16 Best Cafes in Manila for Coffee, Brunch, & Dessert

16 Best Cafes in Manila for Coffee, Brunch, & Dessert

From hipster coffee shops to cute dessert parlours!

If you’re a coffee lover and planning a trip to the Philippines sometime in the future, many locals would tell you to make a beeline for Metro Manila. The country’s capital region has quite the burgeoning coffee scene, after all. From hipster coffee shops to multi-concept shops, the best cafes in Manila always manage to impress even the most discerning tastes. But wait — what if you’re not into coffee? Fret not because there’s definitely something for everyone.

Beyond third wave coffee shops, there’s also a handful of Manila cafes that cater to those who prefer pastries, desserts, milk tea, and more. So, we’ve come up with a list of the best cafes in Manila that you should check out on your next visit. All of these offer cosy ambience, #aesthetic interiors, and of course, excellent menu offerings that’ll leave you wanting more! 

Coffee shops in Manila with interesting concepts

1. The Curator

Speakeasies are nothing new, but how about one that’s a speciality coffee shop by day and a cocktail bar at night? Now that’s something you wouldn’t find often. If The Curator sounds familiar to you, that’s because it has been on Asia’s 50 Best Bars consistently since 2016! You’ll find this in the backroom of Cyrano Wine Shop in Legaspi Village, Makati. Though, if you prefer a better-lit space, you can either opt for its outer area or head over to the park across the street! 

Pro tip: You can have your drink (whether coffee or cocktail) customised by their world-class baristas. 

2. % Arabica

Another notable coffee shop in the bustling Bonifacio Global City would be the newly opened % Arabica – McKinley store. It also happens to be the Japanese brand’s third branch in the Philippines — and, boy, they sure went all out. Is it just us or does it lowkey resemble that East High cafeteria from High School Musical, but more chic-minimalist? We don’t know which design element is more impressive: the over-counter bean cellar or the amphitheatre-style seating area that’s actually inspired by the Banaue Rice Terraces in Ifugao!

3. EDSA Beverage Design Group

Ask any third wave coffee lover in Metro Manila about EDSA Beverage Design Group, and they’ll probably say that it’s one of the pioneers of speciality coffee here. You’ll find it in a nondescript building literally along EDSA (yes, that traffic-prone highway that locals have a love-hate relationship with). So, it’s definitely not like other Manila cafes, which are often housed in malls or less noisy streets! This spacious complex houses the coffee bar, roasting laboratory, and the brand HQ. 

Fun fact: Some of the owners are also the same peeps behind The Curator! 

4. Caravan Black

Situated on the ground floor of a corporate building in Bonifacio Global City, you’re likely to find a lot of white-collar employees getting their caffeine fix at Caravan Black. Its interiors have this ‘modern Art Deco with a hint of surrealist’ style. The best way I can explain this is: it’s like a 16th-century explorer, a Jazz Age fan, and a René Magritte patron decided to do a collab. Anyway, this cafe in Manila derives its name from the caravans used to transport coffee beans across continents centuries ago! 

5. Drip Café at Commune

Drip Café is located inside Singapore-based artisanal furniture shop, Commune, who set up their flagship store in Shangri-La Plaza, Mandaluyong. Every corner in this showroom-slash-cafe is absolutely Instagrammable, so no need to look for the right spot just to get that perfect shot! BTW — all the lovely items here are for sale; from the polished tables to the artsy lamps and mirrors. So, don’t be surprised if you have to change seats because someone just purchased that sleek Scandinavian-style chair you’re on! 

6. The Den

best cafes in Manila

Image credit: The Den Facebook Page

In the historic district of Binondo in the city of Manila, there’s a speciality coffee shop that doubles as an artists’ space: The Den. Once in a while, it also serves as a venue for exhibits, workshops, and other events that focus on local contemporary culture; from music and visual arts to history-centric tours. Clearly, if there was one cafe in Manila that fully encapsulates the city’s creative millennial spirit, then this is definitely it! 

Oh, and it’s also located in a nearly-hundred-year-old Art Deco building along Escolta Street: the country’s former financial hub from the Spanish Era up until the 1950s. How cool is that? Nowadays, the area is home to a slew of indie stores and studios — most of which are run by entrepreneurial creatives, too.

Also read: 8 Hidden Benefits of Drinking Coffee Every Day, According to Science 

Best cafes in Manila for brunch and pastries

7. Bake House

Bake House is a vibrantly designed cafe inside the ritzy Shangri-La at the Fort, yet its menu offerings are actually not as expensive as you’d expect! The interiors are quite cosy and reminiscent of a n0eighbourhood cafe: rustic colours mixed with industrial elements and a few hints of avant-garde design. Sort of like a setting in a whimsical rom-com movie, if you’d ask us! In a way, it offsets the sophisticated array of French pastries lined up at the counter; a perfect balance between upscale and welcoming. 

Pro tip: They have the best flat white in town! Yes, even if you’d compare it to foreign coffee shops that are also found in the area (more on that later). 

8. Wildflour Café + Bakery

Looking for the best cafes in Manila with both great food and drinks? Head over to Wildflour Café + Bakery, which many locals consider as the quintessential brunch spot! The dishes come at a rather hefty price, but the (relatively) cheap yet delicious coffee more than makes up for it. Their cronuts are definitely a must-try, if only for the fact that it was Wildflour that introduced this to the local scene.

It has several locations, with slightly varying concepts, around the Metro. Though, if you had to pick just one, we recommend their flagship store in Bonifacio Global City. It has an adjacent ice cream parlour where you can satisfy your sweet tooth after that hearty brunch! 

9. Poison Coffee & Doughnuts

Craving yummy doughnuts to go with your cuppa? Skip the usual Krispy Kreme and try out the homegrown Poison Coffee & Doughnuts instead! Unlike most Manila cafes that are brightly lit, this one looks straight out of a sci-fi anime with its neon lights and seemingly ‘menacing’ signs. The doughnuts are a must-try, with unique flavours like garam masala and egg custard brûlée! 

You’ll find this at The Alley at Karrivin, an arts hub in the quieter part of Makati. This former warehouse also houses art galleries and boutiques that you can visit after getting your caffeine + pastry fix. 

10. Toby’s Estate

Toby’s Estate is known as one of the leading coffee chains in Australia. So, it’s no surprise that its Philippine stores easily became one of the best cafes in Manila. As of writing, it has a total of 11 locations; some serve only coffee and pastries, while others offer scrumptious food, too! You’ll find most of ‘em in malls and business districts, but if you prefer someplace less crowded, head over to the one in Pasong Tamo Extension, Makati. It’s situated behind an events space and also serves as the commissary. 

Note: The lot of this specific branch is right beside the compound where Poison Coffee & Doughnuts is. Hey, a little cafe-hopping never hurt anyone! 

Also read: 15 Countries With a Coffee Culture Worth Travelling For

11. Apero

best cafes in Manila

Image credit: Apero Instagram Page

Unless you frequent the Temple Drive area in Quezon City, it’s quite likely that you wouldn’t even notice Apero. Despite being somewhat underrated, it’s clearly one of the best cafes in Manila that boast aesthetically pleasing design and top-notch brunch staples. Take in the part-tropical, part-Art Deco interiors while munching on savoury tartine, freshly baked pastries, hefty rice bowls… or all of the above! Don’t forget to pair these with something from their extensive coffee menu. 

Pro tip: This is also where you can have your dose of coffee from Intelligentsia — A.K.A. one of the OG third wave coffee companies — which isn’t really easy to come by around Metro Manila!

Also read: 10 Coffee Shops in Quezon City That You Have to Visit

12. Tweedle Book Cafe

Up for a library-esque cafe in Manila that’s heavily inspired by some of your favourite novels? Look no further than Tweedle Book Cafe in Quezon City. Upon stepping inside, you’ll find many decorations that double as literary references. (Keep an eye out for the Platform 9 ¾ replica!) 

But beyond its whimsical concept, it also features a menu filled with imaginative dishes (wagyu-kimchi-cheeseburger hybrid, anyone?). We also love their decadent hot chocolate drinks infused with interesting flavours such as truffle, hibiscus, and cherry. And with their wall-to-wall shelves of books, you can pretty much spend an entire day here without noticing the time going by!

Manila cafes with outdoorsy settings

13. Kandle Cafe

Looking for a cafe on the northern side, for a change? Kandle Cafe is definitely the way to go! Apart from the top-notch comfort food and speciality coffee and tea, it also has what’s arguably the best al fresco area among Manila cafes. It is, after all, tucked away in a (relatively) quiet neighbourhood in Quezon City. Their lush garden offers a lovely respite from the hustle and bustle of the Metro, which is honestly a rare find. 

Oh, and they also have a nursery for blue butterfly pea flowers — picked fresh daily and added to select drinks and dishes! So, plant lovers: you might want to add this to your bucket list.

14. Flossom Kitchen + Cafe

Want more pretty, bloom-filled locations for your ‘Gram? Flossom Kitchen + Cafe in San Juan is one of the best cafes in Manila for that! As its name suggests, it’s filled with floral elements, making every corner a sight to behold (yep, even the ceiling). Just like the previous item, this one is also in a quiet neighbourhood, which makes it perf for an urban garden escape. And, of course, it goes beyond just aesthetics by adding edible flowers and/or floral patterns on their drinks and dishes, too! 

Best cafes in Manila for dessert

15. Kiss The Tiramisu

You might have already heard of  Kiss The Tiramisu. After all, it’s quite a popular dessert shop in South Korea — but did you know that there’s also one on Valero Street in Makati? Clearly, the main event is their tiramisu ice cream: a decadent combo of the staple Italian dessert and soft-serve ice cream! It’s served in shmancy-looking goblets that match the store’s elegant interiors. Though, you can also try their classic desserts, fruit tea, tiramisu-flavoured latte, and even a traditional Korean rice beverage called sikhye!  

16. Black Scoop Cafe

One look at the menu, and you’ll see why Black Scoop Cafe is one of the best cafes in Manila for lovers of milk tea and other cold desserts. A definite must-try is their milk tea-flavoured soft-serve ice cream that actually has boba pearl toppings. A glorious match made in dessert heaven, if you’d ask us. 

Always experimental and never boring, their unique drinks often incorporate nostalgic sweets like White Rabbit, Yakult, and Ovaltine — take note, ’90s kids! Fortunately, they have over 20 stores around the Metro, so there’s no excuse to not add this to your Manila cafes bucket list. 

Also read: 20 Fun Things to Do in Manila on Your Very First Trip

It’s no secret that the Philippines is well-known for its beaches and islands; most travellers make a beeline for these and skip a tour of the capital region. Yet these best cafes in Manila clearly show why you should stick around the Metro for a while. Whether it’s for a caffeine fix or satisfying your sweet tooth, there’s something for everyone indeed. 

On the other hand, if you’re a local and you’ve already been to these Manila cafes, we’d love to hear about your visits there! As always, don’t be shy and share ahead in the comments.

About Author

Marcy Miniano
Marcy Miniano

A fast-talking caffeine-dependent wordsmith, Marcy has never been one to shy away from sharing a good story or two. If she’s not in a quiet coffee shop somewhere, she enjoys spending afternoons in a museum or art gallery — whether it’s around Metro Manila or a foreign city she’s visiting. She wishes to retire in a winter village someday, so she can fulfil her lifelong dream of wearing turtlenecks all year round and owning a pet penguin.


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