Most people have been staying safe indoors and getting food delivered at home since the pandemic started.
For those eager to get out of the house and get their vehicles’ engines running for a bit, one of the things you can do is to drive to a different neighborhood you don’t normally go to and grab a bite to eat in al fresco restaurant with outdoor seating.
Dining outdoors with members of your own household offers a relatively safe option compared to dining in mall-based and enclosed indoor establishments.
Here are just a few spots with al fresco dining in the metro where you can enjoy a pleasant food trip break for quick city drives.
Rockwell’s Streetside Dining
For those who live in Makati, Rockwell seems to be the go-to spot for casual weekend drives. Starting September last year, Rockwell has provided patrons with a new neighborhood outdoor dining destination by launching their “Rockwell Goes Streetside” initiative.
Side streets of Lopez Drive and One Rockwell are closed off from Fridays to Sundays with restaurants like Café Via Mare, a mano, Teppan Okochi, Mamou, Barcino, Single Origin, Ooma and more offering al fresco seating for diners. One Rockwell’s picks include Grace Park, The Test Kitchen, Tajimaya, Coco Ichibanya, UCC Café Terrace, and Nikkei.
Wildflour, which offers signature comfort eats like Chicken & Biscuits and brunch staples, has al fresco dining areas in their Rockwell, BGC, and Salcedo branches.
Santolan Town Plaza is another possible dining destination with open spaces and lush greenery. The San Juan community can order from any food kiosk, café, or restaurant and enjoy dining safely and conveniently at the new outdoor dining areas located at the Pavilions.
Rockwell Goes Streetside. Lopez Drive and One Rockwell, Makati City; Santolan Town Plaza, San Juan, Metro Manila
We’re seeing the revival of outdoor food bazaars, which claim to offer safe, socially distanced dining in an outdoor environment with a wide food selection.
Stalls from Bonifacio Global City’s top restaurants can be found once again in a safe outdoor dining area in Mercato Centrale’s High StrEat. The country’s biggest night food market relaunched last October at the Ampitheatre area of BGC in Taguig City, giving visitors a chance to enjoy their favorite dishes from Taguig establishments including Wolfgang’s Steakhouse PH, El Chupacabra, D’ Vegan nook, Suki Gyouza, But Better Burgers, and more in a vibrant and safe outdoor space on weekends from Friday to Sunday from 11 am to 9 pm.
The PasaYahin BuYummYhan food market at SM by the BAY Central Park, Mall of Asia, right in front of Manila Bay also offers over 25+ tried and tested combination of Mercato, MOA and Pasay City food merchants from 3 pm to 10 pm daily.
Mercato Centrale High StrEat, Amphitheater, along 7th Avenue, BGC, Taguig City; SM by the BAY Central Park, Mall of Asia
Rustic Mornings by Isabelo
Rustic Mornings by Isabelo is a long-time Marikina favorite that offers all-day breakfast, brunch, lunch meals, pastries and coffee. The famous garden restaurant has reconfigured its space to maximize the al fresco seating areas, with cozy nooks spread about in different areas of the garden for more privacy. Each spot in the garden has its own unique theme, giving diners a unique experience every time they visit.
Rustic Mornings serves hearty all-day breakfast and brunch meals like buttermilk pancakes, waffles, all-veggie omelet, cheesy chicken fricassee, Filipino meals, pizza and sandwiches, fresh fruit shakes, coffee and dessert.
Rustic Mornings. 11 Isabelo Mendoza Street, San Roque, Marikina City
Greg & Sally Tree Garden Cafe
Greg & Sally Tree Garden Cafe is another relaxing garden cafe in Marikina. Hidden within a quiet, residential area of Marikina Heights, this rustic resto doesn’t get as crowded as other mall-based restaurants. Diners can enjoy meals from the restaurant’s outdoor gazebo surrounded by lush greenery.
Greg & Sally serves homemade family recipes of breakfast and brunch dishes, salads and refreshing herb-based drinks (Pandan Lemongrass, Dalandan Tarragon, Calamansi Mint Coolers) and Pinoy deserts like Buko Pandan using herbs from their garden.
Greg and Sally Tree Garden Cafe. 145 Ipil St cor Champaca, Marikina Heights, Marikina City
Beefalo by Hot Rocks
Beefalo by Hot Rocks is another local spot located at the far end of Gil Fernando Avenue in Marikina. This ranch-style house inspired by vintage roadside pit stops offers a homey backyard dining experience.
While the resto has an indoor dining area, the best place to eat is the spacious front lawn decked out in green-checked tablecloths and patio lights. The restaurant’s menu is made up of American staples like ribs and steaks, as well as sandwiches, burgers and pizzas, peppered with Filipino favorites.
Beefalo by Hot Rocks. Lot 6, Block 3, Mayor Gil Fernando Ave, Marikina, Kalakhang Maynila
Uno Cinquenta Lifestyle Park
The Maginhawa neighborhood has its fair share of food parks, though not all survived the pandemic. Formerly known as One Fifty Food Place, Uno Cinquenta Lifestyle Park is a 600-sqm al fresco dining space that attracts neighborhood foodies for its wide selection of easy to eat comfort food like pizza, noodles, wings and milk tea. The compound also has its own cozy neighborhood-style pub and a wine bar.
The second floor balcony area above some of the food stalls offers a refreshing spot to just hang out and enjoy a couple of drinks outside the house.
Uno Cinquenta Lifestlye Park. 150 Maginhawa Sreet, Diliman, Quezon City
Bellini’s Italian Restaurant / Cubao Expo
Bellini’s, which opened in July 1999, has been one of the long-time institutions inside Cubao Expo, a secluded Bohemian enclave hidden behind malls and towering condominium buildings in the Araneta Center area of Cubao.
The decades old establishment offers a glimpse of Italy in the metro, and classic Italian dishes to boot. Bellini’s is known for their pasta, pizza and wine. While they’ve been open for takeout and delivery to nearby residents, it’s good to know they’re also open for dine-in, with a few tables outside the restaurant offering al fresco seating.
For those looking for more casual drinks and beer chow, some of the other restaurants in Cubao Expo strip, including Fred’s Revolucion and Habanero Kitchen and Bar also have outdoor seating.
Cubao Expo, 3 General Romulo Ave, Cubao, Quezon City
Chill Top Circulo Verde
Chill Top is a roofdeck restobar with a number of branches around the metro, some of which have reopened with safety protrocols in place. The branch in Circulo Verde, Calle Industria in Libis near Eastwood offers a refreshing view overlooking the city next to a bend of the Marikina River.
Complementing the scenic and secluded location is the assortment of casual food, good music, cocktails and craft beer. The commercial complex of Calle Industria, also has other dining restaurants like Liam’s & Louis Gourmet Cafe, Chef & Brewer and Glligans, some of which also have al fresco areas for dine-in guests.
Chill Top at Circulo Verde, Calle Industria, Libis, Quezon City