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Get ready for some seriously good Orange Chicken

Are you ready for some Orange Chicken? Well, get your wallets ready, because the wait is almost over. Panda Express is (finally) coming to Metro Manila and we know where their first branch is landing!

Panda Express

Founded in 1983 in Glendale, California by the Cherng Family, Panda Express is famous for dishes like Orange Chicken and Honey Walnut Shrimp! Jollibee Foods Corporation announced in September last year that they will be bringing this Chinese-American kitchen to the Philippines, thanks to a 50/50 joint venture with Panda Restaurant Group, Inc.

food-panda-orange-chicken
Photo from Jollibee Foods Corporation

Now, you’ll be able to enjoy their Chinese-American choices of Orange Chicken, Honey Walnut Shrimp, Broccoli Beef, Cream Cheese Rangoons, Chicken Egg Rolls, Fried Rice, and Chow Mien. Plus, a free fortune cookie for every purchase!

Orange Chicken with Chow Mien plate from Panda Express
Photo from @officialpandaexpress

Details of its opening has been kept under wraps for a year, but here’s the good fortune you need to hear right now: We know where they’re opening the first Panda Express branch in Metro Manila!

panda express, new restaurants, chinese food, food delivery
Photo from @officialpandaexpres

Officially confirmed through Jollibee Foods Corporation, the first ever Panda Express in the Philippines is set to open right at SM Megamall! Conveniently located at the heart of Metro Manila, Panda Express opening at the mid-point between North and South is great news for local foodies raring to get a taste of that famous Orange Chicken.

Now that we know where Panda Express is debuting their first branch, all we have to do is sit tight and wait!

We got a little too excited and previously reported that the first branch of Panda Express was set to open in the DoubleDragon Plaza at DD Meridian Park in Pasay, but we’ve set the record straight!

It might be a while before Panda Express opens, but what if we told you that’s not all we’re getting in 2019? There’s still so much to look forward to!

In case you missed it

Wagyumafia Manila – Bonifacio Global City

In just a few years, Wagyumafia has built itself up to cult status in Tokyo thanks to their ¥20,000 wagyu cutlet sandwich (approx. $200 or ₱9,700!). The famed gyu-katsu sando is made with premium beef (breaded and lightly fried in panko) and placed between crustless, pillowy white bread with a soy-vinegar sauce.

wagyu, wagyumania, restaurants in manila, new restaurants
Photo from @wagyumafia

It was announced last year at an intimate popup event held at Manila House that the brainchild of Chef Hisato Hamada and entrepreneur Takumi Horie will be coming to Manila, thanks to the efforts of five young entrepreneurs: Amado Fores, Carlo Alvarez, Lui Clavano, Mico Clavano and LA Vergara.

Now, the team behind Wagyumafia has been putting out a few teasers on their opening, like this one posted on September 24:

wagyumafia teaser on wagyumafia phs instagram story
Photo from @wagyumafiaph

And the good news? They’re rumored to open late next month!

Wagyumafia Manila will be located at the World Finance Center in BGC and will boast three concepts: 1) a yakiniku restaurant, 2) a butcher shop, and 3) a member’s only kaiseki restaurant. 

wagyumafia gyu-katsu sando
Photo from @wagyumafia

If you’re wondering why the beef is so expensive, wagyu farmers believe it’s important to keep their cattle happy in order to yield the finest quality of meat. To keep the cattle happy, wagyu farmers supposedly massage, serenade, and feed their cattle a special diet (mostly made up of grain), which might explain the impeccable marbling of the beef.

Thankfully, we’ll get the chance to try it in Metro Manila soon! For more updates on their opening, check out the Wagyumafia PH Instagram account and Facebook page.

Here’s a round up of newly-opened and soon-to-open concepts that deserve all the hype. By all accounts, 2019 is looking amazing – and we’ve only just begun!

Here’s what else we’re excited about:

INTERNATIONAL FRANCHISES

Gram Cafe & Pancakes – to be announced

Gram Cafe is a famous spot from Osaka, Japan known for its popular three-stack Premium Pancakes! Their fluffy soufflé-like pancakes come in different flavors, including their Cherry Blossom Premium and Rich Tiramisu Pancakes. Since then, they’ve opened branches all over Japan, across the world, and now Manila! No date or location has been set yet, but it’s coming!

gram cafe souffle pancakes
Photo from @gram_pancakes

MOS Burgers – to be announced

Japanese hamburger chain that opened in 1972, MOS Burgers is known for serving up a variety of savory burgers and eats not only in Japan but also in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Indonesia, China, Korea, Australia, and in March 2020, Manila! What’s there to be excited about you may ask? Two words: RICE BURGER, A rice bowl on the go, MOS’ Rice Burgers are legendary in that you’ll get rice instead of burger buns and a selection of different fillings like yakiniku, shrimp, etc.

mos rice burger japan, international restaurants, burgers
Photo from @speltwithani

Popeyes – multiple branches

(Now Open)

Founded in New Orleans in 1972, Popeyes is best-known for its Southern-style menu featuring spicy chicken, chicken tenders, fried shrimp and others. Thanks to the Kuya J Group, Popeyes has made a comeback in the Philippines! They already have four locations in Arcovia City Pasig, Alabang Town Center, SM San Lazaro, and SM Manila

popeyes, chicken, pasig restaurants, restaurants in manila, new restaurants
Photo from @popeyesph

Elephant Grounds – Bonifacio Global City

You can thank The Standard Group (Yabu, Ippudo, and Mighty Quinn’s) for bringing in Elephant Grounds — a Hong Kong coffee chain known for their signature coffees, ice cream sandwiches, and brunch specialties. The stylish coffee shop currently has five branches in Hong Kong, but they’re beginning to branch out internationally, starting with Manila and Beijing. If you’re in the High Street area, keep your eyes peeled!

elephant grounds, cafe, bgc restaurants, restaurants in manila, new restaurants
Photo from @elephantgrounds

Shake Shack – BGC Central Square

(Now Open)

Shake Shack started out as a hot dog cart in Madison Square Park in Manhattan, NY. Today, it’s one of the fastest growing fast-food brands with locations all over the world including outlets in Seoul, Tokyo, London, Moscow, Istanbul, and Dubai. The first Shake Shack in Manila (and Southeast Asia!) opened last May and is located at BGC Central Square in Bonifacio Global City. 

Check out Our First Look at Shake Shack!
shake shack, burgers, bgc restaurants, new restaurants
Photo from Booky

Red Lobster – S Maison

(Now Open)

Red Lobster is the quintessential seafood chain. Since starting up in Florida in 1968, the brand has expanded enormously and currently operates at 705 locations to date, with branches in the U.S., Ecuador, Canada, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Mexico, and Japan. The Bistro Group (TGI Fridays, Italianni’s) is responsible for bringing the popular American restaurant to Manila, which opened last November at S Maison at the Conrad Manila in Pasay. 

red lobster seafood s maison conrad pasay
Photo from @redlobster

HOMEGROWN CONCEPTS

Ricksha Streetside Tandoor – Kapitolyo 

(Now Open)

This modern Indian concept was created by the husband-and-wife team of Cyril Vivek and Pierre Addison. They started out as a mainstay of the Greenfield Weekend Market but since March 2019, they’ve opened their first brick-and-mortar store in Kapitolyo!

Diners can expect to be treated to a variety of traditional curries, tandoor dishes, and street-side snacks from Cyril’s hometown in India. The casual eatery will reportedly offer weekend specials like pani-puri stalls and buffet brunches!

ricksha streetside tandoor, indian food, pasig restaurants, new restaurants
Photo from @rickshastreetsidetandoor

Single Origin Osteria – Salcedo Village

(Now Open)

We have come to know Single Origin for their gourmet comfort food, coffee, and cocktails but in case you missed it, the brand’s fourth branch located on the ground floor of Frabelle Corporate Plaza has been re-conceived as an osteria!

Featuring an all-Italian menu inspired by the Italian grandmother of executive chef, Juan Barcos. You can expect to enjoy a roster of traditional and home-style Italian dishes including pasta, pizzas, and Bistecca a la Fiorentina.

single origin osteria, makati restaurants, new restaurants
Photo from Booky

NEW BRANCHES

Made Nice Supper Club – Joya Rockwell

(Now Open)

After finding success with its first branch in Legazpi Village in Makati, Made Nice Supper Club closed shop last year. But word on the street is, it wasn’t “goodbye,” but “see you later!”

Photo from @madeniceph

Jack Flores and wife, Gabbi Ramos-Flores have reopened at the old Sarsa spot at Rockwell’s Joya Lofts and Towers. The New York-inspired restaurant features a bigger menu, focusing on more Asian-inspired dishes which are good for sharing. They also serve bar chow to complement their full-service bar!

Black Scoop Café – BF Homes

(Now Open)

From the sweet-toothed geniuses behind Infinitea comes Black Scoop Cafe, your next favorite dessert stop! Serving up soft serve innovations such as milk tea ice cream and the like, we dare you to resist these creatively addictive flavors! You can now visit this milk tea and soft-serve favorite at BF Homes, right at the end of the famous Aguirre Ave.!

Photo from Booky

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Avail at 8 branches
View their Instagram account

Teppan Okochi – Lopez Drive Rockwell

(Now Open)

Fans of the now closed fine dining teppanyaki restaurant in Bonifacio Global City can relax — Teppan Okochi has relocated to a bigger and better place in Power Plant Mall.

teppan okochi, japanese food, makati restaurants, restaurants in rockwell
Photo from Booky

Taking over the spot of Kuratake along Lopez Drive, the full-service Japanese restaurant continues to feature the expert cooking of Grand Chef Akihiro Okochi from Osaka but with the new space comes a larger seating capacity. This time around, the teppan master will be joined by a Japanese executive chef specializing in sushi and other Japanese dishes.

Alamat Filipino Pub – BF Homes

(Now Open)

Good news for you, South kids! Alamat has opened right in BF Homes, along Aguirre! If you want to know exactly where, Alamat has set up shop (and bar) where Container Turf used to be (RIP)!

alamat, bars, bf homes restaurants, new restaurants
Photo from @alamatfilipinopub
alamat, bars, bf homes restaurants, new restaurants
Photo from @alamatfilipinopub

The Filipino pub and deli by Chef Niño Laus (Ninyo Fusion Cuisine) first made its mark on the culinary scene in Poblacion, Makati. The lowkey watering hole began to attract locals and foreigners alike thanks to their reinvented pulutan. Here, traditional dishes like dinuguan, sisig,  bopis, chicken inasal, and even adobo and salted egg are transformed into artisan sausages.

Wildflour Italian – BGC World Finance Center

(Now Open)

Since opening their doors in 2012, Wildflour has gone on to become one of the most successful and recognizable names in the restaurant industry. So, it’s no surprise that foodies all over the Metro are buzzing about the brand’s newest concept: Wildflour Italian. Open now at the ground floor of the new World Finance Center in Bonifacio Global City, the menu highlights freshly-made pastas, as well as seafood and meats grilled over a hearth. It even features a wood-fired pizza oven imported from Italy!

wildflour italian, pizza, pasta, bgc restaurants, new restaurants
Photo from Wildflour Italian

Osteria Daniele – Bonifacio Global City

(Now Open)

Following Bar Centrale, a casual Italian spot in Salcedo Village, the Bistronomia Group (of the La Lola, Las Flores, and Rambla fame) opened their second Italian concept in Bonifacio Global City last April 2019.

Insider Tip: Get ₱500 off at Bar Centrale with Booky 
Photo from @osteriadaniele

The group teased the restaurant’s interiors on the brand’s Instagram page and by the looks of it, it’s surely going on your date place bucket list! No word yet on what’s on the menu — but considering the group’s track record, it’s probably going to be a hit. Find them at 9th Avenue corner 26th Street in BGC!

Which concept are you most excited about? Tell us in the comments! Be sure to follow Booky on Twitter (@bookymanila) and Instagram (@bookyapp) to stay on top of all the major foodie news. 

If you’re not already enjoying the offline convenience of Booky, you can download the app for FREE on iPhone or Android. Discover over 900 of the top restaurants in Metro Manila and just watch as your foodiverse explodes!