Applebee's Grill & Bar Opens in Manila

Fans of Applebee's—and lovers of American food, in general—will surely be delighted as the US restaurant chain finally opens in Manila. The world's largest casual dining brand with over 2,000 locations in 16 countries, Applebee's Grill & Bar joins the Manila restaurant scene this September, setting its first branch in BGC, at the Ground Floor of W Global Center. Brought by the same folks (Global Restaurant Concepts) who gave us IHOP and California Pizza Kitchen, Applebee’s aims to give Manila foodies a taste of its 35-year industry experience with its delicious selection of ribs, burgers, steaks, appetizers, and hand-crafted drinks, and at the same time show us that “there’s always a reason to celebrate”.

In an exclusive media sneak peek last Thursday, I was able to try some of Applebee’s specialties. The place was abuzz when I arrived—bloggers and photographers busy taking pictures of their food; the people behind Applebee’s welcoming everyone; the waitstaff explaining each dish to excited, hungry guests. I settled in a booth with Abet of The Food Alphabet and a server instantly offered me something to drink from Applebee’s cocktail selection. I chose their signature Bahama Mama. Mmmm … so far, so good.

We began with some appetizers, one of which was the Pot Stickers (PhP325): bits of pork and shrimp encased in wonton wrappers. It comes with two kinds of sauces—soy and peanut—both of which make each bite even tastier. This was my favorite among the apps.

The Boneless Chicken Bites (PhP375) has everything you could possibly want with your wings—minus the bones. But if you actually like nibbling and gnawing at your chicken, order the Double Crunch Bone-In Wings (PhP375); double-fried, these were crisp and tasty.

The 4-Cheese Mac and Cheese (PhP385) was comforting and delicious—a bowl of curly pasta tossed in a light, creamy cheese sauce with bits of bacon, then topped with honey-pepper chicken tenders. This is one hefty and satisfying dish.

Left: Boneless Chicken Bites; right: 4-Cheese Mac and Cheese
Another dish I really liked was the Sriracha Shrimp (PhP445): bite-sized shrimps enveloped in a creamy Sriracha coating. The spice lingers on even after you’ve swallowed these tasty bites. Highly recommended!

The Wonton Tacos (PhP225) is a fusion of Mexican and Asian. Instead of regular taco shells, wonton wrappers were used, inside which are sweetish chicken and a variety of vegetables. However I found the wrapper to be too big for the fillings.

Another Mexican-influenced dish was the Quesadilla Burger (PhP525), which uses tortilla instead of burger bun. The homemade patty is huge and subtly-seasoned, slathered with ranch sauce, and topped with pico de gallo, shredded lettuce, and cheese. I loved its taste but wished it had some spice in it.

I found the Cowboy Burger (PhP525) better—humongous patty, crispy onion rings, bacon strips, melted cheese, lettuce, onions, pickles, tomatoes, honey-barbecue sauce. Perhaps this bestseller embodies the all-American goodness Applebee’s is known for.

Applebee’s is famous for its Pork Ribs (PhP395/PhP595), and upon first bite, I knew why. The ultra-tender, smoky meat came coated with Honey and Korean BBQ sauce, lending it an addicting sweet-spicy flavor. Be prepared to get your hands dirty!

For dessert, try the Triple Chocolate Meltdown (PhP295)—a lava cake filled with rich gooey chocolate and topped with vanilla ice cream. Even non-dessert-lovers would be converted.

Left: Triple Chocolate Meltdown; right: make sure you try Applebee's handcrafted cocktails
For a taste of American comfort food, head over to Applebee’s in BGC. The global brand aims to update its look with its new “Celebrate Everything” philosophy, but it still plans to maintain the quality of the food it became known for. Call your friends with whom to share huge portions of ribs and burgers. If good food prepared right and meant to be enjoyed casually isn’t reason enough to go out and celebrate, I’m not sure what is.

Applebee’s is set to open its 2nd branch in Eastwood late this year.

the Applebee's Team

Applebee’s Grill & Bar
G/F W Global Center, 30th St. cor. 9th Ave., Bonifacio Global City, Taguig

Have you been to Applebee's in the States? Are you excited with its opening in Manila?

My meal was sponsored by Applebee's Grill & Bar. All opinions, however, are my own.

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