Tried and Tested: Valentine’s day hotspots

By Karen Flores,

Posted at Feb 09 2010 11:44 AM | Updated as of Dec 04 2010 12:23 AM

MANILA, Philippines - At the end of the day, nothing is more romantic than a good home-cooked dinner for two on February 14.

But if you think you can’t cook to save your life, here are five tried and tested restaurants (in no particular order) that are sure to take you and your special someone to gustatory heaven in this festival of love.

Le Souffle - Top of the Citi

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Pan-fried goose liver (foie gras) salad, one of Le Souffle's most popular dishes

There are three branches of Le Souffle here in Manila, but the breathtaking view of the Makati skyline is enough reason to dine in what is popularly known as the Top of the Citi.

This upscale restaurant specializes in French food, and has one of the best-tasting goose liver dishes that will surely make any meal unforgettable.

For Valentine’s day, Top of the Citi offers a special sit-down menu which includes a trio of goose liver dishes, poached Canadian jumbo scallop in Andalouse sauce, ox tail soup en croute, raspberry sorbet, pan-fried Norwegian lemon sole fillet in Grenobloisse sauce (or roast chilled US black angus striploin in pink peppercorn sauce), and a trio of desserts.

The meal, which costs P2,500++ per head, also includes coffee or tea and chocolate-dipped strawberries.

Customers can also sip a glass of Moet and Chandon champagne while being serenaded at the table for P595 (plus 10% service charge) each.

Le Souffle – Top of the Citi is located at 34/F Citibank Tower, 8741 Paseo de Roxas, Makati City. It also has branches in Rockwell and The Fort. For reservations, call 750-5810 to 12.

Galileo Enoteca & Deli

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Italian wines adorn Galileo Enoteca's many shelves

Tucked in the heart of Mandaluyong City, Galileo Enoteca & Deli has long been considered as one of Manila's best kept secrets.

This restaurant is famous for its rustic ambiance, delicate cheeses, fine wines, and special cured meats, making it an ideal spot for couples who wish to have an authentic Italian experience without going out of the country.

For Valentine's Day, Galileo Enoteca offers a special menu for couples reasonably priced at P1,200 (or P600 each). Lovers get to choose one appetizer, two main courses, and two glasses of wine. Cakes and desserts are also available.

It has even thrown in a Valentine's day menu for those who opt to celebrate with their families. At P350 per head (for a group of at least five people), guests get to enjoy a 5-course Italian meal.

Galileo Enoteca & Deli is located at Number 80 Calbayog Street corner Malinao Street, Mandaluyong City. For reservations, call 532-0482 or 534-4633.

Alba Restaurante Espanol

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A display of Alba's specialty dishes hangs outside the restaurant in Tomas Morato, Quezon City
A perfect spot for lovers who are craving for authentic Spanish fare, Alba is home to traditional Spanish cooking since 1952. And it has never failed to please.

Customers can enjoy 18 kinds of paella as well as an extensive list of tapas (appetizers), breads, soups, salads, pasta, seafood dishes, meat dishes, and desserts, all reasonably priced from P200 to P900.

But if you’re the type who wants a bit of everything, you can opt for Alba’s all-you-can-eat buffet instead. For Valentine’s day, lunch costs P650++ per head while dinner costs P800++.

The buffet spread is large enough to cover Alba’s specialties such as Callos a la Madrilena (stewed ox tripe in rich tomato sauce), Cochinillo Asado (oven roasted suckling pig), and Canonigo (a delectably soft meringue cake).

But of course, dining at Alba won't be complete without professional musicians serenading you and your lover with Spanish tunes at the table. The restaurant even goes the extra mile as it gives handmade chocolates to couples to top off this special day.

Alba Restaurante Espanol is located at Tomas Morato corner Lozano Street, Quezon City. It also has branches in Bel-Air and Alabang. For reservations, call 925-1912 or 411-7052.

Sonya’s Garden

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One of the dining halls at Sonya's Garden
Tucked in the gentle rolling hills of Tagaytay, Sonya's Garden is considered one of the Philippines' top destinations for romantic countryside dining. 

The place has "romance" written all over it: a winding path lined with small white pebbles, a delightful garden dotted with charming water fountains, hammocks and chairs framed with soft white cloth, and dining halls with live vines and flowers.

The food, of course, is just as divine. Guests get to enjoy a sitdown buffet that includes fresh greens mixed with edible flowers in season, warm wheat bread straight from Sonya's own panaderia(bakery) with a variety of dips, pasta with 2 kinds of sauce, a trio of local desserts, and bottomless freshly squeezed dalandan juice and tarragon tea.

For Valentine's day, Sonya decided to throw in a few extras: a bowl of piping hot soup and a succulent roast chicken. This special menu costs P800++ per person.

Sonya’s Garden is located at Barangay Buck Estate, Alfonso, Cavite. For reservations, call 0917-5329097. For directions, visit


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A plate of Spiral's sweet offerings
Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Indian, Western, or Mediterranean? If you and your food-loving partner can’t decide, then Spiral is the place for you.

Dubbed as Manila’s most fashionable eatery, this concept restaurant at Sofitel Philippine Plaza boasts of multi-cuisine open cooking stations with a total of 300 great-tasting dishes that are sure to satisfy every palate.

And just when you thought you’ve seen it all, Spiral gives its customers a lot more this Valentine’s day: a special beverage list (Latino cocktails, anyone?), tableside serenades, and giveaways such as roses and heart-shaped pralines.

Just be ready to shell out more than what you normally spend on food, though. Spiral’s Valentine buffet costs P3,200++ per head, so it’s a bit pricey compared to most hotel buffets in the Metro.

Spiral at Sofitel Philippine Plaza is located at CCP Complex, Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City. For reservations, call 551-5555 or 551-5610.

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