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8 Secret Tambay Spots in Metro Manila Only Locals Know

8 Secret Tambay Spots in Metro Manila Only Locals Know

Introduction

Hey there, Manila explorers! Ever wonder what secrets lurk behind the bustling streets of our beloved Metro Manila? It’s time to veer off the beaten path and delve into the city’s hidden corners that only a few locals whisper about. From secret art havens nestled in the hills to hush-hush culinary hideouts in the heart of the city, we’ve scoured the metro to bring you a list of Tambay Spots in Metro Manila that are more than just Instagram-worthy – they’re slices of Manila’s soul.

Each of these gems offers a unique charm and appeal, setting the stage for an adventure that’s truly kapana-panabik (exciting)! Prepare to uncover the eclectic, the quaint, and the downright awesome as we take you on a journey through 10 secret tambay spots only locals know in Metro Manila. Let’s rediscover our city, one hidden gem at a time!

1. Pinto Art Museum

Tambay Spots in Metro Manila

Location

  • Address: 1 Sierra Madre St., Grand Heights, Antipolo, Rizal, Philippines.
  • Getting There: Just a 40-minute drive from Manila, it’s nestled inside a private subdivision in Antipolo, Rizal.

Why It’s Special

  • Enchanting Setting: The museum spreads over a 1.2 hectare property, known as Silangan Gardens, featuring Mediterranean-inspired open-air villas amidst beautifully landscaped gardens.
  • Artistic Exploration: Houses six galleries with a diverse range of art, including traditional paintings depicting Filipino life, experimental mixed media, and intriguing wire sculptures.
  • Integration with Nature: The artworks are harmoniously integrated into the environment, with art pieces doubling as part of the seating areas and gardens. This open-air setup provides a unique, natural setting for viewing art.
  • Cultural Showcase: The Museum of Indigenous Art, located in the lower gardens, offers a glimpse into the richness of Filipino culture with its collection of functional and ritual objects, textiles, jewelry, and other indigenous artworks.
  • Dining Options: Features in-house restaurants including Pinto Cafe and Cafe Tan-aw by Peppermill in the garden area, offering a range of dishes from Japanese cuisine to pizza and pasta. They also introduced a new cafe, Cafe Dionysius, in 2022, specializing in brunch, breakfast, and sandwiches.
  • Visitor Information: Open from Tuesday to Sunday, 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. Admission fees are P250 for adults, P200 for PWD & Senior Citizens, P125 for students, and free for children below 3 years.

The Pinto Art Museum offers a visually stunning and culturally rich experience, blending contemporary art with the natural beauty of its surroundings, making it an ideal spot for art enthusiasts and those seeking a tranquil escape from the city.

2. Mandalay Whisky and Cigars

Tambay Spots in Metro Manila

Location

  • Address: 100 Don Carlos Palanca, Legazpi Village, Makati, Luzon 1223, Philippines.
  • Hidden Entrance: The bar is discreetly located inside The Belle & Dragon pub in Makati.

Unique Feature

  • Ambiance: Mandalay Whisky and Cigars offers a unique, hidden escape with a cozy, old-world charm. It is acclaimed for its excellent ambiance and private seating options.
  • Whisky Selection: Renowned for its extensive selection of fine spirits and whiskies, available by the glass, bottle, or in flights, catering to both connoisseurs and casual enthusiasts.
  • Cigar Lounge: One of the few places in Makati where smoking indoors is permitted, featuring a smoking room and an impressive list of cigars.
  • Recent Observations: Some visitors have noted issues with stock availability and service, indicating a fluctuation in the bar’s consistency.
  • Overall Experience: Despite these recent challenges, Mandalay remains a popular spot for its unique setting and selection, especially among whisky lovers.

Mandalay Whisky and Cigars, with its hidden location and distinctive offerings, stands out as a must-visit for those seeking a unique and refined drinking experience in Makati.

3. Maginhawa Street

Tambay Spots in Metro Manila

Location

  • Neighborhood: Maginhawa Street, located in the Maginhawa and Malingap neighborhood of Teacher’s Village and nearby UP Diliman in Quezon City, is renowned as an “eat street” and a hub for food enthusiasts​​.

Foodie Heaven

  • Diverse Dining Options: The street offers a variety of dining experiences, from cozy garden restaurants to bustling food courts.
    • Gubat: A zero-waste garden restaurant known for budget-friendly kamayan-style meals. They have opened a second location with a larger dining area near Maginhawa​​.
    • Gyud Food: A new food court inside the UP Diliman campus showcasing heritage cuisine, home-based food entrepreneurs, and Filipino street food​​.
    • Van Gogh is Bipolar: An iconic spot for a romantic and exclusive dining experience, also featuring a “Mood Healing Sanctuary” stall in Gyud Food UP Food Hub​​.
    • Nam Nam: A charming Vietnamese café specializing in pho and fresh spring rolls​​.
    • Garlic Kitchen: Offers Asian-Western fusion with garlic-inspired dishes, perfect for family and date dining​​.
    • Friuli Trattoria: A neighborhood pizza joint serving thin-crust pizzas and pasta, a Maginhawa institution since 2006​​.
    • Pino Resto Bar and Pipino: Known for modern fusion Filipino dishes with health-conscious and vegetarian/vegan options​​.
    • Ohayo Ramen and Maki Bar: A great choice for Japanese comfort food, serving delicious ramen, sushi, and appetizers​​.
    • Buen Comer Poquellas: A hidden gem offering quality comfort food bursting with flavor​​.
    • PotatoKick: A modern restaurant offering a taste of classic dishes from the original TomatoKick menu​​.
    • Talisay the Garden Cafe: Features elevated classic Filipino food and heirloom recipes in a garden setting​​.
    • Provenciano: Serves heirloom and original Filipino cuisine, including regional specialties from various provinces​​.

Maginhawa Street in Quezon City remains a vibrant destination for food lovers, offering an eclectic mix of culinary experiences that cater to all tastes and preferences.

4. A’ Toda Madre

Tambay Spots in Metro Manila

Location

  • Address: GF Sunette Tower Durban St Corner Makati Avenue, Makati, Luzon 1200, Philippines​​.

What to Try

  • Ambiance: A’ Toda Madre offers a vibrant and welcoming atmosphere in Makati’s Poblacion district, known for its warm hospitality and lively setting, often featuring live music on weekends​​.
  • Tequila and Mezcals: Boasts the best selection of tequilas and mezcals in the Philippines, with new varieties regularly introduced for tasting​​.
  • Signature Dishes and Drinks:
    • Antojitos/Appetizers: Options like Elotes Callejeros, Calamari, Tostaditas, Chips & Salsa, Ceviche, and Nachos Gigante​​.
    • Burrito Grande: Varieties include Chili Verde, Pollo de Chipotle, Carnitas, Lengua, Steak Burrito Grande, and Taco Platter​​.
    • Tacos: Selections such as Chili Verde Tacos, Pollo de Chipotle Tacos, Carnitas Tacos, Lengua Tacos, Steak Tacos, and Taco Platter​​.
    • Con Arroz (with Rice): Dishes like Chili Verde Con Arroz, Pollo De Chipotle Con Arroz, Carnitas Con Arroz, Lengua Con Arroz, and Steak Con Arroz​​.
    • Entradas/Entrees: Includes Fish Taco/Fish Burrito and Grilled Pollo Taco​​.
    • Dulces/Desserts: Mexican Chocolate Flan and Churros Con Chocolate​​.
    • Margaritas: Classic options like Margarita De Casa, Hot Mama Margarita, Cadillac Margarita​​.
    • Cocteles Tradicional: Unique cocktails such as Charo Negro, Tequila Cafe, Mojito Mexicano, Don Alfredo Negroni, Sunday Morning, and Tequiccino​​.
    • Other Beverages: A selection of beers, wines, non-alcoholic drinks like soda, water, brewed coffee, and cappuccino​​.

A’ Toda Madre in Poblacion, Makati, is a tequila lover’s paradise, offering an extensive selection of tequila and mezcal, coupled with a menu of authentic Mexican dishes and inventive cocktails, making it a must-visit for those seeking a taste of Mexico in the heart of Makati.

5. The Alley at Karrivin

Tambay Spots in Metro Manila

Location

  • Address: Located in Makati, a prime area in Metro Manila known for its vibrant mix of culture, business, and leisure.

Vibe

  • Art and Design Hub: The Alley at Karrivin is celebrated for its chic and creative environment. It’s a place where art, culture, and lifestyle converge, offering a unique experience in the heart of Makati.
  • Galleries and Exhibits: Known for hosting top galleries, it’s a haven for art enthusiasts looking to explore contemporary art and design.
  • Culinary Delights: Alongside its artistic offerings, The Alley at Karrivin is reputed for its modern Filipino cuisine, with restaurants and cafes that cater to a variety of tastes.
  • Atmosphere: The space is often described as sophisticated yet inviting, making it an ideal spot for both casual visits and special occasions.

The Alley at Karrivin stands out as a unique destination in Makati for those seeking an amalgamation of artistic expression and culinary exploration in a stylish setting. ​

6. Purple Yam

Tambay Spots in Metro Manila

Location

  • Address: Situated in the historic district of Malate in Manila, known for its vibrant cultural and culinary scene.

Culinary Delight

  • Cuisine: Purple Yam is celebrated for its innovative approach to Filipino cuisine, focusing on set meals crafted with locally sourced ingredients.
  • Historical Ambiance: The restaurant is set in a beautifully restored ancestral home, offering a unique dining experience that combines culinary excellence with a touch of history.
  • Reputation for Quality: Known for its commitment to quality and authenticity, Purple Yam has been recognized for redefining traditional Filipino dishes with a modern twist.
  • Atmosphere: The restaurant offers an intimate and warm setting, ideal for both casual meals and special occasions.

Purple Yam in Malate stands as a testament to the evolving Filipino culinary landscape, offering a unique blend of traditional flavors and modern culinary techniques in a setting steeped in history. ​​

7. Salcedo Community Market

Tambay Spots in Metro Manila

Location

  • Setting: The market is held in Salcedo Village, nestled between P Burgos and downtown/corporate Makati. It brings life to the area with its weekly tradition, surrounded by a beautifully maintained park​​.

Must-Try

  • Market Schedule: Open every Saturday from 6:00 AM to 1:00 PM, it’s a vibrant community market known for its diverse offerings​​.
  • Varied Cuisine and Products: The market is a treasure trove of fresh fruits, vegetables, and novelty produce. You can also find unique items from various sellers, such as crumpets and special treats from New Zealand and Australia​​.
  • Dining and Shopping Experience: While dining tables are not available due to health protocols, the market is ideal for takeaway options. It’s advisable to arrive early as stalls begin packing up around 1 PM, with many items selling out quickly​​.

The Salcedo Community Market stands out as a must-visit destination in Manila for those looking to explore the rich culinary diversity of the Philippines, offering a unique shopping and dining experience in a charming village setting.

8. Escolta Street

Location

  • Area: Escolta is situated in the southern part of the Binondo district of Manila, adjacent to Chinatown. It is bordered by two esteros (brooks) – Estero de Binondo and Estero de la Reina – and is connected to the southern bank of the Pasig River and Intramuros by the historic Jones Bridge​​.

Historical Charm

  • Heritage and Architecture: Escolta’s prime was before World War II, during which it flourished with buildings showcasing neoclassical to avant-garde art deco architectural styles​​.
  • Notable Buildings:
    • Perez Samanillo Building (First United Building): An art deco structure built between 1928 and 1930, known for housing Berg’s Department Store. The building features eye-catching embellishments and has been recently restored​​.
    • Regina Building: Originally a bahay na bato, transformed into a neoclassical building with domed towers and Roman arches. It serves as a prime example of the area’s architectural evolution​​.
    • Calvo Building: A Beaux-Arts style building constructed in 1938, housing the first radio station of DZBB-AM. It features Roman arches and has been marked by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines​​.
    • Capitol Theater: An art deco building built in 1930, known for its Zigzag Moderne style, featuring bas-reliefs and a double balcony​​.
    • Natividad Building: Built in 1934 in the Beaux Arts style, it was originally the Philippine Education Company Building and has recently been restored​​.

Escolta Street in Manila is a testament to the city’s rich historical past, offering a glimpse into its architectural heritage and serving as a creative space for contemporary and alternative arts.

Conclusion

As we wrap up our journey through Metro Manila’s hidden tambay spots, it’s clear that each location has its own unique charm and appeal. From the artistic serenity of the Pinto Art Museum to the cozy sophistication of Mandalay Whisky and Cigars, these spots offer more than just a place to chill; they’re experiences that enrich our understanding and appreciation of Manila’s diverse culture.

Maginhawa Street’s culinary paradise, A’ Toda Madre’s vibrant Mexican flair, and The Alley at Karrivin’s blend of art and cuisine are just a few examples of the eclectic mix that Manila has to offer. The historical elegance of Purple Yam, the community vibe of Salcedo Market and the nostalgic aura of Escolta Street all add to the tapestry of Manila’s hidden gems. We invite you to explore these secret spots and share your own discoveries. Manila is a city of endless surprises, waiting to be explored!

Call to Action

Now it’s your turn, Manila adventurers! We’d love to hear about your experiences at these Tambay Spots in Metro Manila. Did the Pinto Art Museum inspire your artistic side? Or perhaps Mandalay’s whisky selection left you in awe? Share your stories and photos in the comments below. And if you know of other secret Tambay Spots in Metro Manila, don’t keep them to yourself – let’s create a community map of our city’s hidden treasures. Remember, the best adventures are the ones we share. So, explore, enjoy, and engage with us in uncovering more of Manila’s secret corners. Happy exploring, ka-tambay!

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