Thrifty foodies often dread the sound of the word Makati as it usually entails overpriced menus that leave no satisfaction in your mouth even after a mouthful of whatever they’re serving. While places like Salcedo Village, San Lorenzo, and San Antonio Village are littered with good joints with average price tags, Poblacion in Makati will always be the king of the city’s nightlife. With hidden gems right behind the red light and tucked comfortably between the district’s labyrinthian alleys, here are some of the cheap joints in Poblacion, Makati.
4986 P. Guanzon Street
Hidden inside the alleys that connect Burgos St. and Makati Ave, Crying Tiger is the newest offering from the people behind Mexicali, Café Mediterranean, and El Chupacabra. Insulated from the hustle and bustle of the Poblacion crowd, expect only a few people to be enjoying their sumptuous Thai cuisine for a steal. Crying Tiger’s pad thai (despite the fact that pad thai is not really Thai)—a delectable dish of stir-fried glass noodles with peanut sauce, chilies, and shrimp, and blanketed with egg—is insanely cheap at Php 225, and one serving is good enough for two hungry ghosts! You’ll definitely say “me love you long Thai!”
5923 Algier Street
Beside Som’s Noodle House, one of the legendary foodie places hidden in Poblacion, is a food cart easy to miss especially when you’re passing through Rockwell Drive since it’s poorly lit and shrouded by tall fences and trees. Taco Chingones, a humble street food taco experience on Algier, serves the way tacos should be: from a taco cart with the meat cooked al pastor style. For Php 50, you can have a serving of softshell taco made in your face. If you want to try their gringas, throw in another Php 50 and you’ll get those insanely cheap babies for only Php 100. We highly suggest getting the chicharones gringa. After all, what could go wrong when you combine pork rinds with cheese?
5779 Felipe Street
Relatively new to the whole Poblacion gastronomical scene, Tambai has already established itself as a contender in drawing the young and edgy people of Makati CBD. Tambai, whose name is the Filipino word tambay stylized in Japanese, serves honestly great yakitori sticks of different kind. You can have meat, innards, and even veggies for the people who steal the food of our food. Aside from their wide assortment of grilled goodies drizzled in their secret sauces, try their deep fried quail eggs wrapped in bacon for Php 50 and partner it with US pork yakitori (Php 40) and their heavenly kimchi rice (Php 60).
4364 Valdez Street
Whoever said that meat is the only way to enjoy life? If you are either playing the whole healthy living gag or just want to try something so good yet meat-free it will make you say “but it tastes like meat,” then go to Valdez St and find Beni’s Falafel. While the joint serves nothing but the best of Mediterranean cuisine, Beni’s is known for its famous falafel sandwich: deep fried balls made of chick peas and other ingredients stuffed in pita bread with tomatoes and cabbage. For Php 165, you can get a guilt-free falafel sandwich that is both delicious and filling. You may also try their hummus and falafel platter (Php 250), which is already good for sharing.
5887 Fermina Street
When people think of T-bone steaks, they have this notion that it is expensive and can only be ordered in fancy restaurants. Fortunately, it’s just a big sham and if you want to enjoy huge chunks of steak without coughing out serious money, then go further deep in Backwell (back of Rockwell, get it? Get it?) on Fermina Street and look to SALT. For Php 190, you can already get a nice serving of T-bone steak. Aside from their steak, they also serve burger (Php 220), grilled tuna (Php 220), country fried chicken (Php 200), and so much more. Just be sure to come in early since the Makati people love the place.