If you happen to be passing through the Philippine capital this Valentine’s Day, what better way to woo your sweetheart than with some culinary fireworks? From ultra-sleek fine dine darlings to cosy, character-packed nooks, here are the city’s best restaurants for date night.

Featuring dramatic high ceilings, monochrome Art Deco design and a central, statement spiral staircase, the only thing upstaging Blackbird’s impressive fit-out is stove jockey Colin Mackay’s contemporary Euro and Asian morsels. Choose from grilled meats or flip-fresh seafood and pastas, followed nicely by an array of mouth-watering desserts.

Cosy up to the chef’s table at Mecha Uma to sample Manila’s masterchef Bruce Ricketts’ Nippon-inflected taste bombs. Ingredients are locally-sourced, or flown in fresh from Japan for dishes such as seared Iberico in clam jus with watermelon, or Hojicha ice cream with grapes and dehydrated yuzu cake. Resistance is futile: just give in...

Artwork by top Filipino talents adorns the walls of Old Manila, an elegant, chandeliered salon where Chef Allan Briones plates up contemporary, market-driven European spoils. Prime grilled cuts, freshly shucked oysters and artfully presented sweet treats are just a few of the delights on offer, while baked sea bass, beef Wellington fillet and whole roasted Bresse chook are perfect for sharing.

If something a little more low-key is in order, it’s worth ditching the diet for hearty eats at Locavore, a buzzy, industrial farm-to-tabler. Classic Filipino comfort dishes such as a tender five-hour braised boneless lechon belly, Boracay-inspired Chori burgers and oyster sisig are elevated by locally sourced, sustainable produce; pair with one of many local brews. Too easy.

Feeling lost without love this Valentine’s Day? Beeline to Van Gogh is Bipolar, a self-proclaimed ‘mood-healing sanctuary’, which aims to do just that with all-day seasonal soul food, happiness-inducing teas and an array of mindfulness activities. Better still, the entire space is bedecked with quirksome and colourful curios, making it a treat for the eyes and the palate; there’s no better distraction from all that V-day fuss around you.

Blackbird / Nielson Tower / Ayala Triangle / +63 2 828 4888 / 11am-11pm Sun-Thu, till midnight Fri-Sat / blackbird.com.ph
Mecha Uma / G/F / RCBC Savings Bank Corporate Center 1634 / 25th St / Taguig / +63 2 964 9605 / 6pm-11pm Mon-Sat / mechauma.ph
Van Gogh is Bipolar / 154 Maginhawa St / Sikatuna Village / Diliman / Quezon City / +63 922 824 3051 / lunch & dinner Wed-Mon / facebook.com
Locavore / 10 Brixton St / Kapitolyo / Pasig City /+63 917 684 2014 / 11.30pm-1am daily / locavore.ph
Old Manila / G/F / Ayala Tower / Cor of Ayala and Makati Ave / 1226 Makati City / +63 2 887 2888 / lunch Mon-Fri, dinner Mon-Sat / manila.peninsula.com