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Choosing Manila's best restaurants in 2010

"What's the best restaurant in Manila?" People would often ask foodie couple Ines Cabarrus and Elian Habayeb this question, since they had written and published the best-selling coffee table book, Manila's Best Kept Restaurant Secrets in 2007. Ines and Elian were expected to be authorities about the best eats in town; after all, they had explored close to a hundred restaurants over a year, lending their recommendation far more than an ounce of credibility. Often, the couple would come up with a safe answer, "Well... it depends on what you like to eat." But they would also often wonder how to come up with the most objective and credible answer whenever people ask. And then it dawned on them. People recognize noteworthy movies, best actors, and talented directors via the Academy Awards. Surely, they can do the same thing for restaurants. Thus, they cooked up the idea for Manila's Best Kept Restaurant Secrets Awards (MBKRS Awards), the Oscars of Manila's restaurant industry. Following the Academy's system, Ines and Elian gathered 80 judges composed of restaurant owners, chefs, food magazine editors and food bloggers. To add a variety of votes into the mix, they also invited educators, senior management officials, government officials, and celebrity foodies.
Food lovers Ines Cabarrus and Elian Habayeb host the MBKRS Awards in 2008.
During its first run in 2008, the MBKRS Awards handed trophies to 30 winners in several categories including Best Restaurant by Cuisine, Specialized Restaurant Awards, Hotel Restaurant Awards, and Awards for Outstanding Individuals. They took a hiatus in 2009 to prepare for a bigger and better awards program on November 24, 2010. From its humble origins in holding the awards night at the garden of the yet to be finished Enderun Colleges in 2008, the MBKRS 2010 will be held in the new auditorium of the Enderun Colleges Culinary Center in Taguig. There are eight new categories in the awards list: Best Korean Restaurant, Best Indian Restaurant, Best Emerging Talent, Best Burger Joint, Best Hotel Bar, People’s Choice Award, and Best Dessert, Ice Cream and Cake Shop.
The coveted plate awarded to winners at the MBKRS Awards 2008.
Among the judges this year are: restaurant owners such as Paolo Nesi (L’Opera) and Joshua Tiu (Zong); top chefs such as Kerwin Go of People’s Palace and Sau del Rosario of Le Bistro Vert; educators such as Chef Norbert Gandler (International School for Culinary Arts and Hotel Management Manila) and Chef Cheongyan See (Enderun Colleges); and restaurant and lifestyle bloggers such as Lori Baltazar of, Anton Diaz of, and Cecile Zamora Van Straten of According to Elian, they are gathering more judges in order to lower the possibility of bias and enhance the chances of all nominees to compete in the awards. They are also setting a few rules for this year's awards. Major international brands as well as winners in the MBKRS 2008 Awards are not allowed to compete. For this year's ceremony, the previous winners will hand over the coveted plate trophy to the 2010 awardees. The 2008 winners, however, will be allowed to compete again in 2011. The nominee list was finalized in September, and judges will vote throughout October to determine the winners in each category. For a full list of nominees and judges, visit the official site If you're a foodie yourself, you'll also have a chance to cast your vote for the People's Choice Awards. - YA/HS, GMANews.TV