Dating in the Philippines can be expensive if you are not mindful.

It is easy to walk in to the wrong place and get cornered in to spending more than you intend.

Sometimes you run into disappointing bad quality food and or service.

Going out on a budget takes a little planning.

Being unprepared is a formula for disaster.

The venue needs to be good so you can make a good impression.

Here’s a short list of ideas to take your date around Makati that won’t burn a hole in your budget.

1. Coffee shops and tea shops.

This is the super budget option and ideal for the first few meetings and usually a nice place to talk and pass the time.

Options include Starbucks, Serenitea, Cafe Bretton, The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf.

2. Wabi Sabi

The Collective near Cash and Carry

A small and comfortable private vegetarian restaurant in Makati that serves a vegetarian variant of Ramen and Vietnamese Pho. Its a nice, unpopular but good hole in the wall.

Worth a visit.

3. Panda Kitchenette or Tutu and Lucy Kitchenette

De La Rosa corner Medina Street. You’ll find this at Opposite of Cityland and SM Hypermarket near the corner of South Super Highway and Buendia.

This is a nice authentic Chinese restaurant in Makati. That’s according to my Chinese friend, is the closest thing to home cooking that she’s tasted. One of the places I keep going back to.

What we order: The menu is in Chinese so I ask about the hot sour soup, Chinese pancake/pizza, the tofu in ground beef.

4. Botan Bubble Tea

West of Ayala Condominium at the baement, rear entrance

Authentic Taiwanese Cuisine and a comfortable place to chill, talk and eat. It’s really convenient. The food is really good. I have no complaints. They have a rice and noodle collection. The staff is attentive. The chairs are comfortable, there’s free wifi and they have a nice selection of reading material.

What we order: Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup, Three Cups Chicken Rice, Hot Fresh Fruits Tea Pot

5. Izakaya Nihonbashitei

Arnaiz avenue. Near Skyway Entrance

I went out with someone that I liked and went regularly to this place almost every week for eight months straight. Yes, it’s that good and the person I went out with at the time, loved going here. It’s authentic Japanese meals that has generous servings.

One of the things I like about them is that they are open late till 1am.

They have the best Spicy Salmon I’ve tasted.

What we order: Salmon Sashimi, Spicy Salmon Maki, Uni Sushi.

6. Izakaya Kikufuji

Little Tokyo. Near Makati Cinema Square

Three words: Special California Maki. Imagine the ultimate version of the California Maki with Salmon Roe, Generous slices of mango and spicy tuna on top. Order this when you go here.

This place is also value for money and is worth visiting. It has a nice authentic Japanese feel and the most beautiful sushi bar I’ve seen.

The only downside is Izakaya Kikufuji closes at around 10:30.

*What we order: Special California Maki, Salmon Sashimi, Uni Sushi**

7. Wild Flour

V Corporate Center, 125 L. P. Leviste Street, Salcedo Village, Makati City

I’m often on a no carb, Ketogenic diet, five to six days a week.

Sometimes I’d like to have some bread and cakes.

I’ve only been here for breakfast so I can’t vouch for their lunch meals but everything we’ve tried on the breakfast menu is amazing. Everything is cooked to perfection.

The Kimchi Fried is good for two. The Egg with smoked salmon is so worth it.

Try the bread basket because they have a nice selection.

8. Hole in the Wall

Century City Mall

The most beautiful food court I’ve seen has a large selection of uncommon food. Don’t let the “food court” fool you. Hole in the wall features upscale selections with a rustic feel.

We’ve tried Bad Bird and Green Cheese and like it. Will come back to try the others.

9. Soms Noodle house.

5883 Enriquez Street, Poblacion, Makati City (Near Powerplant Mall Rockwell)

An authentic hole in the wall type Thai restaurant. I was at the location when they first opened and they gave me a bowl of Thai noodles for free. It started as a noodle cart in Algier street that evolved to a few tables outside an appartment and now they have a large space for a restaurant.

What we order: Pandan Chicken, Bagoong Rice, Pad Thai, Duck Noodles

10. Century City Cinemas

Century City Mall

This is my favorite place for movies in Makati, the cinemas are usually, not full and have extremely comfortable chairs.

They also have wasabi popcorn.

Bonus: Dates don’t need to be expensive. The goal is to get to know the other person and spend time enjoying each other’s company.

Consider taking a walk, hanging out in the park, Ayala Triangle is beautiful.

For me, going out is simply an excuse to have a conversation.

If you have any suggestions, feel free to send me a message and I’ll add the place to the list.

updated: 10/15/2016

Thank you for reading.

Post written by Kevin Olega” connect on twitter and facebook

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