Best Franchises in the Philippines to Eat At

Having lived in New York City for over 10 years, it was easy to avoid franchise restaurants. The dining choices were so plentiful that I would often go months or even years at a time before stepping into a fast-food joint. But upon moving to Manila, it often felt impossible to avoid the ubiquitous franchises in the Philippines as they are located in every major super mall. I also have to admit, that I was curious if the dishes in these franchises in the Philippines were even remotely tasty. So, here is a list of the best franchises in the Philippines I have tried so far.

Yellow Cab Pizza Co. – Yellow Cab Pizza Co. is one of the franchises in the Philippines that serves New York-style pizza and pasta. Their pepperoni pizza is quite delicious and could rival (dare I say!) your neighborhood pizza joint in New York. The other pizza flavors ranging from their #4 Cheese pizza (mozzarella, cheddar, romano and feta), Roasted Garlic and Shrimp pizza, and Barbecue Chicken pizza will definitely not remind you of the Big Apple but are quite scrumptious in their own right. For first time patrons, I suggest the Four Seasons (P380-P815 or $8.83-$18.95), a sampler of 4 different pizza flavors. Also try the Charlie Chan Chicken Pasta (P235 or $5.46), which is a Western-Asian hybrid pasta dish that has stir-fried chicken and shitake mushroom in a spicy sauce with chopped peanuts. Such a dish demonstrates that franchises in the Philippines cater to local tastes. Whenever I’m in Manila and craving pizza, Yellow Cab is one of the best franchises in the Philippines for it.

To find more information about Yellow Cab Pizza Co. you can visit:

Conti’s Pastry Shop and Restaurant – Conti’s, one of the the most popular franchises in the Philippines is the home of the Mango Bravo which according to the Inquirer is one of 2010’s best desserts in Metro Manila. And, I have to agree. It is often difficult to find this stocked at your local Conti’s but when you do chance upon it, order it right away because you won’t regret it. Mango Bravo is a delectable concoction of layers of brazos (Filipino wafers), whipped cream, and mangoes then drizzled with chocolate syrup. But that’s not the only thing that Conti’s has to offer. This restaurant has an extensive menu not only in the realm of sweets but also in savory entrees. It is one of the franchises in the Philippines that serves American/Filipino/Spanish cuisine. My favorites are the Salmon Salpicao (cuts of salmon cooked in garlic, P315 or $7.33) and the Callos (ox tripe and chorizo bilbao in a tomato sauce, P235 or $5.46).

To find more information about Conti’s Pastry Shop and Restaurant you can visit:

Cibo Restaurant – Cibo is the partnership of Chef Gaita Fores and Bea Tan. Though I am considering it at as one of the franchises in the Philippines, others may disagree because of its edgy, contemporary ambience and upscale entrees (it used to carry Salmon and Caviar pizza). But because of its numerous branches (9 restaurants), it’s being considered as one of the many franchises in the Philippines. The food is definitely Italian and is the culmination of Fores’s travels to Rome, Florence, and New York City. The most addictive dishes they offer are definitely their dips. My favorite is the Spinaci Zoti (spinach, and gorgonzola; P235 or $5.46) served with crostini. Among their entrees and pastas, it would have to be the Penne Al Telefono (tomato, mozzarella, white cheese, basil, cream; P315 or $7.33).

To find more information about Cibo you can visit:

Zubuchon Restaurant – Zubuchon serves all things pork especially lechon (roast pig). Though it is one of the newer franchises in the Philippines (only a little more than a year old), it has already gained major credibility when Anthony Bourdain proclaimed it be “the best pig ever”. Unfortunately, Zubuchon is one of the franchises in the Philippines located in Cebu. So, you will have to travel there to taste this porcine delight. Zubuchon boasts that it only gets their pigs from small local piggeries. Also, a special blend of the freshest organic ingredients of lemongrass, siling labuyo (peppers), sea salt, olive oil, and other herbs is used to flavor the meat (no MSG!). To achieve the crispiness of the pork skin, the pig is acupunctured and basted with coconut water. I would have to say that Zubuchon is an unforgettable dining experience and is the best roast pig I have ever tasted in all the franchises in the Philippines. If you go to Zubuchon please have their lechon. But if you choose to be a rebel, they also offer adobo (meat marinated in garlic and vinegar) and their sizzling squid (squid on a hot plate). Their shakes such as the Pineapple Mint and the Santol Shake are both not only incredibly refreshing but are tart and sweet enough to cut through the fattiness of the pork dishes. For dessert, I suggest the budbud kabog, a little known Cebuano rice cake with coconut milk. Zubuchon is one of the few franchises in the Philippines that carries this rare delicacy. Prices here range from: P80-P400 or $1.86-$9.30.

retraction: Zubuchon is currently not a franchise restaurant and is not accepting any franchisees. Apologies for any misconceptions this article has caused. [June 14, 2012]

To find more information about Zubuchon call: +63 (032) 2365264.

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