Hip & happening places on Chino Roces Ave.
The Mess Hall is the Moment Group’s cafeteria.
Hip & happening places on Chino Roces Ave.
Tanya T. Lara (The Philippine Star) - August 31, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — In Metro Manila’s urban landscape, Chino Roces Ave. (or commonly referred to by its old name Pasong Tamo, before it was renamed after Manila Times founder and freedom fighter Don Chino Roces), occupies a peculiar position and has developed and re-developed in surprising ways.

Straddling Makati and Taguig, the older parts of Chino Roces Ave. and its extension are being gentrified even as parts of it have evolved from a purely industrial and warehouse area from decades ago (parts of it still are, from Don Bosco to EDSA) to buildings that offer cool, surprising finds. Some of the older structures have reinvented themselves too.

Claude Tayag, Rajo Laurel

This has led to a curious mix of one-off restaurants, designer shops, art galleries, car showrooms, visa services, advertising offices and events spaces.

Jason Buensalido, Myrza Sison, Ingrid Chua

Joining this dynamic neighborhood is Vion Tower by Megaworld. It will rise at the corner of EDSA and Chino Roces Ave.The 57-story residential tower is envisioned to be the newest icon and the tallest along the EDSA-Makati area.

Regina Belmonte, Pepper Teehankee, Ricky Ladia

Location-wise, it is at the center of everything — less than 10 minutes away from NAIA via Skyway, less than 15 minutes away from Entertainment City and Manila Bay area, and only 20 minutes away from Quezon City via MRT. The MRT Magallanes station is just a two-minute walk from the tower.

Chad Alarcon, Steve Villacin, Liza Ilarde

Above all, it’s a stone’s throw away from Chino Roces Ave. and Chino Roces Extension’s various lifestyle offerings.

My fave stores on this avenue are the home stores. There’s W17, the lovely warehouse of fine home accessories and furniture owned by Kaye Tinga. I’ve made emergency trips there right before hosting a party at home to buy candles and even Christmas plants. (La Fuerza Compound, 2241 Chino Roces Ave.)

Chef Jordy Navarra’s rellenong pusit at Toyo Eatery
Terry’s Selection, a fave of Spanish cuisine lovers

Another beautiful store is the French brand Roche Bobois located on the other side of EDSA. I’ve been there a couple of times to do interviews and it’s a good place to be inspired for your home goals.  (2100 Chino Roces Ext.)

So I asked friends — creative people from fashion, photography, lifestyle, culinary arts and media — to share their favorite restos and retail shops — and their answers are as mixed as the avenue itself.

Kazunori is known for its sushi and sashimi.

For chef and artist Claude Tayag, it’s Terry’s Selection (formerly Terry’s Bistro). “Spain being my all-time favorite food destination in Europe, it’s Terry’s that I run to whenever I get a craving for Spanish cuisine,” Claude says.

“I love it not only for its consistent, high-quality food and service, but also for its tienda/store to buy my stock of jamon, chorizo and quezo. Not to mention its array of kitchen equipment like paelleras and cazuelas or red clay casseroles.”(BCS Prime Bldg., 2297 Chino Roces Ext.)


Roche Bobois showroom will inspire your home decorating goals.

He adds, “For shopping, Whitespace when it has a bazaar curated by Pepito Albert.” (2314 Chino Roces Ext.)

Award-winning architect Jason Buensalido likes the Japanese restaurant Kazunori with its kazu café, sushi bar and fine dining. (2301 Chino Roces Ext.)

“It has high-quality and fresh sashimi and tasty chawan mushi!” Jason adds, “Fave places are Karrivin Plaza for Art Informal and Art Cube, Bellas Artes. There’s also a lot of artisanal shops like Toyo Eatery and Toyo Bakery, Casa Bella and Poison Donuts (2316 Chino Roces Ext.). At La Fuerza Compound there’s Vinyl on Vinyl, J. Studio, Finale and Archivo.” 

M. Dining + Bar has nearly 400 of the world’s finest wines.

Fashion designer and foodie Rajo Laurel counts among his jaunts Karrivin Plaza “where they have several noteworthy galleries that I make sure to visit every so often. I go to the Art Informal, the Drawing Room and Mabini,” he says.

Xtanton Spanish restaurant has a deep selection of wines

“After my art explorations, I definitely pass by Lanai for some flowers for good vibes. Then I go to Aphro to see what they have in store and then visit the HAY store in the end to dream and window-shop their furniture. If I go for the day then I definitely have merienda at the Panaderia, if not then I have dinner at Toyo Eatery, where I always take friends visiting the Philippines for the first time as it’s truly a unique experience.”

W17 for upscale home accessories

Rajo adds, “Part of my ‘giro’ is a visit to Silverlens Gallery, which represents most of my favorite Filipino contemporary galleries.” (2263 Chino Roces Ext.)

“I also visit the La Fuerza compound for more art and culture like the Finale Gallery as well at Vynil Gallery. Then I do a pit-stop at W17 and day dream again on how I would renovate our space as this store is truly drool-worthy.”  

Silverlens Gallery exhibits avant-garde artists.

Summit editorial director Myrza Sison and Uknwn co-owner and writer Regina Belmonte both love chef Jordy Navarra’s Toyo Eatery and The Moment Group’s Mess Hall at Karrivin.

Reggie says, “Toyo is probably one of the three best Filipino restos in Manila (and they have a panaderia also). And the food at Mess Hall is really good too.”

Chef Jordy used to work at Heston Blumenthal’s three-Michelin-star restaurant The Fat Duck in England. In a previous interview, he told me, “At the end of the day, I found that I wanted to work with flavors I was more familiar with.” And so he came home to reinvent the Filipino food he grew up with.

Whitespace, a fave for events

Mess Hall touts itself as a “neighborhood cafeteria,” specializing in dishes like salpicao, kare-kare, adobo and pork belly.

Fashion maven Ingrid Chua, known for her online BagHag Diaries, agrees that Toyo and Terry’s are two foodie destinations in the area. “Terry’s is a fave. There’s also a warehouse-type furniture store called Fashion Interiors that’s so worth a visit. They’re pretty good and inexpensive.”

Foodie and STAR columnist Pepper Teehankee swears by Xtanton and Toyo as well. “For home shopping, Lanai and Aphro at The Alley in Karrivin Plaza. In the same building as Xtanton, M. Dining; and in the Mazda Bldg., the Japanese resto.” (2294 Chino Roces Ext.)

Chef Steve Villacin, aka Chickenman Manila, also includes Kazunori, Xtanton, Toyo Eatery and M. Dining on his list, and Whitespace for events.

Photographer Ricky Ladia cites Terry’s Selection as his “classic fave,” as does ODV Creative Media managing director Chad Alarcon, who adds Fashion Interiors as his go-to place for home shopping.  

Lifestyle journalist Liza Ilarde says, “If I want to have a nice, quiet, civilized (read: tita) lunch, I go to Lanai. The bonus is the pretty interiors. After, you can go straight to shopping for your home and your wardrobe. A hidden gem is Fashion Interiors because the store is not visible from the street. They sell all kinds of furniture, which are arranged in themed vignettes so you can imagine how the pieces might look in your home. For an early happy hour, try the wine shops Xtanton or Premium Wine Exchange. Aside from selling wine, they have limited seating where you can have a glass (or two or three...). My favorite gallery at Karrivin is Aphro — it’s small and easy to navigate. I also like its fun and irreverent air.” (2294 Chino Roces Ext.)

In a city that’s growing and changing every day, it’s wonderful to discover new and reinvented spaces that now house restaurants, galleries and stores you wouldn’t think would be in such locations. It’s great that they’re outside malls and instead are tucked in places around our cities.

Wonderful, too, that we will have a new iconic building in our skyline.

* * *

Visit the author’s travel blog at www.findingmyway.net. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @iamtanyalara.

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