950++ per person.

For more details, visit Relish’s Facebook page.

 

Kyo-to


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For the ultimate hideaway, Kyo-to offers a unique dining experience in a place hidden in plain sight. This small restaurant in Makati can be easy to miss among the office buildings in Legazpi, but once you see the simple, minimalist Japanese façade, the peaceful energy that surrounds it can easily draw you in. Inside is a 30-seater space with wooden seats and tables, most notably the eight-seat counter surrounding the “kappo” or the Chef’s Table, where Chef Ryohei Kawamoto prepares his menu. Guests will be treated to Kawamoto’s masterful process of creating each dish on the kaiseki menu, a multiple-course dinner served with seasonal ingredients.

Kyo-to is located in G/F Coyiuto House, 119 C. Palanca Jr. St., Legaspi Village, Makati City. 

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Monique Therese Avila
Monique Therese Avila is a self-proclaimed woman-child with a lifelong obsession with chocolate. Her attempts at staying fit are hampered by her part-time gig as a professional food taster.
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