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Must-try restaurants for your next SM City Sta. Mesa meetup

Fashion finds to home essentials, office supplies to treat for your furry BFFs – you’re never far from a retail wonderland in the form of an SM Supermall.  And right smack in the middle of Metro Manila’s vibrant energy is one of the country’s OG malls: SM City Sta. Mesa!

Yup, this OG gem used to be known as SM Centerpoint, reflecting its central location at the crossroads of Quezon City, Manila, and San Juan. Talk about prime real estate!

Nestled along a major thoroughfare, this massive mall boasts over 200 stores and restaurants, all ready to dish out your faves, daily. But SM City Sta. Mesa isn’t resting on its laurels. In recent years, it’s undergone a major transformation, with a fresh, modern vibe that keeps everyone coming back for more.  This makeover means exciting new eats alongside the return of well-loved classics. Foodie adventures, anyone?  Bump SM City Sta. Mesa to the top of your list, stat! Here’s why:

Modern Shang (Upper Ground Level)

Chinese food is always a good idea. And if you’re already vibing with some American-Chinese goodness at Panda Express, then you’ll definitely want to check out Modern Shang, where dishes stay true to the flavors of Beijing, Sichuan, and Shanghai. Despite the name, their menu is a true homage to tradition, serving up every bite with that comforting, home-cooked feel that hits the spot just right.

(R) Signature Xiao Long Bao

Check these out: Kick off your Modern Shanghai feast with their Signature Xiao Long Bao with its rich broth and flavorful filling. Then, dive into the Crispy Fried Noodles, featuring crunchy egg noodles and a tantalizing sweet sauce with a medley of seafood.

And let’s talk about the Roasted Crispy Pork, offering the perfect blend of crunch and seasoning, alongside their tender Sauteed Beef Scallion.  Their Yang Chow Fried Rice comes in a generous serving packed with egg, asado pork, shrimp, and green beans. This dish is like the yang to their entrees’ yin, complementing them perfectly with its unique flavors.

Italianni’s (Upper Ground Level)

If it’s pasta you crave, then it’s Italianni’s you should seek! But hold up—Italianni’s is more than just pasta because they have a smorgasbord of American-Italian dishes ready to tickle your palate. With a solid rep that goes back to their roots in 1996, the Italianni’s brand has become synonymous with reliable good eats. So don’t sleep on it—swing by their spot at SM City Sta. Mesa for some classic comfort food vibes.

Check these out: At Italianni’s, starting your feast with a warm bread basket of Tuscan and focaccia, perfect with their olive oil and balsamic vinegar dip is practically a tradition. Then, it’s time to tantalize your taste buds with the generous Mussels Lombardi, simmered in white wine, olive oil, garlic, butter, and herbs.

(L) Rosa Sangria and Bianca Sangria; (R) Mussels Lombardi

For pasta lovers, the Shrimp Fra Diablo is a must-try, featuring fettuccine with tomato cream, shrimps, garlic, spinach, and asparagus—a seafood lover’s dream with a hint of spice. Don’t miss out on the Quattro Staggioni pizza, loaded with pepperoni, mushroom, artichokes, shrimps, black olives, and a variety of cheeses.

And for dessert, indulge in a decadent slice of Blueberry Cheesecake. Wash it all down with a refreshing drink from their bar—try the Rosa Sangria or Bianca Sangria to cool off in the summer heat.

TGI Fridays (Upper Ground Level)

We always look forward to weekends but at this restaurant? It’s Friday every day! TGI Fridays has been around for three decades and their food is still top-notch. Think sizzling American classics straight from the grill, ice-cold brews flowing from the tap—eating at Friday’s is a guaranteed good time. So why wait for the weekend? Slide on over to TGI Fridays at SM City Sta. Mesa and turn every day into a Fri-yay!

Check these out: Start your Friday fun at TGI Fridays with the classic Fridays Trio: potato crisps drenched in rich truffle sauce, fried mozzarella with marinara sauce, and buffalo bites paired with bleu cheese dressing. Keep the flavor train rolling with the Truffle Bacon and Mushrooms flatbread—packed with taste yet light enough to leave room for more.

Dive into the Scallop and Scampi pasta for a fresh taste of the sea, or sink your teeth into the Fridays Signature Burger for that quintessential American-style burger experience.

And what’s a Friday feeling without cocktails? TGI Fridays has you covered with a variety of options. Stick with a Classic Mojito for a tried-and-true favorite, or mix it up with a Watermelon Mojito or Mango Tango for a cheery toast to the weekend.

Panda Express (Lower Ground Level)

When Panda Express, the birthplace of the iconic orange chicken from California, made its debut in the Philippines back in 2018, the lines were insane for months! These guys are all about keeping it real with their menu and trusting that their flavor game is strong. Whether you opt for a bowl, a plate, or go all out with the family feast, every bite is packed with deliciousness that’s gonna hit you right in the feels and bring some serious joy to your taste buds.

Check these out: Each serving always comes with a side and an entree. Take your pick from flavorful fried rice, savory chow mein, or why not both? Mixed vegetables are also available, if you’re looking for a healthier side to pair your entrees with.

Now, onto the main attractions. The Orange Chicken is a must-try, boasting a perfect balance of sweet and tangy flavors with tender boneless chicken. For a crunchy delight, opt for the crowd-favorite Honey Walnut Shrimp, featuring succulent shrimp topped with candied walnuts.

The Mongolian Pork is a newer offering (launched in 2021) and is their first-ever pork-based dish! Wok-seared pork tossed in a savory soy-ginger-garlic sauce and stir-fried veggies—it’s a flavor explosion you won’t want to miss. And don’t forget to crack open the fortune cookie that comes with every meal for a surprise message from the universe.

Botejyu (Upper Ground Level)

You can never go wrong with Japanese food—especially at a spot that’s been slinging it since 1946 in Japan! Hailing from Osaka, Botejyu is the OG when it comes to okonomiyaki and okosoba, being the first chain restaurant to specialize in these delectable dishes. Dining at Botejyu is like teleporting your taste buds straight to Japan. Their wide array of dishes brings you the flavors of not just Osaka but from various cities in Japan like Hokkaido, Tokyo, Kagawa, Ehime, and Fukuoka. Get ready to dig into some legit Japanese eats without even budging from your spot!

Check these out: Getting your fill of true and authentic Japanese flavors comes in Botejyu’s bento offerings. Take your pick from four delicious options, like the Sakura Bento, featuring stewed beef in authentic Osakan style, Amiyaki pork (or Hokkaido-style barbecued pork ribs), and classic prawn tempura. Or opt for the Tokyo Bento, boasting Chicken Karaage with spicy tartar sauce, tuna and salmon sashimi, and unagi and avocado roll.

Botejyu also offers four tantalizing ramen sets, including the Ramen Amiyaki Pork Set. Dive into a hearty bowl of pork tonkatsu ramen, accompanied by a California roll, Amiyaki pork, and sides of potato salad, wakame salad, and kimchi.

Pepper Lunch (3rd Level)

Welcome to Pepper Lunch, where you take the reins of your meal. Picture this: sizzling hot plates, fresh ingredients, and bold flavors, all at your command. Whether it’s adding their signature sauce, grilling your choice of meat, or mixing it all together, every move you make crafts a flavor explosion that’ll set your taste buds ablaze. Hailing from Japan, Pepper Lunch is your go-to for “fast-steak” dining without compromising on taste or quality.

Check these out: Experience the ultimate Pepper Lunch journey with the Meat Trio Deluxe: tender beef slices, chicken, and sausage, all served with their signature margarine for that irresistible flavor. Customize your meal with their selection of house sauces for a personalized touch.

Craving a classic? Beef Pepper Rice is always a winner. Thin slices of flavorful beef served with Japanese rice, butter, corn, spring onions, and pepper—perfectly customizable with Pepper Lunch’s signature sauces.

Pair either of these mouthwatering dishes with their refreshing Lychee Cooler, and you’ll surely get a taste of Japan right here in Manila. It’s one Pepper Lunch experience you won’t want to miss!

Shabu Mania (3rd Level)

If you’re still on the hunt for Korean food but also craving something hot and soupy, then Shabu Mania is the right place for you. Shabu Mania has over 90 branches in South Korea and has recently opened its doors right here in SM City Sta. Mesa. And get this—for just PHP 699, you can dive into endless bowls of flavorful broth and unli meat, spring rolls, and salad. It’s the ultimate guilt-free grub sesh that won’t break the bank!

Check these out: At Shabu Mania, the original broth is a symphony of flavor, balancing sweetness and saltiness that instantly brings to mind the comforts of home. Meanwhile, the spicy broth is tangy and refreshing with a refreshing kick minus the overwhelming heat. Adding mushrooms, veggies, and meat elevates these broths to delicious yet clean, fresh, and healthy heights. 

For the ultimate Korean experience, Shabu Mania also has a station that has teokbokki (spicy rice cakes), bulgogi (marinated beef), dakganjeong (sweet crispy fried chicken ala Korean) that will have you spouting “saranghae” in no time. 

Yogorino (Upper Ground Level)

Craving for something sweet but don’t know what to get? Head on over to Yogorino!  From creamy gelatos to heavenly parfaits, this shop straight outta Italy has all your cool, sweet cravings covered. What makes Yogorino stand out is that they also offer frozen yogurts, giving your sweet tooth a satisfying treat that’s also a bit healthier. So in this scorching weather, Yogorino, with their bevy of cold desserts, is a godsend. Check them out now at the ground level of SM City Sta. Mesa!

Check these out: This yummy mix of Mango with Speculoos Crumbles and Magic Shell is such a feast for the palate. Experience the refreshing tanginess of yogurt, the sweetness of mango, and the irresistible taste of Speculoos in every bite, enhanced by the contrasting textures of the magic shell and crumbles. Plus, with a variety of toppings and syrups available, the possibilities for creating your own mix are endless!

(L) Gelato flavors at Yogorino; (R) Strawberry Parfait

Their gelato selection is equally impressive, featuring best-selling classics like Rocher, Pistachio, Italian Milk, and Tiramisu. Filipinos will surely adore the Ube Granola flavor, while Mint Choco Chip and Peanut Butter Cup offer rich, creamy indulgence. Act fast though—these two flavors are only available until April 28, 2024!

Cafe Mary Grace (Upper Ground Level)

Stepping into Cafe Mary Grace feels like wrapping yourself in a cozy hug—it’s that kind of spot! Their menu is a treasure trove of comfort, with everything from all-day breakfast classics to mouthwatering sandwiches that’ll teleport you back to mom’s kitchen. But Mary Grace is most known for their delectable selections of pastries and cakes—the kind that your sweet tooth will always crave for.  You can soak up that same cozy vibe right here at Cafe Mary Grace in SM City Sta. Mesa. It’s like finding a slice of home in the heart of the mall.

Check these out: Ending your fantastic food adventure at SM City Sta. Mesa with Mary Grace Ensaymada paired with a warm cup of hot chocolate is simply divine. Sink your teeth into the classic, pillowy pastry crafted with real butter and eggs, topped with premium Edam cheese. It’s like biting into pure comfort. And the hot chocolate? It’s the perfect complement to the ensaymada, boasting a sweet but not overpowering taste that rounds off the experience flawlessly.

So, if you are craving delectable cuisines, seeking retail therapy, or simply wanting to escape the summer heat, SM City Sta. Mesa has you covered. And with the flavors of the world convening here, we can definitely say it’s also #YourNewCenterpoint for good food and good times. No matter if your crew’s coming from the north, east, west… or maybe even south of Manila, SM City Sta. Mesa will become your ultimate hangout spot from now on.

Don’t forget to connect with us on Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, and X for all the updates on the freshest promos and events happening at an SM Supermall near you.


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Award-winning in-house native advertising and creative agency of INQUIRER.net

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