Eat Now, Selfie Later: The Complete Guide to Dining in the Venice Grand Canal Mall

With the Venice Grand Canal Mall’s colorful facades, intricate details, and picture-perfect elements, it is no surprise that Filipinos flock the soon-to-be dining and shopping hub with their friends, families, and selfie sticks. As someone who works just right across the street, I have the tendency to take it for granted and even get slightly annoyed when the famous selfie bridge is full of visitors whipping out their cameras and blocking the way. But looking at it from their point of view, the Grand Canal Mall is indeed a destination in itself—a beautiful replica of the Italian city known for its numerous canals, alleys, and gondolas. If I didn’t work in McKinley Hill, I would probably check it out myself too!

The canal itself is lined up with restaurants that truly evoke the feel of being somewhere far from Manila, with elaborate lamps, Italian-style columns, and sometimes even classical music pouring out of the invisible speakers. The ground level is designed such that Italian dining spots will be in the spotlight, and I, for one, am incredibly thrilled as I love this cuisine! Check out the restaurants that have already opened and attracted loyal diners at the Venice Grand Canal Mall, and the list of soon-to-open places as well. I can’t wait until construction is finished and we can all see the mall in its full glory—and eat more food, course!


1 | Toni & Sergio


As the name suggests, Toni & Sergio offers a combination of Italian and Spanish menus. The restaurant—both inside and in the alfresco area—is lovely. The food lineup was a bit of a hit-and-miss during the first weeks of operation, but there are solid offerings like the Porcini and Truffle Cream Pasta (PhP360) and the Paella de la Casa (PhP490), which is good for sharing. Both dishes are so good and are worthy of a repeat visit.

Location: Ground Level along the canal, near the bridge
Cuisine: Italian and Spanish


2 | Rice & Dough

An instant favorite of mine, this Italian-Japanese restaurant specializes on sushi and pizza. Owned by the same guys behind Torch, Rice & Dough has an impressive array of appetizers, salads, sushi, and pizzas, my recommendations being the following: Crispy Nori Chicken Wings, Quinoa Rocket Salad, Inception Roll, Truffled Bacon Cheeseburger Sushi, and Rich King Pizza. Try also their DIY option to create your own rolls and pies!

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Location: Ground Level along the canal, near the bridge
Cuisine: Italian and Japanese


3 | Chiara's

For an indulgent dessert fix, head over to Chiara’s gelateria and try their luscious gelato flavors. At PhP100/scoop or PhP120/3-flavor sampler, the gelato here is one of the best I’ve tried—rich and of balanced sweetness. Try the Dark Chocolate, Hazelnut, Pistachio, and Coffee: my top 4 favorites. A scoop or two is always perfect after a long day of taking selfies and dining in the other establishments.

Location: Ground Level along the canal, near the bridge
Cuisine: Italian


4 | Rice Paper

Quickie Vietnamese cuisine is the proposition of this small stall in the Venice Grand Canal Mall Food Court, a diner that offers a concise menu of pho soups, salads, BBQ, and noodles. Try the Beef Pho or the Chicken Pho (both at PhP180 each) if you’re especially craving for a comforting meal, or the fresh spring rolls for something healthy. Or go for the combo which will only set you back at PhP170 (small pho + fresh or fried spring rolls). This is my go-to place especially when I'm feeling subdued. :p

Location: Ground Level, food court
Cuisine: Vietnamese


5 | Delicieux 

Hungry for European cuisine? Delicieux enters the scene with its menu composed of Spanish, Italian, and French cuisines. For someone who has grown tired of fast food, American food, or cafes, this restaurant is such a breath of fresh air. Try their burrata, which comes served with greens, sun-dried tomatoes, and truffle oil. Order a variety of entrees if you're all for sharing, or get a whole plate for yourself.

Location: Ground Level along the canal
Cuisine: European


6 | Galo


The owners of Mazza Shawarma have ventured further and introduced the McKinley Hill crowd to Galo—their take on Latin American cuisine. A plate of delicious chicken, fried rice, and a side dish will set you off at about PhP175, with your choice of sauce—like my weakness, chimichurri! It’s more expensive than the average fast food option but at Galo, food is prepared fresh and the chicken is indeed very tasty.

Location: Ground Level, food court
Cuisine: Latin American


7 | Big D's Smokehouse

Craving for finger-lickin’ good American food? Head over to Big D's Smokehouse for some southern-style ribs done the right way! Get a full slab to share with friends or hoard a quarter slab for yourself! Paired with dirty or garlic rice, as well as some tasty sides, these meats are sure to deliver! Other must-tries include the Home Style Meatloaf made with 3 kinds of meats, Chicken Fried Steak with an addicting gravy, and Open-Faced Roast Beef served with perfect mashed potatoes. Hungry now?

Location: 2nd Level
Cuisine: American, BBQ


8 | Wok 2 Go


If you're looking a quick, cheap, yet satisfying, delicious, and even healthy meal, head over to Wok 2 Go and get one of their stir-fried takeaways. Choose your base broth from a fairly big selection, then specify whether you like it with white rice, red rice, noodles, or just vegetables. Feel free to add as many toppings as you want (each one charged separately)—there's chicken, pork, beef, and shrimp, and a whole lot of veggies such as mushrooms, broccoli, bell pepper, and many more. My favorites are the Gochujang, Pepper, and Rujak, and I usually have rice noodles or vegetables only, with extra chicken, broccoli, and mushrooms.

Location: 2nd Level
Cuisine: Asian


9 | Mitsuyado Sei-men


Finally, a good Japanese place in Venice Grand Canal! The House of Tsukemen has opened its doors to the public, enticing guests with reasonably-priced bowls of tsukemen, ramen, donburi, and many more! Order their set meals (PhP320 each) composed of a bowl of their signature Yuzu Tsukemen and a small rice meal of your choice (gyoza, black pepper chicken, katsu). Order their potato salad and spicy tuna as well!

Location: Ground Level, along the canal
Cuisine: Japanese


10 | Comfort Tuesdays

With a menu that seems to compile all the comfort food you can think of, Comfort Tuesdays promises a satisfying meal with your favorite dishes. Whether you’re craving for nachos, chicken wings, flatbreads, pasta, salad, or dessert, the restaurant has it. While I find most dishes overpriced for the quality, I would say that the Comfort Pesto (PhP225) or the Shrimp in Garlic and Olive Oil (PhP235) pasta deserve a try. They offer unlimited cocktails too.

Location: 2nd Level
Cuisine: American/Italian


11 | The Meatball Revolution 

Love meatballs? Well, you can get your fix at The Meatball Revolution—a restaurant with the Italian staple as its central concept. Here, the meatball is reinvented in different forms: wedged in sandwiches, tossed atop pasta, or made into burgers. Accompanying the carnivore-friendly lineup are delicious starters like the Sweet Potato Jalapeno Puffs and Bang Bang Wings, as well as sweet treats like their ice cream sandwiches.
Location: Ground Level along the canal
Cuisine: American


12 | Gran Caffé Lavena

Boasting of the best view in the entire mall, Gran Caffé Lavena sits on the other bridge way (Rialto) connecting the canal area to the piazza. Modeled after a famous café in St. Mark’s Square in Venice, the eccentric restaurant serves a full Italian menu, with special highlight on the pastries. It also offers fine wines, liquors, and cocktails.

Location: 2nd Level, Rialto Bridge
Cuisine: Italian


13 | Little Manila

For yuppies working in McKinley Hill, Little Manila is a popular choice with its Filipino offerings. Operated by Baliwag Lechon Manok, this diner serves lunch sets that are no-miss, so whether it’s a smoky slab of liempo you’re craving for or a bowl of sinigang, you will find your hungry tummies satiated here.

Location: Ground Level, food court
Cuisine: Filipino


14 | Ponte Rialto

Another Italian restaurant along the canal, Ponte Rialto is a classy space that’s fit for business meetings, romantic dates, or special occasions. It offers an extensive menu of antipasti, salads, soups, pasta, pizzas, risottos, meat entrees, and desserts—alongside a selection of coffee, juices, cocktails, liquors, and spirits. If you’re simply more into the finer side of Italian dining, this is the place to be.

Location: Ground Level along the canal
Cuisine: Italian


15 | TGIFriday’s


A go-to place for after-work drinks or hefty American dinners, TGIFriday’s is a classic spot for mouthwatering burgers, ribs, and other sinful dishes. You can’t go wrong with their Chili Ball Park Nachos, Jack Daniel’s Sampler, Chipotle Yucatan Chicken Salad, and Creamy Pasta alla Vodka. They offer draft beers as well as bottomless mojitos—plus a 50% off promo on their signature cocktails when you come before 7PM.

Location: Ground Level, under the Rialto Bridge
Cuisine: American


16 | Ramen Kuroda

Finally, affordable, delicious ramen! If you’re seeking a comforting bowl especially during rainy days, Ramen Kuroda will do the trick and provide you with hearty ramen. Try the Shiro Ramen which has the basic tonkotsu broth; the garlic-loaded Kuro Ramen; or the spicy Aka Ramen. Not bad for PhP180, but I wouldn’t say that it is one the best ramen places I’ve tried. Order some extras like gyozas and their Teriyaki Pork Roll (PhP240).

Location: 2nd Level
Cuisine: Japanese


Other restaurants:

  • S&R New York Style Pizza - Ground Level, food court
  • Starbucks - Ground Level, near Upper McKinley entrance
  • Sbarro - Ground Level, food court
  • Serenitea  - 2nd Level along the canal (the branch here serves food) 
  • Pie Face - Ground Level, food court
  • Pepper Lunch - Ground Level, food court
  • Robinson’s Selections - Ground Level, food court
  • Yellow Cab Pizza Co. - 2nd Level along the canal
  • Shakey’s - 2nd Level along the canal
  • Seoul Spoon - Ground Level, food court
  • Sizzle King - Ground Level, food court
  • Alab - Ground Level, near Upper McKinley entrance
  • Burger King - 2nd Level along the canal
  • My Thai - Ground Level along the canal
  • Munch - Ground Level along the canal
  • Pure Nectar - Ground Level, food court
  • Costa Coffee Ground Level, food court (inside Robinson's)
  • Jollibee 2nd Level along the canal
  • Café Mary Grace Ground Level along the canal
  • Cuesina 2nd Level along the canal
  • Buddy's 2nd Level along the canal
  • Mati’s Meat & Bread Ground Level along the canal
  • Gong Cha - cinema
  • Potato Corner - cinema
  • Café del Mar Ground Level along the canal, near Starbucks
  • Empire Bar Ground Level in the canal, island
  • UCC Clockwork Ground Level facing Upper McKinley Road, near Starbucks
  • Seoul Bang - 2nd Level along the canal

Coming soon:
New Bombay (please hurry!)
Almon Marina
Caramia
Café Seolhwa
Churreria la Lola
Datang Fan
District 5 by Yoree
Elements
Mann Hann
Milk Cow
Red Maple


~*~
Venice Grand Canal Mall
Cluster B, McKinley Hill, Taguig City

Have you dined in any of these restaurants? Which is your favorite?
If you like my posts and would love regular updates on travel photos, food finds, restaurant reviews, dance articles, and drunken tales, follow Pepe Samson on Facebook!

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