Being close to a wide selection of dining establishments is one of the main attractions of living in an urban area like Fort Bonifacio. The COVID-19 pandemic, however, makes eating out a hard decision. How can we be sure that we would not catch the virus if we eat out?
According to the experts, the main means of the transmission of coronavirus is through breathing and talking. To eat out safely, we need to pay full attention to this.
People who are going to breathe near you in a dining setting are : your dining companions, other diners in the establishment, and the waiting staff.
If you eat out with people who live with you, then your risk of catching the virus is not affected. As for your dining companions, you can choose to dine with only those who you know are careful about following the health protocol for COVID-prevention, and remind everyone on your table to wear their masks when not eating.
Photo above: some dining establishments have taken multiple steps to assure customers that their place is safe for diners
Many establishments have an online menu, but not many have online ordering on site. Even those that have an online ordering system, there are times that the waiter still has to come, for example, to tell us about food availablility or give information about a dish. On the whole, however, our contact with the waiting staff is likely to be minimal, and they are required to wear mask and shield all the time, so the chances of getting the virus from them should not be high. We just need to keep interaction to the minimum, for both their and our sake.
In a restaurant, the least control we have is the behavior and number of other diners. Some people think that once they are in a restaurant, they do not have to wear a mask. Even worse is when they are a group of many people, as they tend to forget about the pandemic and talk energetically. For an indoor space, this would be a high risk environment for other diners. Even if it happens in an outdoor venue, one should avoid being surrounded by loud talking people.
If your favorite restaurant is still very popular by GCQ standard, then we advise that you find a less busy time to visit the restaurant if possible, say after 1PM for lunch or before 6PM for dinner.
Good Eats that are Out of Sight
Restaurants that are not on the ground floor of a busy street or mall are easily forgotten. They tend to have low client load especially during the pandemic. Listed below are five such restaurants that serve very good food, and are now very quiet.
Va Bene Pasta Deli
3/F Central Square Tel. 7958-5018
This Italian restaurant has been serving delectable dishes for many years. The name Pasta Deli tells you that their pasta is special. Their fresh pasta dishes taste so much better than those made from dried pasta that are served in ordinary restaurants that you wonder what have you been eating before this. Don’t believe us? Try their black ink tagliolini, or their fresh eggs tagliatelle.
Kitchitora Paitan Ramen
3/F Central Square Tel. 7926-3835
This underrated ramen shop is still able to maintain their excellent quality even during the lockdown (some restaurants have reduced their kitchen staff to a level that affect the food quality). Maybe it is due to a bad review in 2017 in an unofficial Facebook page. We are just selfishly happy that this place stays quiet for us!
Fairway Tower, 5th Avenue Tel. 8810-1307
This great Spanish tapa / pintxos (there is supposed to be a difference, but not an important one) place located at the end of BGC Greenway has both indoor and a small covered outdoor space. their tapa are really delicious, and the quiet setting can make you feel like you were in Spain.
C2 Building Tel. +63 906 224 1001
This restaurant and bar serves western food like pizza, pasta, steak and Filipino food in a glamorous setting. Nowadays, you can have the whole place to yourself, unless it is booked for a private party.
Gallery by Chele
Clipp Center, 11th Ave cor 39th St Tel. 0917 546 1673
This fine-dining Spanish restaurant uses exotic and fresh local ingredients in creative modern dishes. During the earlier days of the GCQ 2.0, they only serve private diners. From October 1 onwards, they are open to the public again.
Safe Environment to Dine In
Apart from looking for less crowded places and reducing interaction with waiting staff, you can also get more comfort if the indoor place that you are going to spend at least an hour in has an air purifier that can kill airborne viruses. The establishment should also be able to assure customers that the eating utensils are sterile up until they reach the customer’s table.
One establishment goes as far as wrapping the food in cling film from the time it gets out of the kitchen to the diner 3 meters away. That is a bit excessive in our opinion, and creates too much plastic for our environment. We know that the waiter is already wearing mask and shield.
Help Out by Eating Out
Apart from giving jobs to the restaurant workers, eating out can help the environment too. Buying take out can generate a lot of unsustainable waste, as each take out comes with a lot of packaging, and most of the packaging materials are not recycled, even if they are recyclable.
Photo above: part of the packaging used for one serving of noodle.