4636 Molina Street, Poblacion, Makati City
Open from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. (Monday to Saturday)*
While many come to Siargao to catch the barreling waves, not a lot come expecting to find pizza and pasta that could rival the best in Metro Manila. Or perhaps that was before Conde Nast Traveler declared Kermit Siargao's Italian favorites as âwhat might be the best "in the country."
It's a big enough achievement to create buzz, and if you're one of those rearing for a taste, you donât have to book a flight anymore with Kermit opening a Manila branch in Poblacion, Makati.
This hip part of the Metro is miles away, literally and figuratively, from the tropical paradise that is Siargao, but for owner Gianni Grifoni, he cannot imagine opening Kermit Manila anywhere else but in Poblacion. "The vibe and the food here is similar to Siargao," he says. "Everybody here is chill, and want to have good times."
It helps that Gianni was able to grab a space away from the busier parts of the district. His loft-style dining area feels secluded, with rattan-pattern walls giving the space a beachy feel. Meanwhile, murals add color and an edgier vibe to the restaurant. Though Gianni shares that he tried to make Kermit Manila feel more industrial, surfboards on the walls show their island roots. "Kermit Siargao is an easy-going surfer-chill place where we serve good food," says Gianni. "And I try to have the same vibe here in Poblacion."
Kermit is known for their pizza, and their DIY setup reflects Gianni's laidback attitude. "Pizza for me is more like an art," he says. "We don't want to categorize any pizza toppings as good or bad. For me, you can choose anything you like because all our tastes our different."
The pizza joint may seem super relaxed, but there's a confidence that comes from knowing that whatever anyone decides to put on their pizza will be remarkably delicious. Gianni credits this to four things: "It's a combination of good flour, freshness of ingredients, the time our pizza dough has to rest, and our pizza oven [imported from Italy]."
Pizza with Parma Ham and Bell Peppers
Kermit's Neapolitan Pizza (P280) starts with a wonderfully chewy dough that's slathered with fresh tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese. Then the toppings: Gianni is a big fan of the Parma ham (add P70), which give your slice that wonderful bite of saltiness. Pair this with bell peppers (add P40), their crisp freshness providing the perfect contrast. Don't miss their housemade hot sauce, which gives more than enough heat but also a touch of citrus that elevates it to unforgettable.
Calzone with Tomatoes, Mozarella, and Eggplant
Foccacia with Parma Ham and Provolone
You can also get your dough in two other ways: As a Calzone (P280), the pillow-soft dough best when stuffed with cheese, fresh tomatoes, and some roasted eggplant for additional texture, and as Focaccia (P240), baked to have a crisp exterior and a chewy center then stuffed with whatever toppings you desire—again, the Parma ham works well here.
Tagliatelle alla Tartufata
Ravioli alla Bolognese
Kermit also whips up excellent pasta, with everything made in-house. The freshness of their pasta, and a tenderness that only comes with being cooked al dente, shines through whichever dish you decide to go with: From the Tagliatelle alla Tartufata (P420), aromatic and rich with truffle sauce, or the Ravioli alla Bolognese (P380), a certified crowd pleaser with a meaty Bolognese sauce.
Gianni shares that he doesn't plan to open any more branches of Kermit in Manila, having found his perfect spot in Poblacion—though he does want to open another Kermit in La Union. But for a quick respite from the city, nothing else can work wonders than great pizza and positive, chill vibes—and with Kermit around, you don't have to use any vacation leaves to do just that.
Photos by Hans Fausto
*Soft opening hours