Hang on, this must be a mistake. The best wine list in the Philippines is not in any of the best restaurants in Manila but in a restaurant in a province called Pampanga?
The best wine list in the Philippines can be found in a restaurant called YATS located inside a golf and casino leisure estate inside the special Freeport city of Clark Zone in Pampanga, some 70 km north of Manila. Although Clark seems to have captured the attention of foreign and local investors, as well as a chunk of funds of their funds, its dining, recreational and nightlife lifestyle is nowhere near the vibrancy of Manila, or even Cebu for that matter.
Food and wine lovers in Manila, Cebu and other big cities in the Philippines have grown to assume that the best dining establishments are either in Makati or BGC Fort Bonifacio, Manila. True enough that the density of fine dining restaurants, gastropubs and wine bars is highest by a long stretch in these two busy spots of Manila, but it doesn’t automatically mean that best is always in the country’s busiest places. In fact there are numerous examples of great restaurants located some distance away from the big cites; French Laundry, El Bruli and The Fat Duck just to name a few.
Come to think of it this actually could make some sense because destination restaurants do not have the support of a large number of regular customers. Instead, being situated in a place with small dining population means these restaurants have to be quite special in order to attract customers to make the trip over to dine there.
The 2500-line award-winning wine list of Yats Restaurantis supported by several wine cellars including one that also acts as a wine shop which is the largest wine outlet outside of Manila. The wine list has earned the prestigious Best of Awards of Excellence given by world-leading wine publication Wine Spectator to just 850 restaurants with the best wine lists in the world. Here in the Philippines, this restaurant in Clark Pampanga is the only one with that award and it was awarded several years in a row since 2010.
The number of selections of this award-winning wine list is not its most impressive aspect. The depth of vintages and the presence of wines from lesser-known wine regions is what really place the wine list of Yats Restaurant heads and shoulders above all the best restaurants in the Philippines. Of particular interest to seasoned Manila’s wine drinkers and wine connoisseurs in the Philippines are back vintages of less-known labels and a fine collection of matured white wine from Burgundy such as the immortal 1969 Montrachet from the famous house of Leroy.
Prices of fine vintage wines at Yats Restaurant are surprisingly affordable, certainly much lower than comparable wines in fine-dining restaurants in Manila, not to mention restaurants in luxury hotels and resorts in the Philippines. A bottle of 2000 Château Le Malinay, Moulis en Medoc cost US$75 and a Burgundy grand cru 1990 Corton Marechaudes cost just US$185. Prices of many items on this restaurant wine list are lower than those in wine retail shops around Manila.
The menu of this restaurant in Clark Pampanga is expectedly very sensitive to wine. French Mediterranean cuisine with recipes slightly toned down to make room for the delicate flavors of fine vintage wines to come through enable wine lovers to have plenty of fun to put their food-wine-pairing knowledge to a test. The cellars are open for a brief tour except for the main cellar which houses some of the world’s rarest wines.
MORE INFORMATION ON THIS RETAURANT IN CLARK PAMPANGA
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Yats Restaurant and Wine Lounge
Mimosa Drive, Mimosa Leisure Estate,
Clark Freeport, Clark Zone,
Pampanga, Philippines 2023
Tel: (045) 599-5600 or 0917-520-4401
For special functions and group dinners, call 0916-782-2643