Food

Best Grilled Cheese Places in Manila

Because cheese is, truly, the best thing ever.
IMAGE Sasha Lim Uy/Mignac
Comments

Something extraordinary happens when you put ordinary things like bread and cheese in a pan. They morph into a grilled cheese sandwich, delicious, comforting, and satisfying on so many levels. No two ingredients have ever resulted in something this amazing. Still, despite its seeming simplicity, not everyone gets it right and that realization is doubly disappointing because again, it's just bread and cheese. We've done the legwork and have come up with a list of the restaurants that feature the best grilled cheese sandwiches in Manila.

What makes a grilled cheese sandwich good?

Is it the cheese? Is it the bread? According to the chefs behind some of the city's best-tasting grilled cheese sandwiches, it's both and more. Butter plays an important role in bringing everything together and timing is crucial to develop the perfect texture that, in turn, transforms a regular grilled cheese sandwich into an outstanding one. 

Some people love Gruyere, others like Gouda, and a few people even prefer blue cheese. This list is unranked because we all have our own preferences.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

1| Little Flour

Esquire Recommends: Grilled Cheese (P230-P430)

For many, many years, Wildflour held the crown for the best grilled cheese in the city, but the much-loved sandwich, with its batard base, aged Gruyere, and onions, slowly and mysteriously inched its way off the menu. It may be gone from Wildflour, but it's not been forgotten and a sort of reincarnation found itself in its sibling restaurant, Little Flour. Little Flour's grilled cheese comes with juicy, salty chorizo that, of course, works best with the pot of tomato soup on the side.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

Little Flour branches

2| Elephant Grounds

Esquire Recommends: Gruyere Grilled Cheese (P475)

Photo by Mignac.

Trust chefs Nicco Santos and Queenie Villar to take a simple classic and turn it into something special. For Elephant Grounds, they use a beautiful homemade sourdough to stage impressive proportions of Gruyere, yellow cheddar, and sweet caramelized onions. It's equal parts crispy and gooey, and just perfect.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

One Bonifacio High Street Mall, 5th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig

3| Borough

Esquire Recommends: Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup (P320)

Photo by courtesy of Mikko Santos.

The Borough may have moved around over the years, but one thing remains: It's still top of mind when it comes to the best grilled cheese sandwich in Manila. Mouthwatering triangles of grilled cheese are assembled in a row, all hot and all with melting cheese that threatens to drip from the edges of the soft homemade brioche. Chef Cuit Kaufman is obsessive about the details. Apart from the bread and the cheese, he's also careful about the timing of everything. It has to stay long enough on the pan so that the cheese turns gooey, but it can't be too long that the bread burns. Best enjoyed dipped in the accompanying tub of tomato soup.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

Bonifacio High Street Central, 7th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig; 0966-400-1150

4| The Bowery

Esquire Recommends: Short Rib Grilled Cheese (P490)

Another Kaufman-helmed establishment, The Bowery, like Borough, pays homage to New York culture. Here, he brings another version of the grilled cheese sandwich. This time, he uses sourdough as the platform for his Monterey Jack and yellow cheddar double-hitter. If you want a more intense combination, The Bowery has another grilled cheese that takes all this then adds braised beef, caramelized onions, mustard, and honey. It's sinful, sure, but didn't someone say cheese can help with weight loss?

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

Burgos Circle, Taguig; (02) 804-2188

5| Melt Grilled Cheesery

Esquire Recommends: Bacon Mac & Grilled Cheese (P395)

The dream for couple James and Chessie Torres was simple: They wanted a restaurant dedicated to cheese, which explains the yellow walls and furnishings and the cheese-themed menu. The specialty is, of course, grilled cheese, which comes in monster sizes and has its own sub-menu. Melt Grilled Cheesery has everything, from classic melts to Monte Cristos to chili con carne, all of which come in an extremely buttery smoked sourdough package. If you want to get more for your sandwich, try the Bacon Mac & Grilled Cheese, which has everything you love in your cheese sandwich, plus macaroni and cheese.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

Melt Grilled Cheesery branches

 

6| Single Origin

Esquire Recommends: Four Cheese Grilled Cheese (P395)

If you love four-cheese pizzas then you'll love Single Origin's take on this cheesy sandwich. It uses Monterey Jack, yellow cheddar, Emmenthal, and mozzarella, combining deep cheesy flavors and gooey texture in every crisp bite. 

Single Origin branches

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

7| The Clubhouse

Esquire Recommends: The Ultimate Grilled Cheese (P325)

Photo by The Club House.

This unassuming restaurant offers elevated versions of downhome dishes. Its grilled cheese sandwich uses four kinds of cheese to great effect: mozzarella, Gouda, sharp cheddar, and Swiss, all of which come together between two rich, buttery brioche slices. It finds the fine line between simple and complex. 

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

Robinsons Magnolia, New Manila, Quezon City; (02) 442-5571

8| Refinery

Esquire Recommends: Grilled Cheese with Honey and Basil

Refinery has a whole range of grilled sandwiches, usually headlined by the oft-Instagrammed grilled French dip (braised beef, mozzarella, and onion marmalade with a dipping beef jus). While the aforementioned sandwich is great, we love how Refinery nails the basic. Its simple formula of grilled cheese with a touch of honey and a layer of basil is the definition of comfort food.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

Refinery branches

9| Exchange Alley Coffee House

Esquire Recommends: 3-Cheese Toastie (P250)

Photo by Sasha Lim Uy.

It's always so rewarding when an unassuming sandwich such as EACH's turns out to be the stuff dreams are made. Let's analyze, shall we? The sourdough is big and wide, flat as a plate, and about half an inch thickthe perfect thickness, we believe, to make it crisp but still unyielding to the load in between. The cheese? Sharp cheddar for that punch, mozzarella for the ooze, and smoked Gouda because Gouda is the best cheese ever. Despite the load, it still comes together in one neat, manageable package that fits wonderfully inside the average-sized mouth, letting you experience those thought-out details with every bite. On the side, slow-cooked tomato sauce. Delish.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

Molito Commercial Complex, Alabang, Muntinlupa; (02) 809-1009

10| Tipple and Slaw

Esquire Recommends: Truffled Grilled Cheese

Photo by Sasha Lim Uy for SPOT.ph.

This millennial haunt certainly knows how to add a touch of luxury to an otherwise homey sandwich. For his take on this beloved dish, chef Francis Lim formulates a winning quartet of appenzeller, mozzarella, raclette, and cheddar. It's gooey, bold, with an in-your-face flavor that's cut down by a drizzle of honey. Sweet cheeses! Deep down though, despite that hint of truffle, it's still that recess sandwich that we love. 

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

The Pop Up Katipunan, Xavierville Corner Katipunan Avenue, Loyola Heights, Quezon City; 0917-702-0756

11| Bun Appetit

Esquire Recommends: Lobster Grilled Cheese

Photo by Bun Appetit.

Speaking of luxury grilled cheese, you can't get any fancier than Bun Appetit's contribution to this cheesy list. Lawrence and Iya Cua made a cheesy and chunky lobster spread, which they lavishly spread between two slices of extremely buttery bread. They could've called it a day, but they finished it off with a sprinkle of parm. 

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

The Grid, Power Plant Mall, Makati; Salcedo Saturday Market, Makati

12| Sebastian's

Esquire Recommends: Rainbow Grilled Cheese (P150)

Manila's pioneering artisan ice cream shop might be the last place you'd expect to find grilled cheese, but here we are. Ian Carandang debuted his colorful grilled cheese sandwich at Metro Manila Pride 2018 and it was such a success that he had no choice but to offer it all year round. It's a sandwich with a deep, delicious political message. If the colors aren't enough to dazzle you, the stretchy mozzarella might. Split this sandwich apart and the mozzarella can stretch up to a few feet!

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

The Podium, Mandaluyong (0945-306-0141); Ayala Malls Vertis North, Quezon City (0915-489-5753); Regis Center, Katipunan, Quezon City (0927-290-1633)

Comments
Recommended Videos
About The Author
Sasha Lim Uy
Managing Editor, EsquireMag.ph
Sasha eats to live and lives to eat. For five years, she handled SPOT.ph's food section and edited the last two installments of its Top 10 Food books. She also recently participated at the Madrid Fusion Manila as curator.
View Other Articles From Sasha
Comments
Latest Feed
 
Share
IWC Schaffhausen’s Pilot’s Watches are already legendary, but in case you needed more convincing, Stanislas Rambaud, managing director of IWC Southeast Asia, gave us his take.
 
Share
 
Share
At the helm of Dior men's, Kim Jones has grown the family tree. We talk to the photographer charged with capturing its latest generation in a new book
 
Share
Lucerne's Emerson Yao adds the 2019 Chicago Marathon to his list of many finishes.
 
Share
 
Share
Here are the must-do's and must-haves for a worry-free drive.
 
Share
Discovery Primea's new menu is serious fun.
Load More Articles
Connect With Us