Manila's best restaurants for 2012 named

Posted at 11/29/2012 2:26 PM | Updated as of 12/02/2012 1:21 PM

MANILA, Philippines – Chef Colin MacKay and the Raintree Restaurants were the big winners at this year’s Manila's Best Kept Restaurant Secrets (MBKRS) Awards, which recognizes the metro’s top chefs and best dining spots.

The winners were announced on Tuesday night in an awarding ceremony at the Enderun Colleges in Taguig City.

MacKay’s three restaurants won in their respective categories: Sala at the Locsin Building on Makati Avenue was named Best Continental Cuisine, Sala Bistro in Greenbelt 3 was judged Best Bistro, while People’s Palace, also in Greenbelt 3, was selected as Best Thai Restaurant.

Chef Cyrille Soenen receives the award for his restaurant Brasserue Ciçou at the MBKRS Awards last Tuesday. Photo from the Facebook page of Ciçou.

“It’s a really good thing to have in the Philippines because it brings all the restaurateurs together," MacKay was quoted as saying in the Facebook page of the MBKRS Awards. "We get a chance to see what’s going on in the industry, see the competition, see what’s happening and get feedback from the public. It’s a great accolade to the scene!”

Meanwhile, Martin Wisniewski of the Raintree Restaurants was recognized as Best Emerging Talent this year, while Annabel Wisniewski was voted Best Restaurant Group Entrepreneur. The group's M Cafe was also named Best Resto/Bar.

Another big winner last Tuesday was Chef Cyrille Soenen, whose Brasserie Ciçou was named Best French Restaurant. Soenen also heads Impressions at Maxims Hotel in Resorts World Manila, which was selected Best Hotel Restaurant (Fine Dining).

The restaurant awards were inspired by the coffee-table book “Manila's Best Kept Restaurant Secrets.” Authors Ines Cabarrus and Elian Habayeb organized the first MBKRS Awards in 2008 and then again in 2010.

According to its Facebook page, the awards are deliberated over by "a panel of over 100 judges composed of individuals distinguished in the restaurant industry and other related fields, who decide which restaurants are in their view the best in the city."

This year's list was a combination of old favorites like Sugi in Greenbelt 2, which was named Best Japanese Restaurant, to the fairly recent Va Bene Pasta Deli in Makati, which was selected Best Italian Restaurant.

"We would like to thank all the judges who voted for us. To God, who guides us constantly in everything we do. To our children, who keeps us grounded, fulfilled and our spirits high. To our guests, who believed in us and supported us. To our VB team, who made our daily operations possible and who gave their best to provide excellent food and service to our guests. To our family and friends, who helped us and provided us with unconditional understanding and love. We truly appreciate this and we will strive to be better in what we do. Again, thank you so much! Grazie mille! Maraming salamat!” Massimo and Carolyn Veronesi of Va Bene wrote in their Facebook page.

Chef J Gamboa of Tsukiji, Azuthai and Milky Way received the Best Chef award, while Juan Carlos de Terry of Terry’s Selection was given the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Below is the full list of winners in this year's MBKRS awards:

Awards by Cuisine

Best Italian Restaurant: Va Bene Pasta Deli
Best French Restaurant: Brasserie Ciçou
Best Spanish Restaurant: Terry’s Selection
Best Japanese Restaurant: Sugi
Best Chinese Restaurant: Hai Shin Lou
Best Continental Cuisine: Sala
Best Thai Restaurant: People’s Palace
Best Filipino Restaurant: Abé
Best Middle Eastern Restaurant: Hossein’s Persian Kebab
Best Korean Restaurant: Kaya
Best Indian Restaurant: New Bombay Indian Cuisine
Best Central European Restaurant: Old Swiss Inn
Best Specialty Cuisine: Corner Tree Café

Specialty-based Awards

Best Steakhouse: Elbert’s Steak Room
Best Bistro: Sala Bistro
Best Resto/Bar: M Café
Best Enoteca: Cav
Best Wine List: Barcino Gourmet
Best Burger Joint: Charlie’s Grind & Grill
Best Dessert, Ice Cream and Cake Shop: The Cake Club
Best Newcomer: Wildflour Café+Bakery

Hotel Restaurant Awards

Best International Buffet: Spiral (Sofitel Philippine Plaza)
Best Fine Dining: Impressions (Maxims Hotel)
Best Specialty Restaurant: Shang Palace (Makati Shangri-La)
Best Hotel Bar: Salon de Ning (Peninsula)

Individual Achievement Awards

Best Emerging Talent: Martin Wisniewski
Best Chef: J Gamboa
Best Restaurant Group Entrepreneur: Annabel Wisniewski
Lifetime Achievement: Juan Carlos de Terry