Food

Old Cubao Restaurants That Your Parents Keep Talking About

Back in the '60s and '70s, restaurants in Cubao were on the cutting edge.
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People have said it often enough. Before there was ever Bonifacio Global City or Makati, there was Cubao, the center of culture and commerce from the '60s up to the '80s thanks to the sprawling real estate imagined by tycoon J. Amado Araneta. Araneta was behind the successful Araneta Center (now renamed Araneta City), which opened in 1960 after the Negros sugar magnate purchased it earlier on in the decade. 

His dream turned a remote area that was frequented by rebels into a thriving commercial hub that still triggers so much nostalgia today. 

Also read:

Do You Still Remember the Old Cubao?

A&W

In the 1950s, A&W was a thriving drive-in restaurant that idealized the classic American diner, complete with roller-skating waitresses. Opened by the Gutherz family, it introduced Filipinos to delicious rootbeer floats that are unmatched up to today.

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Kup n Saucer

Known for classic comfort food, Kup n Saucer was notorious for having a dumbwaiter (that was an innovation back then). It looked like an American cafe, but the menu captured all kinds of Filipino essentials. It was a popular place to unwind after watching a show at the Big Dome. 

Ming's and Hong Ning's 

Two restaurants competed for an hour or two of people's attention back then: Ming's and Hong Nin's both offered old-school Chinese lauriat, from dim sum to patatim. The latter, in particular, was famous for its cold cuts. Both restaurants were eventually eclipsed by the growth of the fast food movement. Hong Ning tried to hold on, opening branches on Aurora and even in Ali Mall, but both eventually closed as well.

Ma Mon Luk

The Ma Mon Luk in Cubao wasn't the original, which was in Binondo before moving to Quezon Avenue where it still exists today. The mami OG and siopao favorite was around the corner, a few paces away from Hong Ning. Cubao was part of its expansion and it was run by the son of the eponymous owner. 

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Chocolate House

Known among students in the area as the pre-Starbucks coffee shop, Chocolate House was another staple hangout after school or after a film at the New Frontier Cinema. Its signature was a chocolate beehive with marshmallows inside, but it had a much wider repertoire: including artisan bread and other baked goods. 

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Kobe Chicken

Pulutan cravings were quickly satisfied by all-night chicken place Kobe Chicken. 

Aling Nena's Bibingka

Aling Nena's Bibingka was a perfect fit in Cubao, which, for many years, hosted the iconic Christmas on Display that many Filipinos grew up watching. Aling Nena's was right below the C.O.D., which made it just as much as a Christmas staple as the show. Aling Nena's is still there and is now a full-fledged restaurant.

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Skorpios

Most people who do remember Skorpios know that used to stand where Gateway is now. It's forever immortalized in history as the place where Butch Dalisay, on his napkin, proposed to his girlfriend Beng by computing that he was financially stable enough for them to live as man and wife. 

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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.
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